Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dear Viewers

Dear Viewers,

I used to have a list of my favorite TV shows.  I lost it.  If I had it, this post would be more useful.  I'm going to wing it anyway and hope for the best.  Wish me luck!

I'll admit that I watch a lot of shows I wouldn't recommend.  I watch some shows out of habit ("The Office"), some shows with the hope that someday they'll improve ("Community"), and some shows for reasons I should probably examine more closely ("Toddlers and Tiaras," anything with Gordon Ramsay).

Here are the shows I'm willing to recommend.  All of them are (or were) available on Hulu and/or Netflix and/or DVD.
"Golden Girls"
"Murder, She Wrote"
"Cagney and Lacey"
"Rosemary and Thyme"
"Parks and Recreation"
Cons of the shows listed above: They're very white.  They're crowded with straight, cis, able-bodied people.  I am absolutely sure that you'll find a lot of problems with those shows.

Pros: I love seeing women onscreen, women as protagonists, women who are fleshed-out characters, and the above shows give me that.  It's also nice to see women onscreen as major characters who fall outside of the patriarchy-approved, Maxim-fueled eye candy guidelines.  For starters, most of them are over 40.

I'm also really enjoying "Happy Endings."  To put it simply, it's sort of like a more diverse version of "Friends" but way easier to watch than the other variations (like "Traffic Light," which kept making me cringe).  My favorite part of the show is Jane and Brad's relationship.  They're an interracial married couple, and there are a million opportunities for the writers to make sexist, racist jokes (you know the ones: She's controlling, ha ha!  He's black, ha ha!  She's domineering, ha ha!  Did we mention that he's black?!), but every time I expect those tired old themes, I'm relieved.  The show has fun with the characters, not at their expense.  They're a fun, loving couple and obviously enjoy each other a great deal.  I do wish that the show did more with Max, the gay sixth of the group, and I hope that his character advances as the seasons continue.

Which shows do you recommend?  Where do you find shows which tell the stories of women and/or people of color and/or people with disabilities and/or QUILTBAG people?

With love,
Frank Lee

P.S. I also like "Flashpoint."  Very male, very white cast, but I enjoy the teamwork-oriented themes.

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