Hollywood has a narrative, and usually it isn’t too subtle. Religious people are perverts (and not just the priests), Republicans are oppressive, civil rights crusaders are saints, every variety of sexuality that doesn’t start with the prefix hetero needs protection from an ignorant world, etc. If a white businessman shows up on Law and Order, stop wondering who the bad guy is.
While the television shows in the following list don’t generally pound that narrative to begin with, the following moments were still breathtakingly—and refreshingly—a direct slap at the Hollywood “same old same old.”
5. Black-ish—Nerd is the New Black
Season 1, Episode 3, “The Nod”
In “The Nod,” Dre notices that his son does not acknowledge other black kids when walking down the hall at his tony private school. “But I don’t know those kids,” Junior protests.
After Dre tries too hard (bumbling sitcom-TV-dad-style) to pair his kid up with a black friend, he notices that Junior does give “the nod” when walking by other sci-fi and video game geeks at school. He is satisfied: “I guess nerd is the new black,” he muses.
Late in the season, the Johnsons are horrified to find out that Junior has joined the Young Republicans at his tony prep school because of “how he feels about Hillary.” It turns out that Hillary is the pretty black secretary of the group. The parents can’t come up with many good reasons as to why they are Democrats, other than they are black — and they just ARE.
Unfortunately, the clichéd Democrats go to meet the family, who are nice, but equally clichéd Republicans who make the Romneys look funky. Still, it was a noble effort, and it was the Johnsons who made fools of themselves, trying to be “street” because they are slightly less well off than the Republican family—then falling back on the feminist card because Rainbow Johnson works.
4. The Americans—The KGB’s “Civil Rights” Agenda
Season 3, Episode 8, “Divestment”
With Justified over, The Americans, a story of a family of Soviet sleeper agents in Reagan-era Washington, D.C., is now easily the best show on television.
And like The Good Wife, Blue Bloods and South Park, confronting conventional liberal narratives is a constant part of the package. But a subplot about South Africa really showed how unflinching the show’s writers are.
In television, anything to do with “civil rights” generally puts a halo above the characters on the side of the angels. When the South African subplot began, I figured this was something that was going to be used to soften the characters, perhaps even hint that here and there the Russians had a point about world events.
Instead, it showed that when the Soviet communists are involved, even fighting injustice is done in the most evil way possible.
In several shows, there is a hint that spies “Elizabeth and Philip Jennings” began their stint in the United States working for radical Black Panther-style “civil rights” groups. We know that the one agent that Elizabeth had a sexual relationship with on command from the Center (among many) that she actually developed feelings for seemed to be a leader of such a group.
But when the KGB supports the anti-Apartheid movement on the Georgetown campus by keeping tabs on pro-South African agents, their ally is a brutal member of Mandela’s ANC, who not only kills the South African government spy, but insists on “necklacing” him. Even our KGB spies who kill pretty much without compunction were more than a little queasy about this guy.
3. Blue Bloods— Fear of the Police is a Good Thing
Season 5, Episode 22, “The Art of War”
In the Blue Bloods season finale, a by-the-book chief of the NYPD gang unit (the always noble Dennis Haysbert) is gunned down in an execution in a restaurant, along with his wife.
Commissioner Reagan uncharacteristically ties his detectives’ hands by insisting everyone go the extra mile to follow the official detective manual (partly written by the dead man) in this case.
This, of course, frustrates Detective Danny Reagan, who has been given the case. (Yes, you are forgiven if you can’t get past the fact that all the Reagan cops and prosecutors seemed to be involved in every high-profile case in New York City.)
As in most Blue Bloods episodes, real issues of police work are given a good hearing and tried under pressure. And while the case is ultimately solved with Danny doing the least amount of rule-bending possible (though his DA sister disapproves at one crucial point), a powerful point is made that chaos can result from bad guys not having extra fear of gunning down cops.
This episode also featured a nice smackdown by Commissioner Reagan of a reporter who tries to stir up the community-versus-the-police-atmosphere narrative in a press conference—and a final scene that gives a good account of what the death penalty is good for.
2. The Good Wife Hunting Lodge/Gay Marriage Debate
Season 6, Episode 18, “Loser Edit”
In the current media narrative, anyone who didn’t “evolve” their position on gay marriage at the same time as Hillary and Obama has instantly become a hate-filled bigot.
The Good Wife seems to revel in having its Democrat main characters run into intelligent Republicans of the highest integrity who show up to tweak the preconceived notions of the people living in the Chicago insider bubble.
Since Season 1, this role has been filled memorably by Gary Cole, who plays Kurt McVeigh, a forensics expert who is also a Tea Party guy and a fan of Sarah Palin. Cole is also a Marlborough Man type who makes the firm’s ultra-liberal top partner, Diane (the great Christine Baranski), go so weak in the knees that she eventually marries him.
This year, Kurt takes his wife Diane to a hunting lodge filled with rich Republicans (and to her horror she finds out she’s thrilled by the hunt) and introduces her to R.D., an uber rich guy who finances conservative causes (sort of a Koch brother) played by Oliver Platt.
R.D. takes such a liking to Diane that he hires her to be the opposing view in mock trials that test the issues he wants to fund in court. This leads to a better debate on RFRA than was conducted on Hannity throughout the whole of the Indiana kerfluffle. (It even gave me a point I hadn’t thought of.)
In following episodes, the Illinois Democratic Party throws the titular character, Alicia, under the bus after she wins her state attorney’s race, because of an investigation that threatens to expose the fact that the party participated in voter fraud in order to preserve its majority in the state Senate. If this article were about the 11 most Un-PC moments, that would be next on the list.
See Next Page for the #1 Most Politically Incorrect Moment This TV Season
(This clip has spoilers, but if you are a fan, you’ve seen the shows. If you aren’t, by the time you get through 3 superb seasons, you will have forgotten the details.)
1. The Americans—Ronald Reagan vs. The Evil Empire
Season 3, Episode 13: “March 8, 1983”
The season finale of The Americans interrupted an intense husband and wife moment after Philip had committed a particularly cold and evil murder, with Ronald Reagan’s “Evil Empire” speech. It stops the two KBG assassins cold in their tracks.
Season 3 really was about the dehumanizing effects of communism, and how being cogs of the Evil Empire had permeated every aspect of the Jennings’s lives (even their children were not considered their own).
Reagan also made a passive appearance earlier in the season. The Jennings’s neighbor, Stan Beeman, is also an ace counter-intelligence agent with the FBI. When Stan goes off the bureaucratic rails to prove a supposed high-level Russian defector is really a KGB plant, he is in big trouble with his boss over his methods.
But then the boss’s boss shows up and reassures Stan, “The president has your back.” It’s a great contrast to the other side, whose bosses are issuing edicts about the Jennings children.
But to an even greater extent than ever before, the real, deep personal level to which Soviet communism corrupted the soul and sought to control every aspect of life was explored in every Russian character in The Americans. The Reagan speech was a perfect context on which to end the season.