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Byline: Chuck Barney
When "My Name Is Earl" star Jaime Pressly traveled to her native Kinston, N.C., for the holidays last December, she didn't know exactly what kind of reaction she'd elicit among the red-state citizenry. After all, her sitcom character Joy, a brassy blonde bombshell, is married to Darnell (aka Crab Man), a laid-back black guy and, well, she was braced for at least a little flak.
Instead, she was smothered with enthusiastic inquiries about her onscreen mate, played by Eddie Steeples.
"Everywhere I went it was, `Hey, where's Crab Man? Is he coming to visit?'`Oh, he's cool.' `That's a good `fro he's got going,"" she recalls. " Yeah, they just love Crab Man."
Similarly, Steeples says he doesn't hear much feedback about the interracial pairing from the public. "To be honest," he says, "I usually get `Man, she's hot, huh?""
This matter-of-fact acceptance comes as good news to television writers and producers who are shrugging off hoary concerns about alienating viewers and advertisers as they allow love to bloom between characters of all races and cultures. Of course, anyone who has seen "I Love Lucy" or "The Jeffersons" knows this isn't exactly groundbreaking stuff, but with Valentine's Day upon us, it's worth noting that TV's portrait of romance is, more than ever, one of blended colors.
A highly compelling coupling on the hit medical drama "Grey's Anatomy" involves a black man and an Asian woman. The critically acclaimed sitcom "Scrubs" features a marriage between a Latina and a black man. On "ER," which has long been a monument to diversity, a …