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tv   History of the Sitcom  CNN  August 1, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PDT

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a tv show or on a moon base. >> do not take off your seat belt. >> i foote got about my bird. >> i'll feed your bird. what's your bird's name? >> these workplace comedies, they hit us in a very deep place. >> next stop, the moon. [ applause ] guess what famous and important personality i carried as a passenger in my car today. >> we talk about race and culture in serious ways. that's important. discussing these things in a sitcom, you're not defensive. you're able to kind of take in new ideas. >> give you another hint. bongo bongo bongo. >> well, he's either desi arnaz or knowing you he's probably black. >> "all in the family" was doing something that nobody had ever
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done. >> mr. bunker? >> we're talking about having one of the biggest bigots in america. >> sammy davis! >> with a black man coming to his house. >> mr. davis, that's my daughter gloria standing over there. >> how do you do, gloria? >> and her husband mike. >> hello, mike. >> no. >> i was tingling the whole time. >> one, two, three. >> sammy davis jr. kissed him on the cheek and he's sitting there going -- >> you're watching kind of a master class in reflecting humanity. >> it was revolutionary in a lot of ways. >> "all in the family" changed the way we think about society. >> that's the picture of sammy davis.
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look what he writes here. "to archie bunker. the whitest guy i know." >> archie bunker was jaw-dropping. and you realized norman lear is taking us into a whole new realm of comedy. >> that was my dad. my father used to tell my mother, jeanette, it's sunday, we're going out for chinks. dad, we're going to go out for a chinese meal. why do you have to say chinks? >> jim bowman our neighbor down the way, just sold his home to a family of coloreds. >> no! >> part of the joy of doing it was well, this hasn't been done before. >> oh, hi, neighbor. >> "all in the family" commented directly on racism saying we need to deal with this and here is a vehicle through which we can do that. the television sitcom. >> there ain't no sense arguing. because i'm right and i know i'm right. all this business of mixing the colors. >> but at the same time archie
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bunker is a lightning rod of controversy because he's allowed to hold some very bigoted views. >> what's wrong with that, archie? >> can't you use your head? how the hell are we going to tell each other apart? >> and there are people who don't see archie bunker as being an anti-hero. they just see him as being a hero. >> president nixon saw the show and he was asked about what he thought of it. and he said they tried to make a fool out of a good man. >> sorry don't help me, boy. now i've got to change the sheets. >> some people think he was altogether wrong. but the blowback from the public was far buried by the excitement and the applause. >> hey, i don't like that. >> you don't like what? >> you calling me boy. i'm not a boy. i'm a man. >> if you look at archie bunker, he's a racist guy but we loved him. >> sitcoms pull the mirror up to us, say look at us, look at what
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we're afraid of. >> i'm a man too. geez, i don't go around making a point of it. >> you never had to make a point of it. >> in the '70s with "all in the family" we're starting to have a conversation about race in ways the conversations had not been had. there was this huge rise of the black middle class. >> you get advertisers turning toward black people. so you can see why norman lear creating "sanford & son." ♪ >> i was in las vegas, and the lounge act was redd foxx. and i came back just delirious with the possibility. >> you know what it says in the bible. love thy neighbor. >> well, the guy who wrote the bible didn't live in this neighborhood. if he had he would have said love thy neighbor but locketh thy window. >> redd foxx just felt like this comedic force. >> "sanford & son" is set in the
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1970s in watts, where there's this crotchety old man who runs a junk yard with his adult son lamont, who wants to sort of get rich quick. >> there's this woman standing out by the curb and she had a terrible voice. come here, sonny. i want to show you this. >> yeah, that's the way they took. >> must have been about 90 years old. >> ain't nothing on earth uglier than a 90-year-old white woman. >> he was like a black archie bunker. like old school. >> there's a reason why sanford is irascible. >> a court is where come to get justice, ain't it? and that's what i'm looking for, is justice. >> sanford has like real problems with american racism and the ways that it plays out in his life. >> why don't you arrest some white drivers? >> i do. >> you do? well, where are they? look at all these niggers in here. >> redd foxx is the first to use the word nigger on tv.
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said it twice in an episode. said it's real, we use it as part of our language. i don't know if it's right or it's wrong. i don't get into that. >> "sanford & son" resonated with me because the actors spoke like black people i knew. >> lamont, you know i'd do anything for you. >> tell her to have her face fixed. >> black life had not been shown in any kind of fashion. it was important in that people with feeling recognized. >> it proved that black shows can be just as successful as long as people can relate to it. >> i'm dying. you hear that, elizabeth? i'm coming to join you, honey. oh. [ knock on door ] maybe that's elizabeth. >> with "all in the family," "sanford & son," norman lear owned the airwaves. >> and then it was "good times." >> let's see. i'll pay this one. stall this one. got to argue about this one.
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and this one i'm going to put in the funny papers. >> shows like "good times" and "sanford & son" took a great step forward in that we see more depictions of black families but those families are also squarely in the working class. >> we were people that worked 60 hours a week cleaning your houses and emptying your garbage cans. >> we must set higher goals. we must set higher goals. >> in the 1970s stokely carmichael was one of the black panthers and stokely and some of his panther go storming into norman lear's office. >> my secretary said there's three guys that want to see the garbage man. >> they said you've got this poor black family on "good times." all black people aren't poor like that. this is a real misrepresentation. >> so we had a black family next door on "all in the family." and then we decided to move them on up. ♪ well, we're moving on up ♪ ♪ moving on up ♪ ♪ >> everybody knows what that
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means. you've moved on up. you're on the east side. but what you did to debt there and what you've got to do to stay there. >> it's kind of nice around here, ain't it? >> kind of nice? this is it. the cream, the top. >> "the jeffersons." the show that's owning something which was very important. >> you saw a black man who was like standing up to white people. >> who are you calling crazy, honkie? >> the shows had depth to them. i mean, they tackled racial issues. >> very good. very good, ladies. who's next? >> hey. come on now, we're all friends here. >> well, you may all be friends. but we don't touch anything that's been kissed by a nigger. >> the flashback episode. what jeffersons were doing the day martin luther king was shot. it ends with martin luther king's speech. >> we've got some difficulties ahead. but i want you to know tonight
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that we as a people will get to the promised land. >> but the fly in the ointment was they were all written primarily by white executives who had a very myopic view of black america. >> i feel qualified to do that as a human being who shared some of the same concerns. and we had a couple of writers who were themselves african-american. >> does norman lear miss the mark a lot? yeah, he does. but he does capture some moments that had not been captured before in terms of showing african-american culture. >> i believe that it is important to have writers in the room that understand the characters of the show. the pains, the pleasures, the joy. if not, it it looks like "amos & andy."
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. in the late 1940s, early 1950s television was trying to figure out what worked. coming out of radio. >> most television was made in new york city. and so it tended to actually be very ethnically diverse. >> many of the shows were born as radio programs. life with luigi, the goldbergs and beulah. >> sometimes i wonder if you ever learn anything. >> oh, sure, i learn a lot of things. i just don't retain them. >> some were recirculating stereotypes. >> when it is a
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misrepresentation on the screen it has done on many levels great harm. >> on the radio "amos & andy quat" was one of the most popular sitcoms. but the performers who played them on radio were white. >> come up here and dedicate the sky ride. >> the original pilot for the show were done in blackface, and the sponsors said, i don't know if this is going to go over well. so they cast it with some very funny black comedians. >> what do you think, lightning? >> this sure is a thin house. >> it was at times hysterically funny. but the stereotypes left a negative taste in a lot of our mouths. >> the central characters are all just different iterations of the minstrel archetypes from minstrel shows where white men were putting on blackface.
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it's embracing this dehumanizing tradition of representation. the naacp came out against amos & andy, and it went off television. >> every time you see someone who makes the completely ill-informed idea of using blackface as a costume, that was fomented with shows like "amos & andy." >> oh, my lord. >> you realize this is incredibly offensive. >> yes. >> and you realize blackface makeup reignites ethnic stereotypes african-americans have worked for years to overcome. >> after amos & andy people in front of them behind the scenes becomes less palatable for people who were writing the checks. >> television is ultimately there to sell you things. and so advertisers and their input matters. nielsen wasn't even counting black households in their numbers. so of course you weren't going to get sitcoms that showed their
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lives because they didn't care if you were watching or not. >> on "father knows best" there wasn't one black person in 203 shows. we had one ethnic person, fonk, the gardner. >> buenas dias, senor. >> and there was "courtship of eddie's father." they had a housekeeper who was asian. omeki. >> if there's anything you need. >> we were relatively invisible but used kind of as a condiment. ♪ >> in the tumultuous '60s there was segregation on tv just like we were seeing in real life. >> but you're beginning to get a real pickup on the level of the civil rights movement. >> black people were speaking up saying you must include me. >> hal canter on "amos & andy." and as the story goes he went to
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a lunch where the speaker was a civil rights leader, roy wilkins, who talked about the significance of representation. >> so canter decided to create a program that would calm a lot of the racial tensions in america. ♪ >> "julia" is about a single mom who's a nurse. she's got a young child. her husband died in vietnam. >> frankly, you're not exactly what i expected. >> no? did you expect me to be older or younger? >> "julia" was the first starring role for a black woman who was not a domestic. >> that'll teach you, partner. >> but they avoided showing her as a black woman as much as possible to make it more palatable for white audiences. >> diahann carroll described julia as a white negro with very little negroness.
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>> don't worry about it. there will be another monday next week. >> at the beginning there were certain stations would on the even carry it, especially in the south. >> back in the '60s whenever a black person was on television it was a particular pressure. >> it was a huge responsibility for diahann carroll to have broken that ground. >> it was a bit too much. by that i mean the responsibility of it was maybe one that i shouldn't have taken so seriously. >> it really drove miss carroll to the verge of a nervous breakdown. >> there are lots of people who feel i didn't take it seriously enough. but i do think we were a beginning. and that beginning i think has resulted in a lot of the things that we're seeing on the air today.
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♪ this summer on your tv, tablet, or any screen ♪ ♪ xfinity is here to inspire your biggest dreams ♪ hey, old man, thanks for coming to buchanan high school, my good brother. >> here's a present. a fortune cookie. >> fortune cookie. >> fortune cookie. >> for so long diversity and representation traditionally meant that you had some black characters. and the other ethnic minorities were not really part of that conversation. >> i come from two backgrounds, hungarian and puerto rican. i'm a hunga rikan. >> when i saw freddie prinze in 1973, i fell in love for the
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first time. >> he did one exceptional shot on "the tonight show" and seemingly a minute later was the star of his own show. ♪ chico ♪ ♪ don't be discouraged ♪ >> in 1974 "chico and the man" is speaking to the changing face of america. >> what are you afraid of, old man? >> i'm not afraid of anything. >> it was this cantankerous old man and this young starry-eyed kid in east l.a. at a garage. >> then why are you drinking? >> because i intend to hit you on the head with this bottle in a few minutes and i don't want to waste any of it. >> ed brown is railing against the community of east los angeles that is changing in a way he's not comfortable with. >> get out of here. take your flies with you. >> what flies? >> your flies. >> and it's a bright new hit for nbc. >> while you're standing here your flies are getting together with my flies and making more flies. >> freddie prinze stood out as a charming young latino at a time
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when the only other charming latino had been on tv 25 years earlier. >> aye, aye, aye. >> desi arnaz. >> this kid is just beloved by everyone. >> chico? >> not necessarily in that they used to call me that in grade school because i was a backward kid. >> and then it's just over and he's gone. and he committed suicide in january of 1977. >> he dies, at age 22, with the world literally at his feet. >> it was heartbreaking for the latinx community, and i think we've realized you can't put that pressure on one person to represent an entire minority group. >> to see somebody that -- that changes you, that gives you a purpose. i wanted to be a comedian because of him. >> i'll miss you.
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>> you'll miss me? >> but i won't miss you with this if you don't get back to work. >> the american sitcom had gotten a disruption in the early 1970s with "all in the family," "mary tyler moore." >> you go from lear's we're going to hit race, we're going to hit class, we're going to hit gender to can't we all just get along? ♪ now the world don't move ♪ ♪ to the beat of just one drum ♪ ♪ what might be right for you ♪ ♪ may not be right for some ♪ >> it was a dream. two kids in a ghetto get adopted by a rich white man. >> the white savior narrative in "different strokes" is the basis of the whole series. >> welcome, gentlemen. >> how about that, willis? downtown two minutes and already we're -- >> it was about love and understanding and respect for each other's cultures. >> of course gary coleman, he's just this cherub little black child who's making us laugh.
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>> arnold. to collect unemployment you've got to not be working before you stop working. >> what you talking about, willis? >> "different strokes" makes us feel good. we solved racism. thank goodness. >> it was a massive hit. >> you know, it's the '80s. it was like let's just not think about that complicated stuff right now. ♪ >> for the first time "the cosby show" forced america to recognize the black middle class. >> $95? i don't have a $95 shirt, and i have a job. >> the reaganesque narrative allowed everyone to not see race and just to see. all-american family that you could emulate. >> ronald reagan did say that cosby was his favorite show. so go figure.
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>> where i come from, my neighborhood, i didn't buy that. because i had never seen that, a black doctor. so i did not really identify and relate with that show. >> because of everything going on with mr. cosby now, of course the legacy has been tarnished. but the show definitely inspired generations of people of color be who pursued higher education. >> i'm going to hillman. >> all right! ♪ i know my parents love me ♪ >> so then we had denise, who was going to go to an hbcu, a historically black college and university. >> it's the story of leaving home for the first time. and i was this snotty bitch that messed with denise huxtable. >> do you know how to get foot massages? >> when i found out diahann carroll was playing whitney gilbert's mother, i kind of freaked out. >> my darling.
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>> i felt like -- >> oh, whitley, what is that dress? it just screams first communion. >> she was always the only black woman on the set of "julia." she let us know how special it was that we're on a set with all these black people. >> "a different world" was a success because it wasn't a bunch of white men telling little black kids what they were like growing up. i credit all of that to our producer and our director, debbie allen. it was like how can we deepen all of these characters? >> she'd also gone to howard university. so she brought something very organic and authentic. >> she saw the humanity of black youth, black' college kids, blak world. it was a chance for writers, creatives in front and behind the camera to tell our story. >> what is this? >> mammy. >> she's part of my exhibit. from mammy to modern times.
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>> oh, my -- >> we needed a show that was about colorism and how it has divided us over hundreds of years. >> i'm not going to learn anything about myself by looking at this. >> that's right. >> kimmy, in order to neutralize a stereotype we have to reclaim it. >> the sitcom affords us something where we can be funny and something deep happens. >> you know what i want to say to whitley? it's easy for you. who does this look like, me or you? >> that's what you think you look like? >> or something deep's going on and something funny happens. [ screaming ] and thank god. >> that's wonderful, my sister. >> thank you, my sister.
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the rage over the acquittal of four los angeles police officers has turned into reaction on the streets. >> i do recall as the riots were going on the mayor of l.a. had gotten on television and was like, go home, watch the last episode of "the cosby show."
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>> and forget why these insurgencies were actually happening. it's definitely the end of a very specific kind of era. ♪ hold it now ♪ >> the '90s roll around. hip-hop culture is changing the way that many people are looking at black culture and "fresh prince of bel air" is there to put that into a sitcom world. ♪ now this is a story all about how ♪ ♪ my life got flipped turned upside down ♪ >> will was a fish out of water from the urban philly community. ♪ >> hey, uncle phil! >> he was placed into the bel air mansion with a very successful aunt and uncle and cousins that are very different from the friends that he grew up with. >> ah, malcolm x. >> yeah, he's sort of my hero. >> well, he was a great man. i don't know if i'd call him my
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hero exactly. >> oh, really? who are your heroes? >> well, my dad. and bryant gumbel. he's darn good. >> "fresh prince of bel air," i just want to be friends with will and jazzy jeff. >> crank it up for me. ♪ >> most of the writers were white. but we had them understand that they cannot depict our family just from their point of view. >> somewhere between princeton or the office you got soft. you forgot who you are and where you came from. >> i grew up on the streets just like you. i encountered bigotry you could not imagine. now, you have a nice poster of malcolm x on your wall. i heard the brother speak. >> they hit aspects of the african-american experience really head on. absentee fathers. >> long time, huh? >> 14 years. >> drugs. >> those pills that you took weren't vitamins.
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>> what were they? >> it was speed. >> oh, my god. i'm a drug addict and a virgin. >> people forget carlton was one of the first black nerds on screen showing there were other ways to be black. ♪ it's unusual to be loved by anyone ♪ >> so when fox comes around and says how can we gain audience, ooh, black people. so they initiate a series of shows that target an audience that had not been targeted. >> "martin" is just increasingly mega popular comedian on the screen. >> if you want to just compare "martin" and "the fresh prince," martin in no way ran away from its blackness. he hosted a black radio show. >> what up? >> he had gina, his live-in girlfriend. it was the blending of sketch
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with traditional narrative sitcom. >> martin lawrence played many, many characters on that show. from jerome to roscoe. >> what do you want? >> i want you to get a smaller head. but i ain't got no control over that. >> shanay-nay. shah-nay and nay. >> oh, my goodness. if it isn't little miss attitude. >> all the characters just felt really personal to the kind of young black experience. >> why are you always over here? i mean, don't you have a bed? >> fox used that show to build their network. >> fox was florida for black people. that's where we're all going to go now to have a new life. >> you know, television became segregated. there was a place for shows of color and a place for shows that didn't feature characters of color. but given the success of "fresh
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prince" and "martin" on fox in the early '90s networks started to look at other underrepresented groups to build an audience. >> margaret cho is a comedian, is extremely queer. >> i'm here! i'm queer! >> very bawdy. >> actually, i'm not really allowed to say the word vagina because i don't even use mine. so -- >> "all-american girl" was nothing like that. >> margaret. do you know why i encourage your brother to become a cardiologist? >> no. >> because i always knew that one day you'd give me a heart attack. what are you wearing? >> i was about 23 years old, and i went to disney with a writer who created the show around me but then created all of these other characters. i felt like my voice was lost, but i just went along with it because i was so intimidated by the process. >> my mother put you up to this,
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didn't she? >> the network thought that i was too overweight to play the role of myself. >> mother, i've told you about this. >> i lost an incredible amount of weight in a very, very short time. and it affected my health in a very damaging way. i couldn't even think about whether or not anything was funny. >> mom, don't wait up for me. >> i hadn't ever seen an asian-american family on a sitcom. so in a lot of ways we learned lessons of how to tell a story about people who are traditionally underrepresented. >> i'm very, very proud that it broke ground. it gave an amazing push to a generation experiencing this great success now. >> if you try to suspend our son because of this, we will sue everyone in this school. >> hey. it's the american way, right? >> you know about that?
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check it out. hudson man is in the house. >> the mid '90s was a golden era for black sitcoms. >> as fox went with predominantly african-american casts you had new networks in the wb and upn that then took
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that playbook and went with it. >> mom. >> that girl has my face! >> "sister sister" was on the wb. the wayans brothers. ♪ o to the ♪ ♪ e to the ♪ >> you are so joyful, excited that you get to get to express your culture through these shows. ♪ >> usher is there. kobe bryant is there. >> it was the rise and the recognition of the black comedian. we just rushed the door. >> y'all got kids. you know. i just deal with mine up front. i don't go behind the kcurtain. you know, it's a pain in the ass. >> "the bernie mac show" was inspired by bernie mac's real-life stand-up about how he took in his wife's sister's kids when she had drug problems. >> quit being so soft here. you're always crying. you've got to be a man. >> i don't want to be a man!
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>> really pushed the envelope of being a father in a crazy world. >> she think we're country club rich, old money rich. we're just nigger rich. >> what? >> bernie's show led to more modern-day storytelling and identifying that black comedians can tell these type of stories. >> so you're chris? >> yes, sir. i'm mr. abbott, your guidance koupsor. >> by the time everybody hates chris debuted in 2005 chris rock was a massive star. >> "everybody hates chris" is a funny recalling of chris rock's childhood in 1980s brooklyn. >> my father always knew what everything costs. >> that's a dollar nine cent in the trash! that's $2 on fire. >> with an all-black show in the home and chris got bused to a white school.
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>> wa s the junior high school across the street really that bad? [ gunshots ] >> much like rock & roll school shootings were also invented by blacks and stolen by the white man. >> and of course in 2006 upn merged with the wb to become what we now know as the cw. >> the cw just decides not to do sitcoms anymore. and that cuts out all black programming. >> it's something fox did earlier. you start your network based on black sitcoms. and then when you get enough viewers you make the pivot to the, quote unquote, more mainstream white audiences, which of course also gets you better advertisers. >> you have this major erasure of people of color. except for, you know, side characters. >> when you are erased from the media, when you turn on the television and there are 100 channels, thousands of shows to stream and none of them
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represent you. you start to think you don't matter. >> hello, my beautiful indian brother. >> john redcorn, he's a side character on "king of the hill." >> i'm not a bare-chested leather vest-wearing romeo in texas. >> but that was the closest thing i had. >> please, dale, that belonged to my father. >> yeah, it's nice. what's that made out of,of, rigatoni? >> bones. >> ew. >> there is this very native-centric story where john redcorn wants to share his culture with his son. >> you have to make a choice, joseph. sometimes a herd can be the safest place there is. but the wrong herd can trample you. >> we have this culture that has traditionally been taken or stolen or misappropriated. >> say it, dale. something seems different about you. >> something is different, bill. i had a vision. i'm an indian now. >> good morning, class. >> not seeing native american characters, not seeing native
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people like you, you hunger for it. so when you get a side character who's not in everyone episode, it's not a full meal but it's something. >> the road to representation has been a long and winding one for many communities of color. >> after "chico and the man" it would be a really long time before a latinx stand-up comic was embraced by television audiences again. >> everybody would talk to us and go you're going to do a show about a latino family? good luck. >> george, you're not leaving. she lied to get out of swim -- carmen, we're dealing with this now. >> if you're going to open a restaurant, in the beginning you have to make it appeal to everyone. >> look, angie, is it that big a deal? why does she need to know how to swim? we're already here. >> "george lopez show" was great because it didn't try to reinvent the wheel. it was a traditional family sitcom. >> dad, i don't want to talk about it. >> hey, i don't want to talk about it either.
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let's just sit here a while so your mom thinks i handled it. >> white kids loved it. african-american kids. and they saw a father who wasn't always trying to win the love of his kids and his mother still thought that he was a boy and his wife didn't think he was enough of a man. and that's life. >> you know, when i was a kid i got made fun of a lot too. you're stupid, you're fat, your father's a loser. your grandmother can be a very cruel woman. >> 120 weeks. they didn't think i'd last four. you want to look at the history of sitcoms, desi arnaz was in a show called "i love lucy." freddie prinze was in a show called "chico and the man." and i'm george lopez and i was in a show called "george lopez." so there. ay? we put dove men deodorant to the test with nelson, a volunteer that puts care into everything he does. it really protects my skin.
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hello! >> as long as there has been television, sitcoms always go in cycles. and the black television renaissance that was sort of taking hold in the early '90s essentially got crippled. >> when president obama was in office, those first four years, tyler perry's shows and the game were the only black expression on television. i used to joke, i'm like, oh,
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they don't need us anymore because they got obama. >> conversations in hollywood about diversity were taking root. black creators were finally given the agency to tell their stories. >> police beating up on an unarmed black man, that's a story i've been hearing all my life. >> he was a new voice in comedy doing black-ish, and all the spin-offs, grown-ish, and every ish. >> this is serious stuff, son. kids are dying in the street. >> hold up. kids are dying? we're kids. >> he's tackling the trump administration. he's talking about black lives matter. all these things that are swelling up in american culture. >> okay. fine. maybe the storm is keeping me up a little bit. >> seems like every time i turn on the news, something else. >> you are not wrong, son. >> he approached me about working on the show, and i was
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like, this is a story that needs to be told. you know, it's the story of millions of people. >> you see the word "pride"? it implies that you have overcome adversity, see? so if you're black or brown or gay or a woman or a clippers fan, you have endured the struggle. >> i remember one episode tackling the uproar over colin kaepernick taking a knee. >> i'm sorry. i just -- i can't sleep. >> of course you'd be afraid of the storm. >> that's not why i can't sleep. the school wants to suspend any athletes who take a knee during the national anthem. >> abc finds it too hot. they want to shelf it, and they do shelf it, and then he walks. >> he goes over to netflix where he got a whopping hundreds of millions of dollar deal to create new content. >> win, win, win, win. >> i don't know how to do it, man. i feel like i really care about what white people think.
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i like it a lot. >> that's really sad, man. it's a sad existence. >> it's not a great life. >> i love that kenya barris, in the show where they have tyler perry and he's lost, not knowing what to do. >> people are recognizing themselves in these stories. no matter how crass the people think they are, no matter what the critics are saying, i don't get this shit. >> the fragmentation of television, streamers coming in. it just opened up all the space. ♪ >> what makes "insecure" unique is the power and recognition of strong, vibrant black women. >> being aggressively passive is what i do best. i used to keep a journal to vent. now i just write raps. ♪ guess you're still single ♪ >> the first time i actually saw myself on television was in issa
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rae premiered in "insecure" because i was a 20-something, post-college somewhat aimless millennial who was trying to figure out how to grow up. >> i do what i want, and i do not give a -- what anybody thinks. >> atlanta is part of this new wave. >> where are your ancestors from? congo? ivory coast? >> i don't know. this spooky thing called slavery happened, and my entire ethnic identity was erased. >> the premise is that urn, played by donald glover, has dropped out of princeton university and is back home in atlanta, trying to manage his cousin to rap stardom. >> you get our money. >> i just don't scare people like you. niggers know i drink juice and shit. >> i can take a take.
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>> the question is, is atlanta a great sitcom? >> willie, you coming out? >> or has it so pushed the boundaries of what a sitcom can be that we need to coin a new genre term altogether to describe it? ♪ >> i think everything changes when you give a voice to a community that hasn't had one. >> rami could not have happened before streaming. we had two decades of people being terrified of muslims. all of a sudden, there's a sitcom and people are laughing. >> i don't have to find a muslim girl. i've been seeing this girl chloe for a little bit. >> are you out of your mind? one, they're always walking around barefoot. >> so much of what happens in that show is sitcom 101. >> i got this job. >> but it's what happens if
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sitcom 101 is told by someone who was never given the opportunity to tell their story before. >> i always appreciate the diverse perspective that you two brought to this company. >> ramy, with your mediterranean flare, and, steve, every day you reminded me that things could be so much worse. >> thanks, man. >> the future of the sitcom is authenticity. >> when we see a version of ourselves on-screen, it shows us what's possible. >> why did you let him rile you up so much. he's like 5'2". >> that was savage. up top. >> more perspectives, new perspectives, fresh perspectives. that all makes better television. >> i got a customer. >> okay. >> make that money. >> okay. >> wakanda. >> don't do that. >> it's amazing how much has actually changed and at the same time, how much we still have to go. >> the history of indigenous people is the greatest story never told. so i'm honored to serve as director of the minneshonka
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culture center. >> but there's more to be done. >> because the medium is a curl t -- cultural mirror, it needs to reflect all of our experiences. these shows are the elixer that we need. the jokes disarm you, and then you can see the human behind the humor. jerusalem is the universal city, the chosen city, the holy city. that's its blessing, but it also gives it its danger and its ugliness too, because it means that people believe that they must possess it absolutely. >> the palestinian/israeli conflict that we are


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