…looking back at “Roc,” I find it interesting to consider that before his acting career, Charles S. Dutton did almost a decade in prison for manslaughter and weapons possession, crimes he has discussed openly. Today, I juxtapose that with Bill Cosby’s life, which was largely spent fostering an upstanding image while reportedly perpetrating a horrific crime spree behind the scenes. One man went on to present a loving, authentic portrayal of a black American family. The other created a fantasy world. There’s room for both kinds of shows, but as “Cosby” recedes from reruns, “Roc” seems especially worthy of reconsideration. (It’s basically impossible to watch right now, unavailable on streaming services or in hard copy.) Many sitcoms are predicated on the notion that TV should lighten a viewer’s burdens by pretending they don’t exist. “Roc” was built on a different idea, which is that you can also lighten a burden by letting the viewer know he’s not alone in carrying the weight.
Cord Jefferson, “‘Roc’”, The New York Times Magazine (7 August 2016), 25.