Tag Archives: tv

Louis C.K. Bucks Casting Trends With Susan Kelechi Watson


Sometimes, I really, really love Louis C.K. He is far from perfect, but he tends to keep things interesting. His bit on “Being White” is one of the top search results when you search his name, and he’s throwing some wrenches into pricing and comedy shows.

Interestingly, as we are dealing with the oh-so-tedious, faux-feminist ideas that criticizing shows like Bunheads and Girls for their lack of diversity is selling out women, Louis C.K. (after tweeting his support of Lena Dunham), decides to exercise his right to cast whoever the hell he wants in his created universe – which resulted in Susan Kelechi Watson being the mother of his children. Huffington Post recaps what was on Jimmy Kimmel:

On “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (Weeknights, 12 a.m. ET on ABC), he was asked about his decision to cast African-American actress Susan Kelechi Watson as his ex-wife and mother of his daughters in Season 3.

C.K. conceded that his TV daughters are “extremely white,” but said that race didn’t really factor into his decision to cast Watson in the role of their mom.

“If the character works for the show, I don’t care about the racial,” the show’s creator, writer, director and star said.

And yet…

Plus, there was another reason he went with a black actress.

To C.K., it’s all about line delivery. “When a black woman tells you to get a job, it’s just more … ” he explained with a laugh.

While my eye did a little twitch at that last bit (can we ever have anything?), Louis C.K.’s decision is a little bit of relief after a long season of whitewashing justifications.

On Our Radar: Push Girls

By Latoya Peterson

Browsing the Thick Dumpling Skin blog, I came across a short mention of a show called Push Girls, being produced for the Sundance Channel. The core conceit is that it explores the lives of four women in wheelchairs–but it caught my attention for featuring multiracial friendships and a reality show that doesn’t revolve around petty fights and getting wasted. And, as if I needed another reason to watch, two of the main characters are women of color –Angela Rockwood-Nguyen and Auti Rivera.

Angela, who seems like she is the core friend holding the group together, is mixed Thai-German. She’s also got an amazing (and tragic) connection to some major players in pop culture. In 2001, Angela was paralyzed in the same car wreck that killed Thuy Trang (who was famous for playing Trini, the original Yellow Ranger on the popular Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers series). At the time of the accident, she was married to 21 Jump Street star Dustin Nguyen. People Magazine did a write up on the couple in 2007, noting:

For Dustin and Angela, it was the beginning of a different kind of love story. All but abandoning his career, Dustin devoted himself to Angela’s care, bathing her, feeding her, tending to all her needs. The first time Angela cried was six months after the accident as Dustin inserted her catheter. “It hit me what our life was about,” she says. “I said, ‘You don’t have to live this life. You can just go.’”

Six years later, he’s still there. “The idea of leaving is ridiculous,” says Dustin, 45. “I’m not trying to be saintly or noble. But there is only one thing to do: take care of the wife I love. Things happen. You react and move on.”

Sitting in their cozy, wheelchair-friendly 1920s-era house in L.A., the couple laugh easily and trade affectionate gazes.

But as the story opens, it is revealed that Dustin and Angela separated in 2011, and there are many tense conversations about where each wants the relationship to go. Continue reading

How Sons of Anarchy Got Racism Right

Juice Ortiz

Television is really comfortable with showing unrepentant racists in the roles of villians; and playing racism for laughs or shockvalue. But what we don’t normally see in pop culture is the urge toward showing full characters. Including the racist bits.

I’ve been following Sons of Anarchy since the beginning of Season 3, and I was initally going to write about how the show treats whiteness. The world of Sons is almost an unauthorized form of whiteness that is rarely depicted without derision – defiantly lower class, quasi-ethnic, and trapped in the same kinds of systems that count as pathology in communities of color, but get the “trash” label when the conversation shifts to whites in the same situation.

However, that piece was put on hold because the subplot on this season is around a character named Juice Ortiz – and the problems that arise between his identity and the rules of the club.

[SPOILERS for the entire Juice story arc as well as other parts of the series ahead. This is your one and only warning.] Continue reading

“If You Throw a Punch, You’re One of Us”: The True Blood Round Table for Episode 2

Hosted by Latoya Peterson, featuring Tami Winfrey Harris, Andrea Plaid, and special guest Joseph Lamour

Lafayette

Note: Thea’s on vacation this week, so we added in friend of the blog Joseph Lamour to provide a fourth member of the side eye crew. As always, spoilers ahead. – LDP


Okay, first off – where are the rest of the non white folks in the South? So far, we have Tara, Lafayette, one vamp, the fake healer, a few one scene extras, and now a bouncer.

Tami: True Blood suffers from a case of “Hollywood diversity,” where you throw in a few people of color to give the appearance of diversity, but not “too many,” which might turn off mainstream (read: white) audiences whom you assume to be uncomfortable with “the other” (read: non-white people). This is important even if you are portraying a real place (NYC) or a fictional town in a real place (Bon Temps, La.) where there are, in reality, lots of people of color.

Andrea:
I’m guessing that Alan Ball and the other TB creatives figured that they could get away with such a thing because Bon Temps is a fictional place. If we ain’t heard of it, goes the thinking, who’s going to question the racial demographics of the town? (Now, why folks thought that thinking would play in a real-life place like New York City is beyond me, beyond some wish-fulfillment fantasy.) But, to me, Ball and Co. sorta play hide-and-seek with the town’s Black community, specifically: as someone pointed out to me, a larger community was glanced at during a college party in town a couple of seasons back. Also, a Twitter cohort and I, in discussing this very same issue, said another big hint was the church Tara’s mom attended, which my tweetpal said seems to be the church where the elders and the missing Bon Temps Black folks go. Also, the TB creatives forgot one vital clue as to why we even get to ask this question: Tara’s hair. Miss Gurl’s braids are tight every blessed week. She’s getting them done by somebody in that town, amirite?

Joe: At the very least, why isn’t there more diversity in the extras? True Blood does indeed suffer from a white-washed tableau of the modern south, and the most characters of color happen to be related. I bet the bouncer will somehow turn out to be related to Tara and Laffy (a distant cousin, perhaps). Wouldn’t you expect the humans to at least be a little, I don’t know, tan in so southern a place, even if they are white? I mean, Jason works all day in the sun, doesn’t he?

Andrea: Joe, now….that would be too much like right.

Can we talk about Tara for a moment? How does she always manage to sleep with the psychopaths (literally and figuratively)? I know I wasn’t the only one wondering how Tara managed to fight off Maryanne time and time again, yet still fall for this regular ass vampire glamouring….

Tami: My assessment of the Tara/Franklin situation is greatly colored by James Frain’s freaky sexiness. I’m going to enjoy it–weirdness aside. That said, I’d really like Tara to get some normal lovin’ on this show. I think it would be intriguing to re-explore the Sam/Tara relationship. They are both appear to be good people with difficult pasts. The characters/actors have solid chemistry. I doubt this will happen, though. As one of the show’s main male characters, Sam must carry a torch for darling “Sookeh!” like every other heterosexual male in town. Continue reading

Pimp My Stereotype: The Racialicious Roundtable For Flashforward 1.15

Hosted by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

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When did Tim Kring start working on this show?

Yes, Byron Balasco and Timothy J. Lea are listed as the writers for “Queen Sacrifice,” but the mind-numbing absurdity of Keiko’s subplot in the episode stank of Heroes-level caricature. Here’s the recap:

So, newly-arrived Keiko is looking for a job around L.A. when she happens upon an auto shop. As she ventures in, we see several people dancing to generic “hip-hop” like rejects from a Kid Frost video and cars randomly going all LowRider Magazine. That’s the opening image. From there, Keiko – who has never shown either professional or personal interest in cars – talks herself into a job at the shop. After speaking to my ex-mechanic flatmate, I’m thinking this is also wonky; her degree doesn’t exactly translate into this career path. Later, Customs raids the place and busts seemingly everybody for being undocumented workers. Well of course they do. Gang, anything I missed?

Mahsino: Don’t forget the “Ninja” comment. Continue reading

White Supremacists Are Back (On Television)!

By Guest Contributor AJ Christian, originally published at Televisual

This post suffers from a disease characteristic of most lifestyle/entertainment news: two’s a coincidence, three’s a trend.  Blame it on my past as a reporter. It’s an illness not easily cured.

I don’t know what caused it, but white supremacy is back on television! Of course, by “back” I mean white supremacists have returned as villains in several cable dramas, most recently on FX’s new drama Justified, another FX series Sons of Anarchy and in Martin Scorsese’s forthcoming – and extraordinarily expensiveBoardwalk Empire, premiering this fall.

Color me naïve — it’s a color I’ve worn before — but I always thought serious consideration of white supremacy was a no-go for television: it would alienate liberals and minorities and doesn’t win anyone else. But the search for more provocative programming to cut through the TV clutter, along with the general tendency among certain cable networks – the premium channels, along with FX, TNT, AMC, etc. – toward “cutting edge” narratives, has allowed some room for the KKK and their ilk.

It’s not for me to say what can or cannot be filmed or represented. If it exists in society – even if it doesn’t – there’s little reason to ban it in our media. But you do wonder what makes these “bad guys” so appealing to viewers.

Justified’s Supremacists Are Bumpkins!

Justified, the latest in a decade-long string of “renegade anti-hero” dramas on cable which began with The Sopranos, gives us white nationalists who are mostly idiots. The story in the well-rated pilot is simple: Raylan Givens is a US Marshall relocated by the federal government to his home state of Kentucky after shooting, under dubious circumstances, a gangster in Miami. Upon returning home he meets some old enemies, mostly a band of neo-Nazis. Their leader, Boyd Crowder, is the most sophisticated of the band of rebels, smart enough to nearly catch our hero in an impromptu duel (Justified is a neo-western).

We doubt whether Boyd Crowder is a true believer, despite the swastikas adorning his lair and his body. Our hero Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) has us question his motives: maybe he’s just a guy who likes to shoot people and blow things up! Has our hate-mongering leader assembled a ragtag group of unemployed losers just so he has an excuse to create mayhem in eastern Kentucky? We don’t know yet. Continue reading

Nothing To See, Move Along: The Racialicious Review of Heroes 5.18

By Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

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This is the end, my beautiful friends, the end.
- The Doors, “The End”

Keep the cameras on me.
- Lady Claire Hilton Be-Be-Benetrelli

The ratings make it increasingly likely that “Brave New World” was Heroes’ last stand. Though there’s still “hope” for a Dollhouse-like reprieve, pulling 13 million less viewers than Two And A Half Men doesn’t bode well for the show. But first, let’s catch up a bit. As they say on tv, Previously On Heroes:

* After getting mind-schtupped and finding, then losing, Charlie, Hiro survives brain tumor surgery thanks to his mom.
* After permanently winning control of his body, then going to Claire for answers, Sylar asks Parkman to purge him of his powers, but gets trapped inside his own mind.
* After burying his brother, Peter learns that his new girlfriend might be responsible for a massacre. Gaining further insight through his mother’s ability, he journeys to Parkman’s home to rescue Sylar – the only person who can save her – and ends up reconciling with him.
* After briefly joining the Carnival and reconciling with Gretchen, Claire discovers Samuel arranged for Lydia’s murder as part of a bigger agenda. She and Noah are then trapped underground in a trailer by Samuel.

What follows is an example of the series’ depressing consistency – “World” is long on blondes but desperately short on action. Continue reading

Hunting BET’s Black Panther

blackpanther1
by Special Correspondent Arturo R. García

Awhile back, Ghetto Manga reported that the Black Panther animated series, long in development for BET, had finally aired … but in Australia.

Awesome, I thought. And sure enough, ABC3, the Australian Broadcast Company’s kiddie channel, has Black Panther listed on its’ website. Surely BET would be happy to follow up on this, right?

Not quite. Instead, over the past two weeks, calls to both the media affairs and programming offices in both D.C. and Los Angeles either were not returned, or passed around to various names in both departments. In one instance, someone in the D.C. media relations dept. said the initial report was incorrect because BET didn’t air in Australia. In the meantime, if any of our Aussie readers have caught the show – Hexy, are you there? – please feel free to send us a review.