I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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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, October 04, 2006

"Roc" (1991-1994)

Roc (Charles S. Dutton) was a garbageman in Baltimore. His sensible wife (Ella Joyce) was a nurse, and his father (Carl Gordon) lived with them. Popping in and out was Roc's neer'-do-well brother Joey (Rocky Carroll), a musician with misplaced priorities. Roc was always working towards the good life that he felt he and his wife should have. The man never had all the answers, as noted whenever he'd say, "I ain't worked that out yet", but he was decent and strong.

This was not your typical sitcom featuring African-American characters. There was no buffoonery displayed. The characters were working-class folks with real bills to pay. When hard subjects were brought up, the show hit them dead on, with little comic relief. An episode about police harrassment of people of color found Roc erroneously placed in jail. He had gone to an upscale apartment building to meet his brother, and the cops assumed he was trying to gain unlawful entry. Even after he was proven innocent, a cop had the nerve to tell him, "We're going to be watching you." Another episode had Roc shaming a drug dealer (Clifton Powell) into convincing a young man not to emulate his ways. The episodes moved like good short plays. In fact, there was an episode of the show that was aired live.

Charles S. Dutton is an ex-offender in real life. He had knifed a man during a disagreement. He discovered acting while in jail. He directed the Meg Ryan film Against The Ropes (2004), and appeared in many films including A Low Down Dirty Shame (1994). Ella Joyce was a suspicious cop in the film Set It Off (1996). Tone Loc and Heavy D, both rap musicians, had re-occurring roles on the show. Future Oscar winner Jamie Foxx played a memorable character named Crazy George in a few episodes. Members of the singing group En Vogue (who sang the theme song during the show's second season) were featured in some episodes. Legendary acapella group The Persuaders sang the theme song during the show's first season.

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