In black-ish’s sixth episode, “First and Last,” Bow and Dre are faced with the reality that their children, their babies, are growing up. Junior is losing his naivete with every inch he gains in height, and Diane… Well, pray for the family, for they know not what cometh.
What do threats to burn the house down if Chipotle isn’t ordered for dinner, growth spurts, and the promise to hurt a sibling all have in common? A preteen entering into puberty. Now you may be saying “but puberty is a natural process of growing up, what’s the big deal?” Well, folks, this particular adolescent is Diane Johnson. You know, Diane. She’s the little girl who makes grown men tremble in fear, her own parents run when her voice drops an octave, and even Ruby wouldn’t dare throw shade her way.
On a normal day, Diane can switch emotions so fast, you get emotional whiplash. One moment you’re laughing at some witty, sarcastic comment she made, and the next you’re like Chris Tucker in that gif from Friday saying “DAAYYUUMM” because she went for someone’s jugular. When Bow goes to pick up Diane and Jack from school she notices that Diane is wearing pants and not her school uniform. The teacher says they had to give Diane “the backup pants” because she got her period. Dun dun dun! While Bow was getting all emotional, I was getting worried because Diane on her period is not going to be a fun combination at all.
Bow’s mom, Alicia, arrives so she can be there to celebrate Diane’s first cycle, Bow tells her she’s not going to let Diane be traumatized the way she was with her version of “the talk.” Ruby, who’s chilling in the kitchen, overhears and says Alicia’s version of the talk — which included the blowing of a ram’s horn (yes really) — was garbage. Bear in mind that Ruby’s talk to Rhonda, Dre’s sister, consisted of advice to take a man’s check if she managed to send him to jail by the first of the month. #ICan’t
While the ladies commiserate over Diane getting her period, Dre faces the reality that soon he won’t be able to beat Junior at basketball. Instead of accepting the inevitable gracefully, Dre decides to take Pops’ advice and perform psychological warfare against Junior, to hit him where it hurts: his need for Dre’s affections and affirmations. This is truly diabolical. Eventually, Dre realizes that though he may never be able to beat Junior at basketball again, he has more firsts to look forward to with him and Jack.
Like every episode of black-ish, I loved this one. I know I always say this, but it’s true. How many shows have we seen that speaks so openly about what young girls go through with their periods? None that I’ve seen. Not only was there mention of what happens internally but also the embarrassment we suffer through when we have ‘period accidents’. Bow, Zoe, and Alicia were open about what it’s like to have your period come at the most inconvenient time. Ruby spoke on how the closeness with her father changed once she got her period because she was “now a woman.”
I appreciate the writers for the use of the word period repeatedly throughout the show. For too long, shame and discomfort have been attributed to a word that describes a normal bodily function of almost half of the world’s population. Diane and other young girls learned that having their period is nothing to be ashamed of, but rather an event that can bring us closer together in this special community known as sisterhood.
Johnson Family Musings
- Oh Jack, I know the struggles of being the shortest in class, trust me it has its advantages.
- “Ain’t nobody got time for you make a friend Rainbow.” This was both equal parts hilarious and savage.
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