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Laura Gómez and Selenis Leyva in
Orange Is the New Blackness; Michaela Jaé Rodriguez and Billy Porter in
Pose; Park Hae-soo and Lee Jung-jae in
Squid Game; Mary Tyler Moore in
The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Photos Courtesy: Netflix; FX; Getty Images

Whether a show is a total guilty pleasure or a highbrow icon of Prestige Idiot box, a feel-adept sitcom or a high-concept drama, television has the ability not only to represent and mirror gild only teach united states some valuable lessons nearly acceptance and openness.

That’s why nosotros’ve decided to take a look dorsum at TV history and highlight a few titles that made TV a more than representative, progressive and diverse place.

I Love Lucy

Lucille Ball in
I Love Lucy
in 1952. Photo Courtesy: Everett Collection

Back in the 1950s, Lucille Ball’south sitcom
I Beloved Lucy, in which her character was married to Ball’s existent-life married man Desi Arnaz, broke a big Goggle box taboo. When the actress became pregnant the couple thought the evidence, which had aired for one season on CBS, would exist canceled or put on hiatus until after she gave nascency. Pregnancy wasn’t a thing that happened on TV at the time. And writing around an actress’s pregnancy hasn’t always been as easy every bit getting
Scandal’s Kerry Washington a few fabulous coats.

In the terminate, Ball’s pregnancy was written into the bear witness, an approach that’southward been used enough of times in scripted TV since then. The writers would take to avert the discussion “meaning” though, considered also vulgar to air. The episode in which Lucy’s pregnancy was announced aired in 1952. Information technology was titled “Lucy Is Enceinte” because apparently it’southward OK to refer to the “p” give-and-take in French. The characters used verbal workarounds like “we’re having a babe” or “blest result” to imply Lucy’due south state.

William Shatner and Nichelle Nichols in
Star Expedition. Original airdate of the episode: November 22, 1968. Photo Courtesy: Everett Collection

Star Trek: The Original Series
not simply garnered a devoted post-obit that’s since spun several sequel series, spin-offs and flick franchises over the decades, it was likewise a rare instance of diversity on screen. Nichelle Williams played Uhura, a Starfleet Lieutenant and communications officeholder, making the prove ane of the get-go to feature a Black woman not portraying a servant. George Takei played Lieutenant Sulu, the U.S.S. Enterprise’s helmsman. Having a Japanese American thespian in such a visible part just two decades after World War Ii, a fourth dimension defined by America’s anti-Asian policies and racism, also highlighted the prove’due south delivery to representation.

Then there’s the osculation. Uhura and Captain Kirk (William Shatner) kissed in a 1968 episode while under the influence of aliens. You tin can argue whether that was the first interracial buss on screen or not, but information technology sure proved the show’southward dedication to the delineation of a plural and various society. And it confirmed Kirk’s famous words: “Where I come from, size, shape or colour makes no difference.”

The Mary Tyler Moore Evidence

Mary Tyler Moore in
The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Photo Courtesy: Everett Collection

This 7-flavour sitcom that aired betwixt 1970 and 1977 bankrupt a few molds. Information technology starred Mary Tyler Moore as Mary Richards, a single adult female in her 30s focused on her career in a TV station. The testify was created by James 50. Brooks and Allan Burns merely boasted a writers’ room where there was also a significant number of women, particularly for the menstruation. Treva Silverman was one of the first women hired as a writer for the show, and, importantly, she shared her own experiences to inform the characters’ lives.

Other than in the writers’ room, the show was groundbreaking because it focused on the life of an independent career woman who didn’t care virtually getting married. And although sure themes weren’t treated in the same, direct fashion nosotros’ve grown accepted to in the past few decades, the prove made suggestions virtually Mary having an active sexual life and taking the pill.

It also paved the manner for other career-women-centered shows similar
Murphy Brown, Ally McBeal,
30 Rock
and even
Sex and the City.


Ellen DeGeneres and Laura Dern in flavour four of
Ellen, “The Puppy Episode.” Photo Courtesy: Everett Collection

The sitcom
Ellen, starring Ellen DeGeneres as Ellen Morgan, was on its fourth flavor when information technology aired “The Puppy Episode” in 1997. In it, Morgan was attracted to a character played past Laura Dern and she came out as gay to her friends. The “Yep, I’m gay” moment was large for American Television considering up until then gay characters had been relegated to secondary, mostly one-note roles. DeGeneres’ graphic symbol announcing her sexual orientation coincided with the actress herself also formally coming out with a
magazine cover and interview.

DeGeneres’ figure was under scrutiny final year regarding allegations of a toxic work environs in her talk show
The Ellen DeGeneres Show, but in the 1990s her sitcom cleared the manner for farther LGBTQ+ representation on TV. The sitcom
Volition & Grace
started ambulation in 1998 with Eric McCormack playing gay lawyer Will and best friend to Grace (Debra Messing). And so there was
Queer equally Folk
on Showtime in 2000. It was an adaptation of a British show of the same name and depicted a group of gay friends — and their sex lives — in a nuanced fashion.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

Karyn Parsons, Tatyana Ali, Joseph Marcell, James Avery, Volition Smith, Janet Hubert and Alfonso Ribeiro in
Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Photo Courtesy: Everett Collection

The Banks — and their Philadelphia-born nephew Will Smith — weren’t the commencement Black family unit on a successful TV sitcom with international success.
The Cosby Show
reigned first with eight seasons, running from 1984 to 1992, earlier Nib Cosby’due south sex crimes came to light.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
started ambulation in 1990 and was loosely based on Smith’south life. The half dozen-season sitcom jump-started Smith’south career. But other than making the protagonist a movie star, the testify also highlighted the life of a wealthy, stable and higher-educated Black family, widening the scope of how Black characters were represented on TV.

Even though information technology was a sitcom, the show divers the gilt era for Black TV in the ‘90s and

besides tackled serious topics like police profiling — Will and Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro) go pulled over by the police while driving a Mercedes Benz — drug use, gun violence, date rape, HIV, racism and other issues. And yous can however enjoy it regardless of your take on Peacock’s dramatic remake,
— or even The Slap.

Ugly Betty

Ana Ortiz, America Ferrera and Mark Indelicato in
Ugly Betty. Photograph Courtesy: Everett Collection

The dramedy
Ugly Betty, which ran on ABC for 4 seasons between 2006 and 2010, was an accommodation of the Colombian telenovela
Yo soy Betty, la fea. The testify put a Mexican American family front and middle in a primetime prove. It also starred America Ferrera, who played an unstylish only difficult-working woman who ends up working at a fashion magazine. Tony Plana played Betty’southward dad and he ofttimes mixed Castilian and English dialogue in the show, the mode a lot of Hispanic families practice. And Ana Ortiz played Hilda, Betty’south older sister. The show garnered praise for its representation of Latinas on TV.

Merely it also addressed topics like body prototype and Hilda’due south teenage son coming out as gay. Besides winning iii Emmys,
Ugly Betty
won two Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Awards.

Ortiz is one time over again involved in a history-making TV evidence: Hulu’s
Love, Victor. The bear witness centers on Victor — a half-Colombian-American, half-Puerto Rican gay teenager — and his struggles to tell his religious family unit he’s gay. Ortiz plays Victor’due south mom.

Orange Is the New Blackness

Kate Mulgrew, Diane Guerrero, Selenis Leyva, Jessica Pimentel, Jackie Cruz and Dascha Polanco in
Orange is the New Black. Photo Courtesy: Netflix

What started every bit the adaptation of Piper Kerman’s memoir about the months she spent in prison for a decade-onetime drug conviction, ended upward becoming much more than that. Every bit Jenji Kohan’southward (Weeds) show progressed, it stopped focusing on Piper (Taylor Schilling) and opened the scope to an incredibly diverse ensemble bandage of women. The show, which aired for seven seasons on Netflix from 2013 to 2019, became a refreshing blend of tales from all the women who made information technology.

In later seasons, the serial also commented on the for-turn a profit prison system and immigration. Only its inclusion of women of all ages, races and backgrounds is what made information technology stand up out in the first place. Plus, the serial has helped cement the careers of actresses Uzo Aduba (Mrs. America,
In Treatment), Natasha Lyonne (Russian Doll), Samira Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale) and Laverne Cox (Promising Young Woman).


Angel Bismark Curiel, Indya Moore, Michaela Jaé Rodriguez and Ryan Jamaal Boyfriend in
Pose. Photograph Courtesy: FX

non only meant a front-row seat to ballroom culture. The prove, created past Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Steven Canals, is set in the late ‘80s and early on ‘90s and depicts the lives of a group of Black and Latina transgender women and their gay friends. They’re in the midst of the AIDS epidemic and endeavour to carve a place for themselves in a society that turns a bullheaded eye or simply rejects them, all while they reshape the definition of family.

The show made headlines when it first debuted in 2018 for having the largest transgender cast of any scripted series. Not only that, the show enlisted author and activist Janet Mock, and, soon after, she became the first transgender adult female of colour to write and direct an episode of television. Mock has written and directed several
Pose’s episodes since.
Pose’s best-known face is possibly that of Billy Porter. The Emmy-winning actor has become a red carpet fixture thanks to the show’s success. He’s taken the mantle from his character Pray Tell and helped redefine what masculinity means.

Rutherford Falls

Jana Schmieding and Ed Helms in
Rutherford Falls. Photo Courtesy: Peacock

This Peacock sitcom that aired its outset season in Apr 2021 is co-created and executive produced by Ed Helms, Michael Schur (Parks and Recreation) and Sierra Teller Ornelas (Superstore). Teller Ornelas is Navajo and one of the 5 Native writers on this show. In fact,
Rutherford Falls
has one of the largest Indigenous writers’ rooms in history, according to Peacock.

Native American representation is too a big office of
Rutherford Falls
in front end of the cameras with actors Jana Schmieding and Michael Greyeyes playing members of the fictional Minishonka Nation.
Rutherford Falls
has been praised for its delineation of Native American characters and cultures and inclusive representation. The prove also stars Helms as Nathan Rutherford and Jesse Leigh as Bobbie Yang, Nathan’due south not-binary executive assistant.

Rutherford Falls
has only aired i season so far but wasn’t the only trailblazing show to open new opportunities for Native American narratives told by Indigenous creators and actors. Too in 2021, we saw the release of the coming-of-age comedy
Reservation Dogs
on FX. The Taika Waititi- and Sterlin Harjo-created show’south kickoff flavor was completely written, directed and starring Indigenous people.

Squid Game

Squid Game. Photo Courtesy: Netflix

This South Korean hit 2021 evidence bankrupt records by becoming Netflix’s almost pop Goggle box show — both considering international shows but also in English — when yous take into account the show’south viewed hours during the beginning 28 days of it being released.
Squid Game
accounts for 1,650,450,000 viewed hours during that time frame, according to Netflix.

In comparison, Netflix’s 2d most popular non-English show is the fourth season of the Spanish heist drama
Money Heist, which has 619,010,000 hours viewed. In English language, the nigh popular Netflix bear witness is the second season of
with 627,110,000 hours viewed.
Squid Game
more than doubles whatever of those numbers.