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Black-ish is Officially Good

October 11, 2014

blackish-101

Black-ish and I have had a rocky relationship. When I first read the  premise (a black father and husband things his family is not black enough), I thought it sounded terrible. But the trailer, which featured Anthony Anderson and Laurence Fishburne prominently, was laugh out loud funny. So I was all set to love the show when it premiered three weeks ago. Except it wasn’t funny. All the funny stuff from the trailer was old hat and none of the rest of the episode was particularly funny. While there were some great performances from Tracee Ellis Ross and Marsai Martin as the mom and youngest daughter, respectively, there just wasn’t anything about the show that really grabbed me.

However, the episode was so premise heavy that I was curious what they were going to do with it week to week. So I tuned in the following week. And to my surprise, the episode was quite funny! In fact, there was one line in particular that really got me. Andre (Anderson) and his son, Andre Jr. (Marcus Scribner) are having “The Talk” and Andrew Jr. asks about oral sex. Andre thinks for a moment, then responds: “You should stay away from that. You have a wheat allergy.” It’s one of those smart jokes that takes a minute, but then when you get it, you really get it. I probably missed the next six or seven lines of dialogue I was laughing so hard. But while I enjoyed the episode much more than the first one, it had nothing to do with being black, which is the entire premise.

I debated at this point whether or not to continue the show. It had the potential to be a funny family comedy, but it had such a specific premise that I wondered if it could be funny while staying true to it’s concept. So I decided to give it one more week.

And it was so worth it! In the show’s third episode, Andre realizes that his son doesn’t have any black friends, and tries various methods to teach his son how to grow up acknowledging the struggle: social clubs, pickup basketball games in the hood, and finally a playdate with the son of the new guy at work, who turns out to be overly friendly. Throughout the episode, the jokes are clever, funny and delivered well, all while maintaining the premise set out in the pilot, proving that the show can totally do both at the same time.

It is no surprise that Black-ish is the first freshman comedy to be given a full season order this year after an episode like that. While not every episode may have the idea behind the premise, I am confident that the show will continue to delight as the season continues.

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