February 6, 2011

Black animated and comic characters: "The Proud Family"

Black animated and comic characters: "The Proud Family"

“The Proud Family” was a Disney Channel cartoon that aired during the early to mid 2000s.

Background

The series focused on the Proud family: father Oscar, mother Trudy, teenage daughter Penny, and infant children BeBe and CeCe (named after the Winans singers).

Most of the plots revolved around Penny’s ambitions to do something she shouldn’t, such as going to a party or downloading music illegally. Penny also spent time trying to prove her maturity and independence. The father, Oscar, was portrayed in the Fred Flintstone/Homer Simpson “bumbling idiot” sitcom father stereotype. As such, Oscar was constantly criticized or belittled by everyone. This included his own mother, “Suga Mama,” a feisty/spry-for-her-age elderly woman who seemed to smack or insult her son every chance she got. Though in turn, Oscar would often make cracks about his mother’s advanced age.

The show did well enough for Disney Channel, and saw a made-for-TV movie produced where the family deals with a mad scientist on a tropical island. (The show often delved into the fantastical; Al Roker had several cameos as a genie.) There was also a crossover with the made-for-TV “Lilo and Stitch” series, despite the two shows’ difference in animation style.

For me, the show had its moments. However, I wasn’t a big fan of Suga Mama, who I found more annoying than funny; I thought her son’s cracks about her were funnier. The “Oscar’s an idiot nobody likes” bit also got tiresome, as did some of the “Aesop-laden” plots. An example of the latter’s an episode about the evils of pirating music.

Syndication/home video

“The Proud Family” moved to BET for a time, but currently isn’t airing on TV.

Per Disney’s poor treatment of its own TV series on home video, the only video release of the series is the TV movie on DVD.

(Updated 10/28/16)

Tags: African-AmericansanimationBlack peopleDisneyMediaminorities in cartoonsThe Proud Familytrivia