I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

My Photo
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

"The Bernie Mac Show" (2001-present)

I haven't seen this show lately, but judging from some episodes I saw last season, it appears to have morphed into something different. It seems like any other modern family sitcom that's on, now that it appears that Bernie and wife Wanda (Kelita Smith) have gotten used to Bernie's nieces and nephew, Vanessa (Camille Winbush), Bryanna (Dee Dee Davis), and Jordan (Jeremy Suarez).

The first season was the best. It began with Bernie, a successful comedian, having to travel back to his hometown of Chicago to take custody of his sister's kids. His sister has a drug problem, and fell down on her job of being a parent. Bernie and Wanda are childfree, so they had to make quite an adjustment, although Wanda seemed to deal with it better than Bernie. The kids live with them in their house in California. Bernie is from the old school of raising kids: spank and spank often. The kids really tried his patience in the beginning, especially oldest girl Vanessa, or Nessa, as Bernie calls her. That girl would try the patience of Job with her constant back talk and eye rolling. Jordan was no better. He had problems with peeing in public, and came across as a wimp who needed to take lessons on how to be tough. Bryanna, or Baby Girl, as Bernie calls her, generally doesn't cause trouble, but she is often egged on to act out by her older siblings. Bernie snapped at the kids that he was going to beat their heads open "until the white meat shows". The next thing he knew, he was explaining his comments to a child welfare worker whom the kids had called on the child abuse hotline.

Wanda is viewed as the "cool auntie" by the kids, who get their jollies by making life hard for Uncle Bernie every chance they get. There was one episode where they locked him out of his own house, then laughed at him while he yelled at them through the window to open the door. Another time, Bernie was a guest on a radio show, and made the mistake of making jokes about the kids and their mom on the air. Vanessa called in and repeated some unflattering remarks that Bernie had made about the physical appearance of one of the djs, a female. "At least I didn't talk about your mama," was the closest Bernie came to an apology to the dj. In order to combat some of the madness, Bernie talks directly to the audience in segments sprinkled throughout the story. "Now America, you know I'm right!" he'll say.

Some of the best moments come during the closing credits. Bernie and Wanda got into a disagreement when Bernie made a comment during an interview that he would get with actress Halle Berry, if he had a free pass to do so. Bernie had said, however, he would only run away with Halle if Wanda had passed away. During the end segment, Wanda is seen laying in a casket at a funeral home, while Bernie stands looking mournfully down on her. Halle Berry shows up at his side. "Come on baby, the plane is waiting!" When Bernie lingers a little more, Ms. Berry says, "I don't know why you married her anyway." Wanda raised up out of the coffin and says, "I'll tell you why he married me. Because I'm the (bleep)!" The women exchange words, and Ms. Berry says, "Then get your ass out then!" The two women prepare to fist fight, with Bernie in the middle. Then all three break character and fall out laughing.

The best episode I ever saw was a two parter where Bernie took the family back to Chicago to attend the funeral of his uncle. There he has to deal with a lazy cousin (played by Don Cheadle), who's constantly hitting him up for money. When Bernie finally snaps on him--in the middle of the funeral--it is one of the funniest moments in the series. The best moments are poignant ones. Vanessa is hurt because her mother, who is in rehab, makes a promise to see her but lets her down. Bernie cries with his niece as he comforts her. Then Bernie is hit with a major surprise on the plane ride home. He opens up a box of things left to him by his uncle and finds his birth certificate inside. His uncle's name is listed in the box for the dad's name. Bernie is floored by this revelation.

If you've seen the movie The Original Kings of Comedy, then you know that Mac's act is hard edged. Unlike comedians D.L. Hughley and Steve Harvey, the censorship rules of TV have not toned down Mac's style. I just wish the series was more like it was during the first season.


Post a Comment

<< Home