TV & Film | What to Watch?
If you are looking for a show showcasing representation reminiscent of the black-lead sitcoms from UPN in the early aughts, Netflix’s “The Upshaws” is a must-see.
The half-hour sitcom follows Bennie Upshaw (Mike Epps), a blue-collar mechanic in the midwest, and his unconventional family, which includes his wise-cracking sister-in-law Lucretia (Wanda Sykes) no-nonsense wife Regina (Kim Fields), their eldest son Bernard (Jermelle Simon), younger daughters Aaliyah and Maya (Khali Spraggins and Journey Christine), and teenage son Kelvin (Diamond Lyons), from his baby mama Tasha (Gabrielle Dennis).
Created by Regina Y. Hicks and Wanda Sykes, the series has been applauded by fans for its gay storyline involving Jermelle Simon’s character Bernard Upshaw Jr. Simon is receiving some newfound praise for his role after a scene from the show's season finale resurfaced on social media.
In Season 2 Episode 8 of the show, Bernard is seen cozied up with his "boo" Hector (Dewayne Perkins) before his daughter Sydney (Ayaamii Sledge) shows up to his doorstep unannounced.
Fans looking to see more of Simon’s character Bernard on screens should be elated. Simon has been upped to series regular for the sitcom's recently announced third season, according to Deadline.
Simon told We Are Entertainment News he was impressed with the way the show handled his characters' coming out scene.
"It was written perfectly. It showcased a mother’s love. It wasn’t traumatic. A child tells his mother, ‘I’m gay and she says ‘It’s fine. I don’t care. I love you.’" He said.
Following the debut of the show’s first season in May 2021 Simon said he saw an output of support.
“I have received so many DMs and messages from young black men, saying that I helped them come out to their parents. Or they thought being gay was a horrible thing but seeing the show helped them love and accept themself. I am humbled and honored to be a part of this show.”
Before his work on “The Upshaw's” Simon appeared in a few short films and an episode of TNT’s hit drama series “Animal Kingdom”. Fans can see more of Simon on “The Upshaws” when the show's second half remaining of season two hits Netflix in January 2023.