I admit it! I have never watched a single episode of “Meet The Brown’s.” But since I watch a lot of TNT when the NBA telecast are on, I am constantly bombarded with the stations advertisers who tell me the show is “very funny.”
But I just can’t seem to bring myself to be interested in this show. Every time I see highlights, all I see is Mr. Brown shuffling and clowning like Stepin Fetchit. He looks like a joke who buffoons on the screen singing and dancing like Mantan Moreland and Sleep n’ Eat on Spike Lee’s movie “Bamboozled.”
“Bamboozled” was meant to make a point about the images in African-American media, and how many of the same issues of yesteryear when all black people were allowed to do on movies and television was to clown and belittle themselves are still relevant today. History shows that African-Americans shows are mostly always comedies with very little if any dramas. Since the show City of Angels there have been no dramas on television with a mainly African-American cast. In many ways Bamboozled seemed to make this point among others by being over the top in it’s parodies. Or does it? Tyler Perry’s play – turned movie – turned sitcom looks like a minstrel show just from the previews. And it’s sickening to me.
I wonder as well why black folk have not had anything critical to say about it. Perhaps it’s because we are proud of the success Tyler Perry has amassed in the industry. I think most of us are proud of what he has been able to accomplish, but it seems to me like the motivation for money and acclaim is allowing him to do just about anything with this show. And it’s like a dirty little secret that we allow it without protest. This proves that Bamboozled is relevant though many of us critiziced it.
I already touched on the Mudear thing. I was fine with the original premise of the plays and I thought it made for good entertainment. I am not mad about the movies either because it employed black people and allowed a black man to tell stories about black people. My thing was that it’s just gotten out of hand.
Other directors like David Simon who did “The Wire”, talked about how after he told the complete story in five seasons on HBO, he didn’t want to do a “Wire” movie or continue the series for the sake of making money. He didn’t want to sell out his contributions or cheapen the significance of his product.
Perhaps it’s not a fair comparison because the two shows are different. But I am so not impressed. If anything I am totally disgusted with the way this show is presented. I can only imagine the horrors of having to sit through hours of it on TV. Often the network runs hours of the 30 minute show in marathon fashion on certain nights.
I like to laugh as much as anybody. I can certainly laugh at myself and African-American stereotypes as well. Stereotypical comedy done artfully is hilarious. Stereotypical for the sake of feeding steretypes and getting paid is treason!
As black folk we should hold Perry accountable. But unfortunately, the popularity of the program shows we may be participating in the demise of our own images. And then we wonder why we are not taken seriously. For all of our success, this show takes us backwards!