TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by shpalman » Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:20 pm

^^ good moaning.
molto tricky

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Aitch » Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:24 pm

individualmember wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 12:50 pm
...
IIRC the actor who was blacked-up (ok indianed-up) was pretty right wing. He got into real arguments with the other actors in Last Of The Summer Wine over his admiration for Enoch Powell, etc, and only lasted one series.
...
His blazing rows were with Bill Owen, who was pretty left wing. Sallis stayed out of it.
tom p wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:09 pm
Well, if by "everyone", you mean cowardly sex-mad froggies, effeminate poofters and overemotional stupid italians, then yeah, "everyone" was being mocked.
So I imagined the stupid Englishmen and the incompetent/deranged Germans?
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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by tom p » Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:34 pm

Aitch wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:24 pm
individualmember wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 12:50 pm
...
IIRC the actor who was blacked-up (ok indianed-up) was pretty right wing. He got into real arguments with the other actors in Last Of The Summer Wine over his admiration for Enoch Powell, etc, and only lasted one series.
...
His blazing rows were with Bill Owen, who was pretty left wing. Sallis stayed out of it.
tom p wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:09 pm
Well, if by "everyone", you mean cowardly sex-mad froggies, effeminate poofters and overemotional stupid italians, then yeah, "everyone" was being mocked.
So I imagined the stupid Englishmen and the incompetent/deranged Germans?
Well, Herr Flick was a bit deranged, but I don't remember any others being deranged, and he was in the SS.
The English spy/cop had a terrible accent, that's true.

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Aitch » Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:17 pm

tom p wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:34 pm
...
Well, Herr Flick was a bit deranged, but I don't remember any others being deranged, and he was in the SS.
The English spy/cop had a terrible accent, that's true.
Well, the Colonel and his Captain (forget their names) were also cowardly and incompetent, Flick was incompetent and deranged, there were the two English airmen who were on the dim side and, in the final episode (the one where Gruber turns up after the war, married to Helga), the liberating Brit officer is patronising and ignorant.

The reason for all these characterisations was that, iirc, Lloyd and his co-writer were a bit fed up with all the heroics and so forth in any war based films/TV programmes (like Secret Army - which, apparently, 'Allo 'Allo destroyed, though that wasn't the intention) and decided to take the piss, by reversing the characteristics of the characters.
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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Gentleman Jim » Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:19 pm

tom p wrote:
Mon Jun 15, 2020 12:34 pm
Well, Herr Flick
Ah, Richard Gibson. Son of an erstwhile mayor of this borough :)
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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Fishnut » Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:38 pm

This is an excellent piece from David Olusoga (I'm rapidly becoming a massive fan of his),
Blame here lies not just with the comedians, who long before the current scandal had distanced themselves from the more disturbing of their creations, but also with producers and commissioners. It is worth wondering if this could have happened had there been more black people in senior positions in British television. In a culture that was largely monotone, had blacking up come to be regarded as a mere taboo; the true depths of its toxicity, and the long and ugly history behind it, not really understood?

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Tessa K » Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:23 am

Fishnut wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:38 pm
This is an excellent piece from David Olusoga (I'm rapidly becoming a massive fan of his),
Blame here lies not just with the comedians, who long before the current scandal had distanced themselves from the more disturbing of their creations, but also with producers and commissioners. It is worth wondering if this could have happened had there been more black people in senior positions in British television. In a culture that was largely monotone, had blacking up come to be regarded as a mere taboo; the true depths of its toxicity, and the long and ugly history behind it, not really understood?
Me too. I do wonder what it's like for him though being the go-to guy for anything to do with racism. Good for his career but being expected to speak only on race issues or to be the spokesperson for every POC must get frustrating. And he has to deal with a lot of racists on Twitter.

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by bjn » Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:35 am

University College London has now decided to rename the Galton and Pearson lecture theatres, because of their roles in establishing eugenics.

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Tessa K » Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:57 am

bjn wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:35 am
University College London has now decided to rename the Galton and Pearson lecture theatres, because of their roles in establishing eugenics.
Everytime I hear that I think Galton and Simpson. (If you're too young to know: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galton_and_Simpson )

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by secret squirrel » Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:50 am

Fishnut wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:38 pm
This is an excellent piece from David Olusoga (I'm rapidly becoming a massive fan of his),
Nice article. I thoroughly recommend his book 'Black and British', though it's not a comfortable read.

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Gfamily » Sat Jun 20, 2020 12:45 pm

secret squirrel wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:50 am
Fishnut wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:38 pm
This is an excellent piece from David Olusoga (I'm rapidly becoming a massive fan of his),
Nice article. I thoroughly recommend his book 'Black and British', though it's not a comfortable read.
The BBC series related to the book is on iPlayer until May next year.
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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by bob sterman » Sat Jun 20, 2020 3:21 pm

bjn wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 6:35 am
University College London has now decided to rename the Galton and Pearson lecture theatres, because of their roles in establishing eugenics.
Maybe it's time to rename the correlation coefficient as Bravais' r ???

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Bewildered » Sun Jun 21, 2020 4:33 am

secret squirrel wrote:
Sat Jun 20, 2020 11:50 am
Fishnut wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 8:38 pm
This is an excellent piece from David Olusoga (I'm rapidly becoming a massive fan of his),
Nice article. I thoroughly recommend his book 'Black and British', though it's not a comfortable read.
Regarding little Britain, was the black face controversial or criticised by anyone at the time? I don’t rememberer it being, I just recall it being a darling of the pop culture media.

I didn’t really understand it at the time. I don’t remember the black face, and I didn’t watch it much just because I thought it took a few things from a league of gentleman and made a much broader, less interesting sketch show. However I did notice they had a lot a sketches about stereo types which seemed to be the point, but I couldn’t really understand it. Naively they seemed to be mocking and reinforcing negative attitudes, like ideas that disabled people are faking, about gay people acting up, but I was aware that such things were not accepted in comedy, that it was generating praise, or at least not criticism from left wing people in the media and that Matt Lucas was himself gay, so i just concluded that I just didn’t understand it. Now it seems to being described as if was just like my naive reading suggested, so I find it all a bot odd.

Legue of gentleman had it’s own things that were odd in this respect. I) naming the town after Roy chubby brown ( Royston vasey) and having him actually play the mayor. I found this out some time after the after the show but never could understand / find out why they did that or why it wasn’t discussed as a controversy at the time (cf Jim davidson hosting big break which *was* controversial at the time). II) the blackface papa Lazarou character, which should be, or at least was by me, interpreted as a bizarre white character who does black face, not as a white actor doing blackface, which at least matters for how you understand the humour, though maybe won’t remove the show from being guilty of blackface. Iii) the transsexual character, though actually in the 90s and early 00s transsexuals were the group where mockery of them was still seen as acceptable in mainstream comedy, so this did not surprise me and due to context maybe not even as as bad as typical jokes.

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Fishnut » Sun Jun 21, 2020 6:38 am

I didn't watch Little Britain but my sister loved it. I didn't like the stereotypes it perpetuated, particularly the way it treated disabled people and people on benefits which were the bits I remember seeing. I couldn't articulate why at the time but now I realise it's because it was punching down and making life so much harder for people who already had it hard. I don't really remember the blackface which either suggests I didn't see those parts or it didn't strike me as significantly more crass than the rest of the show.

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by EACLucifer » Sun Jun 21, 2020 8:25 am

Fishnut wrote:
Sun Jun 21, 2020 6:38 am
I didn't watch Little Britain but my sister loved it. I didn't like the stereotypes it perpetuated, particularly the way it treated disabled people and people on benefits which were the bits I remember seeing. I couldn't articulate why at the time but now I realise it's because it was punching down and making life so much harder for people who already had it hard. I don't really remember the blackface which either suggests I didn't see those parts or it didn't strike me as significantly more crass than the rest of the show.
Likewise avoided it, but aware of some of it, especially the stuff about disability, which was absolutely horrific.

ETA: Mostly because if you use a wheelchair in public, there's bigoted a..eholes that won't let you be unaware of its sh.tty attitudes to disabled people.

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Bewildered » Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:00 am

So were these criticisms of little Britain made a lot at the time and I just missed them?

Wikipedia has a section which refers to criticism made at the time, but it amounts to one passing comment by Victoria Woods in a news article and a single quote of a journalist referring to criticism which states there were many complaints.

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by bjn » Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:10 am

Bewildered wrote:
Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:00 am
So were these criticisms of little Britain made a lot at the time and I just missed them?

Wikipedia has a section which refers to criticism made at the time, but it amounts to one passing comment by Victoria Woods in a news article and a single quote of a journalist referring to criticism which states there were many complaints.
Among my friends and acquaintances there was contemporaneous criticism about the depiction of trans, disabled and working class folk.

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by insignificant » Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:19 am

I don't remember a lot of blackface in Little Britain; I think people might be referring to other things Lucas & Walliams did re blackface.

One thing I remember from the first series of Little Britain was a sketch where the policeman standing outside number 10 tricked another one in taking his place, where he would have to stay until he tricked someone else. I loved that, but so much of the rest was just repetitive and spiteful.

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Fishnut » Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:44 am

Bewildered wrote:
Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:00 am
So were these criticisms of little Britain made a lot at the time and I just missed them?

Wikipedia has a section which refers to criticism made at the time, but it amounts to one passing comment by Victoria Woods in a news article and a single quote of a journalist referring to criticism which states there were many complaints.
I've been curious about this so have done a bit of googling. I've not come up with anything much, but I think it may in part be due to it being the relatively early days of the modern internet. I was able to find one Guardian review of the first episode which said,
Little Britain (BBC2), a new comedy series, is a surreal mix of soft toys and scrabble. It is written and performed by David Walliams, who is clearly dyslexic, which may be why all the towns such as Hurdy and Flange sound a bit askew, and Matt Lucas, who frightened me as George Dawes and frightens me now. Observe the gentle and diffident Walliams trying to extract homework ("It's been two weeks and I still haven't received your assembled Kitchener") from Lucas, a Cabbage Patch doll with logorrhea. I recommend the mad Scots piper and Daffyd, the only gay man in a Welsh village, and Sebastian, who fancies the prime minister. That just about covers the country. Tom Baker, giving a sonorous air of plausibility to the proceedings, urges dissatisfied viewers to make obscene phone calls to the credits. "There's mine. Quick!"
I have to admit, was surprised by the 'dyslexic' comment. It seems unnecessary and nasty.

I also found this on the ratings for the first episode of season 2:
BBC3 has finally got a hit on its hands after the new series of Little Britain pulled in almost 2 million viewers.

The Matt Lucas and David Walliams' sketch show last night converted the critical acclaim it has received into ratings, as the second series opened on BBC3.
I haven't been able to find anything in the opinion sections but it seems that if there was any controversy it was significant enough to warrant comment.

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Tessa K » Sun Jun 21, 2020 12:16 pm

I remember it being a mixture of good, daft stuff, small ideas flogged to death by endless repetition and some very dubious sketches. Both Walliams and Lucas have done other good programmes so I don't know what the hell they were thinking in some of their sketches. Or, more to the point, what the producers and editors were thinking.

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by jimbob » Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:21 pm

bjn wrote:
Sun Jun 21, 2020 10:10 am
Bewildered wrote:
Sun Jun 21, 2020 9:00 am
So were these criticisms of little Britain made a lot at the time and I just missed them?

Wikipedia has a section which refers to criticism made at the time, but it amounts to one passing comment by Victoria Woods in a news article and a single quote of a journalist referring to criticism which states there were many complaints.
Among my friends and acquaintances there was contemporaneous criticism about the depiction of trans, disabled and working class folk.
I never watched it, but was uneasy at what I knew about it. I hadn't articulated to myself why, but it was the "punching down not up" nature of a lot of the humour.
Have you considered stupidity as an explanation

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Martin Y » Sun Jun 21, 2020 1:43 pm

Whether or not Little Britain is a good example, edgy humour which relies on shock value is not likely to age well, as whatever was just the right level of shocking for the intended audience at the time will either become too shocking or not at all shocking and will leave future audiences guessing about the culture of the time and why people* used to find such stuff funny and/or acceptable.

*Even if it was their younger selves.

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by tom p » Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:58 am

A bunch of people who didn't watch a show discussing it and being appalled by what they have never seen.
Enlightening!

I watched it all, from the first episode on BBC3, which I used to watch at the time. I really enjoyed it; but some of it was uncomfortable & it was eventually ruined by endless repetition.

The blackface was maybe one sketch in one episode (possibly a couple of episodes). They had a recurrent character called Bubbles DeVere played by Lucas. She was a very posh and very fat old woman with a wig, who lived in a posh health spa and who told everyone "call me bubbles, darling". The manager was persistently pursuing her for her massive unpaid bills & she would try to use her non-existent sexiness to persuade the manager. In one of these sketches she was in the sauna with a friend, played by Walliams, who was blacked up (and also in a fat suit and dressed as a woman) and the pair of them were trying it on with someone (possibly the manager). The blackness wasn't played for laughs and there wasn't any racist anti-black stereotypes. The skin was just brown. The sketch wouldn't have been any different if the fat suit had been orange (as in Trumpesque fake tan) or pink.

The Lou & Andy sketches (Matt Lucas, Andy, in the wheelchair being pushed by Walliams, Lou, with a a curly wig) derived from a sketch they first had imagining Lou Reed & Andy Warhol. That sketch had 2 basic jokes, firstly Lou would offer a range of options to Andy, who would say "Want that one", then, after repetitive confirmation, Lou would say, "But you don't like X. You always say X is <<insert detailed exposition about why X is a bad thing>>". Andy replies "Yeah, I know". Lou: "So, which one do you want then". Andy, pointing to X, "Want that one".
The other joke was that Lou will ask a stranger for help to do something basic with Andy &, while he is laboriously explaining the help he needs, Andy will do a complicated version. A good example I remember is Lou pushing Andy along the side of a swimming pool. He asks the attendant for help getting Andy into the water. Whilst he's doing this, we see Andy running along the side of the pool, climbing up the diving board, jumping in, then swimming to the side, climbing out and back into the wheelchair, just in time for Lou to finish talking.

I would say that the most uncomfortable sketch was the racist professor's secretary sketch. Walliams played a female secretary in a university. Students would turn up with a sh.t excuse for not handing in some work and asking for an extension. The secretary would be charming and say she'll 'just ask Tony (I think it was Tony) for you dear'. She'd then phone Tony and say "Billy Lee is here and he needs an extension on his essay for <<insert sh.t excuse here>>." [Pause] "Billy Lee. You know, Billy Lee, the ching-chong chinaman. (might go off on one a bit more with racist crap)" [Pause] "Ha ha. Yes, I'll tell him." [Turn to the student] "He says it's fine, hand it in the week after next." The student was looking extremely offended and angry during the insulting racist/sexist/homophobic/sizeist/ableist bit, but is then relieved and confused and unsure how to respond. Which of them is the bigot? Is it her? The lecturer? Both of them? The comedy is that we all know she's spouting disgusting things and the student has to stand there and take it in order to get their undeserved extension. In the last episode with her, all the students she has insulted turn up to confront her.

Some of the sketchers were just utterly brilliant. Marjorie Dawes in the Fat Fighters sketches and Vicky Pollard were sublime.

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Tessa K » Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:08 pm

tom p wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 11:58 am
A bunch of people who didn't watch a show discussing it and being appalled by what they have never seen.
Enlightening!

I watched it all, from the first episode on BBC3, which I used to watch at the time. I really enjoyed it; but some of it was uncomfortable & it was eventually ruined by endless repetition.

The blackface was maybe one sketch in one episode (possibly a couple of episodes). They had a recurrent character called Bubbles DeVere played by Lucas. She was a very posh and very fat old woman with a wig, who lived in a posh health spa and who told everyone "call me bubbles, darling". The manager was persistently pursuing her for her massive unpaid bills & she would try to use her non-existent sexiness to persuade the manager. In one of these sketches she was in the sauna with a friend, played by Walliams, who was blacked up (and also in a fat suit and dressed as a woman) and the pair of them were trying it on with someone (possibly the manager). The blackness wasn't played for laughs and there wasn't any racist anti-black stereotypes. The skin was just brown. The sketch wouldn't have been any different if the fat suit had been orange (as in Trumpesque fake tan) or pink.

The Lou & Andy sketches (Matt Lucas, Andy, in the wheelchair being pushed by Walliams, Lou, with a a curly wig) derived from a sketch they first had imagining Lou Reed & Andy Warhol. That sketch had 2 basic jokes, firstly Lou would offer a range of options to Andy, who would say "Want that one", then, after repetitive confirmation, Lou would say, "But you don't like X. You always say X is <<insert detailed exposition about why X is a bad thing>>". Andy replies "Yeah, I know". Lou: "So, which one do you want then". Andy, pointing to X, "Want that one".
The other joke was that Lou will ask a stranger for help to do something basic with Andy &, while he is laboriously explaining the help he needs, Andy will do a complicated version. A good example I remember is Lou pushing Andy along the side of a swimming pool. He asks the attendant for help getting Andy into the water. Whilst he's doing this, we see Andy running along the side of the pool, climbing up the diving board, jumping in, then swimming to the side, climbing out and back into the wheelchair, just in time for Lou to finish talking.

I would say that the most uncomfortable sketch was the racist professor's secretary sketch. Walliams played a female secretary in a university. Students would turn up with a sh.t excuse for not handing in some work and asking for an extension. The secretary would be charming and say she'll 'just ask Tony (I think it was Tony) for you dear'. She'd then phone Tony and say "Billy Lee is here and he needs an extension on his essay for <<insert sh.t excuse here>>." [Pause] "Billy Lee. You know, Billy Lee, the ching-chong chinaman. (might go off on one a bit more with racist crap)" [Pause] "Ha ha. Yes, I'll tell him." [Turn to the student] "He says it's fine, hand it in the week after next." The student was looking extremely offended and angry during the insulting racist/sexist/homophobic/sizeist/ableist bit, but is then relieved and confused and unsure how to respond. Which of them is the bigot? Is it her? The lecturer? Both of them? The comedy is that we all know she's spouting disgusting things and the student has to stand there and take it in order to get their undeserved extension. In the last episode with her, all the students she has insulted turn up to confront her.

Some of the sketchers were just utterly brilliant. Marjorie Dawes in the Fat Fighters sketches and Vicky Pollard were sublime.
I did watch the show.
The blackness wasn't played for laughs and there wasn't any racist anti-black stereotypes. The skin was just brown. The sketch wouldn't have been any different if the fat suit had been orange (as in Trumpesque fake tan) or pink.
So why wasn't it? Why that choice in the context and history of blackface in entertainment don't you consider it a poor choice? Why is it that when POC say they object to blackface you think they're all wrong?

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Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:17 pm

MAtt Lucas wrote:David and I have both spoken publicly in recent years of our regret that we played characters of other races. Once again we want to make it clear that it was wrong and we are very sorry.
From here.

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