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A semi-alphabetical listing of Black actors with speaking roles on Friends
December 19, 2010 6:56 AM   Subscribe

Initiating Calculations... Developing rhyme scheme... (nsfw audio)
posted by nanojath (20 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
X-tra nerd cred: Ron Glass as Russell, Ross' divorce lawyer receives a shout out as "Shepherd Book."

And yeah, yeah, via Boing Boing.
posted by nanojath at 6:57 AM on December 19, 2010


I was wondering whether this would show up on the blue; I debated posting it myself, but ultimately decided not to. Glad to see it's here, though. Docfuture's other best-known video is his "easy mode" Let's Play of Sonic the Hedgehog 1.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 7:50 AM on December 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, I enjoyed his reflection after uploading it:
so far people are chastising me for complaining about race issues, thanking me for complaining about race issues, chastising me for defending friends, and thanking me for defending friends

mission success
Success indeed, my friend. Success indeed.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 7:52 AM on December 19, 2010


Not sure if this is intended to be an apology for Friends or what. For the most part, Blacks characters (and possibly other ethnicities too; it's been so long I barely remember) were pretty much an afterthought. And when they were included they practically had a spotlight on them as if to make sure everyone noticed.

Someone needs to do the same "analysis" with Seinfeld. That show didn't do much better than Friends on the "White-washed New York" front--in fact it may have been worse--although they did score relatively big with the Jackie Chiles character (who was actually just a caricature of an actual person).
posted by fuse theorem at 8:23 AM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


Say what you want. but any cat that makes a beat-bed based on a remix of the theme to "press Your Luck" is awesome.
posted by ShawnStruck at 8:26 AM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not sure if this is intended to be an apology for Friends or what.

I don't think it's an apology, but it's not exactly an indictment either... The post about it on Topher Florence's website makes it clear he actually likes the show, but there's no denying that Friends was very, very white. The video made me laugh really hard, anyway, but it probably helps that (particularly during a whole three channel rerun apocalypse thing they had going quite a few years back now) I have to confess to having watched what could only be described as an embarrassing amount of Friends. And now I've admitted that on the internet forever.
posted by nanojath at 10:42 AM on December 19, 2010


Anyone know what the cartoon is, incidentally?
posted by nanojath at 10:43 AM on December 19, 2010


TV executives are the gatekeepers to the expression of attitudes about race and racism in the United States. That is really sad.

You know, for fun, you could cast a show that is completely color and gender blind. You could have a black people playing white characters, women playing men. Don't do any exposition about it. You could do the race and gender jokes/bits, but without identifying the race and gender of the characters, it would take some watching to figure out..."Ooooooohhhh! OK! Jolene is a black woman! Fuck! Now it makes sense."

The thing is - if you did it right - people would never figure it out.

Yes, I know it would flop. Have you ever seen Strangers With Candy? Awesome show, but I don't think it did too well commercially.
posted by Xoebe at 12:36 PM on December 19, 2010 [3 favorites]


Was Friends any whiter than Moesha was black? Yeah, Friends was lacking in the melanin department, but how diverse are black-oriented sitcoms?
posted by elmwood at 1:04 PM on December 19, 2010


Was Friends any whiter than Moesha was black? Yeah, Friends was lacking in the melanin department, but how diverse are black-oriented sitcoms?

It's not that Friends or Seinfeld were "White" it's that they presented a world in which New York seemed not to have any/very many Black people. The city of New York was an unbilled character on those shows and it just didn't make sense.

Not to defend Moesha and other so-called "Black-oriented" sitcoms, but for the most part they are what they all but advertise themselves to be: Black-oriented. You don't go there looking for White characters, although many such shows often include one or two, for the sake of MLK's dream. Tokenism can work both ways.

If shows like Friends and Seinfeld are supposed to be "White-oriented"--in spite of being based in highly culturally diverse locales--they need to make that more clear and then there'd be no issue. (As if. No broadcast network show would dare do that and expect to survive the calls of racism.)

I hate to go there but this is probably one of those "White privilege" things, where it's easy to visualize a life in which there are no non-Whites.
posted by fuse theorem at 1:56 PM on December 19, 2010 [4 favorites]


Funny video thanks.
posted by Not Supplied at 2:05 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


So no one told you life was gonna be this white.
posted by orme at 2:15 PM on December 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


clap clap clap clap clap
posted by wemayfreeze at 2:57 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Was Friends any whiter than Moesha was black? Yeah, Friends was lacking in the melanin department, but how diverse are black-oriented sitcoms?

Given that they usually have 1 or 2 recurring white characters with speaking roles, who are not bit players, they're actually MORE diverse.

Of course, if mainstream shows actually were more diverse, you won't have to have "black-oriented sitcoms".

TV, keeping it "separate but equal"...
posted by yeloson at 3:06 PM on December 19, 2010


You know, for fun, you could cast a show that is completely color and gender blind.

Scott McGehee and David Siegel released a film in 1993 which focused on a color-blind theme.
posted by Smart Dalek at 4:21 PM on December 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


jsnlxndrlv: That's one of the most pleasant videos I've ever seen.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 5:47 PM on December 19, 2010


MetaFilter: the bestof the web SLYT via boingboing.
posted by vrogy at 8:38 PM on December 19, 2010


nanojath: He said it's from this.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 9:32 PM on December 19, 2010


nanojath: He said it's from this.

Wow, I had no idea that show I ever existed.
posted by nanojath at 7:48 AM on December 20, 2010


Ah, now I remember what the video reminds me of:

The Pharcyde - Jigaboo Time

Though the Pharcyde video uses entire faces, not just mouth cutouts.
posted by Eideteker at 4:29 AM on January 1, 2011


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