Tag Archives: Two and a Half Men

Sorry But Criticizing A TV Show For Its Lack Of Diversity Does Not Equal ‘Woman Hate’

By Guest Contributor Jen Wang, cross-posted from Disgrasian

I’ve heard this argument in discussions about the lack of diversity on HBO’s Girls and I’m hearing it again now with ABC Family’s Bunheads. The argument is: If you’re criticizing this show, which is for, by, and about girls/women, you’re misogynist.

Bullsh-t.

Emma Dumont, Kaitlyn Jenkins and Bailey Buntain from "Bunheads." Courtesy: ABC Family/Randy Holmes

This week, Bunheads creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, of Gilmore Girls fame, responded to criticism made by Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes about the lack of diversity on Sherman-Palladino’s new series about ballerinas with this exact argument:

“I’ve always felt that women, in a general sense, have never supported other women the way they should…I think it’s a shame, but to me, it is what it is.”

Sherman-Palladino, who says she has never met Rhimes before, went on to say that with the increased demands on showrunners–particularly while getting a new program on the air–there’s no room for criticism among peers. “I wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t go after another woman. I, frankly, wouldn’t go after another showrunner,” she said.

Showrunner-to-showrunner professional courtesies aside–think how awkward running into each other in the ladies’ room at the Emmys will be!–Sherman-Palladino’s assessment of the situation, not to mention her assertion of victimhood, is utterly facile and self-serving.

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You choose — triggering, tokenism or erasure

By Guest Contributor Tami Winfrey Harris, cross-posted from What Tami Said

I asked my blogging friends to weigh in on a question that is only a little facetious: In your consumption of media, which is better–to be triggered, to be a token or to be erased?

Let me explain.

During the hiatus of HBO’s True Blood, Renee, Paul and I have been exploring other representations of the urban fantasy genre–from book series to the teen angsty CW show Vampire Diaries. In doing so, we have confirmed what we already suspected: That is that the genre is notoriously bad at characterizations that are not of the white, straight, male variety. (Making it much like, y’know, every other genre.)

One sentiment that has come up again and again–mostly after suffering some appalling portrayal of people of color or the GLBT community in some book–is “Y’know, I’d rather [insert author’s name here] would just quit writing about [insert marginalized group here].”

For me, this frustration is usually borne of being othered and disrespected, when I simply aimed to be entertained by a trashy novel or TV show. I dipped into Charlaine Harris’ Aurora Teagarden series, hoping to enjoy the books as I enjoy the TV series based on Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series. Instead, I got a bunch of thinly-written, triggering stories where all women (but the protagonist) are routinely judged harshly and women like me (black women) are alternately sassy or angry or dead or running from the law, and blackness or Jewishness or gayness or any other “ness” that is not small-town and conservative and Southern and Anglo and Christian is to be frowned at or remarked upon or, best, hidden. And so, instead of enjoying a cozy mystery in my downtime, I wound up feeling uncomfortable and marginalized.

It is times like these when I find myself thinking that it would have been better if black women were absent from the narrative altogether. Sometimes there is comfort in erasure. I mean, even a blandly-drawn token black character, like Bonnie on Vampire Diaries, can be intrusive to my experience. Because I look at her presence in a show that genuflects to the antebellum South and plantation-owning families, while at the same time not mentioning the black community that must still exist in the town, and suspect she is a black-culture-free cypher added simply to be inclusive.

When I, a black woman, am consuming media created by mostly non-black writers, dealing with erasure is sometimes easier that dealing with how a book or film or TV show reflects the dominant culture’s biased views about me.

Media, at its best, is a powerful tool that can change the way groups are perceived by the masses. But media is too rarely at its best. So…

Are bad, biased or token portrayals better than no portrayal at all?

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“Chaim Levine,” “Charlie Sheen,” and Racism in Hollywood

by Latoya Peterson

Charlie Sheen is a fucking trainwreck.

I caught about five minutes of an E! True Hollywood Story on the man, and saw references to drug abuse and rehab, domestic violence, and a very pissed off Heidi Fleiss, noting that while Sheen is one of the top paid sitcom stars of our time, she was stuck in jail.

Charlie Sheen has been on a downward spiral for a good while now, and it’s clear from comments like these that things are only going to get worse:

Both Today and GMA asked Sheen, who says he underwent private rehab at home, if he is now on drugs. As he told the latter, “Yeah, I am on a drug. It’s called Charlie Sheen! It’s not available, because if you try it once, you will die. Your face will melt off, and your children will weep over your exploded body. … I woke up and decided, you know, I’ve been kicked around, I’ve been criticized. I’ve been this ‘Aww, shucks’ guy with this bitchin’ rock-star life, and I’m finally going to completely embrace it, wrap both arms around it and love it violently. And defend it violently through violent hatred.”

I could normally care less about the troubles of Charlie Sheen, but one of his recent verbal misfires is interesting on a few different levels. Sheen referred to Two and a Half Men creator Chuck Lorre as Chaim Levine in an angry open letter, protesting the cancellation of the show, widely rumored to be because of Sheen’s erratic behavior. After receiving pushback for his remarks, Sheen offered this gem to TMZ:

While Charlie spilled his guts to TMZ yesterday about his hatred for Chuck Lorre, he referred to the “Two and a Half Men” creator as Chaim Levine — the Hebrew translation of CL’s birth name — which many people felt Charlie used in a mean-spirited attempt to denigrate the Jews.

Now Charlie tells TMZ … “I was referring to Chuck by his real name, because I wanted to address the man, not the bulls**t TV persona.”

FYI — Chuck’s birth name is Charles Levine … and his Hebrew name is Chaim.

Charlie added, “So you’re telling me, anytime someone calls me Carlos Estevez, I can claim they are anti-Latino?”

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