Friday, February 12, 2010

Interracial relationships on TV: Can Private Practice break the trend?

Could this be the dawning of a new age in television? Can Private Practice break the trend and feature an interracial couple in a relationship that will last? I've been keeping an eye on various shows since I last wrote my blog on interracial relationships on 90210 and Privileged. Its disheartening to see that this is nearly an impossible task. More often than not these couples tend to break up and go back to dating within their own race. Reminds me of straight people who flirt with being gay before deciding they were always straight to begin with. I've tried to think of interracial couples on tv in recent memory, and I cannot find an instance where it ended happily. Another things that bugs me is that interracial couples are not allowed a full level of intimacy like straight white couples. Why is it so difficult to show people kissing on the lips? Why is the cameraman or woman instructed to shoot the back of the head? Let's not talk sex scenes because you won't see them. The last time I can recall an interracial couple really having a steamy sex scene was in Battlestar Galactica: The Plan. The underused Rick Worthy who played Simon got a steamy scene before his character decided to (spoiler, highlight if you want to know)kill himself.

This brings me to Private Practice which is a spin-off of Grey's Anatomy. Addison Montgomery as played by Kate Walsh lives next door to her best friend's ex-husband, Sam. Addison has been best friends with Naomi and Sam (Audra MacDonald and Taye Diggs) since college. Naomi and Sam used to be married and are now divorced. I could tell from the pilot that there was chemistry between Sam and Addison, and felt that they were missing out on a good story. However, at the time the end goal was to pair her with Tim Daly's character. It seems like things have changed and the opportunity has opened up for an Addison and Sam pairing. I'm hesitant to get too excited, because history has shown that these couples can't last. Also, pairing a white woman and a black man carries a lot of baggage historically. The assumption gets made that if a black man is dating a white woman it is a status thing. That may be true in some cases, but couldn't it also be for love as well? I've had my own issues with white men dating Asian women and the bad connotations that go with that. Ever since I've had the chance to observe weddings my cynical heart has thawed. I've been able to witness people that were dating a person of another race because they loved them. Perhaps before we go and judge people for their choices in who they want to date and why they want to date--we need to step back and think is this about love? Is this about two people who truly, madly, deeply love each other? That's all that matters right?

In closing, I would like to challenge Shonda Rhimes, Betsy Beers, and the writers of Private Practice to go there. Let Sam and Addison be a couple. The fact that Sam's ex-wife is Addison's best friend will only lead to great drama. I also want to see them as a happy, passionate couple. They say the fastest growing population in America are those of mixed race. Wouldn't it be great for them and all of us to see that reflected on our television screens.