If there ever was a show that positively represented the elements of what Black relationships should be, then YouTube sensation ‘The Couple’ is that show.
‘The Couple’ is apart of Black and Sexy TV, a network that was created by Numa Perrier and Dennis Dortch. According to its website, it is “a network established to provide viewing audiences a more accurate depiction of black culture.” It also says their shows focus on love and relationships in the Black community.
The show is compiled of web episodes and mini episodes all centered on a Black couple and the daily situations they go through, which can be anything and everything. It can be as simple as a living situation like which side of the bed to sleep on to a controversial text message that paint a simple picture for the audience: it could relate to your relationship too! In fact, Black and Sexy TV gets more than 2 million views on their videos, with ‘The Couple’ getting hundreds of thousands of views in itself.
The inspiration behind the episodes of ‘The Couple’ is what makes the show unique. One of the creators, Jeanine Daniels says it was her own life experiences that sparked the inspiration for the creation of the show. More specifically, it was when Daniels was living with her boyfriend and his roommate at the time where inspiration hit.
“It was just really weird because I had never lived with a guy before and I was writing all these things down and I would tell Dennis about all the random stuff that was happening, funny stuff. And I had this idea in my head that there needs to be a show about a couple, not just a story, but all the things that couples go through.”
She continued, “There has to be a show about how these two characters in my head—an anal jock and a really artsy chick are together and how a lot of random stuff happens. When I pitched the idea to the group, they were like yeah, let’s do it.”
Those experiences were the talk of a typical conversation with the creators of the show Dennis Dortch and Jeanine Daniels and the cast who plays the couple in the show, Numa Perrier and Desmond Faison, who had previously been friends before the creation of the show.
As Daniels explained the guy who became the inspiration for the show, Dennis shockingly said, “Oh Wow, I didn’t know that!” as he laughed.
While speaking to all four you can tell that there is some major chemistry going on. I wasn’t even able to tell if the two actors for ‘The Couple’, both Faison and Perrier, weren’t an actual couple in real life! Unfortunately, they weren’t able to disclose that information because they are on contract, but either way, they had me beat!
Because of that chemistry and how relatable the show is, Dortch says the show is a success, but for more than just those reasons.
“It is a success because its accessible, relatable and I think also because you don’t have to follow every single story. You could drop it and you could’ve seen 10 of them out of 20 and still feel like you know the show and you know them,” Dortch said.
Not only that, but Dortch also says ‘The Couple’ is different from other Black shows because of their cast.
“It’s a collaboration where people are bringing themselves to the table. Both Desmond and Numa bring something that’s unique that we discover as we shoot,” he said.
According to Dortch, who directs and edits the episodes, editing the episodes down is more tedious than the actors actually performing in front of the camera. They are given a description of the episode and do not use scripts; everything is done free style. Not only that, but ‘The Couple’ uses the actors’ apartments and former apartments to shoot the episodes.
“It’s a little funny because we shoot in my old apartment in Korea Town for The Couple and now my friend lives there, so sometimes that gets a little weird because it’s like I’m taking over that place again,” Perrier laughs.
The creators of the show were purposeful for those locations being that they wanted to create a more intimate and realistic setting. The surrounding being realistic caters to the scenes being realistic, which are all made up of ideas or actual experiences. All of these factors set up a platform for the audience to react to, which the creators and actors say they love and encourage feedback. In fact, according to Dortch and Pierrer, viewers tend to take sides. Dortch says this can be in part because large portions of their viewers tend to be women.
“However you set it up, the audience is going to play into it. If you set it up to take sides, they will happily take a side. From episode to episode it will be his side or my side, but if we’re together then all of our past transgressions don’t matter, they love us,” Perrier added.
“Between the two of us, 80% think I’m right,” Desmond joked.
Having an online show allows ‘The Couple’ to take in their feedback, which enables them to see what their audience likes. They say that their success online is their main focus.
“This is really where the future is, online. Production companies and studios are starting to throw a lot of money into this, so we’re sort of looking at it with two lenses. We’re not just looking at it as a means to end up getting to TV,” Dortch said.
Currently ‘The Couple’ is in its second season. Episodes are slowing down a bit, but it’s because Black and Sexy TV has a movie getting filmed this summer that will be a spin-off of ‘The Couple’. So if you already loved the realistic nature of this web-based show, looks like you’ll have something more to look forward to!
Go to www.youtube.com and type ‘The Couple Black and Sexy TV’ into your search bar and see with your own eyes what this popular show is all about.
by Nicole Williams, Special to the NNPA from the Los Angeles Sentinel