The Beulah Show Analysis

988 Words4 Pages
In the episode “Beulah Goes Gardening” of The Beulah Show, an American situation-comedy series on ABC Television from 1950 to 1952, the Henderson family are described as a great example of the typical white middle-class suburban household. Additionally, Beulah, as their maid, serves the family in many ways. When the Hendersons are busy going out for their business, Beulah not only cooks for dinner but also goes gardening. It is noticeable that in televisual life, men and women get different roles due to their race, class, age and gender (Haralovich 78). Even though Beulah is designed as the main character and has connections with the Henderson family, she is not really involved in the family too much because of her race and gender. Furthermore,…show more content…
At the beginning of the episode, Beulah brings the food to the table for the Hendersons. The scene is set in the dining room that Harry Henderson, the father, is sitting on the short end of the dining table as the man of the house. Alice Henderson, the mother, sits next to Harry, and Donnie Henderson, the only child of the family, sits next to his father as well. The stage setting here represents a typical suburban household that the father earns income for the family, the mother stays at home as a homemaker, and they raise their kids together. However, Beulah is absent during the family’s dinner time because of her identity. During the dinner time, the Hendersons have their own conversations as a family while Beulah only shows up when she brings up food to the table. Since she is a middle-aged African-American domestic, she is better to play her own role as a black maid because she should be “absent from the social economy of consumption” as a minority (Haralovich 70).
Furthermore, in the episode, Alice Henderson is characterized as a homemaker because she is being a woman in the 1950s. Televisions in the 1950s consistently “mask social contradictions and naturalize woman’s place in the home” (Haralovich 71). Her role as a wife and a mother in the suburban household is slightly different from other homemakers because the family hires
…show more content…
Being a homemaker forms part of Beulah’s role. However, bearing in mind that The Beulah Show is a typical sitcom in the 1950s when women, especially minority women, were having the transformation towards their roles. It is notable that in the episode “Beulah Goes Gardening”, Beulah reveals her independence and competence by giving out her opinions and by making her own decisions. Overall, it is impressive that Beulah reveals the transformation of her role from the traditional way to the new way as all the women did in the
Open Document