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 2 “Mother Nature” (B-)

It’s always strange to see a completely serious episode of a sitcom that presents itself without initially seeming that way, and that’s just what this half-hour, which is the second of the six submitted episodes for this show in its contention for Best Comedy Series, does. I had to double-check to see if this was Tracee Ellis Ross’ choice for her own nomination, but it turns out that it’s the next episode. It’s probably for the best since this is far from a comedic showcase for Ross, allowing her instead to have Bow act far less enthusiastic and sunny than usual, highlighting a real issue in a relatively straightforward and uncomedic way. What we got instead was Junior leading a babyproofing effort of the house that ended up frustrating his father and grandfather much more than it did any good, while Dre tried to push Bow to feel better when that really wasn’t the kind of encouragement and pressure she needed. Lashing out at Ruby for feeding the new baby formula as an unsubtle knock at her parenting was an important moment, and one whose implications will likely be played for laughs in future episodes, as they already have with her being banned from the pool and restaurant at the hotel for being topless. Diane’s cruel thank you notes were really something, and though her character isn’t remotely believable, it did make for a bit of entertainment, particularly in the final short montage of Dre’s coworkers receiving and reading them, arriving at different conclusions as a result.

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