Compelling Issues

15 TV Shows That Got Diversity *Mostly* Right

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Diverse Television Shows


As a lowly production assistant trying to make my way through the entertainment industry, I’ve been the fly on the wall in rooms full of various executive producers and network heads yelling at each other about what should and shouldn’t air. Most of it is logistical and way more boring than you’d imagine, but one word that’s always interesting to hear a bunch of white men toss around is “diverse.” I’ve seen grown men go pale realizing someone they’ve employed misidentified an actor’s name during a live broadcast. While it is a sign of progress to see people in positions of power express concern for the integrity of their content, the fact that most of these television executives are motivated simply by money means that they still don’t quite understand meaningful diversity.

I’ll spell it out for you: having one black best friend to crack jokes and offer vague advice every few plot arcs is not meaningful diversity. Honestly, even if the person of color thrown into the show does have depth to them, one character isn’t enough to justify actual “diversity,” when the rest of entertainment history has been led almost exclusively by white actors. Fortunately, not every board room is packed with nervous white capitalists who would love to just reboot Friends (am I throwing shade at the new Will & Grace? I might be). Sometimes a network trusts the creators of color they hire to produce real, actual diverse TV shows that are entertaining and tell meaningful stories.

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