Not Black Enough

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Vulture reports on the strange viewing habits of Negroes:


Well, you can add The Game to this list of shows that would do better on a different network. The Girlfriends spinoff about athletes' wives, which was canceled by the CW after three seasons, premiered last night on BET to huge ratings. 7.7 million people tuned in (to compare, its third season was averaging under 2 million viewers for the CW), making it cable's highest-ever-rated ad-supported sitcom. So, maybe Veronica Mars would still be with us if it had just jumped ship for the right home?

First, I'm glad BET is doing scripted shows. Second, while I was a huge Girlfriends fan, I didn't really like The Game. With me, it's always the writing. And whereas the comedic writing (and acting) on Girlfriends was really sharp, I found the The Game's to be just bogged down in bad sitcom territory.

But it's quite clear that a plethora of black folks disagree—which isn't exactly new. I date back to the 90s, when reporters were bemoaning the fact that The Steve Harvey Show was number one in black households, while Seinfeld and Friends barely registered. Those were the days when I could feel the light skin-ed brother in me coming out. Never liked The Steve Harvey Show. Loved Seinfeld. Loved Friends—at least while it was Friends. What Will Ross And Rachel Do? Not so much. And then there were the calls to put more black people on Friends and Seinfeld, which I just thought were abhorrent. Predictably this was a disaster for Friends. And Seinfeld always had black people exactly where they should be, given the characters.

The funny thing is, I would watch just about any black romantic-comedy—no matter how awful. On Twitter a few days ago, I played myself by invoking Hav Plenty, perhaps the worst film Miramax ever put its name on. Whatever. I'm a sucker for some bougie black folks acting all romantic and shit.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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