“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to diverse TV.” So said Idris Elba at the Screen Actors Guild Awards last month.
This year, TV serials saw a major sea change (applicable only to non saas-bahu viewers). Non-white people are the stars of shows on almost every network and streaming service, and not just Blacks and Mexicans, but Chinese, Indians and Arabs. And in an Indian context, I am not just talking about Raj Koothrappali kinda roles but major roles like Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”), Mindy Kaling (“TMP”), and a highly disappointing Priyanka Chopra (“Quantico”).
In today’s Needull, renowned NY Times journalists Wesley Morris and James Poniewozik discuss why this diversity matters for the viewers as well as the producers. The article helps us realize why this diversity makes our experience more authentic, without making it looked forced. For example, in “Master of None”, Aziz Ansari’s character Dev lives in a city that looks like New York — not the white New York of “Friends,” nor the black New York of “The Cosby Show,” or the diverse but fake New York of “Law & Order: SVU.” Instead, in this New York, we see real people, struggling with real problems and having friends from all ethnicities. However, some might criticize that, like South Indian movies, even though the protagonist in these serials are ‘diverse’, the love-interest is always white. But maybe, that’s what the viewers want.