Seven things every feel-good black comedy must have:Posted: May 25, 2011
- a special occasion. Special occasions are a must because they’re so easy–perfect for a lazy screenwriter. You have Christmas, a wedding, or a funeral and all of a sudden, you can create all these crazy characters that would never interact with each other otherwise. You also have the benefit of a large, ensemble cast and multiple plotlines that all magically tie themselves up by the end of the two hours. Special occasions also enable lots of cameos and ‘who’s who’ of the black Hollywood scene.
- Loretta Devine. These days you can’t watch a black movie without Loretta. With her singular, breezy voice and her droopy eyes, sista has made the rounds from one black movie to another. She is the black matriarch, which brings me to my next point. Every feel-good black comedy has to have a
- black matriarch. An older black woman, usually widowed, who everybody loves inexplicably. She’s the mother of the contentious adult children who make up the main characters of the film. She’s stubborn, usually, but preternaturally wise. She loves to cook. She likes to pray.
- Christian overtones. Every feel-good black comedy got to pay its Jesus dues. Most of the time it comes across as ostentation. Make that every time. The family will say grace at the table, or talk about God once or twice.
- suggestive dialogue, crude and sexual humor. because the paradoxical thing about feel-good black comedies is that while they have to pay lip service to God, they also have to entertain, and the easiest, laziest way to do that is by injecting a lingering shot of a woman in a figure-hugging dress, or having the camera rest just a moment too long on a woman’s cleavage. Or you’ll having ridiculously good looking guys play football on a beach with their shirts off. There’s an aesthetic that they go for. More of that in number 6. Every feel-good, black comedy must have
- beautiful people. Movie goers don’t want to be reminded of our homeliness. So we go to the big screen to watch insanely good looking people argue with their husbands about their disinterestedness lately, vamp it up for the handsome, lower class guy. Their bodies are slick, sick, slick ,the weaves always on point, the makeup just right, the lighting favored to highlight the cheekbone, the curve of a lip, the impeccable skin.
- a happy ending. It is a feel-good, black comedy after all. You must leave the theatre (or in my case, Bradford’s room) with a vague sense of satisfaction, remembering how nice it is to see black people on a big screen looking pretty.
I double dare you to find a feel -good black comedy that doesn’t have at least one of these characteristics. Come on, go ahead.