Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Ethnic Actors And the Emmy's

An article about Regina King's comments about white actors and the Emmy's got me thinking. Why are there always more white actors nominated than any other race? That's right-more options and better roles.

I'm black(technically half) and when I see the preview for a black show I wait for the hook. If that hook is black family with wise(and wise cracking dad), no thanks. My upbringing was not like Cosby Show or any other show with a similar set up of a black family in a good home and neighborhood. But than again, my likes and dislikes seem to run different than "your average black male." Goth and industrial music. Lots of comic books. Sports? No thanks. Kind of makes it hard for me to relate to a number of black folks on TV.

I'm not saying there aren't good black shows. I liked Martin. Use to watch In Living Color. What I saw of Girlfriends I enjoyed(hell, just got to hear Persia Whites cover of an old Billy Holiday son and it was cool. Plus she's down with the industrial so I got mad love). There are a number of shows that are good but the thing about these shows is that they just scream BLACK AUDIENCE for the most part. The hook tends to focus on that and I think it makes it hard to get recognized come Emmy time in this kind of situation.

In contrast lets look at Big Bang Theory. Yes, it's a show about nerds and geeks but that could also mean outsider. You don't have to be a geek or a nerd to relate to feeling ostracized or different. Even though the show is a comedy and thats not a central theme it does come up from time to time. It allows for someone who may not be interested to give it a look and see Jim Parsons portrayal of Sheldon Cooper who, is just an interesting character and he gives a dazzling performance. Breaking Bad has a mostly white cast with Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul picking up honors this year but the roles are great on a show with a helluva hook.

Now, there are shows that have cast members of a different ethnicity. Archie Panjabi beat out other actress' to win the Best Supporting Actress in a drama statuette. This is is because she had one of the juicer female supporting roles on the show. The other actress' on the show being the talented Christine Baranski and the girl who plays the leads daughter. This is something to note because at times the ethnic character either gets a less than meaty supporting role or they are hampered by a large supporting cast. While I doubt True Blood will run up too many acting nods, that guy who plays Lafayette is gold. Gay, drug dealer with a bad attitude. Shit, if he was the main star, maybe. But he's not and there's a dozen other supporting cast members.

Now, I totally think there does need to be more shows with majority ethnic casts(and I'm talking English speaking Asian or Latino or Indian because there was will always be a few predominately black casted TV series'). But I also think that ethnic actors need to be aware that if you want to win a statue come Emmy time both your shows identity and where you are in the cast are going to play big. Dule Hill is great on Psyche but he hasn't gotten any nominations yet(Neither has James Roday and he's technically Hispanic. Well, barely anyone outside Tony Shalhoub gets nominated from any USA show. What the fuck is with the Emmy's? I mean, I'm still miffed about Katy Sagal not getting nominated. I know she's white and all and we're talking about ethnic actors getting nominations but that shit was ridiculous. You know what-forget what I said. Fuck the Emmy's. Fuck 'em!).

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