Girl, Bye! Episode III& IV: Let’s Talk About Warning Signs

Hello everyone, I hope you all had a very special and very neutral holiday. I wanted to say a couple of things before I started.

  1. Thanks to everyone that has been patient about the technical difficulties. Again I didn’t shut my blog down, my blog accidently was turned private.
  2.  This post and one more will be the final ones of the year
  3. This post will likely be the last time I discuss black women in mass media. (i’ve combined the last two into one post)   Simply because I don’t have the time or the effort to keep up with all the foolishness and I simply don’t care about the cray cray black women who’ve decided I’m plotting against them for stating an opinion. I am only one woman and I speak for myself and those who may agree with me. If you don’t *shrugs*  I don’t care.  If you want to know my opinion, look back at previous posts. BWiF if you haven’t read it before. But I feel  I’ve dealt with black women in media as best I can and that I’ve beaten the dead horse, and squeezed that rock for water, as best as I can. New Year , New Focus.

Anyway, let’s get to the post.

If you haven’t read the previous post in the Girl, Bye! Series I talked about the necessity of doing for self.  This time I want to talk to women who’ve decided to play their hand in the game of Russian roulette that is Hollywood/media.

I’ve the misfortune or the blessing (depending on your self schema) to have the ability to see potential disasters and misfortunes concerning black women like I’m the star of the Final Destination franchise and call them almost exactly before they happen.

This isn’t to brag, and while I’d love to claim that I was a psychic (my own personal dream) I  simply  have the completely average ability to see the warning signs written in blood all over my bathroom mirror.

So for those that may want to engage in Hollywood and their antics here are my warning signs that can effectively help you before you get loki’d or in the case of Person of Interest Carter’d.  These are one less soldiers tips to help you avoid heartache and allow you to board up your house before the tsunami hits.

(As always ignore typos, I’m tired and its 4 am)

  • Look at the type of show. This will immediately show you the fate of the black female character on the show, or the likelihood of survival/ HEA with any other character or even themselves. In the case of Person of Interest my senses were put on alert because Nolan and his brother( who do the batman franchise) are known for their dark dramas. These sorts of dark dramas almost immediately show that the character will meet a bad fate or if given a love interest they will be drawn away. These sort of produces are looking for “dark” thrills and lots of macabre.   To expect anything less is naïve. On the other hand look at the comedy parks and recreation. Comedy’s for mainly white audiences love neutered unattractive black women to play up for laughs and giggles.
  • Look at the station: Usually the station will give you a hint what they have designed for the character. NBC which has characters like donna on Parks and Rec and Shirley on Community will most likely be played for laughs and used as the butt of stereotypical jokes. CBS will use black women as the staunch black female character in which they are a neutral (de sexualized character)  Be warned if they bring them out of the molds that go against the modus operando of the stations it can mean well.
  • Note the characters importance in relation to the other characters (especially the non black women) for example in the case of *gasp* yes I’ll go their scandal and sleepy hollow there are two very prominent white women on the show who are clearly there to serve as foils to the any budding relationship. Or in the case of Person of Interest if there is a sudden surge in a white female characters importance, be on alert. This means replacement. In the case of shows like community Shirley is only safe because her place is secured in the group as a “non sexual” “mother character” with little to know sexuality.
  • Note the demographic of the audience.  In the case of Person of interest the majority of viewers are older and less interested in the characters who are minorities and especially *gasp* interracial relationships. You are there to bolster ratings and you should be sure that they will always cater to the larger demographic while keeping you on a string.
  • Note writers promotion of black women in relationships. The writers and promoters of shows like Sleepy Hollow and Scandal like to fanwank and tweet ship inducing things on twitter/ tumblr and get the actors involved.  Rest assured this will most likely end nowhere. If they willingly go along with it they are simply using you because its easy to satiate you until they pull the plug. This will end badly.
  • Beware of sudden changes in status. Does your favorite black female character suddenly get that awesome story line when before she was a token, is she suddenly getting a wardrobe change, suddenly being seen as desirable, suddenly liked by audiences, suddenly given a (white) or not love interest, given insight? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions the character is more than likely about to be written off or killed. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
  • Look at how nice they treat the character in the beginning of the series. If they are heavy on the promotion of the character al la Twisted style they are using the character as a temporary gimmick to temporarily bolster rating until they dump your ass for the better audience and up the importance back to the “balance” it usually is. (Again look at twisted)  Do not trust fair and d not trust balanced. This had never been freely given before by Hollywood, be suspicious at the very least.  They need a base audience to get established. Be discerning of heavy courtship. This usually means trouble. Consider these shows as men who like to sweet talk women to sleep with them and them pump and dump.

Does it seem like I’m telling you to be wary of every Hollywood show? Ding Ding Ding! You WON. That’s exactly what I’m saying.

Moving on I want to quickly touch on some other things,  audience members of certain races or genders may or may not try and make you think you’re crazy for what you’re seeing when those warning signs start a’ringin. Ignore them they are liars/ don’t need to care.

Remember. Say it with me.  The trick is to make you think you’re crazy even when you’re the sanest person in the room.

The don’t care if the knife is twisted in you in the end. Or it is beneficial t gaslight (al la Nolan and plageman) who did the same things when questions of carters fate arose in the end of season 2 in POI.

Remember that these people feel they owe you nothing.

Finally I suggest black women consider the psychological impact these shows may have.  I’ve noted there aren’t many shows that show black women having fun/ being light hearted/ (a la New Girl style) Most of it is what many BWE writers like to call Pain porn. These shows are designed to drag you down and reaffirm tales of misery and woe. Yes even shows like Scandal. (Yes I walked onto holy territory when I said that blaspheme) Ask yourself why most black women characters are a hot mess emotionally wise and in their personal lives.  And who would benefit from this sort of conditioning. (and yes read any psychology book on conditioning  and behavior modification and you’ll look at things different)

I have also noticed a “cycle of abuse” with black women who engage in Hollywood.

Step 1- Awe that a show featuring a black character is on. Happiness (Also know as the honeymoon phase) Black women help in every way to promote new show. Everything seems good.

Step 2- Slow realization they were tricked. Dissatisfaction.

Step 3-  Black character gets screwed by the media.

Step 4- vows to leave never come back.

Step 5-  New show “courts them”.Bblack women return.

I would caution many black women to check to see if they are being dragged into this never ending process or trying to get out. It is hard to admit that help is needed. But for your own sake you may want to examine if this is happening to you.

Finally,

Remember the things we already lost in the fire. Look back at the track records of these stations before you endorse. Have they ever helped, what is the track record with black women characters?

Until Next Time,

Guard your heart and your mind.

And above all stay NEUTRAL!!!

PS

My last post of this year will be titled Render Unto Caesar: How Not to Behave Like Pavlov’s Dogs At Every Bit of Stimuli.

Best wishes,

OLS

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13 thoughts on “Girl, Bye! Episode III& IV: Let’s Talk About Warning Signs

  1. Happy Holidays to you OLS! Great informative post. Yes it is time to move on. TV is a huge time waster and unless used in a very specific fashion can be quite detrimental to one’s mental health. I believe the best thing to do for most bw is to let go of the remote & use the time for self development/improvement/enrichment. The best remedy for this foolishness is LIVING WELL IN THE REAL WORLD. Start a small business. Try your hand at writing your own stories. Take a Zumba class. DO something rather than waiting on something to be done to you. Have a Happy New Year everyone and decide to make 2014 the Year of You Doing Well.

  2. Another slam dunk of a post. I don’t watch much TV (I’ve never watched an entire episode of any of the shows you mentioned, not even the sacred show known as “Scandal” LOL!) As a result of watching little television, I haven’t observed many of the patterns that you described. But, I am GLAD to know that someone has been paying attention, and sounding the alarm! Some foolish BW will defend their right to be fooled by the media, but at least they can’t say that they weren’t warned.

  3. Wasn’t the hunger games movie franchise based around a black female character taken from the book. But when it came time to film the movie, the main role was given to a white actress. This is why black women should create their own film/tv projects like tyler perry, even though most of his films are filled with negative black stereotypes.

  4. I threw out my TV years ago and haven’t missed it one bit. If I want to watch something (usually movie) I can do that right here on my computer.
    I’m glad you talked about what it can do to you mentally. The damage psychologically and emotionally.
    It’s the same when it comes to certain websites and watching too much news, we are only human! Seeing negativity all the time is not good for your soul.

    When you watch a TV show you are going on a journey emotionally and energy wise you are investing a lot of energy seeing these characters, that’s why a lot of times you even fall a sleep watching it! All that energy can be spent on other things….things that will bring energy in instead of out.
    Taking a walk or running gives you energy, watching TV gives you nothing in the form of energy. Especially now a days with so much negativity. You end up feeling exhausted, at least I did.
    Thanks for another wonderful blog post!

  5. Season’s Greetings!

    I don’t watch person of interest, but when I read earlier posts here about WW complaining of Taraji’s character wearing makeup, actually having human emotions, etc., I knew her card would be pulled not too long after that.

    Media will never do right by us. I remember a writer talking about how she pitched a show to Lifetime executives (a bunch of WW) and they actually got upset that she’d have to nerve to suggest a show where non-WW were upwardly mobile and not debating whether or not to date jail birds.

    It’s the same reason SNL won’t cast a BW, we are the joke, we are the other; who are we to think we could actually make fun of other people?

    And an epiphany I had recently is that Scandal is only airing now because TV is in the tank, not because there is this huge push for diversity. Seriously, TV viewership is at a historical low as more and more people are chucking their televisions, except one group of people, BW. Scandal’s greenlight wasn’t about equality or breathing fresh air into stale television lineups, it made great business sense.

    • You make an excellent point. It is worth bringing to attention that whenever there is “no other option” then and only then are black women even considered. As you have said TV and movies are at an all time low for all audiences and they’re gasping at straws. But too many black women mistake this for wanting to ” help” black women out.

  6. Stealth is the new word for 2014. I don’t watch tv unless I need to know the weather. Other than that, I am working on myself. 2014 I will take not only a zumba class but also will try my hand in yoga. Learn a new language. Also I will attend more meet ups not only just to get a date per se but to meet people and start going to different places. I have listed New York and possibly Florida as a travel destination. I will keep you posted on those. I will not watch SNL because I am not falling for the okey doke because they are placing a black woman on the show. The more we produce our own, the more we will have tools to counter act these negative images because we want the next generation of black girls and black teenagers to know that they have options in personal as well as professional life.

  7. I think that a lot of people are starting to open their eyes in regards to bw characters on tv/movies, even hit shows like Scandal.

    Whereas I held out hope for Scandal because Shonda is a bw, the way they have chosen to portray Olivia’s mom makes me realize that the show is not going to go in the direction that I hoped it would, even with Shonda at the helm. When Quinn has a boyfriend, and Olivia is still sidepiece, I think we can safely say that Olivia is there just to string us along, and might even be replaced.

    If I may add another ‘hint’ to their intentions for bw characters, watch how well they groom her. In Sleepy hollow, the main character has been looking so sloppy, that I feel that I could sew in a better weave for her. On Scandal, no matter how well she is dressed, I often find that not as much care is taken to make sure that Kerry’s hair and make-up are on point, not always, just often enough to make me say ‘why didn’t they just fix her hair and re-shoot the scene?’.

    Happy new year everyone.

  8. Thank you for writing this informative article. I can attest to everything you said. I’m older than you, and growing up in the 80s (with a few exceptions) I noticed this pattern of how BW were treated on television shows. Lisa on Saved By the Bell never had a love interest (though there were a couple of episodes where she went on a date with Zack and Slater), only silly Screech chasing after her; her role was to gossip and give advice. I never really liked how BW were portrayed on soap operas either — I remember how they just destroyed the character Keesha on General Hospital (she was in a relationship with Jason Q). On the show Glee, they had BW character Mercedes in a hot minute relationship with the blonde guy Sam. Tumblr was abuzz with fanfiction and giddy excitement over this pairing and then “boom” the storyline got scrapped and the young black girls cried foul. I knew it would happen all along. Movies are a little different. I’ve found some that I think the BW are portrayed favorably but they are few and far between. I don’t watch TV except for movies and documentaries and of course the weather 🙂

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