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The Most Underused Black Actress On A Comedy Television Show Is...

by Cynthia Reid
June 17, 2011 5:41 AM
10 Comments
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If you're a sitcom tv watcher, occasionally you'll come across actors or actresses that you think deserve more face time and actress Retta Sirleaf is definitely in that category.

She plays Donna Meagle on NBC's comedy show Parks and Recreation, a series that follows Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), the Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation department in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana.

In the beginning of the show, her scenes were very minimal but gradually her appearances have increased. AolTV.com also put her on their list of characters deserving more screen time.

At first, I was apprehensive about her role because I wasn't sure if we would see the same stereotyped formula used in television. You know the one...black woman + plus size = sassy and wise, nurturing woman. Luckily, that hasn't happened. Hopefully, NBC will wise up and take notice.

Below is a montage of Donna clips from the show.

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10 Comments

  • Nadell | June 18, 2011 4:07 AMReply

    hahaaaa! too funny! she's awesome!
    and i remember her from 'First Sunday' she was in the choir & Kat Williams was always pinpointing her. LoL!

  • Uchenna | June 18, 2011 3:03 AMReply

    I had no idea Retta's last name was Sireaf. I take it she's of Liberian descent?

    (Come to think of it, there was one episode where Donna mentioned calling a relative in Liberia...)

    There were one or two clips in that montage that I don't recall seeing in the original broadcasts, btw. I gotta watch seasons 2 and 3 again... Parks & Rec has got to be the best sitcom on TV right now.

  • Uchenna Ikonne | June 18, 2011 3:02 AMReply

    I had no idea Retta's last name was Sireaf. I take it she's of Liberian descent?

    (Come to think of it, there was one episode where Donna mentioned calling a relative in Liberia...)

    There were one or two clips in that montage that I don't recall seeing in the original broadcasts, btw. I gotta watch seasons 2 and 3 again... Parks & Rec has got to be the best sitcom on TV right now.

  • jessie's girl | June 18, 2011 1:51 AMReply

    OMG she's awesome! If she had been on any of the episodes I tried to watch I would've kept watching for her alone.

  • ChgoSista | June 18, 2011 1:10 AMReply

    She's a stand-up comic, too--I know I saw her on one of those comedy competition-ish type shows some years ago.

  • Adam Scott Thompson | June 18, 2011 1:09 AMReply

    Agreed. But that cast so choc full of talent, everybody needs more screen-time. Too bad only dramas get the hour-long treatment.

  • Shak | June 17, 2011 7:56 AMReply

    Ok, I don't watch the show, but she got me and I'm gonna have to check it out.

  • starfishncoffee | June 17, 2011 7:52 AMReply

    Yes. Yes. YES. She is BRILLIANT.

    "Are you Nell? From the movie Nell?"

    They've been using her more this season especially the ep when she was a foil for Rashida/Anne. Very, very interesting and HILARIOUS.

  • Rena | June 17, 2011 7:52 AMReply

    Thanks for this post. I gotta say, though, the "no stereotypes present" argument is somewhat undermined by the eye action...throughout. That's real familiar...not in a good way.

  • Laura | June 17, 2011 7:35 AMReply

    damn she loves that car lol

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