ABC’s new family sitcom “Black-ish,” starring and executive produced by Anthony Anderson and created by Kenya Barris, has a lot going for it even before its premiere on ABC next week. It’s the first show on the network in a long while to focus entirely around a black family and offers the cultural perspectives of three different generations of African-Americans.
It’s also taking over a coveted 9:30 prime-time slot, namely the one after TV’s #1 comedy “Modern Family.” ABC even managed to snag Larry Willmore to help with writing duties for the first few episodes before he takes over the vacant spot left by Stephen Colbert on Comedy Central. It’s safe to say that expectations are sky high for this series.
Anderson stars as Andre “Dre” Johnson, the head of a more than well off African-American family in Los Angeles, which includes Tracee Ellis Ross as wife/mother/doctor Rainbow Johnson, four pre-teen to teenaged kids, and Laurence Fishburne (who also produces) in wisecracking granddad mode as “Pops” Johnson. The show follows the family as they all struggle with the question of what it means to be “black” in contemporary American society. “Black-ish” is scheduled to premiere on ABC next Wednesday, but iTunes has the pilot for free right now, so hit the jump for my thoughts.
1. Opening the show with “Jesus Walks,” huh? I get that it alludes to the whole black bourgeois thing, but why Jesus Walks…?
2. So her name is actually Rainbow…cool.
3. I get that this show takes place in LA, but that’s a LOT of Clippers gear!
4. No way would any family stand there while Hollywood tourists gawked at them.
5. That redhead was too busy being rude to bother parking her car straight!
6. Robin Thicke’s not an R&B god anymore…
7. Why did no one ever think to cast Laurence Fishburne as a granddad before? Perfect!
8. Anthony Anderson has gone from dancing with kangaroos to the Senior Vice President of a company – in his roles, I mean.
9. No better way to start a series than “son chooses after-school activity that disappoints dad,” in this case field hockey.
10. Andy isn’t the kind of name I think of when I think of “edgy but approachable.”