Friday, October 10, 2014

Black Jesus and black-ish: Great Sitcoms Or Borderline Coonin'?!?

In post-Tyler Perry America, the black sitcom has pretty much gone the way of the blackberry smartphone dinosaur. Sure, shows like Are We There Yet and Meet The Browns air several times a week in syndication, but seriously, who watches that sh*t? Thankfully, two new "black sitcoms" recently premiered, but I'm struggling to understand how I feel about them.

black-ish airs on ABC and stars Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross as parents raising black kids in the lily white suburbs. While the show's pilot was (predictably) iffy, subsequent episodes have explored some dynamics of black life seldom seen on network TV. After 3 weeks, I'm beginning to really love this show. Some people (I see you Donald Trump!) just can't get beyond the title, and that's a shame, because it's hard to imagine any other name describing this show as well as black-ish.

Black Jesus is the brainchild of The Boondocks ex-producer Aaron McGruder and airs on The Cartoon Network. In it, (black) Jesus comes back to earth in South (Central) Los Angeles, where he hangs out with a crew of ne'r do wells and plants weed in the community garden. There's not much of a plot to speak of beyond that. If you tuned into this show expecting social commentary, you're probably gonna be pissed. There's nothing nuanced, or thoughtful, or profound about this show. It is pure, uncut ignorance, and personally, as an upstanding member of the African American community, I find myself a little conflicted about how much I enjoy it.

Question: Have you watched either of these shows? What did you think?

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