Friday, November 12, 2010

"It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" goes Black Face

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a show that Stuff White People Like (SWPL) white people love. We at Stuff Black People Don't Like believe it to be the funniest show on television, though Black characters have been a rarity in the six seasons it has aired on the FX channel (FX has few shows with Black characters).

The Black Face is back on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia!
For a show set in Philadelphia the lack of Black characters is a bit disconcerting, so thankfully the cast finally did something about this egregious slight to the Black community by having an episode with that wonderful anachronism the Black Face!

The Black Face was once considered the height of thespian accoutrement, the pinnacle of artistic freedom:

The stock characters of blackface minstrelsy have played a significant role in disseminating racist images, attitudes and perceptions worldwide. Every immigrant group was stereotyped on the music hall stage during the 19th Century, but the history of prejudice, hostility, and ignorance towards black people has insured a unique longevity to the stereotypes. White America's conceptions of Black entertainers were shaped by minstrelsy's mocking caricatures and for over one hundred years the belief that Blacks were racially and socially inferior was fostered by legions of both white and black performers in blackface.
In a bid to introduce diversity to a monochromatic cast, It's Always Sunny resurrected the long dormant tradition of Black Face in an episode that aired last night, entitled "Dee Reynolds: Shaping America's Youth":

I’ll say it  right now, the first half of the episode was pretty slow and the pacing was way off. The best part of the episode, hands down, was the screening of Mac, Dennis, Charlie and Frank’s film, Lethal Weapon 5. Charlie uses his Borat accent for one of the henchmen. Frank plays the villainous Indian casino owner, whose evil scheme is to taint the city’s tap water. He also has an unnecessary and completely disgusting love scene with a breathy blond (worst love scene ever). Top it all off, Mac and Dennis switch parts half way through the movie. And then there are the little touches, like Dee walking into frame as she tries to take out the trash, the 10 second gun salute at the end and Frank credited as “Love Scene Choreographer.” Lethal Weapon 5 kind of represents every low budget fan film that’s still bad, but helped by the misguided enthusiasm of the people in it. It’s kind of why Plan 9 from Outer Space is laughable, but more-or-less watchable.


I wasn’t sure how the boys’ debate about blackface would go, but it was pretty funny for the sheer stupidity of it. Even when taking on a racy subject like this, what keeps Always Sunny charming is that the characters aren’t trying to be racist. In fact, there’s a whole scene where Frank, Mac and Dennis try to figure out what is actually appropriate. Mac’s attempt to rationalize blackface is so misguided, “They’re actors, they’re trying to create an illusion. You know, in the Lord of the Rings movie, Ian McKellen plays a wizard. Do you think he goes home at night and shoots laser beams into his boyfriend’s asshole?” Come on Mac — 0f course blackface is inappropriate. Your performance as Danny Glover just proves that. But watching the confused Frank be told that James Earl Jones was not wearing blackface — that Darth Vader is actually a black man — was great.
 The glorious return of Black Face to television could only have been courtesy of the creators of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a show that acts like Black people don't even exist in a city where Black people routinely cast an ominous shadow over the notion of Brotherly love.

Let us hope that this episode will bring about a revolution and renaissance in the usage of Black Face, for it might help ensure that shows with nominally Black people (well, a white actor using makeup to look Black) will last longer than one season and secure that elusive white audience to enable the shows continued success.

It should be noted that the pilot of It's Always Sunny was entitled The Gang Gets Racist...

29 comments:

Hirsch said...

All black face isn't racist. There's a difference between the guy who plays Obama on SNL, or Orson Welles playing "Othello," rather than just burning some cork, smearing it on your face, and doing the Al Jolson bugeyes.

On a tangent, there's been some revision and even rehabilitation of a character like Stepin Fetchit. Blacks and whites used to think he was playing a stereotype of the servile, indolent house negro, but if you go back and look, just like Uncle Tom in Beecher Stowe's novel, he feigned idiocy in order to trick whites. He did, after all, become the first black millionaire on TV and first black to receive screen credit.

I think Joaquin Phoenix is right, though. Danny Devito is overrated. So is Ted Danson; and Whoopy.

Anonymous said...

SBPDL,

"The Black Face is back on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia!
For a show set in Philadelphia the lack of Black characters is a bit disconcerting, so thankfully the cast finally did something about this egregious slight to the Black community by having an episode with that wonderful anachronism the Black Face!"

I've watched the show religiously since the very beginning and it is hands down one of my favorites. As for the alleged lack of black characters, It's set in Philadelphia and the 5 primary white characters operate a bar called "Paddy's Irish Pub". So, the lack of black characters isn't disconcerting, it's honest and realistic. White people do not have black friends.

"The Black Face was once considered the height of thespian accoutrement, the pinnacle of artistic freedom:"

Really? Or was it just necessity ? No black actors you would have to use white actors in black face. Wasn't there a time where men would play female characters?


"Let us hope that this episode will bring about a revolution and renaissance in the usage of Black Face, for it might help ensure that shows with nominally Black people (well, a white actor using makeup to look Black) will last longer than one season and secure that elusive white audience to enable the shows continued success."

Yeah, and lets bring back "The Jack Benny show" while we're at it. I'm sorry my friend, but unless it is being used to be ironic it just doesn't pass as comedy in 2010. In 1910 absolutely, today not so much. Juvenile cliched racial jokes only work for people who have an axe to grind towards the targeted group.

Remember a joke is only offensive if it's not funny.

-Black guy

Anonymous said...

The number one thing black people don't like: black people!

Post Suicide said...

I just stumbled into this website. I laughed out loud reading your articles SBPDL.” Your portrayal of black people is spot-on. Of course, there is no real humor in your portrayal; the truth is tragic. The impact of blacks on the larger society is nothing less than devastating.

Cry me a river said...

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a great show. My favorite episode is "Hundred Dollar Baby". It's hard to believe that no Blacks shouted racism at the top of their lungs when the pilot came out. Who ever was behind the black face must have balls of steel. The show is in it's 6th season. So the white audience isn't going anywhere. I wonder IF a black TV show has ever won that elusive Emmy.

Desiree said...

"Let us hope that this episode will bring about a revolution and renaissance in the usage of Black Face"

You want a 'revolution'? A 'renaissance'? Those are very strong words for someone who just wants to see more white dudes pretend to be black.

Isn't there enough Eminem to go around already? Let's not forget Justin Beiber and Justin Timberlake. Oh, and Robin Thicke.

No need for black face, SBPDL. You got it in the flesh!

But, according to the sidebar, you have a thing for black face, a tangible, jet black face with a white ring around thin white lips. I can't knock you. Some men like to dress up in women's clothes...

I don't judge. It's just all so crystal clear now. ;-)

Anonymous said...

"Juvenile cliched racial jokes only work for people who have an axe to grind towards the targeted group."

Really!? So comedians like Dave Chappelle and Carlos Mencia have an axe to grind with the world? I just don't see it. I see a couple of guys making a huge chunk of change. Try again.

btw: Chappelle in white face is f n hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Really!? So comedians like Dave Chappelle and Carlos Mencia have an axe to grind with the world? I just don't see it. I see a couple of guys making a huge chunk of change. Try again.

btw: Chappelle in white face is f n hilarious.


Dave Chappelle is actually funny. The character was named Chuck Taylor and it was funny as hell. So, once again you people allowed your hang ups to cloud your judgment. Next time try actually reading my comments before you make a fool of yourself.

My views on race are at times a bit more complex and unpredictable. Vomiting boring statistics and having asinine pissing matches about which race sucks the most or least is boring as hell.

-Black guy

Anonymous said...

cry me a river,

No one complained about the episode "The gang gets racist",because it was funny as all hell. Also if you recall it took a rather funny and unpredictable turn from race to homosexuality, when Mac , Dee, Dennis, and Charlie inadvertently started up a gay bar.

Black face has been used recently on funny shows. Family Guy, South Park, and The Sarah Silverman Show. Every instance it was funny as hell.

You have to understand the minstrel show era isn't coming back, and not because of political correctness. It's just not funny anymore.



"So the white audience isn't going anywhere. I wonder IF a black TV show has ever won that elusive Emmy?"

And as I watch the latest episode, neither is the black audience. As far as a black show winning an Emmy. I could care less. I never watched the Emmy awards. Thanks to Tivo and cable I haven't watched network TV in years.

I guess I just don't have a stick in my ass and I can appreciate entertainment for what it is, entertainment. There are no white shows, there are just shows.

-Black guy

Desiree said...

"Chappelle in white face is f n hilarious."

Yes, that's true but I don't think his pretending to be white is meant to be as derisive as the reverse.

When blacks pretend to be white, they just act stuffy and constipated and elite. It's so far-fetched and not what you see in the mainstream media about whites that even white people think it's funny.

However, black face on whites (the term 'white face', by the way, is totally misleading, as if the two were even on the same comedy continuum) just plays to all the stupid media stereotypes about blacks.

Don't even say blacks act that way; that is simply what the media shows and wants to show its white audiences to whom television, and media in general, is catered!

(Apparently it's true: everything on here is Star Wars, Batman, comic books, horror movies, TV, cartoons--"Boondocks", too?; perhaps SBPDL is a tad childish in real life, as with the majority of American men)

Hipster racism is still racism whether you agree or not.

I think white people, for the most part, are so self-absorbed in their own whiteness that they enjoy being made fun of. It's another way they get shine and they LOVE IT.

Except if the clowning is done by Paul Mooney; he's too real and they can't take it. In 'Know Your History', he had some very accurate things to say about Aretha Franklin, white men, and their mammy complex...

Anonymous said...

"When blacks pretend to be white, they just act stuffy and constipated and elite."

You are a complete moron.

Cry me a river said...

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a predominately white show on a predominately white network. IF Blacks decided to stop watching It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia it would not make a difference.

IF It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia isn't a white show than BET isn't a black network amirite.

"I guess I just don't have a stick in my ass" for not being colorblind.

Anonymous said...

"White people are so self absorbed in their own whiteness"

Err no. Most white people just get on with their lives and dont see being white as a the major facet of their identity.

laz said...

"Don't even say blacks act that way; that is simply what the media shows and wants to show its white audiences to whom television, and media in general, is catered!"

Get a clue. The majority of us have to deal with blacks on a daily basis. We can see and hear with our own eyes and ears how blacks really act.

From having to deal with the public everyday I have to say the majority of blacks DO act absurd. Therefore there can't be such a thing as "far-fetched" when it comes to acting black.

"Except if the clowning is done by Paul Mooney; he's too real and they can't take it. In 'Know Your History', he had some very accurate things to say about Aretha Franklin, white men, and their mammy complex..."

Hey, sometimes the truth can hurt. Just like facing facts about the wanton criminality in the black community.

As to the white man mammy complex, I just have to laugh. Sure, there are always weirdos who live in there mom's basement but, it's nothing compared to the obvious mammy complex that every black man has. As evidenced by every one I've ever known, every other movie made by and for blacks, etc. Of course, who can blame them- they're momma is the only parent they're ever going to see.

Post Suicide said...

"I guess I just don't have a stick in my ass and I can appreciate entertainment for what it is, entertainment. There are no white shows, there are just shows."

That's what you think. Take Black Entertainment Television. You think that's entertainment for everybody? You think they would ever play country music or show NASCAR. OR any other StuffWhitePeopleLike. If "entertainment is just entertainment" why don't they just call it Entertainment Television.

But I'm sure you already knew that.

Desiree said...

@ laz:

"The majority of us have to deal with blacks on a daily basis. We can see and hear with our own eyes and ears how blacks really act."

Wow, laz, sweetie, you sure are dumb with this one. Did you know that the blackness I live with day in and day out make my opinion on how blacks act more valid than yours? Any interaction with blacks you've experienced is simply 2-dimensional and surface. You don't know their inner machinations as much as I do. What you see in the media, including on shows like "The Boondocks", are just stock characters--symbols--that happen to be recognizable to white audiences. Ie. stereotypes. They are not necessarily real or complete.

If I were to show a picture of a mangy pitbull to a suburban white child, they may not immediately associate it with 'dog' like they would a picture of a golden retriever.

Likewise, if I were to kids the word 'princess', they would have a hard time not associating that with a blond white woman.

These are not hard concepts, laz.

"wanton criminality in the black community."

I have never tried to dispute the proportionality of the stats, laz. I only dispute the alleged causal factors.

The fact is poverty is the root of crime. Regardless of race, which is why you have more crime in Eastern Europe than Western Europe. That's why there's more crime in trailer parks than in suburbia.

Race has nothing to do with it. If you keep a man poor, he becomes desperate because his will is broken. He has nothing and no means to acquire what he needs outside of seemingly antisocial methods. I have no idea why that is such a bitter pill to swallow for the racists out there. Again, it's a very straightforward concept...

"obvious mammy complex that every black man has."

You'll have to explain that one to me, laz. I don't think you have a clue as to what I'd been originally referring.

Anonymous said...

"Did you know that the blackness I live with day in and day out make my opinion on how blacks act more valid than yours?"

Really? Then please explain why blacks in every country of the world have the highest murder rate, highest rape rate, highest violent crime rate, highest AIDS rate, highest illegitimacy rate, highest dropout rate, highest illiteracy rate, highest incarceration rate, etc.

Anonymous said...

"The fact is poverty is the root of crime."

So then why have crime rates fallen as unemployment increased, you dumb fucking whore?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703580904574638024055735590.html

Anonymous said...

"Race has nothing to do with it."

Then please name all the countries where blacks have a low rate of violent crime.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

"If you keep a man poor, he becomes desperate because his will is broken."

Then why was there no significant increase in crime during the Great Depression?

Anonymous said...

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/229515/understanding-illegitimacy-robert-rector#

"The steady growth of childbearing by single women and the general collapse of marriage, especially among the poor, lie at the heart of the mushrooming welfare state. This year, taxpayers will spend over $300 billion providing means-tested welfare aid to single parents."

Anonymous said...

Port suicide,

"That's what you think. Take Black Entertainment Television. You think that's entertainment for everybody? You think they would ever play country music or show NASCAR. OR any other StuffWhitePeopleLike. If "entertainment is just entertainment" why don't they just call it Entertainment Television."


Okay, lets talk about BET. Isn't it the same company that was sold to Viacom, the same company that also owns MTV.


Here is something that might be a slight kick in the teeth my friend. CMT is also a subsidery of Viacom. So, wether you're in the mood for Carrie Underwwod or a little Jay Z Viacom is the corporation for you.

News Corp presently holds the rights to broadcast Nascar. Fox for the naive people or at least those who don't have access to the internet.

It's all about money and business and nothing more. That's why I don't get my panties in a bunch about racism.


Whites account for 85% of all rap music sold. So, they do ofter "stuff white people like". If not you can go to there sister station CMT.

Ain't capitalism great!!

-Black guy

laz said...

"You don't know their inner machinations as much as I do."

Wow, you really are out of touch. Ever heard of the phrase "actions speak louder than words"? I don't care what they think as long as they act right.

"You'll have to explain that one to me, laz. I don't think you have a clue as to what I'd been originally referring."

Really? Here, I'll quote your own words, AGAIN: "...white men, and their mammy complex..."

Anonymous said...

More of the same black victimology from Desiree.

Blacks are prone to criminality because of lower IQ, poor morals, and high testosterone levels. You choose to fuel the flames of black victimology by telling blacks that whites are the cause of their poverty, but you are only a liar. Please tell them the truth.

Check out these "hate facts":

"Blacks who have graduate degrees and 6-digit incomes are more likely to commit a crime than white high school drop-outs who clean the bathroom in McDonald’s."

http://guywhite.wordpress.com/2008/08/26/crime-race-or-poverty/

My family was dirt poor when I was young, but we did not rob, rape, murder and assault other people. We still volunteered, helped those in need, practiced kindness and obeyed the law. None of us were ever arrested. Just because we lost hope on occasion, we did not abuse other people and steal their things. We worked hard, got good grades, and made something of ourselves. My parents were MARRIED too, something not often found in the black community.

"When blacks and whites are matched for IQ, blacks still commit crimes at two-and-a-half times the white rate. This shows that blacks must have some other characteristic, besides low intelligence, that explains their high levels of criminality."

http://www.amren.com/mtnews/archives/2008/08/race_and_psycho.php


http://www.colorofcrime.com/colorofcrime2005.html

Anonymous said...

Is this the "inner machinations" and "blackness that you live with day in and day out " that you are such an expert on, Deisree? Instead of supporting it, you should be denouncing it like more middle-class blacks are.

"More than 50 years after Brown v. Board of Education ended de jure racial segregation in this country, poor urban blacks continue to be a group apart, plagued by disproportionately high rates of crime, incarceration, drug use, and poor health. Inner-city black children go to bad schools, live in substandard housing, eat bad food, are disproportionately raised by single mothers, and are exposed to a pathological street culture in which aggressive demands for “respect,” ugly misogyny and the crudest markers of male machismo are valorized, while education, self-discipline and personal responsibility are dismissed as “acting white.”

http://www.amren.com/mtnews/archives/2007/11/is_race_dying.php

Anonymous said...

"Then please name all the countries where blacks have a low rate of violent crime.

Good luck."


I should be wishing you luck with developing an ability to stay on topic. I was talking about Economics not crime.

-Black guy

Anonymous said...

"I should be wishing you luck with developing an ability to stay on topic. I was talking about Economics not crime."

I was responding to Deziarrhea at 1:11 AM, not you. I even quoted directly from her post...
"Race has nothing to do with it."

And you're wishing ME luck "staying on topic"???

LOLOLOLOL

Funny.

Prav said...

Anonymous you might want to take a look at the show, The Wire. Also - are you seriously saying there is no correlation between poverty and crime? Furthermore keep it civil and stop resorting to ad hominem attacks.

Anonymous said...

"Also - are you seriously saying there is no correlation between poverty and crime?"

What I'm seriously saying is that BOTH poverty AND crime are the natural results of illegitimacy.
Fact: A household headed by a single uneducated parent is significantly more likely to be impoverished than a household headed by two educated parents.
Fact: Likewise, a child raised in an environment with LESS parental supervision is more likely to have behavioral problems than a child raised in an environment with MORE parental supervision.
Fact: There is not a single location on this planet with high illegitimacy and low crime.