Why Does it Matter What I Watch on TV?

I read an article recently, like many others I have read that highlight all the negative reasons why people shouldn’t watch reality TV and things like Scandal, Being Mary Jane, Empire, How to Get Away with Murder, etc.  On one end, it highlights that people of color are making waves in television, starring in major roles and getting the opportunity to play major parts and be on prime time TV.  On the other hand, the characters that have to be depicted all have some form of flaw and it is always is depicted that we are slowly taking the L as a race and culture.  Let’s examine shall we:

Luscious Lyon: a man who runs an empire, who has recently taken a very arrogant tone in believing that he is God, and no one is above or better than him. He is conniving, manipulative, and sinister…and he has a host of skeletons in his closet (as do all of his family members).

Olivia Pope: The famous DC fixer who has a great career, amazing wardrobe, her own firm, but playing second fiddle and side chick to the President (and let’s mention also that he is a white man, something Olivia seems to prefer in the show).  She can’t seem to decide whether she wants to be the side chick or not, but recently I think Fitz finally chose her, at the cost of possibly his legacy (that’s love, huh?)

Annalise Keating: successful defense attorney who also had an affair on her husband, and was responsible and played a part in killing him; while brainwashing her workers and holding their part in his murder over their heads.

Mary Jane Paul: successful news anchor, who seems to be a little rude and bitchy at times, who tries to alienate herself from her family who also has a host of issues, who was sleeping with a married man.

OK!  So, these possibly aren’t the most accurate depictions, but they basically make my point.  People highlight these things and say that people should not watch these shows, and should boycott this and that and the other.  I did write a post about 2 years ago about how reality TV was ruining the images of black women.  I still believe that.  Call me a hypocrite, but it is what it is.  Having a show that depicts a black woman in a position of corporate power or owning her own thriving business, just to show that her dirty little secret is that she is sleeping around with married men? It kind of sucks!  Do I call them my saving grace and role modesl? HELL No! Is it good fictional television? HELL Yes!

I think people get confused by the intentions of people who watch these shows.  Personally, I don’t watch Scandal because I want to be Olivia Pope.  I watch it because it is entertainment.  Just like Love and Hip Hop, Black Ink Crew and Basketball Wives are for other people.  I know some people feel the way to fight back is to boycott watching it, but I also feel that if people would not try to live their lives like fictional characters, it wouldn’t be such a struggle to have people see past what is just acting and what is real life.  I’m sure that when S2E22 came on of Scandal and Olivia was screaming “Earn me!” at Fitz, there were a few people who thought they could do that in real life….no no honey, that’s not how the real world works.  But for me, I laughed, because it was funny, lol.

I just hate to see people take these television shows literally and think that it’s real life, when it’s just actors playing roles.  It’s good television, and why degrade someone who doesn’t mind watching a little entertainment to unwind on Thursday night?  Sometimes, with the type of work I do and the days I have, I love sitting on the couch with my glass of wine and food and watching how Olivia, Annalise and Mary Jane get themselves out of the messes they put themselves in….sue me.  I feel like as a person, if you can separate yourself and your reality from those that play these characters on TV, then why not watch it?  No one bashes other races when they tune in by the millions to watch shows that degrade their race and culture; but there is always someone in our own race that is ready to throw stones because of fictional television.  Man, I don’t have time for the foolishness.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. lkeke35 says:

    Great post.
    The reason I don’t watch those types of shows is because I’m a geek whose not innit for those types of shows. They’re just not my cup of tea. I don’t begrudge other’s enjoyment of them, though.and I think they need to be shown because these shows show as a little different from any of the White characters on the screen.

    Its not that those are bad depictions of Black people, but that the depictions of Whites on them are no better. To me, shows like Empire are no different than the soap operas that people watch in the morning, or shows like Dynasty. Could there be more shows with positive representations of Black people? Sure! There are some now, if you know where to look for them. But i don’t hate on these particular types of shows because they really do the job of showing us as just like everybody else on TV.No better and no worse.


  2. Marquessa says:

    FANTASTIC POST! Totally agree and could never explained it so well like this!


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