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New CBS Sitcom To Address Race, Gentrification

October 1, 2018 Featured, Popular Culture No Comments

The now-classic CBS sitcom ‘All in the Family’ premiered on January 12, 1971. In Meet the Bunkers the family already knows young Lionel Jefferson, he’s friends with Archie’s daughter Gloria and son-in-law Mike.

On the 8th episode, first aired on March 2 1971, Archie Bunker learns his neighbor, Mr. Bowman, sold his house.  Archie, worried Bowman might have sold to a Jewish family goes over to talk to him. We learn Bowman had previously passed around a petition to pressure another neighbor into not selling their house to a Jewish family. Soon Archie learns a black family bought the house, later learning the buyers are Lionel Jefferson’s parents. Watch Lionel Moves Into the NeighborhoodMany future episodes dealt with racial tension. The final episode of Season 1 dealt with the issues surrounding Louise Jefferson inviting Edith & Archie Bunker over to dinner.

The last two seasons CBS also had Superior Donuts, often touching on gentrification of Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. Unfortunately, due to low ratings, it was cancelled.

Photo: Bill Inoshita/CBS 2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Tonight CBS has another sitcom where race plays a central role. It stars St. Louis native Cedric the Entertainer:

Cedric the Entertainer has been making audiences laugh for more than 30 years. Now he’s starring in the new CBS show, “The Neighborhood,” a comedy that focuses on what happens when a white family moves into a predominantly black neighborhood.

“Like when you get the white neighbors in, this is the thing we know. Like, we know that your streets – the potholes are going to get fixed. White people will call the city on you. Like black people just tell you, ‘There’s a pothole down there. Don’t turn on that street,'” Cedric the Entertainer said to laughter Friday on “CBS This Morning.” (CBS News)

Cedric is not only a star, he’s also an executive producer.

The living room set of CBS’ “The Neighborhood” has a distinctly African American vibe — there’s an Obama commemorative plate and black art on the wall.
The show’s star, Cedric the Entertainer, marches over to his chair, sinking down into a dark brown leather recliner, the same one his proud and opinionated character, Calvin Butler, uses in the sitcom, to talk about his latest comedic project.

Premiering Oct. 1, “The Neighborhood” humorously explores the fallout after a white family moves into a historically and predominantly black working class neighborhood. “I’m the guy that feels like we’ve built the neighborhood up and now I can see gentrification coming this way,” says Cedric. (LA Times)

Here’s one of the trailers:

It’s too early to know if the show will do well, but I’m glad to see this subject matter getting screen time. The first episode premiers tonight on KMOV (4.1) at 7pm.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

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