Every now and again I need to check in with you all about the ways that Black marriages (and committed relationships of Black folks across the board) are portrayed in popular culture. On my mind this morning is BET’s new sitcom Let’s Stay Together.
Several friends of mine and I have discussed the show — our likes (not many) and dislikes (there are plenty) so I’m curious to know how my Triple B family feels about it. I have admittedly missed a couple of episodes but below are my thoughts in a nutshell:
What I’m digging:
- It is refreshing to see young, upwardly mobile Black couples on the small screen — especially on BET. The music video shows that consume most of their programming have just become painful to watch.
- The characters have careers that range from attorney to DMV clerk. We usually seem to get all of one or all the other, no?
- The character who works at the DMV plays up a number of stereotypes but actually offers more wisdom than any of the other characters in my opinion. I appreciate that.
- I enjoyed the episode that aired last week about gifts from ex girlfriends and boyfriends. It was honest. Who hasn’t complimented their sweetie about how good he looks in a particular sweater only to find out his ex gave it to him? (Hey, I’m being vulnerable here. And no I didn’t burn the sweater.)
What I’m not feeling:
- Um…the show can be quite corny. (Or maybe the jokes are just corny most of the time.)
- There is too much pretension going on. (Or maybe that is just Atlanta. Apologies to my ATL readers but I couldn’t resist.)
- The laugh track erks me. I know they’re needed for sitcoms but when it is used correctly it isn’t noticeable. Could this have something to do with the quality of the acting?
- There is a tad bit of coonery about the show that also erks me. The “wedding producer” on last night’s episode with the pink boa on her suitcase is the latest example of this.
Before I go, I must add the reason this post is even relevant is because there are so few shows on television that depict Black folks (much less couples) positively. The few that do come along get analyzed to pieces like I’m doing in this post. And then there’s the issue of support…Did you watch Undercovers? Neither did I. And I love to reminisce about Spike’s classic flicks but I never made it to see Miracle at St. Anna. Shame on me. Lastly, as my mother has reminded me, the beloved American television show for depicting quintessential Black love, The Cosby Show, was not received so warmly by the masses (including Black folks) when it debuted in 1984. Hindsight is always 20/20. For the record, I haven’t given up on Let’s Stay Together just yet and will continue to watch it when I can.
Speak on it. And don’t hold back, I really want to know your thoughts on this!