(2000) is a satirical film directed by Spike Lee
Pierre Delacroix (Damon Wayans) is a Harvard-educated African American man, working for a television network known as CNS ("Continental Network System"), who's feeling a bit pissed. His boss, Thomas Dunwitty (Michael Rapaport), is a whigger
who insists he is more black than Delacroix is, and who dismisses all the intelligent shows about African-Americans that Delacroix proposes as knockoffs of The Cosby Show
. Delacroix believes that all Dunwitty wants are shows portraying African-Americans as buffoons.
Frankly, Delacroix would just like to leave, but he's contractually bound to the network. In order to get himself fired, and to satirize the network's desire for buffoonish black people, Delacroix concocts a brilliant plan: He comes up with a televised minstrel show
called Mantan: The New Millenium Minstrel Show
, in which two black street performers portray goofballs named "Mantan" and "Sleep 'N Eat" on a watermelon plantation in blackface makeup. Dunwitty, sure enough, greenlights the show.To Delacroix's horror, the show is a huge success!
This film provides examples of:
- An Aesop: Racial caricatures in entertainment are bad, m'kay?
- More to the point: Don't help the White Man perpetuate said racial caricatures against your own race.
- Bad Boss: Thomas C. Dunwitty, the tyrannical vice president of the Continental Network System, or CNS.
- Broken Aesop: After a whole movie about how racial stereotypes in cinema are bad, the movie ends with a "good" black character shooting and killing somebody.
- Bullet Dancing: After he refuses to do his routine, the gangsta rapper Mau-Maus force Manray (the guy who plays Mantan) to tapdance at gunpoint one last time before shooting him.
- Cant Get In Trouble For Nuthin: The whole point of the racist show, was for Delacroix's to offend people and get fired from his job, which he hated.
- Cluster N Bomb
- Jive Turkey: Obviously.
- Modern Minstrelsy: The whole point.
- My Nayme Is: The Mau-Maus insist on spelling the word black as "blak", since "nobody be pronouncin' that shit.".
- N-Word Privileges:
- Dunwitty argues he can use the N-word because he grew up among black people and has a black wife, and is thus effectively black himself.
- Thanks to the phenomenal success of Delacroix's show, everyone in America winds up having these. It gets to the point where audience members (ultimately including Dunwitty himself) are showing up for tapings in black makeup. So we have a blonde girl in blackface, an Italian-American in blackface (he calls himself "a Sicilian nigger," which is an actual slur), and... a black girl in blackface.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Much as Mr. Lee would probably like to harm Quentin Tarantino, he is much less enthusiastic about libel suits.
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Dunwitty. Also, one of the members of the Mau-Maus.
- Springtime for Hitler: Gone Horribly Wrong
- Take That: Early in the film, Lee uses the absurdly buffoonish and offensive character of Dunwitty to take a not-at-all subtle jab at his much-publicized spat with Quentin Tarantino over the issue of N-Word Privileges.
- Truth In Satirical Film: Spike Lee did not make up the minstreal names Mantan or Sleep n' Eat. Also, black actors sometimes did peform in blackface.
- Uncle Tomfoolery: A central theme of the film.
- Verbed Title