For those of you who know me…or follow me on twitter, you know that I love Tuesday nights because that’s when my two favorite shows come on: Pretty Little Liars and Twisted. Both are ABC Family original drama television series, and both are the topics of my tweets on Tuesdays from 8-10 p.m.. Recently, both series aired its spring finale (*tear), and as I began to reminisce on Twisted’s season, I noticed something about the cast: It was super diverse!
Twisted’s main characters are Danny, Lacey and Joe. The respective actors/actresses who play these characters are part Indian, black and white. Other reoccurring minority characters on the show include Rico (this actor is of Italian and Mexican decent) and Rico’s girlfriend, Andie, who is played by an Asian actress.
With such a diverse cast, interracial couples are inevitable. At one point Danny (mixed race) and Lacey (black) hook up, but then Danny (mixed race) realizes his true love is Joe (white). The actor who plays Danny’s dad, Tarek Jarar Ramnini, is of Palestinian decent and although his race on the show is unclear, Danny’s mom is white. As mentioned before, Rico (ambiguous race) is dating an Asian girl. And lastly, what’s a teen show these days without a gay/lesbian couple? Lacey (black) and Whitney (white) flirt with the idea of becoming an “item.”
I was surprised to find that it wasn’t until the end of the season that I began to contemplate Twisted’s diverse cast. This may be because, so far (we are now awaiting the second season), race has not been mentioned in the series’ story line and many of the character’s races are ambiguous. In fact, for most actors, I had to research their race. This just goes to show how seamlessly the writers and directors were able to incorporate diversity into the show without making it seem forced.
I know first-hand how hard including diversity into a T.V. show can be. For my final project in my “Diversity in Communication” course, my group had to create a pilot show for a new television series with a racially diverse set of characters. This turned out to be a difficult task because it was hard to come up with non-stereotypical characters. With this said, I commend the writers and directors of Twisted for its diverse cast and characters that are non-stereotypical representations of the actor/actress’s or characters’ race.
Shows like Twisted that have a diverse cast are important because these begin to depict the growing diversity in the U.S. population, thus depicting a more realistic representation of our country’s population. By not clarifying or focusing in on the race of its characters, Twisted also begins to discredit racial stereotypes and indirectly address the taboo surrounding interracial dating. So kudos to you ABC family for twisting things up a bit!