Blog 5: The Cleveland Show

15 Oct

Media is by far the most influential device that has ever existed. It can change the way we see the world and we’re completely oblivious to its effect. Yet despite how powerful media can be, there is still a problem that continues to exist, even though we should have gotten rid of it a long time ago. White supremacy over narratives. Ever since the invention of media, the majority of narratives and points of view have been centered around white people as main characters. This is a dangerous influence to the public and this creates the negative stereotypes that are assumed in non-white races. There are a few other medias, however, that have created their own supremacy that does not usually center around whiteness, rather other races. And I found one that not only features non-white characters and see them as empowering, but also hilarious as well when doing it. This is the TV show the Cleveland Show.
The Cleveland Show is one of the most funny television shows that I have ever seen and might have been FOX’s best shows of all time. It was originally aired on the FOX network, but was canceled after four seasons and now is doing reruns on the Adult Swim network. The show is a spinoff of its predecessor, Family Guy, where one of the characters, Cleveland, moves away with his overweight son, Cleveland Jr., back to his hometown in Stoolbend, Virginia. There, he is reunited with his high school sweetheart Donna Tubbs. They get married in the first episode and the families merge with Donna’s two children Roberta and Rallo Tubbs. After the pilot episode, the show then goes into four seasons of multiple situations that contain hilarity.
The Cleveland show not only displays a good amount of comedy, but also numerous scenes and funny bits that go into racial issues and stereotypes. There are multiple times in the show that uses the issues that involve race and turns them into comedy gold while addressing the situations. One of the episodes that I found to have used this tactic very frequently was ‘Wide World of Cleveland Show’. In this episode, Cleveland shows the audience how the show would look if it were done in a different ethnicity starting with Hispanic, Italian, German, and lastly Japanese. As funny as these parodies were, two of them displayed white superiority even though visible ethnicity hasn’t changed in Cleveland. In the article, Themes of Whiteness by Sean M. Tierney, he explains how whiteness can be the main focus of film even if in a different ethnic structure and that it’s invisible to most people. This is more of a reverse explanation of what this episode is about. Instead of a white man being the boss of an Italian Mob or a personification of Hitler, Cleveland and his family play these roles of whiteness without changing his black identity completely. Although, there is still the matter of the mediated construction favoring the white community. In a study founded by Monk-Turner in her article Portrayals of Race in Primetime TV, she discovered that in primetime shows white Americans have a majority focus while other races have less of a percentage. So in a way this episode is both focused on stereotypical narratives and not at the same time. I don’t think that I can actually relate to a man like Cleveland, but I would like to relate to his ethnic moral side.

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