Under One Roof
By Melissa Camacho,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Flavor Flav sitcom awash in negative stereotypes.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The series relies on extreme (and often offensive) cultural stereotypes for its humor, targeting African Americans, other racial/ethnic groups, women, and homosexuals. On the (slim) plus side, Winston is supportive of his brother, despite his antics. The cast is primarily African-American, with the exception of Ashley, who is Caucasian.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of discussions about prison, criminals, and murder. Weapons, including a cross bow and knives, are shown with the intent of being used to kill (albeit in a way that's played for laughs). One scene includes pouring glass into someone's cereal in order to kill him.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some strong sexual innuendoes, including references to homosexual activity. Women are often seen wearing skimpy clothing; Heather consistently wears revealing outfits. Frequent discussions about African-American men fathering multiple children with various women. References to pimps and hookers.
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Language includes words like "hell," "dumb ass," and "bitch."
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Products & Purchases
Some obvious visual references to Flavor Flav, but no visible logos/products.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drinking is sometimes visible. In at least one episode, a character is clearly drunk.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this sitcom -- which stars controversial rap/reality show star Flavor Flav -- relies on negative racial and ethnic stereotypes (particularly those relating to African Americans) for its humor. There's some strong language ("hell," "bitch," "dumb ass") and sexual innuendo, including references to homosexual activity and frequent discussions of fathering multiple children with various women. Some of the female characters wear tight, skimpy outfits. There are lots of references to criminal activity, including murder; weapons (knives, crossbow) are sometimes shown within this context. Also expect some alcohol consumption; on at least on one occasion, a character is shown drinking and acting drunk.
Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
In UNDER ONE ROOF, reality TV star/former Public Enemy Flavor Flav stars as Calvester Hill, an ex-con who moves in with his wealthy, overachieving brother Winston (Kelly Perine) after his latest stint in the slammer. While getting used to life outside the big house, he gets to know Winston's wife, Ashley (Carrie Genzel); their rather ditzy and sex-crazed daughter, Heather (Marie Michel); and geeky son, Winston Jr. (Jesse Reid). Not surprisingly, Calvester's street-smarts and Winston's rather uptight demeanor lead to some wacky situations along the way.
Is It Any Good?
The series, which is an update/remake of a mild 1990s sitcom about a multigenerational African-American family, parallels the premise of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air by centering around the tension that occurs when a less-privileged but streetwise person starts living with his upper-class extended family. But unlike the original Roof series or Fresh Prince, this show relies heavily on negative cultural representations to get laughs. The show's characters personify many of the disparaging labels placed on African-Americans today, from morality-lacking pimps to promiscuous single mothers. It also targets other racial and ethnic groups, as well as women and homosexuals. As a result, the show isn't just silly and insulting but also creates harmful social images.
Granted, the relationship between Calvester and Winston is a positive one, and the family continues to support their troubled relative despite being unimpressed by his antics. But any positive messages stemming from this relationship are offset by the show's offensive humor. Plus, there's some strong language ("bitch" and "dumb ass"), sexual innuendo, and lots of conversations about criminal acts that range from stealing to murder. The series isn't intended for young viewers and is an iffy choice for teens who aren't mature enough to understand this kind of comedy. And even for those who like this brand of wit, the bottom line is that it's just not very funny.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about racial and ethnic stereotyping in the media. Is stereotyping ever appropriate? Is there such thing as a positive stereotype? Does the media create stereotypes or does it simply reflect stereotypes that currently exist in society? When the media portrays stereotypes, what is the consequence on audiences?
- Premiere date: March 14, 1995
- Cast: Carrie Genzel, Flavor Flav, Kelly Perine
- Network: MyNetworkTV
- Genre: Comedy
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: February 28, 2022
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