If you’re anything like us on the GiveHer5 team, it may be impossible to find a TV show that doesn’t make you cringe, gag, or want to turn the screen off. Writers and producers alike have used sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and racism as punchlines in their scripts for far too long; Just try rewatching an episode of Friends – you’ll realise pretty quickly precisely how many of the jokes are based on the marginalisation and oppression of minority communities. For someone who’s woke and enjoys well-written, thoughtful humour rather than all the cheap tricks scriptwriters pull, finding a TV show to unwind to can be a challenge. Not to fret! These are four of our favourite suggestions, from one social justice warrior to the next.
Hold up, a contemporary TV show with a leading black actress that doesn’t focus solely on the issue of civil rights? Yes, that’s right: Black people experience a spectrum of ordeals in modern USA and Grown-ish captures those adventures with a sense of social awareness, humor, and realism. The sitcom, a spin-off of ABC’s hit show Black-ish, follows Zoey Johnson (played by the talented Yara Shahidi) as she heads off to college and begins her journey to adulthood. She confronts the trials and tribulations of leaving her nest and stepping out into the real world, dealing with things like modern-day dating and drug addiction, among other issues.
- Bob’s Burgers
For those into animated sitcoms, Bob’s Burgers is one to add to your watch list. The show centers on the Belcher family, Bob, Linda, and their children Tina, Gene, and Louise. They run a burger restaurant on Ocean Avenue in a seaside community thought to be southern New Jersey. Perhaps the show’s greatest achievement is its development of interesting, well-rounded characters who can make you laugh so effortlessly – without relying on outdated stereotypes. Though the show rarely discusses heavier issues of social justice, its portrayal of the Belchers’ family life is simultaneously comedic, exemplary, and heartwarming (in the weirdest, silliest, best possible way).
- Dear White People
Based on the 2014 movie of the same name, Dear White People is a comedy-drama series about the lives of black students at elite Ivy League colleges. A Netflix Original, the show delivers commentary on the reality of race relations in present-day America with razor-sharp wit. Not only does Dear White People make important and powerful revelations about moving through life as an African American, but it also provides deep insights about class and male privilege.
- Brooklyn 99
Currently, Brooklyn 99 possibly has the most diverse cast in comparison to any other show on air. Along with the white, Jewish protagonist, the sitcom features a black sergeant, two kickass Latina detectives (one of whom is bisexual!), and a gay, black captain, among other well-developed and unique characters. Now that’s what we call inclusivity! In addition to this, the show tackles heavy topics like racial profiling and sexism in the workplace from a socially aware but equally humorous perspective. An entertaining and hilarious break away from the drudge on TV, Brooklyn 99 is what happens when good comedy meets informed scriptwriting.