‘Grown-ish’ Premiere Review: I Completely Underestimated It
By:     -   January 9, 2018   -   Entertainment  -  Television   -   0 Comments   -   175 Views
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Photos: Freeform

The highly-anticipated hour-long premiere of Black-ish spinoff, Grown-ish, graced our screens last Wednesday, January 3rd on Freeform. Since then, I have been trying to digest its heavy, but amazing content. And let me first say that I totally underestimated the dynamic the show would bring to the table.

Before I get into it, Grown-ish is NOT A Different World. Nor should you expect it to be. A Different World did its job for a specific audience, space and time, and Grown-ish is expected to do the same for the more modern times. We can still look to older programming for reference, but when you toss in the monkey wrench of the digital age and enhanced exposure to the world’s woes, it turns into an entirely different ball game.

Here are some things that are going to make it a continually great series for mature teens and young adults:

THE TIMING IS RIGHT

As aforementioned, this type of programming was lacking in these current times, especially for younger people of color. With the digital age literally magnifying and amplifying a flurry of issues, it is imperative to cater to and educate those audiences who struggle in navigating a complicated and often harsh, society.

THE DIVERSITY

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Sure, the cast could use some more representation with darker skin tones. Matter of fact, it would have added another layer of conversation on colorism. But other than that, I did like the diversity amongst the core group of friends. But who knows what may be on the horizon in later episodes…

THE DIALOGUE + THE REAL DEAL

I am not quite sure what I was expecting when “Zoey Johnson” stepped foot onto a college campus, but was (pleasantly) surprised that the issues faced at our higher-learning institutions were brought to the forefront. Having experienced life at an HBCU, I found myself relating to several of the scenarios, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, as a parent, it sent me into a proverbial fetal position just thinking of what’s ahead with my own children.

Essentially, when you set out on a college campus, and your parents wave their goodbyes, you’re pretty much left to put your life skills to use. Grown-ish gave us the real deal. You will even catch political references and symbolism all throughout the episodes.

“Zoey” is shown holding it together as she chatted with her father on the phone, who was literally having a mental breakdown in cutting the cord. This scene captures the “Zoey” that we have all come to know on the Black-ish series. But as the days went on, she succumbs to her vulnerability and becomes conflicted in realizing that perhaps she may not have it all together or is maybe not as strong (or disciplined) as she originally thought. At this point, college, thus far, was kicking her a** – from the truckload of homework, the pressures of blending in with her peers, forming and nurturing friendships, finding balance, staying woke, navigating crushes (that “You up?” text), and…just saying no to drugs. Yes, you heard that right. Drugs.

THE GRAND SCHEME OF THINGS

From a parent’s perspective, we can only give our children a great start and all the tools at their disposal in the form of life lessons. However, when the time does come for our babies to leave the nest, one could only hope that they can stay grounded and make solid decisions that will not negatively impact their lives. “Zoey” seemingly had an amazing upbringing with lots of love, lessons and support…yet, she still accepted drugs (pills) and is struggling to gain her footing. But we also know that her character is a very bright young woman with so much promise…and we continue rooting for her, knowing that things will eventually be alright. Right?

Overall, based on the well-written premiere episodes, Grown-ish is fun, with a hint of heavy-hitting. It felt exactly like freshman year all over again! Kudos to Yara Shahidi and the wonderful cast. I thoroughly enjoyed its authenticity!

Disclaimer: Assuming that it would be effective, yet suitable for younger viewers like Blackish, I originally planned to watch with my pre-teen. But after seeing the TV-rating and watching by myself, I am glad that I did not due to dialogue that she simply is not ready for. I highly recommend it for mature teens and young adults.


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