I just watched BBC Three’s Famalam and #HoodDocumentary and what surprises me (or doesn’t depending on the cynicism) is that diversity in television has not progressed at all. The same bland easy target comic stereotypes are placed front and centre.
This is no disrespect to the incredibly talented cast of both programmes but somehow the majority of the material seems to have kept them in a cliche’d orbit without bringing any new spin to the endeavour. It feels like the ghost of Vince Powell (of Mind Your Language infamy) is well and truly alive.
Let’s break down the characters:
– The chicken eating fat kid.
– Nollywood sendup.
– Nigerian sending spam emails (just the costume design and setup is irksome).
There are others that seem dated and just playing to middle england’s perception rather than breaking stereotypes down. That said though what I did like was Midsomer Motherf*ckin Murders. This was greatly juxtaposing badass 70’s cop in a soulless diversity free town. This is where the writers can really roll up their sleeves and get stuck into the middle of the road British dramas. The superhero sketch was another note of excellence and an example of justaposing being black and a superhero in London. These are the kinds of things that should be wall to wall observations on British culture, not Nigerian easy targets.
Maybe it’s how the shows are developed in house that veer the writing towards the stereotypes? I distinctly remember The Stephen K Amos show (also on the BBC) that had a sketch with a Nigerian newsreader which was equally stereotypical.
#Hooddocumentary was just some weird Eddie Murphy impersonator being a div in front of an Obs Doc crew. The usual cliches are bandies about with no progression to modern times. Watching it i felt i had seen it all before time an again… where? oh yeah! Pretty much everything Eddie Murphy did 30 years earlier and fresher. Comedy of errors that comes across as very dated. Let the actor shine and be himself, he is brilliant but then material is playing it safe. Examples of this is why BAME talent go to America. It’s not because they have big chequebooks (which helps) but the availability of challenging meaty roles.
Time and again i keep saying the same thing over and over. Goodness Gracious poked fun at itself (quirky Indian culture) but also was clever to rise above it all and be very funny without feeling that Spike Milligan/ Peter Sellers were browning themselves up.
I think on the strength of these two shows the award is Minus 100 woke points.