One man enters, one man leaves
December 7, 2012 7:35 PM   Subscribe

Love The Walking Dead but am getting a little tired of the one black man rule, that has got me thinking are there any examples of two black men in current TV and or movies that are not specifically a "Black" show i.e. The Cosby Show, Tyler Perry, that has two adult black males interacting?
posted by kanemano to Media & Arts (27 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
do they have to be men? cause, Community
posted by mannequito at 7:39 PM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Stanley and Darryl from The Office.
posted by NoraCharles at 7:41 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Treme has considerably more than two, and is also a fantastic show. (The Wire, too, although it's off the air now.)
posted by eponym at 7:44 PM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

Key & Peele?
posted by dd42 at 7:59 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ensemble shows are pretty likely to fit the bill. Grey's Anatomy, for example. The smaller the cast, the less likely this is to be the case for obvious reasons.
posted by Justinian at 8:01 PM on December 7, 2012

Misfits has Alisha and Curtis.
posted by Garm at 8:05 PM on December 7, 2012

The first thing that came to my mind, though it's not "current," is Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Michael Dorn was only ever a main character with either a) LeVar Burton or b) Avery Brooks - never all alone. They seemed to pretty consistently try for "two women, two [black or Hispanic] people, two of one other minority, one each of the rest" style casting in the modern era.

Oh... and there are a couple of instances in the "revolving casts" shows (where people keep coming in and out.) I think Grey's Anatomy is one of those (I have literally no idea who is actually in that cast right now) - they also practice, or have practiced, race-blind casting, which reduces the amount of "why, hello, I'm the Token Gay Black Atheist Former Junkie with a heart of gold" kind of nonsense.
posted by SMPA at 8:13 PM on December 7, 2012

NCIS LA has one lead (LL Cool J) and two recurring black actors (Rocky Carroll and Adam Jamal Craig). CSI has Laurence Fishburne and Gary Dourdan. Grey's has three black characters but two are women.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:14 PM on December 7, 2012

Mike and Molly has Carl and Samuel.
posted by cecic at 8:25 PM on December 7, 2012

"Grey's Anatomy" has had a lot of black characters. First season had an African-American chief of surgery plus a male surgeon plus a female surgeon -- that I can remember. It was/is produced by a black woman, I believe.

Also, the new show "Arrow" has at least two black major characters (male).
posted by amtho at 8:42 PM on December 7, 2012

The Walking Dead might apply soon, assuming the inmate doesn't get offed. But considering how little attention he's been given–I can't even remember his name–this is just a speculative placeholder.

30 Rock has Toofer and Tracy, though it's now in its final season.

Falling Skies had at least three regular named, if somewhat secondary, characters though I can't recall just how much they interacted. Going into the new season, I think they're down to one, but that doesn't account for likely casting changes/additions.

If girls are allowed, Bones has Cam and Clark. He's technically a recurring character, I guess, but it's been several seasons now.
posted by Su at 9:04 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's a few years old, but there's some good discussion here.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:08 PM on December 7, 2012

It's a little older (1990s), but Homicide: Life on the Street was always very matter-of-fact about its realism in portraying Baltimore as a "brown town" (as Pembleton, one of its legendary characters, called it). It didn't call any special attention to this, but you couldn't help but notice, solely because this was (and still is) something television so rarely does. It was based on David Simon's book, and paved the way for all of his later work (some of which is quite deservedly mentioned above).
posted by CommonSense at 9:12 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Everyone forgets Griz and Dotcom on 30 Rock.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:46 PM on December 7, 2012 [12 favorites]

Captain Benjamin Sisko and his son on Star Trek: Deep Space 9. Not only a case of two male characters of color (and you get three if you count Worf!), but also a positive portrayal of a black single father.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:35 PM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]

Homicide: Life on the Street
Hill Street Blues
The Wire
St. Elsewhere

Also, I feel like you're asking about black males specifically, right? And main characters? Adults? Humans? Who exist and interact over a significant period of time? The racial and gender politics that you're getting at seem to be, uh, elusive, I guess. For instance, a black male and a black female isn't really anything, because who else will the tease/love interest be, especially when pitching the pilot? Screech? For every Dionne there must be a Murray, for every Jodie, a Mack. [Also, while racking my brain trying to answer this question, I've realized Lost, ER, Law & Order, Hustle, and (arguably) Grey's, are all examples of the phenomenon you're describing, which is fascinating.]
posted by lesli212 at 10:38 PM on December 7, 2012 [3 favorites]

Scandal has a black male regular and a black male recurring as well as a black female lead.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 10:58 PM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yes, Shonda Rimes is very good at this. There's currently four black male characters on Grey's Anatomy:

Dr Richard Webber (James Pickens, Jr)
Dr Jackson Avery (Jesse Williams)
Dr Shane Ross (Gaius Charles, recurring)
Dr Ben Warren (Jason George, recurring)

There's also a supporting character, a nurse named Tyler (Moe Irvin), who typically appears a couple of times a season.

Recently, the first three doctors I mentioned above, and Dr Miranda Bailey (Chandra Wilson), who is also black, were in a surgery scene together -- a scene performed by just those four actors. I was struck at the time by how cool that was to see, and how depressingly atypical.

Gaius Charles was also Smash on Friday Night Lights, which often (though not always? It's been a while since I watched it) had multiple black male characters.

Brad (Damon Wayons, Jr) on Happy Endings is mostly a One Black Man, but there have been scenes with him with some of his other friends, most of whom are black, in a couple of episodes.

And The Wire, of course.
posted by Georgina at 11:01 PM on December 7, 2012

Bill and Clay on Alphas. Not sure if they've even had a scene together, but they're both regulars.

Necessary Roughness Season 2 had TK and the rookie, but there was a lot of stuff I didn't like about the way that season went.

Last Resort. Surat and the Captain are the two powerful characters in opposition to each other. Sadly, they've just announced there won't be more than the first 13 episodes.
posted by rednikki at 11:12 PM on December 7, 2012

Might be stretching it, but Silver Spoons. With the business manager guy and his nephew, played by teenaged Alfonso Ribeiro.

Married With Children had a few black occasional characters toward the end, Griff and Officer Dan.
posted by lankford at 11:51 PM on December 7, 2012

Boardwalk Empire - It's a bit spoilerish to give full details but I liked how relationships between Chalky White and his family plus him with a certain other black character has developed in the latest season.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:00 AM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

Eastenders does from time to time.
posted by K.P. at 7:47 AM on December 8, 2012

Stanley and Darryl from The Office.

Don't forget Hank! (The security guard.) Also, Karen (Jim's girlfriend in season 3) is half black. Or at least the actress who played her (Rashida Jones, daughter of Quincy Jones) is.

The Simpsons: Dr. Julius Hibbert (the one who always laughs) and Carl (Homer's friend along with Lenny).

Arrested Development had no regular black characters, but there were Carl Weathers and Ice. You didn't say they have to be main characters.

Similarly, Seinfeld didn't have many black characters (quite surprisingly, for a show with so many characters that was set in NYC), but there were a few. The most notable might be Jackie Chiles (Kramer's lawyer) and Mr. Morgan (George's coworker who's integral to a few episodes, like "The Diplomat's Club" and "The Wink").

Stella, a great show that was cancelled after only 10 episodes, had a running gag where one of many characters who were all played by the same actor (Justin Lords, who's black) would show up near the end of the episode to help smooth over all the hijinks the main characters had gotten into. (This seemed to be skewering the tendency of sitcoms to resolve everything all too neatly after 22 minutes.)
posted by John Cohen at 8:13 AM on December 8, 2012

Wait, after rereading your question, I'm unclear on what the "rule" is supposed to be. Is it that a non-black show has no more than one black character? That's what I was assuming. But if you're saying a non-black show will have multiple black characters but they're never face to face, then my answer doesn't particularly contradict that. It's also not clear if you're asking about black men or black people of any gender. The whole question could use some clarification.
posted by John Cohen at 8:21 AM on December 8, 2012

John Cohen- Spoiler if you have not seen the Walking dead point #5
posted by kanemano at 11:59 AM on December 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

There's occasional interaction between Larry Wilmore and Wyatt Cenac on The Daily Show, though I think the lineup's changing at the end of this year, and Wilmore isn't a regular correspondant.
posted by NoraReed at 2:54 PM on December 8, 2012

Don't Trust The B- In Apartment 23 has Mark and Luther. They don't interact often but it does happen.

While George is only recurring, George and Owen on Go On do interact when George is there.
posted by GilvearSt at 2:55 PM on December 8, 2012

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