The premise of this show is simple: Take two families, a white one from Santa Monica, California, and a black one from Atlanta, Georgia, and have them live together in a house in L.A. The white family, who at times puts on make-up to look black, are: Bruno, the father; Carmen, the mother; and Rose, the daughter. The black family, who at times puts on make-up to look white, are: Brian, the father; Renee, the mother; and Nick, the son. I have been using the series to explore issues and thoughts regarding race relations.
This show went downhill fast. I am very disappointed. When I look back at my early reviews of the show, in which I spoke of hope the series would aid in progress of race relations, I just have to sigh. The show failed the world. This show helped the world about as much as an episode of Cops.
My confusion and naiveté stem from the billing of this show as a documentary series. The executive producer made The War Room, which was a good thought-provoking documentary.
But this series was more a reality show than a documentary. One of the early complaints I wrote about, the manipulation of footage, provided good clues that this show was more interested in controversy than in actually helping us understand other races.
Jesse Jackson may have said, “Keep hope alive!” but I was about ready to quit watching this show by episode three. The fourth episode, though, was a vast improvement. The best part of episode four involved Bruno and Nick, whose own families said they were ignorant about racism, as I wrote about in a prior Blogcritics' review.
Unfortunately, the fifth and sixth episodes were also quite bad. By the end of the show Nick had learned why it is unacceptable to let white people use the "N" word around him.
Throughout my reviews I have speculated that Bruno was a fitting representative of white male Americans. Bruno is the type of guy who says he is tired of blacks complaining about what he terms "that whole slavery thing." Bruno expresses frustration — sounding at times almost like jealousy — that blacks can use the "N" word but whites can't. Carmen, though, got it. "We don't have the right to use that word and they do," Carmen said. My prediction for this series was this: If Bruno leaves the show having learned something valuable, then this series will have been an asset to racial tolerance.