Reniqua Allen, in lamenting the passing of The Bill Cosby Show, complains about the way television today depicts black families. In doing so, she makes some observations that have wide applications:
Instead of a real look at black culture, Hispanic culture or any specific culture, we get “uniculture.” That’s how Felicia Henderson, creator of the Showtime series “Soul Food” and a newly minted executive producer of a BET family sitcom “Reed Between the Lines,” describes much of our current television universe. Henderson, who has served as a writer and producer for shows such as “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Gossip Girl” and “Fringe,” says the major networks often show diverse casts, but not true cultural differences. “I celebrate multicultural casting, but my concern is that these shows and these characters are only physically multicultural, physically multiethnic,” she says. . . .
The worlds they pretend to inhabit are not ones in which anyone really lives. It’s one TV cultural universe, with no room for ethnic difference, even among ethnic characters.
British journalist David Frost once said, “Television enables you to be entertained in your home by people you wouldn’t have in your home.”
Exactly! This applies also to the ways television (and most movies) portray all families and all cultures. In the Hollywood universe, everyone of every culture embraces extramarital sex, with no qualms, stigmas, or consequences. No one goes to church, and religion has no influence on anyone’s life. There are no conservatives, except for villains. And children are smarter than adults, especially their parents.