My first #ConQnA features Jo Roark, a writer living in Los Angeles. Read about her writing journey so far! #writers
Category: Race and Television
This week's #ConStarClicks feature controversy over interracial touching on TV, staying ready, "universal" stories & overuse of "jumping the shark." Click away!
#ConStarClicks No. 6 features some writerly advice form Eric Haywood, the evolution of Nickelodeon's kidsitcom format & some Larry Wilmore praise. Click at your own risk!
Shonda Rhimes is Winning Awards Left and Right and It's Only the Beginning
Shonda Rhimes has been winning awards left and right recently! There was the Director’s Guild Diversity Award last year (which got all sorts of controversial press because of Shonda’s statement that she was “pissed off” that they even needed an award for such a thing) and recently the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, which made headlines as Shonda broke the glass ceiling analogy by explaining that all the women who came before her cracked it first. Now she’s set to receive another award: The Paddy Chayesfsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement (isn’t that a mouthful) from the Writer’s Guild of America.
Named after one of the most influential writers in entertainment history, the Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award for Television Writing Achievement is the WGAW’s highest award for television writing, given to writers who have advanced the literature of television throughout the years and made outstanding contributions to the profession of the television writer. Past Television Laurel Award recipients include Steven Bochco, Susan Harris, Stephen J. Cannell, David Chase, Larry David, Diane English, Marshall Herskovitz & Ed Zwick, Joshua Brand & John Falsey, and, most recently, Garry Marshall.
See the names of those who have previously won this award? All white people. Only two women. Shonda will be the first black women, or woman of any color to receive this award — the guild’s “highest” award. That’s amazing. That’s inspiring. In a world where people of her gender and color are often marginalized, Shonda is not only making strides but giving opportunities to others who are pushed to the side. She’s showing us that you can have black leads and a diverse cast and dominate the ratings (competing even with football of all things). She’s providing complicated characters of varying colors who aren’t stereotypes but aren’t perfect either. And she’s writing (and/or producing) compelling television that has people tweeting and talking about episodes weeks after they air.
I love that she is getting all of this recognition and while Grey’s Anatomy is in its 11th season (!!), this should still be considered just the beginning of her career. I can see her name being attached to loads of TV shows, even if she’s not writing them, à la a lot of the other names on that list of Laurel Award recipients past.
Shonda’s not a perfect writer. There are think pieces all over the internet with regard to her characters and her writing style, but she hadn’t written TV before Grey’s Anatomy and all writing is a process. I think she is, more and more, realizing her brand and sees what’s working best for audiences and is adapting to it. Rhimes herself, in awards speeches she’s made, has mentioned how competitive she is, so receiving these awards means she’s only going to continue to grow and try to outdo herself. And I am excited to see what she’ll come up with next.
Check the press release here: Shonda Rhimes to Receive WGAW’s 2015 Paddy Chayefsky Laurel Award.
Midseason Diversity Check-In
How are your favorite PoC characters doing so far this season? Have they survived the midseason slaughter (as I am now calling it)?
Jane the Virgin: Chapter One
I start reviewing one of fall's biggest hits: rife with diversity, humor, and heart--things I think more TV shows need. Let's dive into the telenovela goodness!
Link: How To Make It As A Black Sitcom: Be Careful How You Talk About Race
Link: How To Make It As A Black Sitcom: Be Careful How You Talk About Race on Huff Post Black Voices
Several people have sent this to me and I want to share it here. I haven’t been able to dissect it just yet, as it’s a long read, but it looks to be a really, really in depth piece discussing several decades of black sitcoms and comparing their successes and the ways in which they handle race. All of this as black-ish finds its legs and receives a full season pick-up. There are some great graphs and discussion of a proposed “era” system of black sitcoms from the 50s until now.
Check it out.
Link: More Diversity in Prime Time: It’s Not Your Imagination – The Root
More Diversity in Prime Time: It’s Not Your Imagination – The Root
This article mostly talk about black-ish in the aftermath of it’s premiere yesterday, but it also spotlights Jane the Virgin, which I must say was probably my favorite pilot this fall. Check it out!
Also check out two more articles regarding blackish:
In ABC’s ‘Black-ish,’ everyone has racial issues [Washington Post]
Black-ish: “Pilot”: Don’t call it the black Modern Family [AV Club]
Link: Stephanie Beatriz on Why Diverse Casts Are Needed on TV | Latina Roles on TV & Movies
Stephanie Beatriz of Brooklyn 99 is awesome and blogs for Latina.com and shares her feelings just before she got cast as the second Latina actress on Brooklyn 99--a sight all too rare on TV. Check it out!
ConStar's Pilot Watch: Jane the Virgin
I'd kinda wanted to watch this, and now I *really* want to watch this. Jane the Virgin is original and diverse and is laying the seeds for some fun, dramatic storytelling, with tellanovella twists.