"Imma bust you in the head 'til the white meat shows..."
I find myself more upset than expected by the death of Bernie Mac this weekend. I wasn't too familiar with his stand-up act, but his sitcom, The Bernie Mac Show was a big favorite, mostly because it reminded me of my childhood.
No, my mother wasn't a crackhead, and I didn't have to go live with my rich uncle in Hollywood. But there were plenty of spankings and verbal lashings in my house growing up, and I suppose it was refreshing to not only see it on TV in the '00s, but to garner laughter from it. I see Jordan, the insanely hyperactive, too smart for his own good, slightly swishy nephew and see myself at that age. I also see Bernie's exasperated expression as he tries to deal with this kid, the slight disappointment in his eyes, and I see a lot of my childhood there as well. Again, something very brave to do on television (a guardian who isn't 100% accepting and in love with his charges? Horror! That NEVER happens in real life!), to make the lead character somewhat unsympathetic. And to make all this dysfunction funny? Brilliant.
The show lost some of its sting as the years ground on (Jordan went from being on the dance team to chasing after girls...sure. Vanessa got less surly the older she got...sure.), but those first two or three years are some classic sitcom stuff. If you've never given the show a shot, catch it now in syndication. If you had step-parents or any kind of blended family, you'll dig these anti-Bradys.