True Colors aired from September 1990 until August 1992 on FOX.
In the on-air promotional announcements for this interracial series, Fox proclaimed "It ain't the Brady Bunch" and they were certainly right. Ron ( played by Frankie Faison and later by Cleavon Little) was a widowed black dentist with two teenage sons, and Ellen ( Stephanie Faracy) was a divorced white kindergarten teacher with a teenage daughter. They were newly married and living together in Ron's home in Baltimore. The three kids were very different-Terry ( Claude Brooks), an uptight, conservative yuppie; Lester ( Adam Jeffries), a jive-talking free spirit; and Katie ( Brigit Conley Walsh), a socially conscious environmental activist. Everyone was trying to make this unusual family work and they probably would have had less trouble were it not for the one other member of the household. Ellen's mother , Sara ( Nancy Walker), was opinionated, contentious and less than thrilled with her new son-in-law. While Ron and Ellen tried to smooth things over, Sara kept stirring them up.Nothing Ron did was right with her. Fortunately, as time went on , wisecracking Sara did develop a fondness for her step-grandchildren, particularly Lester. When True Colors began its second season Terry, who had graduated from high school, was attending Marshall State University.
On a sad note both Nancy Walker and Cleavon Little died shortly after the series ceased production. Ms. Walker died on March 25, 1992 of lung cancer and Mr. Little died on October 22, 1992 of colon cancer.
TV PREVIEW/BY MATT ROUSH
Interracial 'Colors' muted by cliches
Fox is touting True Colors as an innovation, the first sitcom about an interracial marriage, a truly blended family.
But just shut your eyes for a second and it becomes clear that-a little rap lingo aside-what we've got here is a rainbow coalition of cliches.
This is Guess Who's Coming to Breakfast? shockingly retro nonsense with Nancy Walker at center stage as a grumpy grandma who keeps talking about killing herself in disgust.
Wishful thinking. The show, it seems, must go on. But why?
Perhaps the sight of a husband and wife of different races twirling around the kitchen hugging and smooching, is supposed to jolt us to a new state of consciousness about family life in the '90s. Not possible when everyone's drawn on such a simplistic level.
After the youngest boy ( Adam Jeffries, who's unlikely to give Fresh Prince Will Smith any nightmares)quasi-raps and anecdote, Walker growls, "What the hell did he say?" The parents roll their eyes in amused condescension. You almost think someone's pulling your leg, that this is In Living Color with another inside joke.
No such luck.
These characters really are black and white. No shading, no life. And that's what's really distasteful about True Colors.
It's a jive turkey, a feeling intensified by the pilot being built around a live turkey.
Fox has blown it with this insecure, insipid nonenity, which in future weeks will play at 7 p.m. EDT/PDT, kicking off a Sunday lineup hurt by the removal of America's Most Wanted and The Simpsons.
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