Netflix remains the 800 lb. gorilla in the streaming universe even with heavy hitters like HBO Max and Disney+ entering the scene. The streaming giant is still acting like a nervous startup afraid of the PC Police.
In the last few days Netflix pulled down two British TV shows featuring problematic materials, including characters in blackface. And it wasn’t done yet.
The streaming giant just yanked a 2015 episode of “W/Bob and David” because one of the sketch show’s leads appeared in blackface.
David Cross’s character in the episode darkened his skin, a measure made to illustrate how police allegedly train their rage on black, not white, Americans.
Cross tried to explain the setup, which included black actor Keegan-Michael Key as part of the bit.
“Hey all, Netflix is going to pull this sketch from ‘With Bob & David’ because the ridiculous, foolish character I play puts on ‘black face’ at one point,” Cross wrote in the tweet. “The point of this was to underscore the absurdity…well, here’s your last chance to figure it out.”
Co-star Bob Odenkirk rallied to the segment’s side on Twitter, too.
“[W]e considered every choice we made doing our show, and always aimed to make you laugh and think, and never make an obvious or easy point…that very much includes this sketch,” he wrote. “Our comedy is always about the human element, never about making a political point.”
Actually, the sketch in question makes a cultural point that overlaps into the political realm, now more than ever. Still, it’s almost quaint to see the artists trying to explain their art to Cancel Culture types.
Haven’t they been paying attention for the past five years … or even five weeks? Nuance, context and other vital elements aren’t considered when the social justice warriors wield their pitch forks.
One amazing element of Cancel Culture’s ascent is how major media outlets directly or indirectly cheer it on.
Here’s The A.V. Club, the far-left entertainment wing of The Onion, doing the former.
Cross’ flippant response is disappointing, though not entirely unexpected. In 2017, fellow comedian Charlyne Yi accused Cross of making racist comments toward her and mocking her Asian heritage. Cross responded by suggesting that both himself and Yi might be “misremembering” the event….
Odenkirk’s response similarly misses the point … a sketch about the police, particularly one invoking police harassment/brutality, and especially one that involves an ignorant white man donning Blackface to make a point, is political, period. There is nothing apolitical about cops. These responses highlight the privileged perspectives and ignorance that led the comedians to include Blackface in their sketch in the first place.
The saddest part of the A.V. Club response? How many readers blasted the site for its uber-woke stance. Here’s just one example:
The sketch used blackface knowingly as an attempt to punch up, skewering both white privilege and police brutality. There was no racial stereotyping, and people of color weren’t the butt of the joke. It’s akin to Tropic Thunder, and it is 100% fine.
S*** like this article fuels the slippery slope “woke scolds” caricature.
Readers searched the site’s archives, found the official A.V. Club review of that particular episode. Guess what it said?
One of Bob and David’s favorite subjects to mock are cultural warriors that wrap themselves in social causes but only really want to draw attention to themselves…
It’s a dicey premise, but Bob and David play it perfectly because the joke is ultimately on the obnoxious Daughtry, unaware that his white privilege affords him freedom from police harassment as he mugs for the camera with tidbits about civil liberties….It’s a brilliant attack against white liberals too oblivious of their own advantages to see that their selfless actions are often foolish and misguided, and also frequently does more harm than good.
What a difference five years, and a flipped narrative, makes.
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