Everybody Hates Chris is a CBS sit-com inspired by the experiences of comedian Chris Rock's life growing up in 1980s - Brooklyn, New York. Narrated entirely as a flashback by Chris Rock the show follows young Chris (Tyler James Williams) and his family - Julius; his father (Terry Crews), his mother Rochelle (Tichina Arnold), brother Drew (Tequan Richmond) and sister Tanya (Imani Hakim). Also starring is Vincent Martella as Greg, Chris's nerdy school friend and fellow victim of bully Caruso (Travis T. Flory).
The series opens shortly after the Rock family have moved to Brooklyn in an attempt to start a new and decent life. Chris has just recently started out in a new school, one where he stands out as the only non-white individual in the entire school. This being the 1980s (specifically 1982 which is when the series starts) racial tolerance is pretty much non-existent and the show mixes great moments of comedy with era correct racial slurs and a strong message about tolerance (without being preachy about it). At one moment Chris is standing up to the bully in his year (by out ghetto-ing him) and the next moment he's getting beaten up.
The show may take it's name as a parody of Everyone Loves Raymond, but the design of the show is more of a brilliant take on The Wonder Years. Chris Rock's narration shows a wise level of hindsight over events, often he will say exactly the opposite of the characters in the show, nailing home the truth instead of letting the characters get away with falsehoods or heart warming moments. Time changes your perception of past events and Chris Rock's narration remains a constant and often hilarious reminder of that.
While the show is mostly focused around young Chris's experiences, for myself the genuine break out character is Terry Crews's performance as Julius. Chris's penny pinching, hard working, wise talking father. From the first moment he's just great, and his performance in the season finale "Everybody Hates Father's Day" are probably the funniest and most entertaining scenes in the entire season. He's just fantastic.
I can't pass up a chance to comment on the box set for Everybody Hates Chris, it's just fantastic. While the set contains four DVDs it only contains two slim-line cases with one DVD on each side of the case. The discs themselves are stylish as well, there are no pictures on them. Instead they are silvered and look very swish.
Everybody Hates Chris's first season is a great look back on the 1980s; containing equal parts of nostalgia, comedy and a willingness to not ignore the bad which existed back then. There's no attempt to ignore or paint over the ugliness in people's attitudes here, but the comedy and wry nature of the show avoids it become just a show saying "look how bad people were about race back in the 1980s". Instead it's saying "This is what the 1980s were like, there was good stuff, there was bad. Enjoy the nostalgia and the comedy."
Good, fun light entertainment.
Everybody Hates The Making of Everybody Hates Chris
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Runtime: 7 hours 8 mins
Soundtrack: English 5.1
Subtitles: English HOH, English, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish