Wednesday, September 23, 2015


A sitcom about the magnetic push-pull of messy, sticky familial love, Black-ish includes some of the most thoroughly fleshed-out kids on television. Ironically, those kids are much more comfortable in their skins than the father who’s so worried about molding them. The series centers around volatile marketing exec Andre “Dre” Johnson’s (Anthony Anderson) obsessive attempts—which often involve facing off against his sweetly conciliatory, biracial, raised-by-hippies wife, Bow (Tracee Ellis Ross)—to ensure that his children experience various aspects of being African American in exactly the same way he has.

He usually learns his lesson by the end of an episode, ruefully admitting the wrongheadedness of whatever agenda he was pushing, but while those mea culpas often feel formulaic, his kids’ immutable individuality never does. Eldest daughter Zoey’s (Yara Shahidi) entitled cool-girl narcissism, Junior’s (Marcus Scribner) nerdy innocence, Jack’s (Miles Brown) adorable mischief, and the imperious self-assurance of Jack’s pint-size twin sister, Diane (Marsai Martin)—provide the show’s most resonant retort to Dre’s insecure insistence that there’s just one “right” way to be black. Read the rest in Slant Magazine

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