Monday, July 23, 2007

"Baldwin Hills" on BET

BET (Black Entertainment Television) Network recently released a schedule of new original programming. They've released a standard fare of Black-oriented shows, including: "Hell Date," "Take the Cake," "S.O.B," "Hot Ghetto Mess," and something called "Baldwin Hills." It seems that "Baldwin Hills" is a Black-version of MTV's "Laguna Hills."

According to the BET synopsis of the show, "Baldwin Hills' is
"...a reality docu-drama that explores African American teenage life from the point of view of 11 upper-middle class teens. BALDWIN HILLS, also known as the Black Beverly Hills, is an upscale Black neighborhood in Los Angeles where pro athletes, TV and movie stars, doctors, lawyers and engineers live. This reality show will focus on kids who split their time between school, the beach, pool parties, high-end shopping, and driving their parents' (or their) luxury cars. Some of them are smart and hard-working, while some of them are spoiled and overly entitled."

A Los Angeles Times article is quoted,
"The Unusually Entitled Young Person has become a familiar TV trope in recent years, but save for reruns of "The Cosby Show" and "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," black teens in this income bracket are largely absent. (Another rare exception is MTV's routinely glorious "My Super Sweet 16," which is equal opportunity in its selection and presentation of spoiled young people.)

The innovations of "Baldwin Hills" stop there, though — these kids are, by and large, just as frivolous as their peers down the 405. They attend parties (thrown by Jordan, one of their own), shop at Christian Audigier (except for Staci, who, shops at Rainbow) and inch tentatively toward romantic mismatches."

plez sez: i was SHOCKED! having pretty sworn off BET because of its lack of quality and original programming, i was pleasantly surprised when i watched the first three episodes of "Baldwin Hills" (which airs on Tuesdays at 10:00 pm ET). the kids and their families look and feel very familiar to me, i quickly identified with their lives as middle class Black teens coming of age in America.

after 4 seasons of expletive-filled "College Hill" which began its last season with a bloody brawl between two of the female cast members and suffering through week after week of unintelligible shows where one could not follow the dialogue with all of the bleeped out curse words, i was ready to throw in the towel on ALL of BET's evening programming.

it has been quite refreshing to see some clean cut, attractive, respectful, and ambitious Black kids on television. my wife has already identified which girls (Willie and Gerren) she wants my 5-year old daughter to be like and which boys (Moriah and Gaven) she would want my daughter to date (when she is old enough, of course).

and with the addition of "Run's House," it appears that some good, clean, wholesome family entertainment can finally be found on BET. i'd like to give them kudo's on a job well done!




16 comments:

Terrence said...

BET is still 85% garbage. The number has improved with additions of Baldwin Hills and Hell Date. Hell Date is hilarious and isn't well........stereotypical ghetto.

Our community and the world (wherever BET is shown) needs a show like Baldwin Hills to offset all of the other garbage.

Although it's a great show, Baldwin Hill is still too "young" for my liking, but SO FAR it appears to be a great addition to BET's lineup.

DJ Black Adam said...

Maybe the show is good, I will never know, I am done with BET, and hope to one day have a level of wealth where I can start my OWN network geared to the African American audience with quality programing.

I used to watch BET back in the Video Soul / Roc / Teen Summit / Tavis Days days, I am disgusted by what it has become.

Nothing against the show, unfortunately it isn't on a network that I would consider watching.

Anali said...

NPR had a nice commentary about the show. It sounds like an improvement over what's on now, but I got rid of cable years ago, so I won't be watching.

plez... said...

terrence,
BET is still mainly crap and this is the ONLY show that i currently watch on the network.

dj,
i'm not an advocate for BET, so i will not try to pursuade you to watch the network because of one 30-minute show! *smile* stick to your guns and maybe they'll realize the error of their ways.

anali,
like i said, i was pleasantly surprised with the clean cut kids, lack of cursing, and the seeming respect that the kids show their parents. this is rare for a show about teenagers of any ethnicity!

FERGIE said...

Its been so long since you all have had quality programming, you think a 10% improvement is good. Baldwin Hills is crap. A bunch of scripted bologna that they are trying to pass off to us reality tv. BET give me a break!!!

plez... said...

fergie,
i will agree with you that it has been a long time (i guess almost non-existent) since BET had a quality program!

Anonymous said...

I think Baldwin Hills is a great show and I think you are wrong to be doggin BET out like that. Enuff said

plez... said...

Anonymous,

i like "Baldwin Hills," too. And i don't recall doggin' BET out... just offered my opinion about the quality of their programming.

Owzer said...

I don't like what the show stands for. It showcases the materialism that America, let alone black america, has become. I think that this is a detriment to Black America. We watch the so called Black Entertainment Television and think that life is all about expensive cars, big houses, and fashionable clothes. Extreme commerciallism. Furthermore, this show just shows the ugliness in black elitism. These young people don't want for anything, and yet they have the audacity to say in the opening credits "not all black people live in the ghetto". Well, what are we gonna do about that? No kid chooses to grow up poor or in the ghetto, so why make such a statment? We will never grow as a race unless ALL of us grow as a race. The exclusiveness and the selfishness expressed in this show is, in my opinion, damaging. But, it is entertaining, and I am young, so I will watch this show just to see what the rich black folks are going through.

plez... said...

owzer,
thanks for stopping by and i welcome your perspective.

by your own admission, both of us find the show entertaining, but probably for different reasons. i was raised watching shows like "Good Times," "What's Happening?", and "The Cosby Kids"... getting a weekly dose of what it was to be Black and live in the ghetto; something that didn't quite resonate with me, because i was Black and didn't live in the ghetto. through my lens, television portrayed us a people who enjoyed and glorified our status as 2nd class citizens in the US.

as i've gotten older, i've been able to witness the "materialism" of "The Cosby Show", "The Jeffersons", and "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" (which incidently isn't very far from Baldwin Hills in the LA area). personally, i found it uplifting to see successful (and yes, RICH Black folk), something that i aspired to be.

i am not even close to being rich, but i'm far removed from the ghetto (and the associated ghetto mentality). as such, i see a wholesome show like "Baldwin Hills" and see the kind of teenagers that i grew up with and the kind of kids that i would like for my daughter to associate with.

elitist? maybe. probably. ugly? not to my way of thinking!

i only pray that i have the luxury of trying to decide what kind of car to buy for my daughter when she's old enough to drive. i only pray that i have the luxury of helping my daughter pick which top notch university she will attend to get her master's degree or PhD. and i only pray that she will have no knowledge of what it's like to grow up in the ghetto!

i respect your opinion (and you state your argument quite eloquently), but i don't see the damage in exclusivity. i hold out the hope that those without will aspire to work hard and acquire the things that those with have. that is what i see as the value of "Baldwin Hills"... in addition, to the entertainment value.

Owzer said...

Sir, it sounds very nice on paper, while we all aspire to grow rich and get our children all that they need and want. We also want the best for our kids, and I understand your view. However, the material gain that television expresses is not reality. It's television, and simply that. Until our kids understand the world's problems, only then shall we overcome our status as 2nd class citzens, because that is reality. Regardless of anything that is shown on TV, the negative will always shine through it. The mere fact that those people are living in their castles and not worrying about the world's energy crisis is appalling. They flaunt all they have like the Parises and the Lindsays and do not give a care about anything outside of their bubbles. What they do is affecting people in the ghetto. Not just American ghettos, but ghettos worldwide. Our people need to step up and face reality. The educations that we are working hard for is for individualism and WILL destroy our world. If you want our children to continue down the path that is the so-called American Way, then so be it. The American Way is killing the earth and killing us all. That's not a reality sir. It's masking the reality of the world. But, it's entertainment... and perhaps that is destroying our world as well.

Do you care about the energy crisis or any other global issue?, or are you like the millions of Black Americans who are oblivious to the world's problems?

plez... said...

owzer,
from "Baldwin Hills" to destroying the Earth... a bit of a leap, if you ask me! *smile*

you ask: do you care about the energy crisis or any other global issue?

plez sez: yes, i do! i care that we have had close to 4,000 Americans die in Iraq because that country sits on large reserves of oil. i care that thousands of Black people are dying in Darfur. i care that AIDS is killing thousands of people around the world. and i care that the pollution spewing from our cars and trucks are a contributing factor to global warming and a depletion of the earth's ozone layer.

you continue: ...or are you like the millions of Black Americans who are oblivious to the world's problems?

plez sez: NOPE, i can't say that i am! as evidence by my previous response, i think i have a pretty good grasp on what's going on the work... so i guess i'm NOT like you people (oops! i mean those Black Americans) who are living their lives in oblivion!

but i would be remiss if i didn't ask, how "the education that we are working so hard for" will destroy our world? i would think the lack of education would be the culprit in the eventual destruction of our world... help me understand.

Owzer said...

Sir, you are right about the *smile* part. But it is alarming to me and I find it hard to smile when there are many of US (Black Americans) that do not take the world's issues into consideration. BET is becoming like a mask to cover reality.

Perhaps the show does acknowledge some positive light in our group, on that I will not argue. But now is not the time to show young black people partying, spending, and wasting on frivolous things. And these teens support BET to the fullest, possibly oblivious to the world's issues. Many of the young black teens tuning in, whether they are from a suburb or a ghetto, are oblivious to the world's issues. I will agree it is a step up in quality.

As for it being a leap, it's not sir. All of this is connected, indeed, everything is. Our luxury sedans and expensive lifestyles come at the risk of someone's well being and ultimately our own. By our selfish need to emulate the lifestyles of the rich and famous and 'move on up':), we are adding to world problems. However, if that wealth is obtained and you live a sustainable lifestyle, then I see no problem there. But be honest, most of us want to get rich to live like the stars, with big cars, big houses... big everything! And at what cost, the world!

Now, I will answer the question you have asked me. I do agree with you that the lack of education will destroy the world, but it seems to me that the more knowledge we have obtained, the worst things have gotten. This is on a whole. As for US getting education, I think most of us retreat to the hills with what we know and never look back sir. Even if one did not come from the ghetto, we are all connected. We must grow as a people if we are to destroy our 2nd class status and let the world know that we are great! The advance of the individual that has been a major part of American life has proven wrong (after over 100 years, on a whole, not much has changed in the way we think, live, and treat each other). We can't leave our brothers behind. It's difficult, I don't have answers or solutions, but I don't want to give up sir.

But, I do enjoy the hijinks and drama that occur in the show, don't you? It may be different from the shows on BET, but it is no different than the other shows on other networks highlighting spoiled teens and their useless, unnecessary drama.

On a side note, a bit extreme, but I think our youth would do better without television. I'm just extreme though. When I was younger, I didn't always have cable, so I fed my mind with reading.

Thank you for showing me your point of view so far. I look forward to hearing more of it on this issue.

plez... said...

owzer,

right now, the only problem i have with you, is that you keep calling me "sir!" HA HA HA... i'm really not that old! *smile*

i have not seen Balwin Hills for 2 weeks now, i've been traveling on business... so i hope that i'll be able to catch up this weekend (i record the shows on my dvr).

...and for the record, this is the ONLY show that i watch on BET. i haven't found any other programming that is worthy of my time!

Owzer said...

LOL, I'm sorry, I just didn't want to sound like I was being disrespectful or anything.

plez... said...

oh, it's all good... i appreciate you for coming thru my blog and being BOLD enough to state your perspective on things. i have the utmost respect for you, as well.