It has been a big weekend across the US with some of the most iconic monuments being torn down. And by monuments, I mean beloved episodes of The Golden Girls, Community, and The Office.

The impacted episodes of Community and The Office were Advanced Dungeons and Dragons and Dwight Christmas, respectively. [Source: Variety]

I’d argue that The Golden Girls episode Mixed Feelings:

a) Wasn’t really blackface to begin with.
b) Was actually a really good example of the show seeking to bridge racial divide in a number of really positive ways.

The episode is about pre-conceived beliefs about race. Dorothy’s (Bea Arthur) son announces that he is marring an African American woman. The girls meet her mother who is against the marriage on racial terms. In typical Golden Girls fashion, a number of faux-pas and awkward moments transpire before they come out the other side with shared understanding. The blackface moment in question has the mother walking in on Rose (Betty White) and southern belle Blanche (Rue McClanahan) trying out a new facial mud mask and, well, you see where the hilarity flows from there.

Source: THR

Remember Quibi?

Starting today there will be a recreation of The Princess Bride with new chapters dropping daily for the next two weeks. The project comes from director Jason Reitman:

“The week that the stay-at-home order came through in California, I just woke up one of the first mornings, I think like most people did, feeling as though, All right, I need to be able to do something of value,” Reitman told Vanity Fair. “I just thought, Can we remake an entire movie at home? And I had seen that a fan-made Star Wars had been done. I just started reaching out to actors I knew, saying, ‘Is this something you’d want to do?’ And the response was kind of immediate and fast. It was like, ‘Oh—that sounds like fun.’”

Source: Vanity Fair

Watch the CelebrityFilled FanFilm Version of The Princess Bride

And speaking of Quibi, last week on Always Be Watching I published a deep dive into why Quibi has been a failure. It was published initially as an ABW subscriber-only article, but today I have lifted the paywall on the article.

Why is Quibi creating content partnership arrangements with CBS brand 60 Minutes, and not laying down the cash for a daily interactive game of Wheel of Fortune?

Why not play around with branched storytelling like Netflix has done with Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and this year’s Kimmy Schmidt interactive episode - it’s perfect for Quibi and its mobile environment.

Read the article: HERE.

And, of course, if you don’t want to miss out on fresh subscriber-only content, you can become an Always Be Watching supporter:

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The producers of The Simpsons have said that the show will no longer use white actors for the voices of characters from other ethnic backgrounds.

Voice actor Hank Azaria has already revealed (much earlier this year) that he’s stepping away from the character Apu.

Source: BBC

Similarly, voice actor Mike Henry will step down from voicing Cleveland Brown on Family Guy:

What I don’t understand about this is where the benefit of it actually is. Animation voice acting usually involves a pretty small group of actors who will portray a broad number of voices across different ethnicities, body types, genders, and sometimes species. The most vibrant-sounding animation generally comes from talented voice casts who are routinely engaged in a very broad variety of roles and performance styles.

Wouldn’t the better outcome be for production companies to instead make a greater commitment to increasing the diversity of voice actors being hired. It’s unlikely that a main cast member of The Simpsons is being replaced anytime soon, but there are so many other supporting/recurring roles that can be filled. There’s no reason Kevin Michael Richardson should be the only person of colour in the main cast for The Simpsons.

That said - it has always been ridiculous to stunt cast actors who play a single role on a show as an ethnicity other than their own. Why was Alison Brie ever playing Diane Nguyen on Bojack Horseman? That has always been weird.


June 27, 2020

BoJack Horseman

At 11:59pm on Tuesday 30 June 2020, Channel 31 in Melbourne will flick the switch and go off the air.

In an interview with TV Tonight’s David Knox, C31 General Manager Shane Dunlop:

We’ve not been successful in getting a response either from the minister’s office or from the Department of Communications. That’s to several calls and emails. We are still waiting of course for official confirmation that Adelaide’s extension has been granted.

There is a different political climate in Adelaide than there is in Victoria. Perhaps that’s the best way of putting it.

It’s become evident to us that this government is not particularly moved by any of the cases or arguments we have spent over the last 6 years putting to them. It doesn’t matter what kind of case we can make. It falls on deaf ears. There is an unwillingness or a lack of understanding with regards to what makes Community TV tick.

A number of years ago I was on the Board of Directors of community radio station 4ZZZ in Brisbane and was talking to an academic about the value of community broadcasting. He had said that the real value of community broadcasts isn’t in the broadcast itself, but in that it provides an outlet for a community of people to come together to create something and in building a further community around that shared creation.

I hope that the loss of a signal doesn’t stop C31 from continuing on in some form. A lack of signal doesn’t mean that the entire organisation needs to disappear entirely - after all, there are opportunities related to streaming linear video, online distribution on a per-show basis, and other less traditional ways of creating community media.

Read more: TV Tonight

Someone who has been adapting to new mediums has been Beyonce. On 31 July, Beyonce will release a visual album via Disney+. Black Is King reimagines the themes of The Lion King. The synopsis:

The voyages of Black families, throughout time, are honored in a tale about a young king’s transcendent journey through betrayal, love and self-identity. His ancestors help guide him toward his destiny, and with his father’s teachings and guidance from his childhood love, he earns the virtues needed to reclaim his home and throne. These timeless lessons are revealed and reflected through Black voices of today, now sitting in their own power. ‘Black Is King’ is an affirmation of a grand purpose, with lush visuals that celebrate Black resilience and culture. The film highlights the beauty of tradition and Black excellence.

Her prior visual album, Lemonade, debuted on HBO back in 2016.

Source: Indiewire

Anthony Mackie has spoken out about the upcoming Marvel TV series Falcon and The Winter Soldier, explaining that the show is being made in a similar manner to the bigger budget movies:

“We’re shooting it exactly like a movie,” he said. “Everybody who had worked on TV before was like, ‘I’ve never worked on a TV show like this.’ The way in which we were shooting, it feels exactly like we were shooting the movie cut up into the show. So instead of a two-hour movie, a six or eight-hour movie.”

Source: Variety

The Falcon And The Winter Soldier Star Says It Feels Like A Six ...

In the same interview, Mackie also spoke out about the lack of diversity behind the scenes on Marvel films:

“It really bothered me that I’ve done seven Marvel movies where every producer, every director, every stunt person, every costume designer, every PA, every single person has been white.”  

“We’ve had one Black producer; his name was Nate Moore,” Mackie continued. “He produced ‘Black Panther.’ But then when you do ‘Black Panther,’ you have a Black director, Black producer, a Black costume designer, a Black stunt choreographer. And I’m like, that’s more racist than anything else. Because if you only can hire the Black people for the Black movie, are you saying they’re not good enough when you have a mostly white cast?”

Source: Variety

What’s next?