1990s: Golden Era of Black Sitcoms? | Courtney Green

It’s no secret that modern day sitcoms are not my cup of tea. Originally, I even thought that sitcoms in general weren’t my go-to genre when picking out something to watch. But when I was searching 1990s sitcoms I came across an article that highlighted the 25 best Black sitcoms of all time. As I was reading the article I realized that I loved a good portion of these shows, and most of them happened to be on air in the 90s.

best black sitcoms.jpg

From Moesha to Fresh Prince to Martin, Black television seemed to be producing hit after hit in the 1990s. Of course I was too young to really appreciate it at the time but looking back there was a significant presence of Black culture on television screens across the country. It makes me wonder if we will ever see this again, specifically in the genre of sitcoms.

Even though I am no expert on the current climate of television sitcoms, I am pretty confident in saying that there is not an overwhelming presence of Black people. Of course we have Blackish but it seems as though networks are focusing more on incorporating more minorities than focusing on a particular group and telling their stories from different perspectives. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with this it’s just interesting to observe.

I feel as though now networks are more interested in seeing African Americans on television dramas, case in point Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder. Perhaps since there were so many Black sitcoms in there previous decades networks are weary of recycling an old concept. Or maybe it is just time to make way for a new golden era for Black actors. Because after all it is tragic to mess with something that was never broken in the first place.

Sister Sister.jpg

Sister, Sister (1994-1999).


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5 Responses to 1990s: Golden Era of Black Sitcoms? | Courtney Green

  1. mediaphiles says:

    I agree with you that sitcoms have never really been my go-to genre either. I thought the article you found was very interesting and your post brings up some great points. For me, I can’t really remember watching a lot of sitcoms in the 90’s, I think I was more focused on cartoons. So your post really got me thinking about the state of sitcoms now compared to the 90’s. – Katie Thevenow

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I used to watch black sitcoms as part of my Saturday morning television when I was a child, Sandford and Son, Good Times, and The Jeffersons were among the black sitcoms that I would watch and I loved them. This class has helped me see the actual meaning behind it instead of just the comedy that I saw as a child. This makes me watch them in a new way, but I still appreciate the humor present in the shows. I wonder if there will ever be a minority sitcom telling their story from their perspective instead of just incorporating minorities into the sitcom genre.

    -turner arrington

  3. mediaphiles says:

    The idea you bring up of being fearful of recycling old concepts with sitcoms is really interesting. I agree with you that there are only so many plot lines you can have in a sitcom and a resurgence of some of these black sitcoms might be seen as trying to be like the past, rather than be of the now. I wonder why we see more diversity in television dramas? – Katie Nelson

  4. mediaphiles says:

    This is so real. The fear of recycling tropes is legitimate but I think black people as people have evolved the same way white characters, or gay characters have. The roles that diverse people play in television is important to reflect the values of society. –Serena Daya

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I watched a number of black sitcoms growing up and I feel like there was a much higher quality of intellectual humor and storylines. I loved Smart Guy, A Different World, Sister, Sister, and a few more. There were always a lot of bright colors in the fashion, political awareness, and dynamic relationships. I think because black sitcoms were not trying to appeal to everyone, they could focus on creating something high quality that appealed to a specific audience group.
    Elyse Conklin

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