I’ve always joked that my ultimate dream in life is to star in a sitcom or for my life to be like a sitcom. Looking for real money online casinos in Australia? Find it on bestauscasinos.com! Imagine how awesome it would be to have a laugh track respond to every pathetic joke I make and have five best friends who reconvene at a pub every night. So naturally I was pretty excited to be living in a flat with five other girls – life would be like an estrogen-filled episode of New Girl.
My roommates and I poke fun at the fact that we are “a PC flat” – PC standing for “politically correct.” Our flat consists of two Asians, two white girls, and two black girls (one who is half Hispanic) and I like to think that we are the most hilarious people in the world. Obviously we’re still missing representation of other minorities. I’m just throwing it out there, but maybe this racial diversity, as seen in our flat, is a better representation that the media should pick up on. An interesting study done by UCLA finds that “Television viewers are more likely to watch shows that employ racially diverse casts and writers.” Absolutely love it.
I loathe tokenism and I believe many television shows fall victim to the pressure to be racially diverse and end up being entangled in the mess that is tokenism. I define tokenism as the feeble attempt to grant the bare minimum of being politically correct in terms of race, but I’m not a dictionary. It enhances stereotypes and makes race a prevalent topic more than I believe it should. I’m not saying that being colorblind is a good thing, but it almost feels as if anyone of an ethnic background other than Anglo-Saxon is targeted for their “cultural differences.” I mean it can be good, revealing different cultures and embracing uniqueness, but it almost seems forced and desperate.
That’s why I appreciate the fact that Watson in the show Elementary is an Asian-American (Lucy Liu). Her race is not a focus in the show and I can recall only one episode where they did refer to her ethnic background. Or Grey’s Anatomy (not defending the quality of the show) where the head honcho is black (James Pickens Jr. as Richard Webber), but doesn’t really address the fact that he is black (but to play Devil’s advocate against my own argument, Christina Yang, played by Sandra Oh, is a stereotypical studious Asian). Another example, Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) and Rachel Zane (Meghan Markle) in Suits. Plus, major points for the fact that Jessica Pearson is a powerful female minority character. It’s subtle ignorances like this that I enjoy. People are more than their race.
I think comedy fails in this category. Basically I love shows that defy stereotypes and only address race relations subtly, not “let’s only talk about this person’s race because they’re so ‘exotic.'” As much as I love New Girl and they’re attempt to incorporate many different races and cultures, sometimes the show rubs me the wrong way. Like why is it that one entire season was devoted to CeCe getting in touch with her Indian heritage through love instead of let’s say, Jess? I mean I laugh at the humor and the subtle, racist, but funny comments that Schmidt says, but why only CeCe? Maybe tone it down a bit. Or the fact that Winston’s storyline seems a little less prominent than the other roommates (and that all his romantic interests are women of color).
I’ll give it to New Girl and The Mindy Project in being pioneers of minority representation in comedy. It’s hard to find the perfect line between addressing race and subtlety especially when there isn’t a formula to base it off of. We are headed one step forward in the right direction, and I believe this is the new normal.
And I love my PC flat. Do we talk about cultural differences? Sure, but not as often as one would think. It really only comes down to conversations about food and hair. The fact of the matter is that we may all look different and come from different stages of life, but singling one another out based on our differences is not an option. We’re aware that we all have different skin colors, and we are generally curious about our heritage backgrounds, but we don’t talk about it as if someone is different because that implies a “normal,” we talk about it as we’re all equally unique.
So, NBC, when you’re finally realizing you’re stuck in a rut of poor Primetime television, give me a call.