ABC

‘Black-ish’ Season 1 Effortlessly Balanced Universal Family Plots With Specifically Black Experiences

When Black-ish first premiered, the sitcom was notable because of its visible diversity, especially considering it closed out ABC’s very white Wednesday night comedy lineup (joining The Middle, The Goldbergs, Modern Family). As it progressed, the show continued to tackle storylines specific to black culture — teaching children about the importance of black history, worrying about whether you’re “black enough,” homophobia in the black community, etc. — while also including more typical family sitcom tropes, such as a married couple switching chores or disliking their daughter’s boyfriend. It provided a good balance for a sitcom: enough universal plots to appeal to a wide variety of viewers, but also plenty of focus on an often-overlooked minority group, making it one of the year’s best new comedies. … Read More

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After BBMAs’ Censorship, Will Kanye West Ever Perform at Another Awards Show?

Kanye West closed the Billboard Music Awards on Sunday with a performance of “All Day” and “Black Skinhead” that got the people going, but for the wrong reasons. Despite self-censoring a few instances of “bitch” and “fuck” in his lyrics, West had long stretches of his performance muted by ABC censors. Unsurprisingly, he responded not with one of his infamous so-called rants, but with a statement via his rep. … Read More

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ABC’s Fall 2015 Lineup: Muppets, Diversity, and Murder

Unlike the other three Big Four networks, ABC is satisfied just the way it is — and for good reason. Last season, the network found success (in both ratings and quality) with a smart combination of diverse family sitcoms, Shonda Rhimes dramas, and Marvel Universe thrillers. The network is so confident in its stability that three of its lineups will remain unchanged going into the next TV season: Monday (Dancing With the Stars/The Bachelor and Castle), Wednesday (family sitcoms galore), and Thursdays (Shonda’s night!). The network is also introducing new shows, of course, and we’ve got the rundown on all the trailers. … Read More

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‘Scandal’ Season 4 Episode 21 Recap: “A Few Good Women”

“So that’s it, we never find out what Foxtail means?” Quinn asks as this week’s Scandal comes to a close. As Olivia knows better than anyone, when Rowan wants to make his presence known, he does so aggressively. He’s just not ready to reveal his big plans for Foxtail, which viewers learn this week *is* Mellie Grant. Does next week’s season finale bring a terrible fate for Mellie, or does it merely use her as a bargaining chip to get, for example, the President to shut down any future Attorney General investigations into B613? Whatever the case may be, I have a feeling it will in turn force Olivia to confront her feelings for both Fitz and Jake, and perhaps make a decision once and for all. The gang probably won’t have time to take down Rowan too, but hey, a recapper can dream. … Read More

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Let’s Just Say It: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Is Over

The beauty of Grey’s Anatomy is in the way it becomes a surrogate for your own emotions — how you can watch it while in the midst of your own problems and cry not for yourself, but for these complex characters that Shonda Rhimes and co. throw into tragedy over and over again. At its most horrifyingly sad moments — George O’Malley dying in a bus crash, Mark Sloan and Lexi Grey dying in a plane crash, and now, Derek Shepherd dying in a car crash — the push and pull of the heartstrings can become overwhelming. It feels cruel even if, like many viewers, you’ve been watching Grey’s for more than a decade. This is why nearly 100,000 people have signed a Change.org petition asking Rhimes to bring back Derek “McDreamy” Shepherd (Patrick Dempsey), the beloved male lead on a show full of smart, complicated women. … Read More

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‘Fresh Off the Boat': Why Watering Down a Minority Narrative Doesn’t Make It Less Important

By all rights, Fresh Off the Boat‘s first season should be considered a success. For 13 episodes — including the finale, which airs tonight — the series has remained consistently funny, without a single bad episode (though some, of course, were much better than others), and has performed pretty well in the ratings. Critical consensus has been generally positive, as has the response on social media, and the show will likely see a second season. Throughout Season 1, however, there’s been a lingering question about the purity of the adaptation and whether watering down Eddie Huang’s memoir to make it more palatable for broadcast consumption was worth it. … Read More

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‘Scandal’ Season 4 Episode 19 Recap: “I’m Just A Bill”

With Scott Foley’s track record on Shonda Rhimes shows, I have to wonder if he’s her new Katherine Heigl. Or is it that there’s just something so satisfying about killing off characters that seem so inherently good, despite being an assassin?

For the second time on one of Rhimes’s show, Foley — who also played Henry, a terminal patient who fell in love with his doctor, on Grey’s Anatomy — was offed by Rowan (via Olivia’s new boy-toy), to what I imagine will be the dismay of fans. It’s hard to hate a good guy, even if he isn’t so good. Jake Ballard’s death was not the right thing to do. And so, “I’m Just A Bill” spent the other subplots holding on tightly to those white hats, so much so that it came at a detriment to the episode. (Though real talk: Susan Ross insisting to critique the implementation strategy of a 1400-page bill before signing it made me feel good about the American legislative system for a second, which pretty much never happens on Scandal.) … Read More

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ABC’s ‘Cristela’ Is the Smart and Necessary Diverse Sitcom That You’re Not Watching

During the current 2014-15 television season, ABC successfully bet huge on diversity with three new sitcoms about multicultural families. Black-ish, about a well-off black family assimilating into the very white suburbs while struggling to maintain their cultural identity, and Fresh Off the Boat, about an Asian-American family trying to fit in when they move from DC to Orlando in 1995, have both received plenty of well-deserved praise and attention. The third, Cristela, about a multigenerational Mexican-American family living under one roof in Dallas, may not have received the same amount of buzz as its peers, but it’s no less deserving. In fact, while viewers were looking elsewhere, Cristela has stealthily become one of the smartest and funniest comedies on television, as well as one that deftly tackles race and gender.   … Read More

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‘Black-Ish’ Doesn’t Perpetuate Racist Stereotypes; It Expertly Demolishes Them

The headline “Shows like ‘Black-ish‘ perpetuate racist stereotypes” is so far-reaching and so desperate for controversy clicks under the pretense of being a conversation starter — it’s no surprise it comes on the heels of Deadline’s recent article about “ethnics” on television — that it almost reads as master satire. In, of course, the NY Post, Andrea Peyser puts forward the idea that ABC’s Black-ish, a sitcom about a middle-class black family and one of the many wonderful diverse shows from this season, “promotes ugly racial bigotry” but seemingly ignores the fact that Black-ish is dedicated to openly discussing and breaking down racist stereotypes, that the show promotes non-stereotypical black characters, and that the writers place racial issues at the forefront of many episodes in order to open a dialogue and introduce the larger, whiter world (the world that still makes up the vast majority of TV) to the intricacies and specifics of the black community.  … Read More

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