South Side Wasn’t Trying to Prove Its Own Importance

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Among the many fallen brothers of the Great 2022–23 Content PurgeSouth Side will be fondly missed. Many shows have been canceled or scraped from the internet, but none had such a refillable premise. Created by Sultan and Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo RiddleSouth Side was about exactly what the name said: the South Side of Chicago. Sure, most of the show’s antics were connected in some way to Simon (Sultan Salahuddin), Kareme (Kareme Young), and the shady Rent-T-Own, where they both work. But South Side intentionally opened up its world quickly and confidently. It touched on the police with Officer Goodnight and Sergeant Turner (IRL marrieds Bashir Salahuddin and Chandra Russell) and local politics with Alderman Gayle (Riddle). It was like if The Wire were The Simpsons. 

Bashir Salahuddin and Riddle also run the sketch show Sherman’s Showcasebut South Side takes that same silliness and puts it in a very real place. “We’ve always wanted to take Chicago and turn it kinda into Springfield from The Simpsons,” Bashir Salahuddin said in 2019. “We have 150 speaking parts.” And because the show started that big, it had limitless places to go. For example, season three’s “The Spirit of Kwanzaa” took the form of different ancillary characters making films about Kwanzaa, almost their “Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase.” It’s what makes the show’s cancellation so frustrating.