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SHOOT THE COMMUNITY? – Shoot the Messenger

I wasn’t privy to the preview of the film ‘Shoot the Messenger’ to a floor full of ‘community leaders’, leading lights, notables and other luminaries…

However, what I have to say was that some organizations like Ligali, who I want to stress, usually do a good job, were quick to do the intellectual jump stating that the author Sharon Foster had engineered the whole story to get a gig at the BBC. Or was implying that unless you are willing to portray your community in a negative way you will not find employment at the BBC. Some might have divergent views on those points but I actually disagree. You can not hijack an author’s work and lay all the sins of the world on her shoulders. Her track records show that she has always focused her work on the ills of her community and society at large via Babyfathers for example, undeservedly axed from BBC’s schedule a few years ago.

The Sopranos in the US, was lambasted by some intellectual circles in the Italian-American community as a piece of anti-Italian propaganda trying to portray all Italians as outfit-related. However, in most circles and those circles are called viewers who simply enjoy good drama, it is revered as one of the best TV shows ever. The Babyfathers series never got the opportunity of a deserved second season and it was a shame. It was probably down to bad scheduling and those rumors coming from the sidelines asking for the show to be axed. Most of the talent on display, luckily found opportunities on other shows.

Reading the available news dispatches about ‘Shoot the Messenger’ the same voices do seem to be at work again and are ready to bury the show and scare the schedulers by creating negative vibes around Sharon Foster’s last outing. One aspect worth noticing, is the absence of any mention of the plot, the acting, the art direction, etc..

I believe ‘The Crouches’ was just plain bad TV, and did not deserve to see the light of day. ‘Three non-blondes’ (BBC 3 or 2 sometimes) was good comedy with three talented comedians doing what they do best: entertain. In ‘Shoot the Messenger’ we end-up with just one amazing negative reaction focusing on representation or message sent to the rest of the world, as opposed to self-reflection on whether the program is depicting some existing reality or might be of any good value. Sure, I might agree with some that she has been courting controversy and is reaping what she sowed. As did the authors of Jerry Springer the Opera’, ‘The passion of Christ’, ‘Behzti’ (dishonour) …lately. Are we in danger of reaching a stage where ‘He who turns the camera against his community will end-up excommunicated’? I hope not.

The first question I want to be answered when reading a review on any show is: WAS IT A DAMN GOOD DRAMA? If yes, then it is worth talking about representation and the consequences or its impact on a community. If it is BAD DRAMA, then we shouldn’t bother giving the project, the column inches it doesn’t DESERVE.

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