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Black-ish - R-E-S-P-E-C-T, White Breakfast, Things Were Different Then - Triple Review

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Despite having a controversial episode shelved by ABC, Black-ish still had some pretty interesting subjects to tackles these past couple of weeks. Before the show comes back with a new episode tonight, let's see what it's been up to lately.


Knowing what your kid is up to is something every parent like to be good at. When Dre notices something different in Junior's attitude, he draws a life-altering conclusion: Junior is now sexually active. This news has Dre delighted and, for him, this is cause for celebration. Bow doesn't quite agree with Dre's ecstatic reaction though, so her husband resorts to celebrating with his co-workers. He argues that guys' first time can only truly be understood by guys. It doesn't matter if Lucy is in the conference room with them and tries to make a point about girls' first time, this is a guys thing for Dre. When Bow mentions to him that she wants him to talk to Junior about safe sex practices, Dre brushes off the subject, hardly actually talking about it with his son. The fact that he is not taking the matter as seriously as he should ("boys will be boys") prompts Bow to drop another bombshell on Dre, revealing to him that Zoey also recently became sexually active. And that changes everything, highlighting's R-E-S-P-E-C-T main topic: gender bias. After a magnificent Get Out joke, Black-ish focuses on the double standard that Dre is facing: his son being sexually active is the best news he had lately while his daughter's going through the same thing appears to be the end of the world. Dre soon realizes that "every girl is somebody's Zoey" and concludes that his view towards women on this matter are wrong. But then, he is not the only one. When Bow finds out Junior and his girlfriend broke up, she lashes out at him, assuming he ditched the girl after getting what he wanted. Both Bow and Dre are mad at him and tell him to make it right. However, it turns out Megan dumped Junior, and not the other way around, after "college acceptance sex," so he was the one who was used. This also pushed Bow and Dre to question their double standards and while they do not end up solving the matter, their conversation raises interesting points which will certainly have viewers question their own gender biases. (Meanwhile, Ruby got jealous of another grandma, Nana Jean, for spending too much time with Diane and Jack in a side storyline that was okay but could easily be forgotten).

White Breakfast

For Bow and Dre, it's important to have children who behave properly and follow the rules. So when Diane and Jack have a school breakfast, they like to demonstrate their kids' good manners, but the second they look away, it turns out the twins are caught spray painting a bathroom under the bad influence of free spirits George and Jar. Mad as hell, Dre literally burns the twins' favorite clothes as
punishment, then grounds them. Him and Bow are outraged by their attempt at defying authority, but soon they realize that George and Jar, even if they might seem a bit strange, are actually pretty smart kids when they show off an app they created for the school's science fair. And when they find out that all Diane and Jack have planned is a volcano presentation, they start wondering if all the authority and discipline they surround their kids with might be holding them back. Meanwhile, Junior has a pretty, young teacher who Ruby believes might have a thing for him. She warns him about it and tells him not to fall for it. Junior decides to talk to his teacher and finds out Ruby got the wrong idea. That's not surprising and this storyline is about as compelling as Ruby's previous plot line with Nana Jean (it's time for Black-ish to give Jenifer Lewis a new, cool storyline. She deserves it, she can do more than being the wacky grandma). Back to Jack and Diane, their parents decide to encourage them to be more creative, to loosen up and experiment new things. Dre dresses like Steve Jobs in hope to stir up a brilliant idea in his kids' minds, but this doesn't achieve the effect he hoped for. Diane and Jack's volcano presentation turns out too experimental and ends up making very little sense. Dre and Bow realize that it is a fine balance between being giving too much structure or not enough, and start debating what the best recipe is. Just like the previous episode, the show does not claim to have the right answer but instead gives viewers food for thoughts by having its main characters debating which parenting technique is best for their own children.

Things Were Different Back Then

It's been a while since Laurence Fishburne was at the forefront of an episode, so what a better way to bring him back than with an episode centered around Pop's 65th birthday? As Narrator Dre explains to the viewers, reaching the age of 65 for a black man is a big deal, as black men tend to die 7 years earlier than the national average. It's a special occasion, and Junior is determined to celebrate it. However, due to his past interactions with his father, Dre does not want to get involved in the party planning. He looks at his father's past a certain way and it takes his coworkers insistence to convince him to help Junior organize Pops' birthday party. But as Junior, Dre, Ruby and Pops' friend Smokey (guest star Cedric the Entertainer) walk down memory lane, Junior realizes he doesn't really know his grandfather and is shocked by the side hustles he used to conduct. However, as much as Earl's past bothers Junior, it actually makes something click for Dre, who comes to believe that because "things were different back then" there is actually an argument to be made in favor of Pops' past behaviors. He even admits that if he had been in his Dad's shoes, he probably would not have done anything differently. Meanwhile, Bow is busy with the twins. After being inspired by Shonda Rhimes' year of saying "yes," Bow decides to say yes to everything Diane and Jack ask her, hoping it will strengthen their bond. But of course that does not work out very well. Soon enough, Bow realizes that saying yes all the time is actually exhausting, and that it takes her personal time away. Being constantly there for the twins, she has no time for herself...which leads her to hide in a closet to avoid admitting this was a bad idea. She finally talks to the twins though, and finds out they also need a break from the non-stop playing with Mom. Back to the main storyline, Dre accepts that forgiving his dad is about forgetting who he was and enjoying who he is now, and decides to enjoy his relationship with his father in the present.

All three of these Black-ish episodes were rather strong ones, but what did you think?

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