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Growing up, I always saw television not as escapism–but as a reflection of reality. It showed me things that summed up my life and the lives of those around me.
Things have changed.
Something truly awful has been happening to my safe TV world in the past few years, and it has got to stop. What’s up with all of these shows starring minorities? It seems like they’ve come out of nowhere, and I, as a white male in his 30s, just can’t connect whatsoever.
Never mind that everyone else has had to watch shows featuring people that look like me since the beginning of television time. I’m watching now, and there are definitely a number of shows starring people who sure don’t look like me.
How am I supposed to connect to a show about a guy’s experiences dating, spending time with his parents, and trying to figure out who he is as a person when an Indian-American plays him? I’m not Indian-American, so when I watch that show all I see is a different experience to mine.
Raj from The Big Bang Theory is on TV all the time, and his funny accent is hilarious! Surely that’s representation enough for people who feel outcast? That show is like the biggest thing on TV, and it’s showing me a person I’d never consider in normal life. Now I know exactly how people like that behave!
I’ve already done my share of watching shows with diverse casts. I watched The Wire. Thank God for McNulty, or I’d have never made it through that one.
I may just have to give up TV soon and only watch movies. At least there I can see Jake Gyllenhaal play the Prince of Persia, or Gods of Egypt played by Gerard Butler and that guy from Game of Thrones. People that I can see myself in. People that look like me. Which is what I need for my enjoyment.
As a white male in his 30s, it’s horrible to discover that maybe people aren’t concerned about me 100% of the time. Why are others suddenly so important? Sure, there are other shows I could watch, and I do, but I don’t want to have to worry about not seeing enough people like myself represented in pop culture whatsoever–it’s not fair.
Yiannis Cove (@ycove) is a comedy writer and filmmaker from London. Find more of his work at yianniscove.com.