Friday, September 1, 2017

Emmy Episodes: Black-ish

It’s always my policy to watch every Emmy-nominated episode each year, which leads me to sample a handful of shows that I don’t tune in to on a regular basis. For the second year in a row, I’m making a special effort to spotlight each of those installments to offer my perspective on shows that I don’t review each week.

Black-ish: Season 3, Episode 2 “God” (B)
Black-ish: Season 3, Episode 3 “40 Acres and a Vote” (B+)
Black-ish: Season 3, Episode 14 “The Name Game” (B+)
Black-ish: Season 3, Episode 16 “One Angry Man” (B+)

These are the other four installments of this show to be submitted along with the previously reviewed “Being Bow-racial” and “Lemons” that serve as the sampling Emmy voters will get for consideration for Best Comedy Series. I don’t mind this show all that much, though I don’t find it quite as enjoyable to watch as I did “The Big Bang Theory” back when I used to screen anywhere from six to ten episodes each year at Emmy time.

The first of these episodes deals with Dre freaking out about his daughter declaring that she doesn’t believe in God, not helped one bit by the presence of his obnoxious brother-in-law Johan, played by Daveed Diggs from “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Anthony Anderson definitely comes on a little strong in this installment, which was the first one I watched of the six, and I think the others were more balanced in terms of his intensity.

The next episode had a lot to do with the election and the history of black voting laws in the United States, with Junior running for class president. Laurence Fishburne’s Pops revealed that he doesn’t vote and Diane managed to prove to her grandmother that, despite blindly voting for the Democratic candidate each year, she actually aligns perfectly with Trump. This was all pretty exaggerated but for good reason, and it even included Junior wearing a women’s pantsuit and being Hillaryied. This show isn’t scared of controversy, having the idiotic boss lament the fact that certain American kids have never known a white president.

The third of these episodes was centered on the gender-reveal party and Dre’s obsession with naming him Davonte, something that was humorously knocked by the barista’s complete inability to pronounce it. The excitement of the parents for the new baby was an amusing source of continued offense to their existing children, one of whom got a great spotlight in this episode. Junior may well rate as this show’s funniest character, and Zoe’s friend Shelly showing interest in him in this episode led to a totally ill-advised introduction between Megan and Shelly on Valentine’s Day, leading the two of them to lead together. Junior and Diane hanging out together as the end as two misfits was sweet. I appreciated the brief appearance of Diane Farr as the corporate evaluator who said that men are monsters, and I’m curious how extensive her role on this show was.

The final episode was all about jury duty, a subject often covered but done pretty well in this case. Junior reassembling Dre’s shredded form and sending it in for him was the opposite of what he wanted, and the lawyer’s unpreparedness and Dre being the only black person on the jury led to him getting very passionate about the notion of giving him a chance. Naturally, it was the white woman who changed her vote at the very end who got all the credit for saving the kid, but that’s just what happens in this black-ish world. Rainbow allowing her children to swear in the house so that she could get to know them better seemed harmless enough at first, but in addition to being pretty shocking, it also led to them telling her way too much stuff that she didn’t want to know.

Overall, I think this show is fine, but it wouldn’t rank anywhere near my top comedies of this past season.

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