Anthony Anderson is Andre “Dre” Johnson, advertising executive, husband, and father of 4. Whenever I think about Anthony, one of the first things that springs to mind is the scene in Transformers where he says something like, “Nah, man. Freddie’s got 5 blades! That’s some Wolverine shit!”
Tracee Ellis Ross is Dre’s wife, Rainbow. Yes, I know. She is a doctor who needs to get her hair under control. I don’t know her from anything, so I had to look her up. Turns out she was on Girlfriends, in Hanging Up with Lisa Kudrow , and sadly, played Kristin in Lohan
overturned vehicle Labor Pains.
Yara Shahidi plays oldest daughter Zoey. Her first acting credit is an episode of Entourage. I don’t remember her in that. I also do not remember her being in Salt, and I sure as shit never watched a single minute of Alex Cross. I do, however, remember that she was in the pilot of Bad Teacher, and she was also “Young Olivia” on Scandal.
Marcus Scribner plays Andre, Jr. He only has 5 credits to his name, and this is his first series. His first role was on Castle in 2010. He was born in 2000, by the way. What did you do when you were 10?
Miles Brown and Marsai Martin play the youngest Johnson children. They are twins. For whatever reason, it took me several episodes to realize that their names are Jack & Diane.
Laurence Fishburne wanders in and out of scenes like he’s in a fugue state as Pops, Dre’s father. He is serving Furious Styles-in-retirement realness.
A man struggles to gain a sense of cultural identity while raising his children in a mostly white, upper-middle class neighborhood.
WHY YOU SHOULDN’T BE WATCHING
The acting is fine, and even the premise is quasi-interesting. A rich black family living in a white neighborhood want to hang on to their “blackness” but still be able to use their “white voice.” I get it. My only question is where are the jokes? IMDb describes the pilot like this: Like any parents, Andre “Dre” and Rainbow Johnson want to give their children the best. But their offspring’s childhood is turning out to be much different from theirs. They now realize at least two things: there is a price to pay for giving their children more than what they ever had, and these loving parents are totally unprepared for the fallout. So basically their kids are spoiled, and they cannot handle the demands of such children? Paging The OC, Gossip Girl, 90210, etc. After the pilot aired, we had a conversation with Anthony Anderson on Twitter about the show, and even though we were not giving it any love, he couldn’t have been nicer. He even wished us well in our search for something more to our liking.
The premise of the second episode doesn’t break any new ground either. Rainbow, thinking that Dre is too much of a prude to do so, has “the talk” with Junior much to Dre’s dismay. Not to be outdone, Dre decides to give Junior his version of the talk and shit goes south real quick. Not because Dre’s talk was a disaster, but because it piques Junior’s interest so he begins to bombard Dre with non-stop sex questions. Those questions are where the new ground is broken, however, it wasn’t really enough to hold my interest. That was until I gorged myself on the next 4 episodes in one sitting.
WHY YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING
The LOL’s have arrived.
The quality of the show increases exponentially in the next four episodes. In “The Nod,” Dre tries to explain to Junior why all black men do “the nod” to each other in public, and why he should use it to expand his social circle. Meanwhile, Rainbow wants Diane to be a doctor when she grows up. Diane is not having it, especially since her mom wears the same thing to work everyday. But then Rainbow takes her to work with her one afternoon and Diane witnesses an emergency trauma patient come in bloody as all hell. Lil’ girl is MESMERIZED by all the blood. Paging Dexter Morgan.
“Crazy Mom” is probably my favorite episode so far. Dre agrees to take on Bow’s mom duties for the week, and the overwhelming praise he receives from everyone at the kid’s school goes to his head. His need to outdo everyone quickly escalates to great comedic effect. It is a great episode.”Crime and Punishment” is a should we or should we not spank our children. It is starts when Jack deliberately hides in a clothing rack at a department store and it sends Bow into a frenzy. Jack, by the way, for lack of a better term, is the idiot child. (Zoey is a typical teenage girl, Junior is the kinda naive overachiever, Diane is NOT THE ONE, and then there’s poor Jack). This episode is fine, but then the show brings back the funny with “The Prank King.” The Johnson family have a tradition of pranking each other on Halloween, but that tradition is in jeopardy when the older children balk at pulling pranks. Dre fears it will ruin his holiday fun, so he kicks it into high gear. Probably my second favorite so far.
It is this very reason why I prefer to give a show that has potential three episodes before I review it. I apologize to Anthony Anderson for our initial snap judgment on Black-ish. It’s turning into a very smart, hilarious comedy. Selfie didn’t get three episodes because that was shite from the beginning and even an act of God would not have made that obtuse piece of flotsam any better.
THE GRADE: B+.