Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Pilot Prattle: black-ish

If you've been anywhere near our site during the past few weeks, you know that "black-ish" is one of the shows we've been most excited for. After watching the pilot last week, it did not disappoint.

Starring Anthony Anderson, the incredibly charismatic Tracee Ellis-Ross, and Laurence Fishburne, "black-ish" tells the story of a successful black family living in an LA suburb (read: all white people) and the inner conflict of the patriarch (Anderson).

We're not exactly fans of Anderson's work (his death in Scream 4 was the worst part of the entire franchise), but as Andre, he works. We believe, to put it in modern terms, the struggle is real for him.

The show begins with Andre introducing the audience to his opinions: His identity has been stolen, and "urban" (read: black) culture is being defined by large reared Kardashians, break-dancing Asians, and white R&B singers. Blackness has been compromised.

At home, his oldest son wants to turn in his basketball shoes for a field hockey stick and his twins describe their only black classmate by her characteristics, ignoring her physical attributes. His work life isn't any easier for him, recently being promoted to senior vice president of the new "urban" devision .

After arguments with his family about said issues, Andre decides he and his family need to "keep it real," which leads to a coming-of-age "Bro-Mitzvah" for his 13 year old son.

The views and commentary in this show may not be new, but they are certainly new-ish to television, which is a welcomed change. With most of the Neilson families being the white suburban families the show pokes fun at, it's no wonder Olivia Pope is more or less the extent of scripted black television. This year's fall programming has more than doubled the amount of racially diverse leads, which is a great start, but as far as having something to say, "black-ish" is at the top of the list.

What works best is that the show doesn't focus on just one view of what being black means, but instead, shows the opinions of all involved. The father has different opinions than the mother who has different views than her father in law who has different opinions than his grandchildren. There's a lot of emotions and different point of views being portrayed, and they are all welcomed.

It's deep, funny, and truthful while finding a way to not scare off white viewers by being too preachy. Creators of "black-ish," we salute you. Can we get a fist bump, brotha?  

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