TV show Black-ish challenges without attacking (Image: DAILY MIRROR)
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Don’t tell anyone but I’m fascinated by Motherland, the BBC sitcom poking fun at the school run, the playdate politics that surround it and the stressed-out mums for whom every day is a fresh fight to do it all.
I actually understand it because during my own time doing the school run years ago, I saw and heard so much of the madness Motherland taps into so mercilessly well.
Good comedy does that. It challenges without attacking. It lampoons without laying into its subjects for the sake of it. It is what made Absolutely Fabulous such a smash hit. Full disclosure: Ab Fab isn’t for me but I can see why other people loved it.
What I don’t quite buy is the idea that it wouldn’t get made today “because everything is so sensitive”, as co-creator Jennifer Saunders said in an interview last week.
What is your view? Have your say in the comment section
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Predictably, Saunders’ frustration at having to watch her language was seized on by the usual suspects to drive the narrative in a direction she clearly didn’t intend. As she said herself: “Petty and small-mindedness p*** me off – bigotry and small-mindedness”.
And here’s the thing: an Ab Fab movie was made just five years ago. The main characters in the Sky One comedy Breeders routinely swear at their kids. South Park is still a smash hit (if you like that sort of thing).
Ricky Gervais continues to rip it up in whatever comedic form he chooses to take, refusing to compromise on his subject matter.
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My current favourite is the US import Black-ish, which centres on a rich family man, Andre Johnson, who gives his children privileged lives so different from his own poor upbringing that he fears they might lose their identity. It’s The Cosby Show for the millennium, dealing with a raft of issues black people face in the home, at school and in the workplace, where Dre routinely has to deal with his unreconstructed colleagues.
Barack Obama loves it. Donald Trump hates it. Presumably because it doesn’t punch down.
It does what good comedy will always do, it holds a mirror up and sometimes leaves us uncomfortable at what we end up laughing at.