Sunday, January 18, 2009

The 5 Worst Black Sitcoms of All Time

Say what you will about exploitative 70s sitcoms (That’s My Mama, Good Times at its worst), but they definitely had their moments. The sitcoms I list below are so terrible, so offensive, they are in a class of their own. A few points before I get started:

* You’ll notice that all of the shows on my list are relatively new. I harbor no nostalgia for the bad black sitcoms of the past. It just so happens that I think that black pop culture (like all pop culture) has gotten progressively worse. If I had to make a list of the worst rap and R&B albums, most of them would have been released within the last 5 years.

* Speaking of rap, 3 of the 5 sitcoms were marketed to (stupid) hip hop fans. Hollywood had a horrendous record of representing black culture before hip hop existed; hip hop all but killed any chance for realistic depictions of young black people in sitcoms.

*Offensiveness was my main criteria. What I mean by "offensiveness" isn’t necessarily racial stereotypes, but the extent to which the shows insult the viewer’s intelligence with heavy-handed morals, nonsensical plots, and bad acting. That’s why I’d rather watch a real minstrel show like Amos ‘N’ Andy than some family-friendly-but-shitty “positive” black show like The Parent ‘Hood.

So, without further ado, I present to you the 5 worst black sitcoms of all time:


1. Homeboys in Outer Space


This abomination featured two of the crappiest black actors of the 90s: Darryl M. Bell (Ron from “A Different World”) and Flex (can anyone explain to me how Flex and Bill Bellamy keep getting work?). In their defense, the writers had a winking acknowledgement of the show’s own terribleness. Still, there’s no excuse for this.



2. The Parkers


The trials of two loud, obnoxious, stupid black women. Nothing could be salvaged from this colossal piece of shit. What does it say that most of the clips of it online feature white co-star Jenna Von Oy (Six from Blossom)…or the back side of her anyway?



3. Under One Roof


Three words: Flava Flav sitcom. The reality show is the perfect medium for Flav’s brand of coonery. The sitcom is just too much.



4. Method and Red



A fish-out-of water, ghetto negroes come to the wealthy suburbs sitcom. How original! How the mighty have fallen: 2 of the fiercest MCs of the 90s reduced to playing nouveau riche simpletons in this Fox trash. What happened to the classy station that aired Did We Land on the Moon?, Celebrity Boxing and Man vs. Beast?



5. House of Payne


Quite possibly the worst TV show ever. Perry fired four of his writers who tried to get union coverage. That’s appalling; if anything, they should have been fired because the dialogue resembles something a 13 year old would write. Every single character is a walking stereotype: a mammy figure, a crazy uncle, a crackhead, some thugs, and each of them has this…halting…way…of…speaking during dramatic moments. There is absolutely no awareness of tone, plot progression, or the basic conventions of storytelling. I have relatives who swear by Tyler Perry’s movies and plays but refuse to watch his TV show. That's a sign. TBS and Fox bought 100 episodes based strictly on Perry’s immense popularity and success, which means that the show will be running nonstop in syndication for years. Embrace it.

What other shows should be on the list?

13 comments:

bluebird said...

LOL i was crackin up at Homeboys In Outer Space. I tried to watch that show, but it was so bad I simply blocked it out of my mind. Yikes! If you look at "black sitcoms" on Wikipedia, this show doesn't even show up...wow...

I had never even hear of "Under One Roof". Flava Flav is just nasty and needs to go sit down somewhere...

I am a fan of Tyler Perry's plays and some of his movies (maybe like 2), but I couldn't get behind "House of Payne". Man I remember cringing watching the first episode. Not a good sign. I hope he can step it up before it's too late...

MilesEllison said...

Asking Tyler Perry to pay the writers of House of Payne more money is like asking the local madam to pay her prostitutes more.
Meet The Browns might be even worse.

You left out the Secret Diary of Desmond Pheiffer.

D.Son said...

omg yes!! i'm just not a fan of Perry's movies or television shows. Just the other day I was wondering what happened to the plethora of entertaining/good Black movies and TV shows. All we have to look to within the box office is T.Perry, as he continues to rake in the profits and awards. I don't mean to undertone his achievements and success, but we must have more options in the box office and on the tube. no more coonery, i want drama...i.e. an extension of Soul Food. Thus, a successful dramatic series on television featuring a predominantly African-American cast.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the Secret Files of Desmond Pfeiffer...look it up on You Tube.

gordon gartrelle said...

I thought the protests surrounding Desomond Pfeiffer were silly. Never got to see the show, but I can't imagine it was nearly as bad as these 5. Also, like Diffrent Strokes, Webster, etc., I don't count it as a black show.

Ya-Akua said...

Meet the Browns is a Hot a** mess...add that to your list...

Anonymous said...

Stop hating on Tyler Perry.Give the man his props. You all sound like a bunch of HATERS. Get a life!

Anonymous said...

I disagree with the Parkers as being third worst. Eventhough we can all admit that Monique is fat and a horrible character actress Countess Vaughn who played Kim is very talented. Her comidic timing is way above par, and she brought flavor and uniqueness to a sterotypical character. I can bare a episode of The Parkers any minute over The Hughleys or anything from Tyler Perry.

#1 The Hughleys

Professor Stark said...

Worst black sitcom of all time?

Martin. That show was just damn embarrassing.

'nuff said

Anonymous said...

u r so stupid, how dare you include the parkers and house of payne in ur list, at least include martin

Anonymous said...

The Cosby Show was able to transcend color and culture without conforming. All other black sitcoms have either become parodies of themselves, or are simply outright exploitive to begin with. The bottom line is that by supporting the lowest common denominators of our culture, we allow garbage to become acceptable and corrupt and parody the its positive aspects. Tyler Fairy is the biggest culprit here, as he is poised to make a difference and inspire other black filmmakers and writers to follow suit, but instead chooses to adopt a corporate ideal that only suits himself at the expense of others. He's not the "end-all" voice or presence in the community, and I'd wish someone else would come along and knock him off his throne (and by throne, I mean the "toilet" where he gets the "crap" he calls his work).

Anonymous said...

House is bad but am I to assume that Meet the Browns is better? I can't stand the Mr Brown character!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The Game = "Heavy handed morals."