December 13, 2012

Native sheriff in Up All Night

In Thursday's episode of Up All Night, titled First Snow (airdate: 12/13/12), Chris and Reagan drive into the mountains to show daughter Amy her first snow. Having failed to go to the bathroom when they had the chance, they stop by the side of the road to pee in the bushes. Just then, a sheriff pulls up behind them.

He waits until they return to their car, then leans toward the window:SHERIFF: You desecrated an ancient burial grounds with your disrespectful waste.

[Chris and Reagan babble excuses.]

SHERIFF: Just kidding! This is the side of the road. Nobody's buried here.

[Chris and Reagan laugh in relief.]

SHERIFF: But you're still getting a ticket for public urination.
As he walks away, we see the sheriff has a single long braid down his back. He's obviously meant to be an Indian.

IMDB says the character's name is Officer Littlejohn. He's played by actor Miguel Nájera, who describes himself as Chicano/Native.

This is a small but good scene. It shows how you can integrate Indians into everyday life. We get a bit of Native lore, a bit of Native humor--but not at the expense of the Indian--and a visual cue.

But it's not forced. The sheriff isn't even identified as an Indian. The subtle message is that Indians still exist and are just regular people.

For more on Up All Night, see Thanksgiving in Up All Night and Pete Littlebear in Up All Night.

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