Method & Red is yet another short-lived series from the Fox Network – notorious for making short-lived series. Method & Red was co-created by Wu-Tang Clan member Method Man who also executive produced the series. It starred Meth and Redman as fictionalized versions of themselves. I watched this show each week back in the summer of 2004 and I thought how great is the world when there can be a television show where two rappers can sit around, smoke weed, and cause chaos in the suburbs ON NETWORK TELEVISION.

In the show Method Man and Redman are two friends who get signed and hit it big. There is no Wu-Tang Clan and there is no Redman solo career. The premise is basically that Meth and Red are two guys from the block who get signed as a duo, make it BIG, and then decide to live together in the very rich suburbs of New Jersey. Along for the ride is Method Man’s mother Dorothea played by Anna Maria Horsford – known from television shows like The Wayans Bros. and Amen, perhaps most famously known for being Ice Cube’s mom in Friday.

The comedy stems from these two rappers from the hood now living among the whitest of the white people in New Jersey.  I’m born, raised, and still reside in New Jersey and having been to some of these fancy schmancy neighborhoods I can tell you that the depiction of these snobby hoity-toity people is pretty spot on. Meth and Red live next to Nancy – a realtor who is not very successful selling homes in her own neighborhood thanks to the duo. Nancy is played by The Daily Show’s Beth Littleford. It’s very funny because Beth always reminds me of Steve Carell’s wife Nancy – and all three of them were on The Daily Show. And on this show Nancy’s husband Bill (House’s Peter Jacobson) kind of looks like Steve Carell. Here…look at all four of them:

I know I’m white…and they are white…but god damn I’m thinking maybe all white people look alike. Is it me? I have no clue. That’s besides the point…

As rappers turned actors go I enjoy both Meth and Red. I may be decried for saying this but even though I’m a huge hip hop fan I’m not the biggest fan of Wu-Tang. I really loved their first album but never really got deeply into them after that. HOWEVER I loved Method Man – his technique and style is flawless and I consistently listened to his solo albums. As for Redman AKA Funk Doc AKA Doc AKA Reggie Noble, how can a kid from Jersey not love a rapper from Brick City itself AKA Newark, NJ? I’ve been listening to Doc since What? Thee Album and still think Time 4 Sum Aksion is just one of the most classic hip hop songs of all time. When I used to spin on WTSR waaaaayyyyyy back in the day I would play that song ALL the time. The duo joined forces for a couple of brilliant albums and made the hilarious film How High. So why not a sitcom playing “themselves” stuck in suburbia facing off against the WASPy neighbors???

You would think with a show like this the pilot would have featured Meth and Doc moving into the neighborhood and meeting their neighbors for the first time. That would have made total sense. But the pilot actually kicks off with the duo long moved in to their fabulous mansion.

They love to throw huge parties and it seems that the noise is way too much for Nancy who has had enough. The community has a board and a shit ton of bylaws. Nancy finds a bylaw about a noise ordinance and tells the two that if the entire community votes them out unanimously they have to sell the house and GTFO.

These two really wouldn’t give a fuck. The characters on the show are really just out to have a good time. But Dorothea? She loves the house. Even though she still works the same shitty job as a New Jersey toll collector (if you’ve ever been to a New Jersey toll booth you can see how most of them are not particularly happy) Dorothea is quite happy to be out of the hood and living in the beautiful gated community.

So Meth and Red need to come up with some way to bond with their neighbors in the hopes of not being kicked out. What do white people actually like? They come up with giving their neighbors fruitcake because what white person doesn’t enjoy fruitcake?!?!?!

So the two attempt to give their neighbors these fruitcakes and it pretty much goes the way you would expect. Neighbors shutting their doors and neighbors running away in fear. This sequence alone sold me on the pilot – it was pretty damn hilarious.

Brian Posehn shows up briefly as a neighborhood security guy who is pretty terrible at this job.  Anything with Brian Posehn in it is amazing.  Just look at him!  The man can wave in the air and make it seem like it is the funniest thing in the world.

The fun continued for the next few episodes. In the second episode Nancy’s kid Skyler (played by David Henrie who would be known as Ted’s future son in How I Met Your Mother and perhaps, most famously, from Disney’s The Witches of Waverly Place.  Don’t ask how I know that and PLEASE don’t ask if I got addicted to the dumb show for awhile because I’ll deny it) is having a birthday party . Nancy sent out invitations to all of Skyler’s classmates – invitations that feature some lame Power Ranger ripoff called the Ultra Squad 4. The Ultra Squad 4 is actually going to put on “a show” at Skyler’s party and the poor kid is mortified he will be mocked forever.  Seems legit.

So Skyler invites Meth and Red to the party knowing that if the rappers show up he’ll be considered cool. Meth and Red aren’t into it until they hear there will be hot Asian moms there. Then they agree. Smart guys.

The thing is the duo is being interviewed for a magazine where they are going to be featured on the cover. Their two homies Lil Bit (Don’t Be a Menace’s Lahmard Tate) and Dupree (Jeremiah Burkett) clue them in on the reporter they’ll be speaking with. It seems that the reporter did a number on poor 50 Cent because “he changed” since leaving the hood. His record sales dropped because of the article that was written about him. So going to some kid’s party on the day the reporter is showing up is not going to give these two more street cred.

Meth and Red ditch the kid and a party ensues at their house with the reporter in tow. First the reporter learns that Meth has his mom living with him in the mansion (not very street) and when Skyler comes over to tell them that his party sucks the reporter is laughing. DEFINITELY not street. The duo end up at Skyler’s party where everyone is excited to see them except the ripoff Power Rangers who don’t take too kindly to being interrupted. A fight ensues – a pretty hilarious fight. Power Rangers are flipping left and right. Kids are screaming.

A hood clown called Downtown Clowie Brown (kind of like Homie the Clown but much nicer), hired by Meth and Red, shows up and joins right into the brawl. It is a damn classic moment. The reporter? He’s damn impressed that the two rappers showed up to some white kid’s birthday party and caused a near riot where the police had to be called.

The thing that I love about the plots is that they don’t too sitcomy. They feel kind of natural especially as the duo seem very naive about rich white living. They have the money now but that doesn’t mean they understand these people or that the white people understand what the rappers went through when they were younger nor how they became successful.

The third episode is probably my favorite of all the episodes. When Dorothea comes upon her 25th anniversary at her toll booth job Meth decides to throw her a big extravagant party. And Doc? Red decides to promise her that Chaka Khan will play the party. Dorothea is SO EXCITED at that prospect but Meth nearly beats Red down. Why would he promise to have Chaka Khan play the party and how is Doc actually going to get her?

At the same time Meth is getting even more annoyed that Nancy is CRANKING Kenny Loggins next door. It is a taste of his own medicine it seems and Meth is pretty furious that he keeps hearing Loggins. He confronts Nancy who pretty much laughs in his face and turns up the Loggins.

Doc goes to see Chaka Khan and begs her to play the party. The first meeting between the duo doesn’t go so well so Red comes back at Chaka Khan with exactly what she needs…a huge suitcase full of money. Chaka should be ready to start belting out some Ain’t Nobody but she then informs Red that she is booked for the day of the party – she’s doing P. Diddy’s mom party.

In a silly yet stupid twist of fate we find out that Meth was a roadie of sorts for Loggins before him and Red got big. When they signed the rap deal he left Loggins behind. With no act to sing at Dorothea’s party Meth goes to Loggins’ house. Loggins loves that shit…that Meth is basically groveling.

So what happens? Everyone shows up for Dorothea’s party and Kenny Loggins plays the gig…singing Chaka Khan songs. It’s pretty stupid but it is damn funny.

The problem after episode 3 is that the episodes move from very funny and original to feeling very much like a dumb sitcom. NOW the shows are still funny but the plots just become idiotic. It seems like, at this point, I just started noticing the laugh track more and more. It seems that Meth’s intention was to do a show more akin to Arrested Development but Fox wasn’t having it. They added a laugh track to the episodes (which Arrested Development did not have) because I guess things are funnier when you have fake people laughing in the middle of the scene? Combined with the editing of the show Meth wasn’t too pleased. I’ll get back to Meth’s displeasure in a moment but I want to continue on how the plots started getting worse.

The fourth episode should have been a slam dunk considering Tamra Davis directed the bad boy. If you’ve seen CB4, Billy Madison, or the Dave Chappelle classic Half Baked then you know Tamra’s work. She’s a quality director – or at least has an eye for great comedy. The problem is her episode is saddled with a plot where a cherry tree in Meth’s backyard has to be removed due to the neighborhood’s bylaws. Once again Nancy is behind it – loving the fact that she can bring displeasure to Meth and Red. Problem is this is Dorothea’s tree that she brought from the hood (it was growing out of a sidewalk). In trying to figure out how to keep the tree Meth’s lawyer figures out they can change the rules when they become Neighborhood Association Presidents. The presidents rotate each month and guess whose turn it is?  Yup…Meth and Red.

Suddenly Meth and Red are kings of the neighborhood and start allowing people to make changes left and right. Then they get a membership to the golf course and suddenly the episode is Who’s Your Caddy.

The next episode gets even worse plot wise. Meth and Red want to build a sports stadium (The Methodome at the Redowlands – a slight nod to where the Giants and the Jets play). All they need is an investor to help their dreams come true.

Nancy’s husband Bill knows a billionaire heiress and tells the duo she is looking to invest. When the billionaire shows up it’s Carmen Elektra. So Redman is trying his hardest not to flirt with her, but that’s not working. So Meth tries to straighten Red out…don’t sleep with the billionaire and ruin the chances for their stadium.  But how can Red resist?  It’s Carmen Elektra!!!

On top of that Skyler slapped some girl’s butt after watching Meth and Red do it in a music video. Nancy wants Meth to straighten him out. The problem is in trying to straighten Skyler out Meth keeps inadvertently slapping women’s asses. It is actually pretty funny…but the problem it is pretty low grade humor.

The next two episodes get pretty decent which I was a little more happy about. Meth and Red are reminded that they have to do a special for MTV which they really don’t care about until they hear they’ll have to pay back a 2 million dollar advance. That gets them off their butts pretty quickly.

They decide to have the Miss Ghetto US Pageant 2004 right in their backyard. Why? Why not have it on the beach somewhere or in the hood or on a real stage somewhere? Because….sitcom. It’s okay though…trust me.

Meth wants the girls to be able to properly show off their assets but he doesn’t like having them appear just on the small stage that is erected in their backyard. Looking over at Nancy’s house he sees her balcony and thinks it’ll be PERFECT to show off the contestants.

So Meth goes over to Nancy’s house to ask if they can use the balcony but she laughs in his face. So Meth and Red think of the next best thing…going to Bill. At first Bill is like, “Sure! As long as I check with Nancy first.” Meth and Red tack on a guilt trip and Bill decides to man up. He lets the two use the balcony for the show and decides not to tell Nancy. When Nancy finds out? She kicks Bill out of the house.

So where does Bill go? Right next door to where all the beautiful women are hanging out for the beauty show. But Bill’s ramblings start pissing off Meth and Red who, while appreciative of being able to use the deck, are getting pissed off by Whitey McWhiterson hanging around. The beauty contestants seem to love Bill and what he has to say. Ultimately Bill almost ends up wrecking the beauty contest because…sitcom. But it all works out nicely.

The seventh episode has Skyler coming to Meth and Red asking for help in landing this girl in his class named Morgan. Once again Meth and Red do not care about Skyler, helping Skyler, and/or any of Skyler’s problems. That is until Meth learns that the young lady Skyler likes is black AND Morgan’s mom Brenda (Elise Neal who has made a billion movies from Scream 2 to Hustle & Flow to, much more recently, Logan) is super smoking hot. Meth finally sees some woman in the suburbs that he wants to get with but it seems that Brenda doesn’t care that Meth is a rich, famous rapper.

Meth puts his game face on and decides she is a woman worth pursuing. The dude goes hiking to spend some time with her. Like in the woods. Meth is able to charm her and the two start dating.

This pisses Redman off who basically enjoys the life they are currently enjoying…which is basically different hoochies in and out of the house nightly. So what does Redman set out to do? Sabotage. Once he gets Dorothea on his side (can’t piss Momma off) it is all down hill for Brenda.

Episode eight really brings the sitcom down as this episode is really, really, really sitcomy. A ghetto circus (back from the old block) without a home comes to camp out in Meth and Red’s backyard after Lil Bit and Dupree promised them they could come to the mansion.

WHAT!?!?!?! Yeah…stupid. Luckily Tony Cox makes an appearance as part of a “tiger.” About time we got some Tony Cox up in here!

There is a rash of crime in the neighborhood so Nancy and Bill come over to the house. Bill tells them about a neighborhood watch meeting while Nancy basically accuses the rich duo of stealing her shit. Because they are black. Redman calls her the hell out for some profiling bullshit and Nancy says she isn’t profiling them…then basically goes on to say she is profiling a bunch of families including the Chu’s and Martinez’s….and everyone else who isn’t white. RACIAL HUMOR! Actually that shit was pretty damn funny.

So on top of a rash of crime and a ghetto circus there is also Redman who can’t see after playing X-Box for 6 days straight. So now Redman has to wear glasses to see which he doesn’t want to wear. Why no contacts? SITCOM.  He also gets quickly involved in an affair with Mrs. Chu which is kind of glossed over….

The neighborhood has their watch meeting and it was great seeing Brian Posehn come back as the inept neighborhood security guy. His character is pretty great and I wish they would have used him more in the entire series.

So everyone is broken up into neighborhood watch teams and Meth & Nancy end up teaming up together. Because they don’t like each other it’s funny because they are teamed up.

If it sounds pretty stupid that’s because it really is. HOWEVER we do see Beth Littleford once again in a bikini (it happens one other time in another episode). So that’s nice. And I’m going to show her because, yeah, she’s rocking the bikini.

The ninth episode is…


I’m just going to barrel through this description and if it sounds horrid it is because this is hands down the worst episode of them all. It’s such a shame that series ended on this episode. So there’s this guy named Chu Chu who was a guy from the block but went upstate about five years ago. Meth and Red were supposed to keep tabs on Chu Chu but never went to visit him. Chu Chu is getting out so Meth and Red visit Chu Chu then Chu Chu’s girlfriend. When they find Chu Chu’s girlfriend she’s pregnant and working in a strip club. Not knowing what to do Meth and Red invite her to stay at her house. On top of this Meth and Red are also supposed to be helping Skyler build a soap box derby car…!??!?! Then Chu Chu learns that his pregnant stripper girlfriend is living at Meth’s house and decides to burrow himself out of prison. I don’t know…it was just a really, really horrible episode. The worst of the worst. I really wish they would have shelved this episode and swapped it out with one written by Lord and Miller.

And that’s it. Four more episodes were actually in the can but Fox decided not to air the shows. The episodes were completed but Fox wasn’t having any more with it. To this day the episodes have never been released. Usually when a show ends in the States other countries will actually continue running the show even the unaired episodes – this practice happens all the time. This didn’t happen with Meth and Red.  Why?  Dunno.  Maybe the appeal of two rappers living among white people may have been a concept only Americans would enjoy….??? As these episodes never aired anywhere and no DVD release was ever put out the episodes remain a total mystery. There are plot synopsis of each episode (including guest stars like Tommy Chong and Fredo Starr from Onyx) but that is it. You can find ANYTHING on YouTube (including the nine episodes of Method and Red that were broadcast) but you can’t find these lost episodes.

It’s not like Method and Red was devoid of talent.  They had great comedy directors like Dennis Dugan and Tamra Davis. Carter Bays and Craig Thomas would write an episode – not much later they would create and executive produce How I Met Your Mother (which would run for 9 seasons). Phil Lord and Christopher Miller would write 3 episodes of the series (2 of them remain unaired) and the duo were consulting producers on the show. Who are Phil Lord and Christopher Miller? The duo would go on to write and direct Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and The Lego Movie. They directed 21 and 22 Jump Street. And now? Now they are directing the Star Wars Han Solo spin-off film. Bays and Thomas would write the second episode while Lord and Miller would write the third.

This is the amazing talent this show had.

A day after episode 9 aired Method Man reported that the show was done. Kaput. Taping had halted the previous month in what Fox executives called “a planned hiatus.” Method Man was blunt about what was going on when he talked to the New York Post, “They’re like: ‘don’t call us, we’ll call you. It’s not done-done. It was not canceled, but they’re putting it on a long hiatus. The way they formatted the show and what they wanted to do with it — I give Fox credit for trying to please us as well as their audience but it just didn’t work out right. I think it’s for the better that we take this long hiatus so everybody can re-evaluate what they want to do. If they really want to spend this money and keep doing those shows that aren’t pulling in the ratings they want and the same with us, if we want to keep doing that type of comedy — that’s not my brand of comedy.”

In rewatching and reviewing Method and Red I also looked around the web a bit and found an article from 2013 published at Complex which listed the Top 50 Racist Shows of all time. Method and Red landed at #43 and the authors stated:  Rappers are often accused of reinforcing negative black stereotypes, but rarely has it come into focus as clearly as it did on this short-lived “suburban invasion” sitcom starring Def Jam’s lovable tag-team. The show’s white writers loved coming up with wacky ways that Red and Meth could freak out their white neighbors, like playing loud music, driving cars with ostentatious rims, wearing long underwear all the time, and hosting white floozies in their hot tubs. Turns out you can’t spell “ethered themselves” without “Meth” and “Red.” Oh, and “the sleeves,” either, but that’s neither here nor there. 

Does the show play out racial stereotypes? Absolutely. It mocks white people living rich but it also mocks rappers who make it big and how they deal with success. It is actually part of the charm. Is it one of the most racist shows ever? Absolutely not. Does it continue to play on stereotypes? Absolutely. Why does it matter then? Ask any Asian or Indian actor out there who are trying to make it big how many times they are asked to speak with some stereotypical accent so they can play the Asian friend or some convenience store clerk. It happens to much. If you seek out what Kal Penn has to say on his many years of trying to land roles you can see that stereotypes in Hollywood are very much here to stay. Why can’t the Indian guy just be a normal guy with a normal accent? I dunno.

But are there rich uppity white people living in gated communities in New Jersey? Yes. Come visit me and I’ll be happy to take you right up to Princeton to show you just how uppity, snotty, and snooty white rich people live. Can rappers from the hood still be hood no matter where they may be living?  Pretty sure that happens all the damn time. So is it stereotypical or are they just pointing out the obvious?  Dunno.  Q-Tip lives in Jersey…let’s go find his neighborhood and see how it is.

At the end of the day Method and Red was a very funny show.  It was just also sometimes a still-kinda-funny show with a sitcom stink on it. When you hear the Meth and Red were dissatisfied with the show you can certainly see why. Now I’m sure the show they wanted to do wasn’t going to be something that the Fox Network was going to do week in and week out. I’m sure compromises were made. So the show was placed on a hiatus from which there was no return.

I wish they would put this out on DVD so the remaining episodes would be available for those who liked this show. Or at least throw the show up on Netflix.  Sure it can be stupid at times but it was really fun seeing Method and Red in a show like this. The episodes are worth a watch no matter how silly it could be at times. The duo work well together (The Blackout albums, How High) and this is just further proof that the decision to team up together was a good move that still works twenty something years later.