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The following Featured Post comes from TV Series Group 1, Thread 3.

1. The Sims': an interracial "Everyman" family?
Mon, Sep 13, 1999 - 6:53 PM/EST
thaduke

In many discussions and drive-by single posts, I have seen that there are people who feel that the Sims' are not the "poster family" of the interracial age. Bill's problems with "his other Bill", the disconnectedness to some aspects of the family, the interactions.

My take is that they were probably chosen just because the producers could see that they WEREN'T a "poster family" or a "model family". I believe that the temptation was probably there to select a family on par with, what...TV's Huxtable's? It would smack all so pungently of an appeal to (fill in blank) group that "hey...see guys...we're just like everyone else!" However, the producers took the more high-risk, high-gain road of showing a family from the pioneer days or interracial relationships. Showing that the pioneers usually get the arrows, and they're still in ways dealing with their wounds is poignant and relevant. The reversal of the "traditional" roles is also a good twist. For the record, I feel that Bill is catching WAY too much flak for his "Artist" pursuit and personna. If you've ever hung around actors or musicians, you'll know he's no different that any other in affect, aspiriation, and behavior.

The problems in interraction between spouses, and Cicely's complaints, difficulties, and observations could be seen as giving fodder to individuals who would say, "see...that race-mixing is doomed...that's why we should stay with our own." In actuality, they speak volumes about how the Sims' are actually a real "Everyman" couple for interracial couples in particular, and couples in general. By not trying to scream "we're just like you", and not hitting us over the head with "a message" (although we've seen only two hours...got my helmet ready just in case), they actually get the "message" through loud and clear that they're no different than any couple, with the hopes, dreams, frustrations, fears, etc. that go along with relationships in this modern world.

Comments?

2. Part #1
Mon, Sep 13, 1999 - 8:37 PM/EST
christina

I have to agree with the majority, they certainly were not the family I expected. To me they did not reflect an "everyday" family... I am a 40 hour working mother of three girls, I cook, I clean I do laundry, my husband also works a 40 hour "factory" job, to me the "Sims/Wilson" family were more of a "alternative/lifestyle", than a working class middle american blue collar kind of family. And also living in New York as they do, seeing a bi-racial couple is more of a norm, than here in "small town" USA.

Let's talk "real world" here, where going into the local "Denny's", and not being served, and as far as Cicely going to Africa to find her "roots", the honest truth is the roots are right there in Queens, NY. I will continue tonight to watch part 2 in the series, but feel it does not in anyway reflect the issues that us in "middle america" face on a day to day basis in an interracial marrage.

3. Re: Part #1
Mon, Sep 13, 1999 - 9:00 PM/EST
thaduke

First of all, I'm sorry about your daughter, Christina: even though it was a while ago, it know it hurts.

Secondly: yes, I agree...the Sims/Wilson family isn't like my family...could they have chosen another family? Sure. But producers and TV these days have gone the exact opposite, and chosen "Huxtable"-ized poster families instead of your or my family. Is there a happy medium that the producers could have chosen that looks more like you or I? Probably. I don't know their criteria, and would have to hear from them (I'd like an online chat with them: that would be cool), but at least they were trying to avoid cliches. Gotta give them credit.

As for the daughter "exploring her roots", you're right: they're where she hung her hat for lo those many years. But I do thing it's good for her to get out of her element, and out of her "funk" at Colgate by going overseas. From what I've read, it gives her a different perspective on a lot of things...

Do you believe that the purposes and long term interests of biracial children and interracial relationships are best served by either (a) showing the mundane, everyday aspects of who we are, to demonstrate that we "put our pants on one leg at a time" just like other couples, or (b) the "you and I against the world" war-story, the negative experiences we've had tack. I know that it's important that we share that this happens to us, sure. I just don't know how well it will change hearts and minds. Or even if that should be the purpose of telling our stories, anyway.


Tha' Duke

4. reservations
Tue, Sep 14, 1999 - 4:58 AM/EST
susan966

I don't think that this family was the best choice to be the poster family for interracial couples (like it or not, they are, by virtue of being the only family portrayed in this series). My fear is that some of Bill Sims' irresponsible behavior toward his family (like going AWOL when his wife was sick, not coming to his daughter's birth) will misleadingly appear typical of African American males and/or interracial couples to the uneducated viewer, of which there must be many. If so the series could reinforce racist attitudes rather than undermining or challenging them. My point isn't to criticize Bill Sims (I'm sure he had his reasons) but the filmmaker's decision. If you are going choose only one family as the example of interracial marriage, why not pick one that is more typical and less likely to play into racist myths and stereotypes?

6. Poster Family?
Tue, Sep 14, 1999 - 10:31 AM/EST
ottercat

Look, guys,this is America, land of the non-conformist. Average is only math. Normal is and opinion. The Wilson-Sims family's real world isn't mine, but who says it isn't real? It's "AN American Love Story" not THE.

7. 3. The Sims' : an interracial "Everyman" family ?
Tue, Sep 14, 1999 - 10:43 AM/EST
iris

The Wilson-Sims may not be the "everyman family", but they certianly are remarkably like my family. No-one ever said that they were to represent middle america - in fact I don't think they want to " represent" anything. They are just who they are. I grew up with my musician father doing most of the cooking. It's good to finally see another family with that "reversal" of roles. I was tired of only see "traditional" families with "traditional" roles on television. What this says to me is that people may have tuned in to see an interracial family is like, but there are ways not related to race in which they are different from a TV or "everyman" family

10. "Typical interracial family"??
Tue, Sep 14, 1999 - 1:27 PM/EST
jay2

I agree with Iris, this family may not me typical, but it sure is like my family. I thought it was good to show a bit of the real life, on the road and at home, of a journeyman musician. How difficult and wearying it can be. I am very proud, myself, of my own musician husband's willingness to help at home, never seperating jobs into "women's" or "men's" work, just doing what's needed. The family shows a tremendous amount of love and support for eachother. I think that Bill's absences as mentioned on the show have to do with the ups and downs of a musicians life, as well as his admitted need to grow into the maturity needed to handle family responsibilities.

This lack of maturity can be seen in young families across the board, and I hear regret in his voice when he speaks of missing some of his kid's childhood, because he didn't know how to respond. So this family rings true to me. NO one's perfect, but the love helps them all through the hard times. Clearly, though it's sometimes been difficult, Karen feels Bill's love supporting her.

Read more featured posts here or continue reading thread 3 from TV Series Group 1.





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