I was excited for Blackish. After the pilot I was worried about how long it would last. The show felt both too preachy and too unbelievable. With Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and countless other instances of unjust killings of black men gaining national attention in the past few years, it felt ridiculous to think Dre would never have talks with his kids about these sensitive subjects. They wouldn’t know Obama was the first black president? I don’t believe that for one minute. However, the show and the concept, an upper class black family losing touch with their “blackness” (according to the father), is saved by great comedic performances.
The show found its groove in the 5th episode “Crime and Punishment” where the parents Dre and Bow, played with the perfect mix of flabbergasted outrage and love by Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross, must decide if they should spank their youngest son. The show is at its best when the humor is specific. Pops (Laurence Fishburne) offers to do the spanking with a piece of Hot Wheels race track just like he used to spank Dre when he was younger. That small detail is comedy gold and the show has been firing on all cylinders since.
The husband/wife dynamic is refreshing to see. They both work, both handle parenting responsibilities, and genuinely love each other. Its much more of a partnership than most sitcom marriages. The kids are cute and the oldest son, Jr., being a geek is a nice point of contention. When Dre realizes that his sons “people” are other nerds and not the other black kids at school, it is eye-opening for him and flips the stereotyping back on him. Being black doesn’t mean following a set of rules about how to act or what to like. As the family dynamics become more solidified, the show just gets stronger, and the laughs get louder and more frequent.
Have you been watching Blackish? What’s your favorite episode so far?
Blackish airs Wednesdays at 9:30pm on ABC.