Many of the other international students and German students here have told me that they learned all about American culture by watching different movies and TV shows, such as Friends, The Big Bang Theory, and Star Trek, to name a few.
Just glancing at these cast images, the first thing I notice is the lack of Black people, with the exception of Geordi La Forge in Star Trek TNG. The actor who played Worf (Michael Dorn) is black, but Worf is a Klingon, which is an alien species characterized as being uncivilized, violent warriors. The other shows are mainly set in New York or California and feature all white casts. As a black girl raised in the South and born to Caribbean parents, these shows represent an American culture that I’ve never experienced.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what American culture even is, and I feel like the U.S. is way too massive for such a label. The culture in the South is different than the North, the West is different from the East, and there are even further differences within each region.
Shows that I would recommend for people interested in learning about different cultures in the U.S. typically overlooked by Hollywood include Black-ish, Queen Sugar, Insecure, Atlanta, Living Single, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Living Single, Girlfriends, Martin, etc. I think what’s interesting about these shows is how they’re all set in very different parts of the U.S., and therefore the experiences shown are very diverse. For example, Queen Sugar, which is set in Louisiana, deals with completely different issues than shows like Atlanta, set in Atlanta, Georgia (obviously), or Insecure, which is set in Los Angeles, California. There are many other shows as well, these are just a few of my favorites.