If you can pull yourself from the wall-to-wall coverage of President Trump for the third day in a row, you will find that NBC recently premiered its latest sitcom Marlon on August 16. Marlon focuses Marlon Williams (Marlon Wayans) keeping up a cordial relationship with his ex-wife Ashley (Essence Atkins) as they raise their kids together. In contrast with the racially-charged and often hostile voices in the news media, the show comes off as surprisingly harmless. But even in one episode, that feeling can’t last.
The “Pilot” episode features a brief subplot where Marlon’s daughter Marley (Notlim Taylor) admits that she is being bullied on by some girls at her school. That’s pretty standard stuff for a comedy, but Marlon has his own perspective.
Ashley: Daddy and I need to talk to you.
Zack: Ooh, Marley's in trouble! This is new! [Chuckles]
Ashley: No one is in trouble, Zack. Okay? Marley, we sat with your counselor today. She said that you seem a bit withdrawn, and we just want to make sure that you're okay.
Marley: Okay. There are these girls at school--Tiffany and Claire. They tweeted that I was a nerd just because I told Ms. Perkins I had a passion for young adult literature.
Zack: That is very nerdy behavior.
Marlon: Wait. Hold up. You're being bullied? But you go to an all-white private school.
Ashley: What does that mean, Marlon?
Marlon: She's black. If this was Charlie Brown, she's Franklin. Black girls can't get bullied by little white girls. Listen, white people are genetically predisposed to fear black people.
Marlon: Google it!
It’s a shame that only a few bad jokes can bring down an entire episode, but then again, it’s also a shame we can’t go one episode without being reminded that a black character is black. And it's an even bigger shame that yet Hollywood celebrity is reminding me how racist I am simply for being born white. Looks like I’m in for a long fall season.