Last night was the premeiere of Black-ish on ABC starring Anthony Anderson, Tracee Ellis-Ross, and Laurence Fishburne. I’d actually seen this pilot episode months ago along with the slate of ABC comedies. Even then it was the strongest pilot with Fresh off the Boat a very close second.
The one thing that is extraordinarily clear is that ABC was looking to diversify their programming. I simply do not believe that the network would have three of five comedies greenlit that feature minority casts. It looks very much like ABC is hedging their bets hoping that one of of these minority based shows has legs (Manhattan Love Story certainly doesn’t). There is Black-ish that centers itself around an upwardly mobile black family. There is Cristela that is a standard multi-cam sitcom featuring a Mexican American law school graduate living at home with her family. Finally there is Fresh off the Boat about a Taiwanese-American family moving from DC to Florida. Each of these shows has different potential, but they all mark a possible chance of sticking around and making ABC a bit more diverse with it’s programming.
Black-ish quickly became an startling beacon for attention, garnering a flood of comments on Twitter. There appeared to be quite a bit of chatter about how one should feel about the pilot. As a black female, I loved it in every way. It shined a light on how an upwardly mobile black family is perceived in this country. More importantly it made some people particularly uncomfortable by shining a light on how rife with contradictions life for black America can be. To me that means that Black-ish did it right. It opened a conversation in a way that was accessible for both sides of the conversation. No Black-ish was not racist, it’s a humorous look at reality.
Not to be ignorant to the fact that Black-ish is indeed a comedy, that was light on laughs, it delivered on what it was marketed as. Black-ish was positioned as a Cosby Show equivalent set in present day. Black-ish delivered a look at life in Black America one that was quite so filled with the standard stereotypes that have been make their rounds as of late. Instead, it played with stereotypes and worked against standard comedy expectations. The result was a show that showed the most potential in a family show that I’ve seen in a while.
What did you think about Black-ish?