TV Review: Talking is Overrated in ‘Black-ish’

Caution: This review contains spoilers on the second episode of “Black-ish.”

Thankfully, “Black-ish” went a different route last week in the story line. There was still a lot of exposition by Dre (Anthony Anderson), but the episode also focused on the thoughts and feelings of his wife, Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross). Dre is dismayed that Rainbow already gave Andre Jr. the “talk” and is determined to make up for it. That tactic backfires, as Jr. (Matcus Scribner) proceeds to give a play-by-play of questions and adolescent thoughts. Rainbow wants to help Zoey (Yara Shahidi) but keeps getting so excited during their talks that she has no idea what the scoop is.

As I hinted above, “Black-ish” still appears to be looking for its footing. The “weird” and “gay” jokes about Dre going shirtless are a little off putting. The children end up taking the spotlight from Anderson and Ross. Jack (Miles Brown) and Diane (Marsai Martin) are puzzled about what “the talk” could possibly be and they are repeatedly frustrated in their attempts at garnering more attention.

Pops (Laurence Fishburne) sweeps in at the end with his one-liners. Apparently, it’s all about looking like you’re listening and then using the right tone with your kids. “I Morgan Freeman-ed her,” he sums up to Rainbow about Zoey. Pops likes to oversimplify things: here Dre listens so much he has to start tuning his son out, whereas Rainbow isn’t listening enough to her daughter.

Writers still have work to do, but some of their ideas are hitting their mark with audiences. It’s enough to score an extension to a full season, from 13 episodes to 22.

“Black-ish” airs Wednesday evenings on ABC at 9:30|8:30c.

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