Every time I watch something that has gotten bad press before it’s premiered, I try to go into it with an open mind. A few times that open mind has led me to films/shows that may not be mass adored but I enjoyed and was entertained by. That being said, this is not one of those times.
This show was just meh.
With that being said there is something severely wrong with the way we are going with the Black Family depiction. Look I am all here for showing successful Black families, there was a huge hole in that market after the ending of successful shows like Everybody Hates Chris, My Wife and Kids, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Cosby Show (minus the Cosby part) etc. But the need to show OVERLY successful black families ALL the time, now just seems extremely tone-deaf. So I was watching Grown-ish the other day and I thought about how Zoey Johnson is supposed to be someone I should relate to on many levels and don’t get me wrong, if the show had deep-dived further into conversations surrounding young black women dating, colorism and university financial strain, I would have been all for it but it didn’t. Then again you can’t expect the world from a show that has 22-minute episodes. The problem I have with Grown-ish, Black-ish and now #blackAF is that as most black families live in the middle class and under, most of us watch these shows and CAN’T RELATE. I mean is it aspirational? Yes, but whenever I watch these shows it makes me miss Everybody Hates Chris and considering how much I am not loving Terry Crews right now, that is saying something. Look I get that not all Black shows should be poverty porn but at the same time, there has got to be a balance between that and watching a show where the family has a movie theatre and takes private planes.
Another thing that needs to be spoken about is Kenya Barris. I mean if he is going to have the nerve of making ANOTHER mixed black family flex show he can at least not make it EXACTLY like his other successful show, Black-ish. I get it both are supposed to be depictions of his life with #blackAF being more accurate but man, there is something to be said about him not being a good actor and the easy chemistry that oozes off of Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross just not being replicated here between him and Rashida Jones. I mean even the work setup is the same, is the same actor even being used as the white employee? Was I supposed to like Kenya Barris’ character in this? Because I did not. And again this might be because of his bad acting skills and lack of charisma that Anthony Anderson has. It’s hard to sell a personality like that and I was not buying it.
Look maybe I am making too many comparisons between this and black-ish but considering that Kenya probably wanted this to be an edgier version of said show, I find myself disappointed. Cause how is it possible that a show that is on network television and has half the episode time has had better content in their episodes? How is it that a show on Netflix can lack such passion? Netflix is where you go when you want to do passion projects right? I don’t know. All I can say is Kenya Barris needs to do better next time.
Shout out to Iman Benson who plays Drea Barris, she is a great voice of reason amongst the craziness that is the rest of the family.