It’s been almost a week since the new Netflix Original programming series The Upshaws premiered on Netflix, meeting rave reviews. And I must say that I agree with the reviewers. The Upshaws centers around a blended African American family living in Indiana that is working to meld their worlds together while tackling the day-to-day challenges presented to them. In the series, television and comedic veterans Mike Epps, Kim Fields, and Wanda Sykes lead their younger family members and offspring regardless of how simple or complex the situation.
Since May 12, The Upshaws has maintained Top 10 trending shows status, and it appears that it’s going to remain at the top for a while. Over the past few weeks, Netflix has unveiled new programs that I now have the opportunity to catch up on since I’m on summer break! Without spoiling it for those who may not have had the chance to view the 10 episode series, I will say that I find The Upshaws a refreshing take on the modern American family. Many issues and circumstances that appeared in the 10 episode installment are current issues presently discussed and experienced in many facets of our lives.
Another aspect that I will give credit to The Upshaws is that it is a beautiful example of blending the old world with the new. Television series and specials are finding their niches outside of the traditional Big 4 networks. But The Upshaws gave me that nostalgia I’ve been missing from newer projects. Although people think that the days of situational comedy reaching the numbers that they once did are of the past, I think it’s on the way back for a resurgence. Most of the programming of yesteryear is now reaching 20 to 30 year anniversaries. And despite their age, they are still beloved by millions. With that said, trends, whether fashion or not, often repeat every 20 to 30 years.
We’ve reached this mile marker in the road for black situational comedy, so I want to say that I believe The Upshaws is proof that the need, desire, and thrill of viewing comedic programming reflect all aspects of life for POC is just beginning. While I continue to wait for my favorite shows of the past to see the light of reboot, I will continue to hold out hope that more quality programming like The Upshaws will swing the pendulum in the direction of shows with meaning and purpose. After all, too much of one thing is never good, and it’s beyond time for television and media to add variety and vitality back into its purview.