What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that, on the upside, this series has black and white characters interacting regularly as friends and family, and characters are often ribbed across color lines. But characters are also (less-successfully) mocked across gender-role lines, with many jokes based on traditional stereotypes: Ridicule is heaped on men who are gentle or affectionate, women who are anything other than sexy, and anyone who doesn't fit neat models of "attractive" perfection.
What's the story?
Spun off from UPN's successful One on One, CUTS is meant to be sharp in the conflict-ridden style of Moonlighting or Cheers. But Cuts puts a new spin on the formula: Kevin is black and Tiffany is white, which opens up a world of back-and-forth banter across racial lines. Mismatched in almost every way, former hairstylist-to-the rap stars Kevin Barnes (Marques Houston) and spoiled rich girl Tiffany Sherwood (Shannon Elizabeth) have to get along now that they're co-managing his family's former barber shop -- which her family now owns. In the shop -- which Tiffany is gradually turning into a hot urban day spa -- Kevin and Tiffany are surrounded by manicurist Candy (Shondrella Avery), womanizing hairstylist Walt (Rashaan Nall), chubby barber Ace (Edward "Grapevine" Fordham, Jr.), and eccentric stylist Faith (Beatrice Rosen).
Is it any good?
Unfortunately, the leads lack the kind of chemistry required to make this premise work. Additionally, plot lines are often predictable. But status, usually determined by how sexually attractive or rich the characters are, is an ongoing theme. Wherever they go -- work, bars, business meetings -- women show plenty of cleavage, want men to have money, and make references that equate a man's visible body parts or height to less apparent aspects of his "size." Men who have brief bonding moments with each other are ridiculed by others as "such women." A well-groomed man is likely to gesture flamboyantly and have a high voice, while one on the edge of the law might be said to be "one court date away from being sold for a pack of cigarettes."
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why so few TV shows and movies have truly interracial casts. How accurate is Hollywood's reflection of real life, both in terms of race and gender roles? Also, when and how is it okay to make jokes about ethnicity, gender roles, and similar topics? What makes a joke offensive? How do you know you've gone too far? Why do you feel OK about making a joke around certain people, and not around others?