Last night, BET decided they wanted to be about that life and actually put on some quality programming. I was skeptical but they kinda pulled it off. First was the BET Hip Hop Awards, which I actually ended up missing most of because negrolepsy got me. I took an accidental extended blink (read: nap) and woke up with only 40 minutes left in the show. I was just in time to see one Mr. James Todd Smith accept his award. He’s bout 78 years old and still FAHN! Heyyyyyyy! And we ain’t gon talk bout how Tyrese came on with a quick print shirt that had his Twitter handle on it. WE AIN’T!
Anywho, afterwards was the premiere of the show “Reed Between the Lines” so I stuck around to watch. The show has Malcolm Jamal Warner and Tracee Ellis Ross playing the Reeds, a middle class married couple with a pretty normal life. Malcolm’s character, Dr. Alex Reed, is an online English teacher and Tracee’s, Dr. Carla Reed, is a therapist. They have 3 kids (teen fraternal twins) and a little girl.
Besides them is a supporting cast that inclues
Thelma from Amen Anna Maria Horsford as Carla’s secretary and the annoying girl from The Best Man Melissa De Sousa as an acupuncturist.
The show wasn’t anything super original (nothing is now) but it was cute. At first, it started off awkward, but most TV pilots are that. But, by the 2nd episode, it was improving so that was promising. It flowed better and the cast seemed more comfortable.
Plus, Malcolm and Tracee look REALLY cute together on screen. They make an adorabo couple, and they had really good chemistry. I musn’t forget to mention Tracee’s wardrobe, which gave me everything I needed. That woman can rock an outfit with that dope body of hers!
Although the show was decent, and the main characters worked for me, it still had some drawbacks. The kids were a bit awkward, especially the ones playing the fraternal twins. They had no sibling-like chemistry and they just didn’t work for me. Every time they were on screen, the show got a bit boring. I wouldn’t be against them recasting those teens. I feel like they just don’t mesh well. The little girl was so cute though. She can stay.
Also, the laugh track threw me off because I didn’t find the show to be funny. I don’t think it’s funny enough to be a comedy but it certainly isn’t serious enough to be a drama. So when the laugh track played, and I was sitting on my couch with a blank stare, it felt off. I was kinda OK with the show not being obviously funny though. Either the writers are playing it super safe or they think they’re being funny when they’re not. I do think the dialogue felt a bit stunted though. They need better writing to really make those characters pop off the screen and to make us care more about their lives. And if they want to make us laugh out loud, they definitely need to inject some good one-liners or something.
“Reed Between the Lines” is no Cosby Show, even with the Malcolm Jamal Warner connection and that’s perfectly fine with me. It follows the same formula of an upwardly mobile Black family with cute kids but it doesn’t try to be “Cosby.” I don’t think it’s even fair to expect it to be that epic. That is how we get super high expectations and then feel butthurt when shows don’t meet them. Every Black middle class show based around family cannot and will not be the Cosbys. There will NEVER be another, and we need to accept that.
Seeing some attractive Black folks on my screen doing non-hoodrat things brought me joy. And besides “The Game” there are few other Black scripted shows on right now so I was glad to see “Reed.” For those reasons alone, I wanted to watch it. And even though it does have it’s downsides, the show wasn’t bad. I’m going to give it a chance to really get its legs because I want it to succeed. I want to make sure that Hollywood realizes that there is an audience for non-Tyler Perry, non-chitlin circuit shows and films. I’ll support this show.
I am typically quick to snatch BET’s wig for their subpar shows and other random things. But on this one, I’ll give them props. They seem to be listening to our constant roasting and trying to do better with their programming offerings so I’ma let them cook. Lemme find out Debra Lee’s tryna get that station’s life together in 2012. LEMME FIND OUT!
“Reed Between the Lines” is a breath of fresh air and I’ll be tuning in again next week. The writing could be stronger but it is decent. I’ll give it a B-.
Did you guys watch it? What are your thoughts? Are you gonna watch it again?