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On TV, Interracial Couples In A Too-Perfect World

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On TV, Interracial Couples In A Too-Perfect World

Opinion

On TV, Interracial Couples In A Too-Perfect World

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RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

Still, TV critic Eric Deggans finds those shows rarely reflect the real drama of mixed marriage.

ERIC DEGGANS: On "Parenthood," Crosby Braverman and his fiancée Jasmine are so mismatched, they can't even load a dishwasher without getting in a fight.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "PARENTHOOD")

MONTAGNE: (as Crosby Braverman) I can't marry someone who will not let me make any decisions. Okay, I'm starting to realize that you are very controlling. I mean, how we load the dishwasher.

DEGGANS: He's flighty. She's focused. He's non-committal. She's makes long- range plans. Oh, and she's African-American, while he's a white guy. But like so many interracial couples on network TV these days, their racial and cultural differences almost never come up, even in this awkward moment, which came during a pre-marriage counseling session in Jasmine's mom's church.

U: Who takes the lead when it comes to decisions about your child's education?

MONTAGNE: (as Jasmine) I do.

U: Have both considered what religious instruction you'll give your child?

MONTAGNE: (as Crosby Braverman) Well, I think we're going to probably encourage him to decide.

MONTAGNE: (as Jasmine) Yeah. But he's a child. So in the meantime, he'll go to church here and go to Sunday school and, yeah.

DEGGANS: (Soundbite of TV show, "Mr. Sunshine")

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: (as Crystal) There you two are.

DEGGANS: (Soundbite of TV show, "Mr. Sunshine")

MONTAGNE: (as Crystal) That's my fella's name, Darius Washington. Ring a bell, Alonzo?

MONTAGNE: (as Alonzo) Mm, no. Should it?

MONTAGNE: (as Crystal) Well, I just assumed all you brothers knew each other.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

DEGGANS: But what really sold this scene for me, was what the couple said after the boss walked away.

MONTAGNE: (Alice) Did you just pick up on what was going on there?

MONTAGNE: (as Alonzo) Yeah. As subtle as it was, I got it.

MONTAGNE: (Alice) She obviously just asked us out because she's dating a black man, and then assumed that you would know him because he's a brother.

MONTAGNE: (as Alonzo) Look, it's no surprise Crystal is insensitive. This is the woman who handed Yo-Yo Ma her dry cleaning. But the point is, she wants to have dinner with us. She's trying. I think we should have said yes.

MONTAGNE: (Alice) Really?

MONTAGNE: (as Alonzo) Yeah. And who knows, she spends time with us, the next time, she won't ask the guys from Los Lobos to park her car.

DEGGANS: It's time for network TV to fully tap the potential of these couples. Let them talk about the issues we're already tackling in the real world.

MONTAGNE: Eric Deggans is the TV and media critic for the St. Petersburg Times.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: And you're listening to MORNING EDITION, from NPR News.

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