The new ABC comedy, “Blackish,” starring Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Laurence Fishburne premiered September 24th to mixed reviews.
Now, I have a strict “third-time's-the-charm” rule when it comes to my entertainment. If I’m not feelin' a show by the third episode, that’s pretty much grounds for me to quit watching. Well, this week I saw the third episode of “Blackish” and I still can’t decide if I like it.
Apparently, I’m not alone. There are many who feel like the show perpetuates outdated stereotypes about black families. Others find it spot-on and hysterical. I’m somewhere in the middle. There have been some definite laugh out loud moments to date (See Dre walking in on his son during a very private moment, Rainbow reminding Dre of her blackness—her hair and derriere, etc.) but the chemistry is off. Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis Ross and Laurence Fishburne are all great individually, but together?
The show feels like a bunch of individuals living life in the same house rather than a family interacting with each other. It doesn’t feel like Dre and Rainbow are a married couple but rather two working parents who happen to sleep under the same roof. At least Fishburne and Anderson have some chemistry as father and son. Maybe it’s just first season jitters and everyone has to grow comfortable with each other, but isn’t that what table reads and rehearsals are for?
Aside from the awkward vibes, I can’t decide if I agree with the message being told. The latest episode entitled, “The Nod” deals with the common act of acknowledging another person of color when you see them in public. African-Americans give “the nod” as a means of saying “what’s up?” or “I see you.” Dre tries to get Junior to understand this ritual. I loved it and I agree it’s a staple to black culture but there are other things in Blackish that make me scratch my head.
Dre tries every episode to bring his kids back to what he thinks is essential black culture and yet he constantly puts his wife’s “blackness” under constant investigation. He constantly brings up the fact that’s she’s half black so she doesn’t get black culture and yet he always wants her to support him in trying to educate his family on what black culture is. Rainbow seems to fall close to the “post-racial/new black” mentality which I cannot get behind at all.
Blackish has the potential to be great, it just needs to figure out what it’s about.