'The Game' Star Talks 'Dip and Pitts,' Black TV

Coby Bell of The Game, which is officially returning for a fifth season, talks to The Root about his character's signature dance and the state of black TV.

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CB: In a lot of ways, I feel like TV's going backward. There was The Cosby Show in the '80s, which was a mainstream, beautiful thing showing people that this is just a family. Forget about whether they were black or white, but it was a family, period, so check it out. We've kind of gotten away from that.

That's why I'm glad to see the crossover appeal of The Game. I have people from all different races and backgrounds coming up to me and telling me how much they dig the show. I think it's also cool to show an interracial relationship and not make a big deal out of it. It's just two people who are in love. I think it was really cool to get the opportunity to do that. Every episode doesn't have to be about "I'm black and you're white, how will we make it work?" I'm biracial, so I knew firsthand that it was nothing.

CB: When I'm not working, I'm just with my kids and my wife. Since Burn Notice shoots in Miami and The Game shoots in Atlanta, and my wife and my kids are in California, these days I'm either on set or on a plane or with my family. That's just what I do. I fly home every weekend, sometimes twice a week. So it gets to be a lot, but I have four kids, so I don't want to miss out on anything that's going on. And I don't want them to miss out on having me around. It's just kind of what I have to do. Everything I do is for them.

TR: Do you keep up with politics?

CB: It's always important to keep up with what's going on around you. You may not think that all the stuff that's going on in Washington or in other parts of the world affects you and your day-to-day life, but it does. As far as Barack Obama, the way the country was left to him when the Bush administration left, it must be an incredibly tough job. I think he's done an extremely good job with the situation he's been put into. Not only is his situation messed up, but all these other congressmen and senators on the other side are basically doing everything they can to stop everything he's done.

TR: What do you hope viewers take away from watching The Game?

CB: People always use the term "African-American community." They'll say, "The African-American community feels like ... " But I never find it to be true. Within the African-American community, there are all different kinds of people with different kinds of ways of going about their lives. But I think The Game represents that spectrum. You got everyone from Melanie, who went to med school and she's a doctor. And you got Jason, who was raised by a football player and raised in the suburbs. And then you have Tasha, who's representing the so-called hood. And I think that's a pretty dynamic view of African-American life.

Erin E. Evans is a writer in New York. Follow her on Twitter.

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