Glassell Park on TV

Does that look like the LAPD to you? Cast of Southland

Northeast LA on TV! First scene of NBC’s new cop drama* Southland has a gang shoot-out in Glassell Park. This is the kinda promotion that makes homeowners groups and neighborhood councils squirm. It means in some Hollywood writer’s eye, Glassell Park is associated with gun toting cholos and shoot-outs. It’s hard to shake a reputation like that.

Don’t expect a show review here, I don’t think I can stand too much more of Southland. I hated the movie Crash and don’t have enough time to waste on watching a watered down reprise on TV. Besides, I just got in a few new episodes of The Riches from Netflix.

Glassell Park shouldn’t feel too sad though, at least they don’t have a whole show named after their neighborhood that has nothing to do with the place they live. For more on the Lincoln Heights TV show debacle, see here.

*If it’s a drama, why I am I laughing? Like cholos are really gonna do a drive-by in tricked out ranfla!

33 thoughts on “Glassell Park on TV

  1. I haven’t seen the show, nor plan to see it, but the still photo of the Southland cop actors posted here I think quite accurately depict the LAPD. Most cops I see driving in “black and whites” are White males, then the Latino/Hispanic males, then Black males, then a sprinkle of Asian guys, and Black and Latina girls.*

    I’ve always been curious as to what the real cholos think – whether they’re excited to see an exaggerated stereotype of themselves on TV or if it pisses them off.

    But then again, I think most folk working in Hollywood entertainment (i.e. the writers) are LA/Hollywood transplants who probably base their drama series about corruption in LA on their yuppie LA experiences, confining themselves to commercial retail and other rich people to shop with.

    *These inaccurate statistics comes from my visits to Hollenbeck Police Station to complain about authority-abusing, traffic violating police officers, neighborhood ruckus, and “domestics” among other things, over the years.

  2. This is why I have nothing to do with TV or films…I haven’t watched TV in years and this reminds me why, such crap and that thing is that its harmful. Young men get their head beat in owing to reinforcement of a backward way of thinking because of shows like this.

    People who create this think that this is just entertainment, but its poison just like cigarettes and fastfood, no different, in fact it’s worse, because at least those latter two are obviously deadly.

  3. Worst portrayal of cholos in cinema or t.v. history: Falling Down. Did the cholos in Southland top that?

  4. Is that Lincoln High in the background? Whatever it is it looks really familiar.

  5. Most cops I see driving in “black and whites” are White males, then the Latino/Hispanic males, then Black males, then a sprinkle of Asian guys, and Black and Latina girls.*


    News Flash !!! There are now more latino LAPD cops than white cops.

  6. Latino officers now outnumber whites in the Los Angeles Police Department, but the LAPD still doesn’t promote enough Latinos, blacks, Asians and women to high-ranking positions.

    As of January 2008, there were 3,787 Latino officers in the LAPD, 3,770 white officers, and 1,183 black officers. This after a 16-year-old federal consent decree that forced the department to increase the hiring and promotion of minority officers.

  7. pbg: certainly not the lincoln high i grew up around, but that one’s thousands of miles away.

    i honestly don’t mean to be a dick about spelling and don’t want to detract from the discussion about media representation and lapd, so i apologize in advance if i end up doing either; but is there any significance to “glassel” (one “l”) vs “glassell” (two “l”s)? i’ve not been around long enough to know if it’s similar to “silverlake” vs “silver lake” or in the context of last names, for example, “moore” vs “more.”

  8. Having a diverse police department will improve race relations to some degree, but it won’t fix the problem long term because as long as the wealthiest have control of the politicians, they’ll have control of the police as well. And that will mean extra scrutiny on the poor.

    You can have a police department that’s 90% Latino, or 45% black and 45% Latino, and it won’t change the overall prioritization of law enforcement, i.e., arresting gang members, drug dealers, using blanketed generalizations as criteria to identify gang members, etc. There won’t be real ethnic or cultural diversity in any police department until there is real ethnic and cultural diversity economically.

    I’ll give you a quick example as to how futile a presence of ethnic police officers can be. PBS a few years ago ran a documentary on gangs in Modesto. A cop, white, was on there saying that kids just basically wake up one day and decide rather they’re going to be Surenos or Nortenos. He basically said that they choose rather they want to roll with red or blue. A Latino cop, Chicano, to be specific, was on shortly after him. He grew up in a Norteno neighborhood in Modesto, and said that a great deal of these kids are born into either a Sureno or Norteno family, with uncles, cousins, even parents in some cases having belonged to the gang. These are two conflicting views by two different cops in the same agency! And, it’s obvious which view is more accurate. But what view do you think prevails? Bottom line is, talking about gangs as if they’re a trend that can sweep the suburbs, like texting, gets more attention (and more funding) than pointing out the reality that most of this drama is a prison born conflict, that is fueled more by poverty and a lack of constructive activity amongst kids, than mere peer pressure and teen boredom.

    The police agenda, controlled by politicians put into power by the wealthiest of citizens, will dictate the direction, and attitude, of police officers, no matter the ethnicity of the officers.

  9. I’ve since seen it several dozen times, but I was immediately turned off to SouthLAnd, during my first time watching the promo when the trainer cop looks hard at the exasperated rookie and through clenched jaw says something along the lines of “You’ll drag you’re tired ass out of bed tomorrow morning and do it all over again because you’ve got a front row seat to the greatest show on earth!”

    Are you fucking kidding me?

    Only Jack Webb 30 years ago could get away with a bullshit cliché line like that — and barely. And the sad thing is, whatever “Crash” whoring “ER” fellating hack wrote it at this way late date probably got chills thinking they’d crafted some sort of profound FTW. FAIL.

  10. Two ways of looking at it, though. Although we know the “greatest show on earth” line is likely the writers using hyperbole to get a more “Dirty Harry” audience to watch the show, it could be a subtle point of view by a writer to show just how arrogant police have become, hence, this writer being a rebel in his or her smallest form, surrounded by a bunch of producers who just want a new, hot cop drama. Could the LAPD be all too pleased about a show portraying them as cowboys getting a kick out of LA’s inner city problems? I haven’t seen this show yet and I can tell I probably won’t like it, either. Because I think it is pretty much what you’ve chalked it up to be. But being a wannabe script writer myself, I always picture what I would do if I got on as a writer for a network cop show. I’d probably try to get my view of law enforcement into the story, only to watch the episode’s director, and the actors, spin my lines into some sort of bravado and heroism. Didn’t some writer once say that writing in hollywood is like handing your kid over to a band of hells angels? So, I always like to give the writers that benefit of the doubt, no matter how naive I may be for it. LOL.

  11. I was going to write a “review” of this show yesterday, but I couldn’t get the online episode viewer at the NBC to work and didn’t want to write something yesterday night. Though I love anything L.A., I didn’t like the pilot too much. The show smacked of “Let’s get rid of crime by shooting up the whole city.”

    Chimatli, I agree, I was laughing when the cholos do the drive by in the sweet lowrider Impala. I don’t think any self-respecting owner of a lowrider would drive one in the street for a shooting, especially from Glassell Park to Figueroa & 120th.

  12. I live in Glassell Park and strained my eyes watching for familiar landmarks in Southland. Couldn’t they at least have driven past the storage facility on Eagle Rock Blvd?

  13. Overheard in a popular Eastside restaurant tonight:
    “You know there’s this new show called South-LA-land” it’s about South Central and this rookie cop…It’s totally unrealistic.”
    -a white-haired Mexican-American grandpa speaking to a group of his friends.

  14. I watched the show. I thought it was a pretty good depiction of Los Angeles. Quit crying about the Cholos and Cholitas, why can’t you accept the way they are? If you look around the neighborhood you will see that they dress exactly as in the show. And act the same as well. Those were probably locals in the scene where the Cholo was killed. Anyway, lets hope they keep the filming on Sunset and not into the Echo Park neighborhood. It’s too crowded as it is. I will continue to watch the show.

  15. I don’t think anyone here was “crying”, as you put it, minerkinny. If they looked like they were shedding tears, it’s only because they were laughing so hard at how fake this show is.

  16. I just watched this online because I love bad cop shows but this was really too much. The only realistic part was one of the white cops living in Castaic. That is so true (and lame). It’s hard to find LAPD that actually live in L.A.

    I could handle unrealistic if it were at least entertaining but it was just one boring L.A. cop cliche after another.

  17. um, I actually kinda liked the show. it was like a treasure hunt, picking out the scenes in Silverlake (as most of the show is actually filmed there), Echo Park, and occasionally the Highland Park/Glassell Park areas…or, right, and on the Strip too.

    I’m a white girl who’s lived in Highland Park for nearly 3 years…I know that’s not long enough to argue with all of you lifers, but I think it’s probably good that shows are being filmed in our east-side neighborhoods. the economy’s not so hot, so I’m sure all the struggling businesses probably appreciate the daily filming rates they get when their store-fronts serve as the backdrop of “South Central”.

    and shit, the show gets the gang activity pretty accurate, so they’re obviously doing something right. get over trying to keep our east side so precious. it’s not like Hollywood is moving in…it kinda seems like it might be good for the hood.

    okay, bring on the backlash…

  18. Filming on the Eastside rarely helps anyone, only those employed by that industry. I was part of a community center on Figueroa that had it’s front door blocked by the food table (no, they didn’t ask, and we forced them to move it so we could get in) and they paid us the wonderful sum of $0 for that inconvenience. The TV/Film industry could up and die for all I care.

    Plus, the show gets all the gang stuff all wrong. It might work for scared white folk in the midwest, but it’s totally unreal for everyone else. The whole Brown on Black random violence, that’s the current myth being propagated by media and obviously some folk in power. As to why, I’m sure we will find out a few years from now. No doubt part of the same old scheme to get us to turn on each other, while somebody else rakes in the profits.

  19. We should be so thankful to be stereotyped yet again, because they may give one us a little bit of money.

    Thank-you, thank-you Mr and Mrs Industry Fucks.

    Besides as El Chavo said on the Eastside and South Central, they know we don’t know, so they don’t pay people, they only pay people who know they are supposed to be paid and whose bitching matters to the mainstream media and that’s not the people who get stereotyped on TV, obviously we don’t matter that’s why they can make caricatures of us on TV.


  20. Actually, the “Brown on Black random violence” isn’t a myth being propagated by “media and obviously some folk in power.” It’s a reality the media has if anything ignored. Most of it is happening within South Los Angeles where the issues over real estate and race are far more contentious than those on the eastside. Hate-crimes were at a 5 year high last year and the bulk of it was indeed perpetrated by blacks against Latinos and vice-versa.

    Part of the violence is whipped up by anti-immigration sentiment fueled by the media and politicians. Whatever the cause, many black residents feel as if they’re being pushed out of South L.A. Most are going to places like Palmdale, but the ones who can afford it are moving to places like Echo Park. You’ll see that reflected in the next census.

  21. Actually the so called “Brown on Black” random violence as a common occurrence and major problem is a complete myth except for prison and gang shit that sometimes filters out on the street. Black and Brown people who work and live together get along just fine, especially when one considers the millions of people of different races and ethnicities who reside together at close proximity in the City of Angeles.
    Sure there are incidents of violence and racial animosity just as there are incidents of leprosy and St Vitus Dance Syndrome, but it’s not the norm or even close it.
    Divide and Conquer is an old old ruse used by exploiters and people with an ax to grind.
    Most people are hip to that fact.

  22. my little apartment,

    A t.v. show depicting a neighborhood as a gang haven helps local business? Gonna have to elaborate on that one.

    This whole thing with black and brown…the irony is deafening. It was something else hearing right wing fossil Pat Buchannon a year or so ago talking about how the Crips and Bloods were uniting to fight “illegal immigration”. HA!!!! Never mind how delusional and absurd that conclusion is, but equally as hilarious is the fact that during the riots in ’92, when Buchannon was running for president, he said that he would shoot the Crips and Bloods down in the streets, hawking H.W. Bush, who was taking a more moderate position on the riots. Ol’ P Dog’s cool with the b’s and c’s now, evidently. What strange bedfellows the immigration hysteria has created.

    During the ’08 democratic primary run, also about a year ago, Geraldo Rivera was dressing down some Obama supporter for daring to mention that white people were voting for Hillary because they were racist against blacks. Geraldo accused him of being in the Jackson/Sharpton mold, being a muckracker, etc. A segment later, he has Paul Rodriguez and Cheech Marin on (Cheech was for Obama, Rodriguez was for Hillary, at least at that time), and Geraldo wouldn’t stop talking about how Latinos were voting for Hillary because they didn’t like blacks. Geraldo didn’t want to hear a word about whites voting for Hillary out of racism (despite how obvious it was that it was happening), but insisted discussing Latinos doing it. My goodness….we’ve even outsourced racism to Mexicans!

  23. Rob Thomas:

    You sure have alot of extra time on your hands to blog so much. I hope you are an author and have been working on something a little more worthwhile to read/write.

  24. I’m trying, minerkinny. LOL. Guess we’ll have to just agree to disagree on SouthLAnd. I know you like the show, but I wasn’t impressed. Hopefully before they pull the plug (likely before the season’s end), they bring in writers with a little more hands on experience with the urban SouthLAnd and try to give it jolt. It deals with some pretty serious issues in LA. I’d hate to see it go to the compost so fast. But that’s where it’s heading.

  25. I grew up in a Black neighborhood (pre-school through HS) and now live in Boyle Heights, where my neighbors are a Black family. It’s easier to watch bad tv and assume that that shit is for-reals, than engage real life head-on. I’m still waiting for the Cholos in my neighborhood to appear—am I not looking in the right direction?

  26. Even when there is a lot of structural racism, people, if they want to, find ways to get along, and eventually become one people.

    If you go back far enough, you’ll find that the individual instances of conflict between _____ and _____ aren’t anything compared to the structural racism that was created to make some plantation owner rich, or to maintain a functioning ghetto, or some other bad situation where people are pitted against each other in a game of survival.

  27. I wonder if the show is based somewhat on the book “LA Rex”, I just read it and notice some plot similarities (young cop whose dad is an anti-cop lawyer). LA Rex is a pretty good book (earlier chapters better) and the book’s writer seemed to have a much better grasp of the subject and cultural nuances than the writers of southland, by leaps and bounds.

    The show just wreaked of rich white kids who arent in touch with the real LA (spare me the troll attack, it is the 2/3rds of the city not represented well in major media) they are trying to represent mashing up all the most sensationalist BS they can pile into an episode. Here are a few of the major innacuracies that were the most glaring and annoying:

    First of all the wrong outdated stereotypes, spruced up a bit because the writer saw some cholos ordering tacos near him:

    -The mexican gangsters pull a driveby in a tricked outlowrider, as already noted by somebody else. That kind of high profile BS must be one in a million and seemed like a bit too much heaping stereotyping for one scene ( I may have fell for ust brown guys in lowrider or cholos pulling a driveby, but putting those two 1980s ass stereotypes together makes for bad writing)

    -Half the real life LAPD is brown yet the most representation we get in the first episode of a LA cop show are mainly gangsters, give me a break). Im pretty sure the show is somewhat a spin the book LA Rex (or a serious bite off it), in the book the veteran cop who molds the rookie is a Latino (salvadoreno i think). But I guess America wont “connect” with a beaner in a major role, we kill blacks and cops and probably hoot like baboons in the next episode.

    -The cholos who kill the black kid are from MS (as indicated by the big fake tats), a salvadoren gang that is known to white america but has never been known to attack blacks indiscriminately like other chicano gangs.
    -The shooting of the black kid is a pretty disgusting and sensationalist attempt at capitalizing off the murder of a black child by brown morons. The character was an obvious reference to Jamiel Shaw, and the location seems like a nod to the murder of that poor little girl by 204st a while back. This is wrong for many reasons (and simply reporting the black brown beef is not one of them, this is not some tale of how things really are, if so the black kid would have been 100 times more likely to die from other blacks or the cholos would have been 100 times more likely to be shooting at a chicano victim). The first shooting in the show involves cholos shooting a black kid, which has not occurred more than 1-2 dozen times in the history of racial tension between black-brown gangs, at the same time dozens of thousand of black and brown victims have been killed by the hand of their own ethnicity, which was not shown so far. You’d think a show claiming to be a realisitc portrayal of LA street crime would portray an incident that occurs daily (brown on brown or black on black homicide), instead of a racist tragedy that has occurred a dozen or so times in the last quarter century. I can go farther, the whole minuteman connection to Jamiel Shaw is sickening and I wont go further than that out of respect for a dead child.
    -No older black cops in command, my mom works at a major police center for LAPD and a LOT of the older cops are middle aged black men.

    -The whole removal of a brown character from a pivotal (and authoritative) role in lieu of an angry old white man pissed me off so much I had to note it again. Incorporating an older Latino would have made the show much more authentically LA, lets hope the writers hire some brown folks and real angelenos to set them straight soon. What’s next, the first Latino role (well, actually second after screaming chola girlfriend) gonna be a horny and easilly accessible Latino love interest to the main character?

    Two thumbs down so far, hoping for some better writing and realism as the show develops. and I actually enjoyed watching an LA show and figuring out where the scenes are.

  28. Rob Thomas:

    Thanks for writing back again. I hope you do end up writing a book. I will be the first to order a copy from you. Seriously!!!

    I am just a white girl living in a neighborhood that is gentrified and am stuck in the drama of television and I tend to take things literally which obviously I should not. The hispanics that live here are very respectful of me, and considering that I have lived in this area of Echo Park for 11 years now orginally coming from North Hollywood we all get along. I would never discuss Southland with anyone that I know which I probably should. Anyway I am rambling now. But take care and I hope to hear back from you again soon.

    And you will now notice my real name. I don’t have to use a moniker do I?

  29. @pitbullgirl I believe that is the Terminal Annex building on Alameda in downtown LA, it currently houses a post-office on the ground floor.

    The show needs more Latino officers to be more realistic, their absence caught my eye when I saw the show.

    RE: the cholos, I could care less how accurately they are depicted, they shouldn’t be depicted period! I’m sick of gangs and cholos.
    For the record, the prison reality shows on National Geographic depict them the most accurately of all.

  30. Art, I’ll never forget the news footage of the Minutemen in South Central. One of the minutemen says to a black protester, “We’re here for you”. The black protester says, “Bull#@#! If you’re here for us, where have you been all of these years?”.

  31. I lived in Glassell Park for 6 years in the early 90s. We lived in the house where a white girl died after being shot by the Avenues Gang. Clinton mentioned her in a speech about racial intolerance. A boy who had a white mom but was black was killed in the area a couple years earlier and got a lot of press. They may use Glassell Park because it has been so high profile. All we can say is that it has gotten much better…I hope. I was afraid to walk my dogs because people set their pitbulls on people in the street. Our neighbors had lots of parties, bald heads, pitbulls, drugs, we’d here gunfire every night, the trains every night, and the STUPID LAPD helicopter would always shine lights in our windows. Whatever color, the LAPD seemed to only seek out the bad. They raided one of our neighbors on Thanksgiving and blocked the whole street, shined lights everywhere, etc. BUT when you meet the real people in that community there were whites, Asians, philipinos, gay couples, set designers, historical homes/ stairways from 1905, many older latinos…etc. I loved sitting out on my neighbor’s patio and watching the fireworks. Most of the pitbulls and “cholos” were at home, and home is home no matter who you are.

    I’m sad to read about Jamie. That story and many on Southland date back to before I was alive. Some years they’re rare and others not so much. I just hope this series dies and doesn’t take out any more innocent victims by inspired criminals.

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