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Issa Rae Pitches a “Black 90210 or Gossip Girl” and It Sounds Like the Best Show Ever

Attention TV networks and streaming services! Issa Rae has an idea for a new TV show that will almost certainly make you bank. Check out her pitch above, and then get on that shizz before someone beats you to it.

Highlighting the fact that there hasn’t really been a TV show that focuses on the lives of black teen characters since 1996’s Moesha, and clearly being a fan of soapy teen dramas, Rae spoke with The New Yorker about a “90210 or Gossip Girl for black kids.”

Spitballing that it could either be called Ladera Heights 90041 or Potomac, Maryland 20854, her show would star L’il Ritchie, a rich teen who’s tired of the “access and excess” of his life. And, as Rae has a weakness for the drama, there would of course be a thirsty “ho character” who’s “always on her ho shit.” Based on her writing on Insecure, I’m confident that despite being labeled the “ho character,” there would be a feminist angle to her, and there would be no slut-shaming, only scheme-shaming. I am here for this.

Of all the celebrity gag pitches at The New Yorker, Rae’s is the only one I’d actually want to see developed and think would be cool to watch. I love that Rae is an unabashed fan of shows like Gossip Girl, which you might have caught in a recent episode of Insecure, when Issa went to go have a one-night-stand with her neighbor who was watching Gossip Girl on DVD.

It also gets me thinking about the fact that back in the late 80s and through the 90s, there were so many shows with black protagonists and majority-black casts. Shows like In Living Color, Martin, Moesha, Sister, Sister, Girlfriends, Living Single, Roc, The Cosby Show, and 227 were not only on TV, but were on major networks and doing well. They were mainstream shows that everyone, not only black audiences, watched. So, what the hell happened? How did we regress to the point that we’re actually seeing fewer shows featuring all or mostly-black casts, and that these shows can only seem to find life on streaming services these days?

Hopefully, creators like Issa Rae who are killing it on prestige platforms like HBO will lead the charge in bringing shows like that back.

(via The Fader, image: screencap)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former Mary Sue assistant editor from 2015-18. Teresa's returned to play in the TMS sandbox as a freelancer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.