Jerrybrice's Blog
The intersection of animation, entertainment, and politics

Arsenio Hall animated series pilot.

A  pilot I created and visually developed with popular comedian Arsenio Hall. This was a great moment in my career, and is where I learned about the politics of ”race” when it came down to presenting the image of the African-American family to the public, on a widely distributed , and highly influential TV show. My opinions and descisions relating to my career, the projects that I work on, and the subject matter of my own creations, were solidified by the knowledge I gained by navigating the shark infested waters of broadcast television, and mis-cast show runner’s. I found that the main agenda was the shaping of the publics opinions about ourselves as well as each other, the truth be damned, for large sums of money. It was a fight to keep the portrayal of the characters above the demeaning pile of cartoonish racial stereotypes that have damaged the image of African-Americans worldwide. I hope we succeeded even though we did not get to broadcast this to the public, at the height of Arsenio’s fame.

Do for self…

6 Responses to “Arsenio Hall animated series pilot.”

  1. Interesting observations. I take it, this was a kind of “sizzle” reel? What kind of feedback did you get from the network folk? What kind of compromises did they want you to make?

  2. Hey Ron, this was actually the pilot that the network ordered.I wished that we had done a ”sizzle” reel for them, I would have made it extra dope….lol.
    The network was worried about the tone of the work, which they deemed to be controversial at the time. I remember an executive from Paramount TV telling me that we should limit the portrayals of the characters to the accepted stereotypes about the races, that were so prevalent at that time.
    I just did not accept any stereotype at that, or any time, so I was just confused myself.
    The show runner, who f.y.i. was not African-American, had his own ideas, and perception about black people, and it was not one that I would say was respectful, but they were the experts…

  3. “Cleveland City Limits” would’ve been a cut above even with some of the stereotypes it seemed to transcend them anyway. Great animation makes me wish there was more of this show! When I moved to hollywood back in about 1982 we got an apartment, new phone, and we kept getting calls for this guy named Arsenio from people in Cleveland and from the Comedy Store…(we’d inherited his old number) had no idea who he was at the time of course. That’s my little “brush with greatness” story! lol

    • Hey John, thanks for the great story!!! I appreciate the comment on this piece.I think that Arsenio was trying to move society forward on the relationship front between all people, and he often would promote to me his concept to promote all the colors of the rainbow. My goal was to support him in his effort to do this.
      We all were just thinking about the future….lol.

  4. Cool! You know the oh so very popular and demeaning “Polish” jokes were a creation of the Nazi propaganda machine to make it “okay” what they were doing to the Poles? I actively oppose all racial humor- if a joke works, it will work without the hate.


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