This Week in #POCtv: Black-ish and Fresh off the Boat
Unlike Minority Report, Black-ish's season premiere "The Word" was a flawless victory. I laughed so hard, out loud, the whole way through. I'm really glad that ABC - for the time being - appears to be sitting back and just letting Kenya Barris do what he do, hear? Having Andre Johnson, Jr. tackle the n-word - the only way Andre - can is a stroke of sheer genius.
The smartest move, however, was to not make Andre go entirely overboard the way he usually does, at least not this time. When his younger son Jack is expelled from school for using the word, Andre has to start re-evaluating it, starting with his family, friends and coworkers, and then the school board.
It's a really funny episode.
I'm just sayin', tho!
I also liked the final verdict Andre comes up with: white people got to create and hurl the word for centuries; black people need a run at it to figure it out. The only reason they want to ban the word is when they can't say it; otherwise they feel everyone should get to say simply because they want. This is particularly evident by the way Andre, his father, and his eldest daughter Zoe all treat the n-word: Pops' generation considers it a negative term, while Andre's generation attempted to reclaim it, and Zoe's "sexting, insta-dummy generation" is just "giving it away".
In humor, "The Word" vastly eclipsed the second episode in Andre insists on buying a gun for protection, even though it's obviously a huge mistake, replete with all the usual arguments.
Eddie's situation in the second episode resonated with me in that he finally found a way to hang with his crush. He and his neighbor Nicole agree that they will "study" together every day during a free period at school (with Eddie posing as her tutor). In reality they're just going to hang out and listen to music.
Unfortunately, Eddie's mother Jessica wants him to start taking piccolo lessons, an instrument he doesn't give a shit about and is highly unlikely to use later in life (unlike, say, learning to comfortably converse with someone he's attracted to, build up his confidence and self-worth, and develop healthy social skills). Thus begins the game of parent-child chess, something at which Jessica excels. By manipulating the school into giving Eddie more students to "tutor", his magic one-on-one time with Nicole is lost. It's a done deal once she notices a good-looking new kid and forgets all about Eddie.
To Jessica's dismay, Eddie falls into a deep depression, unwilling to get out of bed or eat, and playing "End of the Road" over and over again (to the point his father and brothers are singing it with him). Jessica tries yelling at him to snap out of it, which doesn't work. Horrified that she may have seriously miscalculated this one, Jessica takes a friend's advice and finally sits down to share her own dating woes stories with her son.
Fresh of the Boat is admittedly funny, and steadily getting funnier; however, I can't ignore that the person who it was based on has been effectively pushed out of the decision-making. As an aspiring scribbler myself, I'm so not down with that, especially since I've noted the deviations the real Eddie Huang has pointed out on the show. Once again there seems to be that pattern of taking a show about brown people and bending out over backwards to make white people wanna watch it.
Fashion tip? Take your cue from Black-ish and just do whatever you have to do. The Asian American audience is your priority - never forget that.