4/11/18 Screening Response

This Screening featured television shows with the common theme of African American culture. First, we watched Good Times which is an American sitcom from the 1970s. It was television’s first sitcom about an African American family. It has the typical sitcom layout, featuring a laugh track. The family the show focuses on lives in the projects in inner-city Chicago in. neighborhood filled with other African Americans. The screening showed an episode featuring an election. The women on the show supported the younger, more radical candidate, while the father supported the older, more traditional candidate. It was extremely interesting to see the family dynamic in a household that was supporting and campaigning for two different candidates.

The screening also featured The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air which is also an American sitcom that aired in the 1990s. The show stars Will Smith who plays a teenager from West Philadelphia, as noted in the infamous theme song of the show, who moves in with his wealthy aunt and uncle in Bel-Air. This show is so interesting because the characters mostly only spend time with other African Americans, depicting the culture within the African American culture. The episode aired at the screening shows Will’s father Lou coming back into town after 14 years of not seeing him. Will’s uncles and cousins were unaccepting of his father coming back because they are protective of Will and his situation with his father abandoning him as a child. Will’s uncle acts a strong stable force in his life and protects him. Will realizes that his father has nothing valuable to teach him because he never served as a father figure for him. Will is angry that his father isn’t there for him, but he is also hurt because he doesn’t know why his father acts this way.

The last feature of the screening was Black-ish, another American sitcom that aired in 2014 and is still playing on ABC. This show was so comical because the father wanted his son to act more black. When the father takes his son into school, his son neglects to give another African American boy “the nod” in order to acknowledge that “they have something in common.” He explains the nod is the internationally accepted acknowledgment of black people and that it is “basic black.” In another instance, the father wants his son to play pickup basketball to get comradery with other black kids, but then son does pilates to warm up. Through these funny interactions, the show depicts this same “culture within the culture” that we get a sense of in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as well.