TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Discussions about serious topics, for serious people
User avatar
Woodchopper
Dorkwood
Posts: 1486
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:05 am

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:21 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.
One of the criticisms is that being black is essential to the character Pastor Jesse King, and that character was played for laughs.

EACLucifer
Snowbonk
Posts: 456
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: Behind you

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by EACLucifer » Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:25 pm

The stereotypes it pushes of disabled people - picky and demanding re assistance when really they don't need help - are f.cking horrible, too.

tom p
Catbabel
Posts: 625
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:14 pm
Location: the low countries

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by tom p » Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:34 pm

EACLucifer wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:25 pm
The stereotypes it pushes of disabled people - picky and demanding re assistance when really they don't need help - are f.cking horrible, too.
The joke was that he wasn't disabled, rather than that disabled people are a..eholes.
Yes, it was a sh.t joke & no doubt caused offence to people who are treated as though they are faking it, but that's actually what the joke was. It's a subtle distinction and one impossible to spot if you didn't watch the show and are only basing your opinion on what you've heard/read about it.

tom p
Catbabel
Posts: 625
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:14 pm
Location: the low countries

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by tom p » Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:51 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:21 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.
One of the criticisms is that being black is essential to the character Pastor Jesse King, and that character was played for laughs.
Good point, I'd forgotten about him. But then again, that joke was 'imagine an evangelical american preacher from New York in a sleepy English countryside church'. The long history of shameful racism in the CofE (and very much so in the English countryside) means that him being black is essential for the humour really to be felt - it adds to the discomfort of the characters. If they had cast a black actor in that role, nobody would be mentioning it now as problematic. And yes, I know that's a big part of the point, but there is a significant difference, I think, between mocking someone's race (either through makeup or words) and laughing at the incongruity of some behaviour in a certain context. As a sketch it's similar to the Fast Show's Roger the nouveau football fan - a middle class wannabe taking a picnic hamper to Highbury.
I understand why people would be u[set with it given historical context; but without that it would actually just be funny, rather than some kind of offensive minstrelsy.

EACLucifer
Snowbonk
Posts: 456
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: Behind you

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by EACLucifer » Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:04 pm

tom p wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:34 pm
EACLucifer wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:25 pm
The stereotypes it pushes of disabled people - picky and demanding re assistance when really they don't need help - are f.cking horrible, too.
The joke was that he wasn't disabled, rather than that disabled people are a..eholes.
Yes, it was a sh.t joke & no doubt caused offence to people who are treated as though they are faking it, but that's actually what the joke was. It's a subtle distinction and one impossible to spot if you didn't watch the show and are only basing your opinion on what you've heard/read about it.
I've seen the sketches in question, and they are a pile of sh.tty, bigoted, cruel stereotypes. There's no subtle distinction involved - the stereotype of depicting a disabled person as faking it is 1) utter b.llsh.t and 2) the kind of thing people think as they scaegoat disabled people for economic failures and dismantle the welfare state.

Bewildered
Stargoon
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:51 pm

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Bewildered » Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:21 pm

tom p wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:34 pm
EACLucifer wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:25 pm
The stereotypes it pushes of disabled people - picky and demanding re assistance when really they don't need help - are f.cking horrible, too.
The joke was that he wasn't disabled, rather than that disabled people are a..eholes.
Yes, it was a sh.t joke & no doubt caused offence to people who are treated as though they are faking it, but that's actually what the joke was. It's a subtle distinction and one impossible to spot if you didn't watch the show and are only basing your opinion on what you've heard/read about it.
Yes thats how I interpreted it, but that’s still bad right. As I wrote at the start of this, it seems to be playing into stereotypes that disabled people are all faking it, and is why I couldn’t understand it at the time. You seem to be agreeing with this ? Or up you think I am still missing something?

User avatar
Martin Y
Dorkwood
Posts: 1011
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:08 pm

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Martin Y » Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:13 pm

Bewildered wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:21 pm
tom p wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:34 pm
EACLucifer wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:25 pm
The stereotypes it pushes of disabled people - picky and demanding re assistance when really they don't need help - are f.cking horrible, too.
The joke was that he wasn't disabled, rather than that disabled people are a..eholes.
Yes, it was a sh.t joke & no doubt caused offence to people who are treated as though they are faking it, but that's actually what the joke was. It's a subtle distinction and one impossible to spot if you didn't watch the show and are only basing your opinion on what you've heard/read about it.
Yes thats how I interpreted it, but that’s still bad right. As I wrote at the start of this, it seems to be playing into stereotypes that disabled people are all faking it, and is why I couldn’t understand it at the time. You seem to be agreeing with this ? Or up you think I am still missing something?
I can't say how they intended the viewer to see it, but for this viewer the gag was definitely the absurdity that Andy was not in fact disabled at all and had somehow concealed this from Lou despite running crazy risks of being spotted, and not any implication that disabled people are faking it.

EACLucifer
Snowbonk
Posts: 456
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2019 7:49 am
Location: Behind you

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by EACLucifer » Tue Jun 23, 2020 1:36 am

Martin Y wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:13 pm
Bewildered wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:21 pm
tom p wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:34 pm


The joke was that he wasn't disabled, rather than that disabled people are a..eholes.
Yes, it was a sh.t joke & no doubt caused offence to people who are treated as though they are faking it, but that's actually what the joke was. It's a subtle distinction and one impossible to spot if you didn't watch the show and are only basing your opinion on what you've heard/read about it.
Yes thats how I interpreted it, but that’s still bad right. As I wrote at the start of this, it seems to be playing into stereotypes that disabled people are all faking it, and is why I couldn’t understand it at the time. You seem to be agreeing with this ? Or up you think I am still missing something?
I can't say how they intended the viewer to see it, but for this viewer the gag was definitely the absurdity that Andy was not in fact disabled at all and had somehow concealed this from Lou despite running crazy risks of being spotted, and not any implication that disabled people are faking it.
Let me make this clear - depicting someone who purports to be disabled and demands assistance as not really disabled and faking it is a bigoted canard, and people have died because of the pressure belief that this is a thing that actually happens put on the benefit system and on individual assessors. It's not a clever distinction that makes it ok, it is goddamn problem.

Also, as a rule of thumb, if your "clever" comedy catchphrase is shouted at vulnerable people by a..eholes as a way of trying to hurt them, you've probably done something very wrong.

User avatar
Bird on a Fire
Stummy Beige
Posts: 2695
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:05 pm
Location: with the birds

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Bird on a Fire » Tue Jun 23, 2020 2:17 am

I've gotta say, even though I was in the target demographic for Little Britain ("edgey" teenager) I never liked it. Way too much flogging of dead horses, not to mention several of the sketches (including Lou and Andy) appearing to reinforce lame reactionary canards. "Benefits scroungers" were being demonised in the news and here they were centering a sketch on a fake disabled guy. At the very best it was tone deaf. Loads of the other stuff (militant gays, transvestites with mustaches, the bigoted receptionist one, various racist and classist stereotypes) also seemed very punching down, even though I was totally unwoke then and wouldn't have articulated it in those terms it didn't sit right as a base for comedy with me and I never got why everyone thought they were so creative and original.
now I'm falling asleep and she's calling acab

Bewildered
Stargoon
Posts: 107
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:51 pm

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Bewildered » Tue Jun 23, 2020 3:30 pm

Martin Y wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:13 pm
Bewildered wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:21 pm
tom p wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 12:34 pm


The joke was that he wasn't disabled, rather than that disabled people are a..eholes.
Yes, it was a sh.t joke & no doubt caused offence to people who are treated as though they are faking it, but that's actually what the joke was. It's a subtle distinction and one impossible to spot if you didn't watch the show and are only basing your opinion on what you've heard/read about it.
Yes thats how I interpreted it, but that’s still bad right. As I wrote at the start of this, it seems to be playing into stereotypes that disabled people are all faking it, and is why I couldn’t understand it at the time. You seem to be agreeing with this ? Or up you think I am still missing something?
I can't say how they intended the viewer to see it, but for this viewer the gag was definitely the absurdity that Andy was not in fact disabled at all and had somehow concealed this from Lou despite running crazy risks of being spotted, and not any implication that disabled people are faking it.
So I wasn’t careful in wording and kind of wrote something that was self contradictory “disabled people are all faking it” but what I meant was “playing into stereotypes that people who Seem to be disabled people are all faking it,“. To me that is the problem, for reasons that EACL describes above. I guess you are thinking that because he is not at all disabled, it is not mocking disabled people when he looks stupid etc, and I guess that’s true, but that wasn’t my problem.

Anyway I keep asking this but i would be really interested if there were or were not disabled people speaking out at the time. I wasn’t aware there were and that’s why I felt it was odd and I must misunderstand something.

User avatar
Martin Y
Dorkwood
Posts: 1011
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:08 pm

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Martin Y » Tue Jun 23, 2020 6:16 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Tue Jun 23, 2020 4:57 pm
... Matt Lucas has expressed a lot of regret about several of the sketches they did, and has taken onboard some of the points that, for instance, disabled people have made about the show, and says he wouldn't make those same sketches again or have the same characters. He's also apologised for any hurt they caused.
It's perhaps like the original "You've been Tango'd" advert. That was genuinely funny, as it was meant to be, but of course within days kids were boxing each others ears and yelling that they'd been Tango'd so it was rightly withdrawn. I'm sure it never occurred to Lucas that wheelchair users would get Andy's catchphrase bellowed at them by morons.

User avatar
discovolante
Dorkwood
Posts: 1282
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:10 pm

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by discovolante » Wed Jun 24, 2020 7:22 am

A number of posts in this thread have been moved to the Pit.
don't get any big ideas, they're not gonna happen

monkey
Buzzberry
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:10 pm

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by monkey » Wed Jun 24, 2020 3:52 pm

Martin Y wrote:
Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:13 pm
I can't say how they intended the viewer to see it, but for this viewer the gag was definitely the absurdity that Andy was not in fact disabled at all and had somehow concealed this from Lou despite running crazy risks of being spotted, and not any implication that disabled people are faking it.
I always perceived Andy to be the butt of the joke. So the sketches play to the horrible trope that disabled people are faking it, but there's also another layer of awful where carers do what they do because they are either too stupid or naive to realise that they are being exploited, I think that's very unfair on carers.

I am happy to assume that Walliams and Lucas were aiming for the absurdity to be the joke (they seem like nice people) and did not intend to be portraying disabled people or carers in general, but in my view they were well wide of the mark on this one (and others, some of them more obvious than Lou and Andy).

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
Dorkwood
Posts: 1111
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:13 am

It's the old problem though, isn't it. You and I are generally kind-minded people. We don't want to think that Lucas and Walliams meant that, so we judge the comedy to have been itself kind-minded. And I think that's a fair assumption, in all honesty, given what they've said since about the regrets they have. I agree that they probably just thought, "here's a funny situation" that they could put on screen, and didn't think much harder than that.

Unfortunately, not everyone thinks that way. A lot of people, it seems, have a real issue with disability and seem to want to gatekeep who is and isn't, in their view, worthy of the tag 'disabled', particularly in relation to benefits. And disabled people get a fair amount of hassle from these people. If they haven't got some obvious physical issue then some w.nkers will go on the attack.

The problem with some of the comedy in Little Britain is that it doesn't really make clear who it's making fun of. A lot of stand up is very carefully honed to put forward outrageous or offensive propositions, and then discuss and demolish them later on. Richard Herring's Hitler Moustache show is an example of that. Because Little Britain leaves open the decision about who it's mocking to the audience, some in the audience who are w.nkers will think it supports them, and feel their prejudice is bolstered by the mainstream media. And disabled people who are sick of the constant need to explain their disability to w.nkers can see that the lack of an obvious target leaves them at risk, and feel angry about that.

It's an unfortunate negative consequence of two relatively privileged men, who didnt really know or think about the impact of something they wanted to have a go at. It's a simple and easy mistake to make, but when you're making television and are very popular, there's more responsibility on you to think a bit harder.
Mike Patton wrote:"You overdo it sometimes. There I am, peeing on Axl Rose’s teleprompter." He looks rueful: "I didn’t really have to do that."

User avatar
Tessa K
Dorkwood
Posts: 1014
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:07 pm
Location: Closer than you'd like

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Tessa K » Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:13 am

It's also convenient for some that the performers take the full brunt of criticism when producers, directors and commissioning editors decide what can and can't be shown.

geejaytee
Sindis Poop
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:32 pm
Location: Colchester

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by geejaytee » Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:57 am

Tessa K wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:13 am
It's also convenient for some that the performers take the full brunt of criticism when producers, directors and commissioning editors decide what can and can't be shown.
and for a sketch show featuring two performers who may or may not write all their own material, the writers behind the particular sketch are also 'hidden' like this.

User avatar
Martin Y
Dorkwood
Posts: 1011
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:08 pm

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Martin Y » Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:05 pm

geejaytee wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:57 am
Tessa K wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:13 am
It's also convenient for some that the performers take the full brunt of criticism when producers, directors and commissioning editors decide what can and can't be shown.
and for a sketch show featuring two performers who may or may not write all their own material, the writers behind the particular sketch are also 'hidden' like this.
On the other hand, hardly anyone will know who wrote comedians' material but for good or ill it'll forever be associated with the performers. So if it looks like a mistake in hindsight it's probably best for the performers to own it and just apologise rather than even attempt to defend, deflect or explain.

User avatar
Woodchopper
Dorkwood
Posts: 1486
Joined: Sat Oct 12, 2019 9:05 am

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Woodchopper » Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:47 pm

geejaytee wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:57 am
Tessa K wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:13 am
It's also convenient for some that the performers take the full brunt of criticism when producers, directors and commissioning editors decide what can and can't be shown.
and for a sketch show featuring two performers who may or may not write all their own material, the writers behind the particular sketch are also 'hidden' like this.
Only four writers credited though: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0358856/fullcredits

monkey
Buzzberry
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:10 pm

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by monkey » Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:02 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:13 am
It's the old problem though, isn't it. You and I are generally kind-minded people. We don't want to think that Lucas and Walliams meant that, so we judge the comedy to have been itself kind-minded. And I think that's a fair assumption, in all honesty, given what they've said since about the regrets they have. I agree that they probably just thought, "here's a funny situation" that they could put on screen, and didn't think much harder than that.

Unfortunately, not everyone thinks that way. A lot of people, it seems, have a real issue with disability and seem to want to gatekeep who is and isn't, in their view, worthy of the tag 'disabled', particularly in relation to benefits. And disabled people get a fair amount of hassle from these people. If they haven't got some obvious physical issue then some w.nkers will go on the attack.

The problem with some of the comedy in Little Britain is that it doesn't really make clear who it's making fun of. A lot of stand up is very carefully honed to put forward outrageous or offensive propositions, and then discuss and demolish them later on. Richard Herring's Hitler Moustache show is an example of that. Because Little Britain leaves open the decision about who it's mocking to the audience, some in the audience who are w.nkers will think it supports them, and feel their prejudice is bolstered by the mainstream media. And disabled people who are sick of the constant need to explain their disability to w.nkers can see that the lack of an obvious target leaves them at risk, and feel angry about that.

It's an unfortunate negative consequence of two relatively privileged men, who didnt really know or think about the impact of something they wanted to have a go at. It's a simple and easy mistake to make, but when you're making television and are very popular, there's more responsibility on you to think a bit harder.
I'm glad you made the bolded point, I tried to, but couldn't articulate it well, so deleted that bit from my post.

User avatar
Tessa K
Dorkwood
Posts: 1014
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:07 pm
Location: Closer than you'd like

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Tessa K » Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:52 pm

Woodchopper wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:47 pm
geejaytee wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:57 am
Tessa K wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:13 am
It's also convenient for some that the performers take the full brunt of criticism when producers, directors and commissioning editors decide what can and can't be shown.
and for a sketch show featuring two performers who may or may not write all their own material, the writers behind the particular sketch are also 'hidden' like this.
Only four writers credited though: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0358856/fullcredits
The producers and some of the directors were very experienced and should have known better. It's a good case for arguing for more POC in more senior positions to prevent this kind of thing happening again.

User avatar
Fishnut
Snowbonk
Posts: 546
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:15 pm

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Fishnut » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:12 pm

Tessa K wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:52 pm
Woodchopper wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 12:47 pm
geejaytee wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 11:57 am


and for a sketch show featuring two performers who may or may not write all their own material, the writers behind the particular sketch are also 'hidden' like this.
Only four writers credited though: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0358856/fullcredits
The producers and some of the directors were very experienced and should have known better. It's a good case for arguing for more POC in more senior positions to prevent this kind of thing happening again.
More diversity in general. I suspect a disabled producer would have been able to recognise potential issues about the Andy and Lou sketches pretty quickly.

User avatar
discovolante
Dorkwood
Posts: 1282
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:10 pm

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by discovolante » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:43 pm

It's a shame we find ourselves having to argue it in that way, because it would just be nice to have more diversity in TV production just so that people who want those jobs can have them and do something they enjoy.
don't get any big ideas, they're not gonna happen

User avatar
Fishnut
Snowbonk
Posts: 546
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:15 pm

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Fishnut » Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:05 pm

discovolante wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:43 pm
It's a shame we find ourselves having to argue it in that way, because it would just be nice to have more diversity in TV production just so that people who want those jobs can have them and do something they enjoy.
You're totally right, and I'm trying to stop myself from making those arguments for exactly that reason, but it's so hard!

User avatar
Tessa K
Dorkwood
Posts: 1014
Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:07 pm
Location: Closer than you'd like

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by Tessa K » Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:51 pm

Fishnut wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 6:05 pm
discovolante wrote:
Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:43 pm
It's a shame we find ourselves having to argue it in that way, because it would just be nice to have more diversity in TV production just so that people who want those jobs can have them and do something they enjoy.
You're totally right, and I'm trying to stop myself from making those arguments for exactly that reason, but it's so hard!
Yes.

User avatar
discovolante
Dorkwood
Posts: 1282
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 5:10 pm

Re: TV shows being cut or taken down for racism

Post by discovolante » Mon Jul 06, 2020 9:03 am

Just seen this thread on Twitter about David Walliams' kids books. I didn't know and now I have to wonder how sorry he actually is:

https://twitter.com/BootstrapCook/statu ... 83432?s=20
don't get any big ideas, they're not gonna happen

Post Reply