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We’ve heard some of the same comments a lot about this fall’s television lineup, which includes the shows Black-ishCristelaSelfieand Fresh Off The Boat: ”Why is diversity all the rage now?” asked Robert Rorke of the New York Post. And Esther Breger called this season the “most diverse in recent TV history.”

But as we pointed out a few weeks ago, back in 1974, three sitcoms featuring black families were at the top of the charts. So how much browner is today’s TV landscape of sitcoms compared to the television offering from a decade — or two, or five — ago?

Here’s a timeline of what we came up with. The shows that didn’t last very long, by the way, are in light grey.

A Timeline Of Sitcoms Featuring Families Of Color

Graphic credit: Kat Chow and Alyson Hurt/NPR

Sometimes when I get bored I daydream about creating a Scrubs-style sitcom about librarians. Cast of characters so far:

  • A recent MLIS grad whose illusions regarding librarianship are shattered when the only job she can find after getting her degree is in a run down public library in a small town, where funding is a pipe dream and “programming” consists of telling patrons not to deal drugs in the bathroom.
  • A perpetually harassed branch manager whose expectations have sunk lower and lower with each passing year until he can barely muster the energy to leave his office.
  • An assistant branch manager, who uses the manager’s lack of involvement as an excuse to rule the library with an iron fist (at least in theory).
  • A children’s librarian who is great with kids and struggles with horrifying anger issues when dealing with adults.
  • A circulation librarian described by a coworker as “an eccentric genius, except not a genius.  So… just a weirdo, I guess.”
  • A librarian universally referred to as “the Fossil,” who is roughly twenty years past retirement age and habitually tries to ban people for walking too loudly.
  • A patron who everybody suspects maybe lives in the library, as he is never seen out of it.  May or may not be the one who deals in the bathroom.

And then!  Shenanigans happen! Things are hilariously misshelved! Cart races are had! Main Character maybe having a long-standing flirtation with the cute guy who runs the bakery across the street! And some Terribly Dramatic Season Finale involving a patron standoff!

It would be amazing.