Saturday, September 10, 2005

Happy Days

I don't know why I have such a fascination with a TV show such as this. I never really watched it when it was on reruns on some of the local station in Chicago during that period of time when you could often find them during the day. The theme is kind of catchy as far as TV themes go but it's not exactly a contemporary sound.

I wrote this post wondering what other period pieces could we come up with but with a focus on a black family. There have been two as a TV sitcom so far (unless I'm mistaken), Happy Days from the 1950s and That 70s Show from of course the 70s. Frankly I think it's about time for one with a black family.

Now Happy Days is about an American family from the 50s. This was just another silly sitcom with an ethnic character that TV couldn't get away with today. Many descriptions of the show freely describe the Fonz as a greaser, that may be to me an ethnic term or maybe the fact that he greases his hair, either way he has the ability to hit a juke box and it works. But the 50s have been portrayed as such an innocent era in American history. There isn't a problem of crime as there is perceived today.

This show neglected the emerging racial issues though perhaps in Milwaukee this doesn't affect The Fonz and the Cunninghams as much. However I'm sure blacks are living in Milwaukee in the 1950s and 1960s. This is generally just a basic sitcom without the other complicated issues that were common in the 70s such as All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Maude, etc.

That 70s Show is a different animal. They'll touch upon feminism and basically this show is not as innocent as Happy Days with pot use, drinking, and even sex as frequent themes. Still That 70s Show is still a basic sitcom about a family, neighborhood kids, and their interactions with each other.

The question is how could I do a sitcom about a black family and set this in either the 1980s or 1990s. What would be the setting, income level, or who should be the characters? What other issues should be imparted and should politics enter into this.

Here's my idea. A married family living in the Chatham neighborhood of Chicago with the husband as an entrepreneur and a wife who is a school teacher, they have two kids one of whom goes to a private high school. Most of his neighborhood friends go to public school and he hangs around them more, he really doesn't like his private school classmates. They're all snotty. He may wind up with a girlfriend and it's either someone in the neighborhood or someone from his private school. This show is set in the 1990s and there are plenty of issues to touch upon in that decade. And what we need is a catchy Rap and R&B theme and something that has that 1990s sound. Something on par just about with Happy Days.

Now why do I write this. Well see my mother was searching desperately one day to find some black folks on TV. I have an opinion on some of the black folks on TV and it's not positive. See these shows on TV are just too silly for me (and yet I would That 70s Show or Drew Carey). I really don't like any of them and I've come to conclude that I can't make a solid distinction between any of them or that their all the same.

One could argue that they're simply making the cheese in the world of entertainment and I guess that's OK. But I don't just want to see black faces on TV just to see black faces. I want to see quality and I'm not seeing it. Fresh Prince I would consider quality and The Cosby Show is also quality. Bottom line is that I will support a quality product whether the issues is black faces or white faces or otherwise.

Anyway this is my idea, perhaps there will be more to come.

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