After Queen Sugar ended, I was at a bit of a loss, in terms of what show I wanted to take its place for my Goon TV Reviews. I was considering Black-ish, but somehow it felt weird jumping into the middle of the season. However, the first two episodes of the Black-ish spinoff - Grown-ish that features their oldest daughter Zoey as she maneuvers through college - I knew this was the one.
Zoey, played by my baby sis in my head, Yara Shahidi is absolute magic, and I can see pieces of her sprinkled throughout the show, from the scenarios and even the way in which topics are discussed.
To be honest, I was a little bummed out, and even smacked my lips when they noted she wouldn’t be at an HBCU. After watching the first set of episodes though, and seeing the comparisons to A Different World, I’m glad they decided not to. Grown-ish, while deriving from a beloved family sitcom, and having a similar setting, does not mean that it needs to serve the same purpose.
As a quick Segway, I hate that we want to seek quality productions that reflect the world we see, with people who look like us, yes we compare it to other bodies of work. There is PLENTY of room for all TV shows depicting Blackness to both exist, and co-exist.
Jumping into Grown-ish, we were introduced to our main characters in tribute to the Breakfast Club kind of way, in Zoey’s night class, with Professor Telphy. Aaron, the sophomore Zoey’s completely crushing over, played by Trevor Jackson. The trill ass twins Jaz and Sky (my favorites) played by Chloe and Halle. Beautiful Baby Basquiiat Lucca, who is my forever mood, and is played by Luka Sabbat. The on-campus feel good pharmacist, Jordan, played by Vivek Shah. Lastly, her best friend and roommate Ana and Nomi played by Francia Raisa and Emily Arlook.
The first three episodes tackled “U Up,” texts, the idea of not knowing wtf we’re doing (which is relatable af), and finding your “thing” drug wise, which Is taboo but necessary. This is done in a Black-ish like way, giving some context, and then corkily diving into the topic. At first dig into the show, the two things kept playing in my mind is how this show was both necessary af, and diverse af.
What I love about Grown-ish is how on-time, and necessary these conversations are. Even considering Zoey’s string of wild ass texts she sent Aaron, on episode three. While I’ve never done the full out goofy move and texted all that shit, please believe I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole or two or ten in thought.
It seems like Zoey always starts off by pulling a goofy ass move, in a goofy ass manner, so that we can see the error in her ways. Then we reach a lemonade like conclusion after the lemons we had been given.
Going back to my saltiness when I found out this wouldn’t be set at a HBCU, I was only annoyed because I wanted this to be a show #ForTheCulture. However, while I won’t say that what we got was better, I will say that is was needed.
My skinfolk love to point out racial disparities, but fail to recognize the intersectionality within these disparities. There is also a lack of understanding among some, in regards to other races and cultures. While there are a couple of white characters sprinkled here and there, the majority of the cast is made up of Black and brown people, which is hella beautiful to me. As I’ve been entertaining the idea as of lately, that our lack of understanding is what forces us to be ignorant and to live with hate. Given the current climate, the diversity in this show is so on time.
I understand that it may be an acquired taste, but I will continue to tune in faithfully. I even suggested that my niece watch it, as a way to just understand the issues that her almost peers are facing.
Stayed tuned for more Goon Reviews of Grown-ish.