ABC’s black-ish shines best when it “goes there.” This week’s episode deals with something that as Dre says, “Everyone wants but nobody wants to talk about.” As with every episode, Dre’s opening monologue with a montage of photos is right on point. “Americans are consumers!” Dre (Anthony Anderson) dives right in with African-Americans and our relationship with money, “If you didn’t get a paycheck for 400 years you might want to spend it.”
Bow (Tracee Ellis Ross) is a surgeon and Dre is an ad man so they work hard and make a great living. They have the house, the car, the bling and four kids. When going through the mail, Bow notices how high the credit card bills are and the property tax is due and she wonders… “Where does it all go?” Dre pulls out his “blinged out” new reading glasses and we begin to see why.
Every episode Dre discusses the main issue of the show at work with his co-workers, most of whom are white. The advice this week, is to seek financial guidance from Mr. Stephens (Peter Mackenzie) financial advisor. Bow and Dre meet with the financial advisor and have a rude awakening that with Dre’s credit score of 894 they would be in fantastic shape…if they were child free.
I love seeing Dre Jr (Marcus Scribner) and Jack (Miles Brown) work together to figure out how to contribute to the family’s finances. The low point of the episode is how the eldest daughter Zoey (Yara Shahidi) is portrayed. Teenage girls are always attractive, yet annoyingly bitchy while at the same time catty in sitcoms. Zoey is a more intelligent version of Haley from Modern Family with a lower likeability factor. I seriously try to like this character but she is written to be constantly texting, pouting around with her friends or rolling her eyes at her parents. The best thing about Zoey is her ever changing hairstyles and clothing choices. Zoey’s younger sister Diane (Marsai Martin) is my hands down favorite character on the show. The kid is like 8 and has a much more interesting personality with more depth, intelligence and humor than her older sister. Hopefully the writers will allow Zoey’s character to move beyond the stereotype of the spoiled teenaged bitchy girl into a young person who is more like teenagers we see in real life.
Dre’s Accountant James Brown (John Witherspoon) was a high point of the show. Some of you may remember John Witherspoon from the 1992 film Boomerang starring Eddie Murphy and Halle Berry (ed. note: Or The Wayans Brothers!). I’d say the best part about black-ish is having an opportunity to see many of our best comedic actors guest starring. Anna Deavere Smith as Bow’s mom, Wanda Sykes as the new partner, and series regular Jennifer Lewis as Dre’s mom make black-ish the cure to my mid week winter blues.
I highly recommend this episode. We don’t often see money discussed particularly in the African-American community. How we place value on appearance makes a difference. This week’s black-ish skillfully examines how our relationship to money affects us professionally and socially and uses comedy to illustrate the pressure that maintaining that image can bring to a family.