Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Black "Family" Sitcom Triumph: Reed Between the Lines



Last night I had the pleasure of making it home just in time to miss the BET Hip Hop Awards (I never support coonery) and to catch the premiere of BET's latest effort, "Reed Between the Lines," starring Tracee Ellis Ross (!!!!!) and Malcolm Jamal Warner (!!!!!!). But before you wonder why the premiere of this show, or why this show in general, is important, well . . .

We all know BET's a joke. In it's own right. A channel that introduces the masses to Black Entertainment is lacking quality. Has been for a while, to the point where Blacks themselves shun the channel all together, unless it's to watch "The Game," or another repeat of "Love & Basketball," two things BET plays repeatedly all to gain some viewers, and in this case, it works. And lately, with only "The Game," their terrible attempt at a black sticom, "Let's Stay Together," the reality hit/teensy bit of connery, "College Hill," and their terrible version of TRL, "106th & Park," BET is known for re-runs, which is more entertaining than the line-up they already have.

So here you have a show that is not only new, it features two stars we root for and are very familiar with who came from two successful sitcoms that showed us Black folks in a positive light: Tracee Ellis Ross as Joan Clayton, the lawyer with the sexiest wardrobe, sickest body (that ASS), amazing cheekbones, and bountiful natural curls that had problems in the dating world but had three best girlfriends to share the mishap with. And Malcolm Jamal Warner who played the cool, swaggerific Theo Huxtable in the TV sitcom that paved the way for Black "Family" Entertainment, "The Cosby Show." It also has no type of coonery or ghetto messiness affiliated with it, PERIOD... And it's family oriented. Shows a husband and wife, both with respectable jobs, managing three kids who aren't trouble makers.

And honestly? It was refreshing to watch.


Though the show needs a bit of help with the writing and the smoothness of the direction, like the comedy timing with the teenagers (I think they try a bit hard, but this is only the first and second episode. Giving them the benefit of a doubt) and the storylines, it's not bad. It has potential and THEN some. Tracee is flawless, of course. Can she do wrong? She still managed to keep Joan's kick-ass wardrobe. I was feeling EVERYTHING she wore, from her work clothes to her lingerie... Flawless, Trace. And Malcolm . . . (fans myself) Lemme just explain something to you about Malcolm that makes me happy. Every time his character pops up or says something, I swoon so quickly, and for 3 main reasons:
  1. He got so buff. Seriously, I think the wardrobe stylist purposely made him wear tight sweaters, because the guns on this dude were so BEAUTIFUL. They weren't exaggerated guns, like muscle upon muscle. Nothing like that. They were just so . . . UGH! His physique made me wonder what it's like to have him hold you in a tight embrace... You'd feel so secure. So safe. So . . . lemme stop.
  2. His voice is so deep and manly. Comparing him way back in the Cosby Show days as squealy little lame ass Theo?... That voice he has now is so seductive and powerful and DEEP. You pay attention. Serious. He speaks softy but with some thunder to back it up. MMM!
  3. He looks like such a well rounded family man. Like he will go above and beyond to provide and protect. Reassures his wife there's no one he loves or wants more, so she doesn't have to dress extra sexy to try and keep him. Spoils his youngest daughter, calling her "Baby girl..." Being able to have conversations with his teenage kids... Keeping his cool and being patient with his family... Just resembles a man us women all want. Someone we can trust that won't f*ck up and who will do his best, HIS VERY BEST, to do right.
I'm gonna be tuning in every Tuesday to watch, because I have faith. Hopefully the response from last night's premiere has people asking for more TV shows like this and less of "House of Payne," (which I think is a joke) so that TV networks will listen and create more black family sitcoms like this.

I honestly think this is a start. We lost our touch with respect out there. We began to fall into the status quo's and the masses... Let's pave our way again. By doing things like this, bringing in healthy black families onto the TV screens.

OVERALL GRADE: B+

Catch "Reed Between the Lines," on Tuesdays at 10pm on BET.

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