Tuesday, September 4, 2018

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 third 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 4, Episode 1 “Juneteenth: The Musical” (B)

I usually enjoy watching a handful of episodes of this show, nominated for Best Comedy Series for the third year in a row, every time Emmy season rolls around. It’s also often a bit much to take, an entertaining enough series that, in my book at least, is far from the best comedy on the air today. Its inclusion this year is notable because it’s officially the only broadcast network series included in the lineup for the first time ever. This is the first of the six submitted episodes in the top category, and I’ll be screening a seventh that serves as lead actress Tracee Ellis Ross’ submission. I feel like I remember hearing about Juneteenth before, and I guess it’s from the season one “Atlanta” episode of the same name. This representation is obviously much more over-the-top, with Dre interrupting his kid’s play to declare racism and then ceding, for once, the floor to someone else to create a peculiar musical take on this less-celebrated holiday. This take on “Hamilton” wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as it could have been, but it was still decent fun. What’s more puzzling about this episode than its inclusion in the six-episode slate for the series as a whole is the fact that it’s also the selection for guest actress Wanda Sykes. Whereas she had an actual showcase last year, she only appears briefly in this half-hour, with one crack about someone eating her Chinese food as her only real line. I would be shocked – and disappointed – if she managed to win with this paltry offering.

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