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S01.E08: i know you may not get this, but the reason we deserve a vacation is... because of slavery

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As Joya takes time to focus on herself before her event, Drea tries to bond with Chloe, Pops handles an incident, and Kenya switches up his behavior.

 

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It seems like Twitter really hated this show, but I enjoyed it. I binged it in 2 days. It did basically seem like it was just black-ish but less network-y but I still laughed a lot so it didn't bother me that much.

The kids playing the 3 boys were adorable and perfect. I didn't care much for any of the girl characters. Drea was OK though.

Kenya's confessional that he hates Marquise followed by him saying he loved him after Marquise was praising him as a father and then him hating Marquise again after Marquise saved Joya had me rolling.

I also rolled over all the 'the sun is killing white people' stuff, including Danny's increasing burn.

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12 hours ago, peachmangosteen said:

It did basically seem like it was just black-ish but less network-y but I still laughed a lot so it didn't bother me that much.

My husband called it "black-ish but funny."

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I vacillated on where I wanted to put my comment because I binged the whole series and I just have some thoughts on the themes as a whole, so I guess here is as good a place as any.

When I watched this first episode, I was wondering if Kenya Barris was a miserable, horrible person who just didn’t fully see it in himself, and whether he was framing himself as the misunderstood, put-upon hero of his story, or if this was like “Curb Your Enthusiasm” where this is a heightened version of himself, playing on his worst instincts or impulses and letting things unwind from there.  The only way I could watch the series was to assume the latter, and I think that’s right because of something like how he was slow to take off his watch and phone before thinking about going to rescue his wife in the ocean in this ep, or how the hotel clerk gave him a terrible room because he hated Kenya so much, or how he was such a dick to Angela from the Office in that writer’s room meeting in th other ep (which was the funniest of those 3 examples).  But it didn’t always feel clear about how I was supposed to view his character.

I found this series quite watchable, though.  There were some deeply interesting concepts (like the commentaries on linking the “because of slavery” theme to the episode topic), and also many genuinely funny moments.  Particularly liked in this episode how he watched blackish and murmured “such a good show” a couple of times.

But there were a couple of things that didn’t work for me, too.  The framing device never really gelled for me.  You really can’t imagine the parents being so candid about deeply personal things with their child in the context of a film school submission, and you can’t imagine them allowing a documentary crew such unfettered access to their lives.

If I could have taken this series back to the drawing board, I would have maybe had Rashida Jones’s character frame the story, maybe by vlogging as a side project while she tries to find herself (and maybe reviewing but not posting the most revealing footage at the end of the day).  Rashida is by far the best actor on the show, but I also felt that maybe if Kenya could have stepped outside of himself a little bit, he could have seen that telling the fictionalized story of his wife is really compelling:  the complications of being biracial, career woman, nearly died in childbirth:  there’s a lot to unpack there, but I felt to do that, you would have to be all-in in telling this from her POV, not his.

I didn’t fully follow what the source of the marital strain was.  He didn’t like that she didn’t go back to being an attorney, had become a stay-at-home mother and that she wasn’t contributing to the family income?  But he also didn’t like her pursuing a new career (and resented her working vacation) because she was farming out things like cooking and taking kids to school and not being present enough for the family?  So which way did he want it?  If she were still a full-time corporate attorney, he never would have seen her.  I guess they smoothed it over in the end.  Eh.

I’d still give the show like a “B” overall.  I found it very interesting, which sounds a little backhanded, but I don’t mean it that way.  It made me think, and it made me laugh.

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1 hour ago, Peace 47 said:

I vacillated on where I wanted to put my comment because I binged the whole series and I just have some thoughts on the themes as a whole, so I guess here is as good a place as any.

When I watched this first episode, I was wondering if Kenya Barris was a miserable, horrible person who just didn’t fully see it in himself, and whether he was framing himself as the misunderstood, put-upon hero of his story, or if this was like “Curb Your Enthusiasm”

I cosign your whole post 100%.  I feel exactly the same.

I actually hated the first episode.  It felt soulless and since so much of it was carried by Kenya, who was the worst actor in the whole thing, it just hit me everywhere wrong.

But I ended up watching the whole thing and I have to say the show got so much better as it went on.  It began to flow naturally and got funnier.  I also saw sooooo much of Black-ish in it.  It was hard not to watch this and think of it as the edgier do-over of that show without the network interference. And honestly without the warmth.  Joya is no Rainbow.

I do agree that Rashida was the strongest part of the ensemble and, imo, had the most interesting trajectory. But the kids grew on me by the end of the show.

And yeah, Kenya was just not at all likable in this.  In any way.  He was a jerk to his employees, a jerk to his kids, a jerk to his wife.  Just a jerk all around.  If he is a great guy IRL., then I give him mad respect for allowing himself to be shown in such an unflattering light.

And I also agree (sound like a broken record, LOL) that the framing device of the documentary was a little precious.  Also, were we supposed to believe they took someone along to watch them/record them buy drugs?  Because otherwise that scene couldn't have happened.

Some highpoints for me:

I enjoyed the episode with the other black creatives.  It was a sharp take, very funny in places and I honestly enjoyed the conversation he had with Tyler Perry.   This is like the second or third place I've seen a show of one black creative standing up for the content that Perry produces and why it is important if not artistically sophisticated.

The 'Menace to Society' re-creation scene.  Very well done.

The black square of art episode.  I love the way that episode evolved.

Man, I wish I had the money to fly on a private airplane.  That plane looked dope!

So I am glad I stuck it out. I'd give it a 'B' as well.

Now here's hoping KB has worked all his personal issues out with this show.  I am sure it'll get a second season, but maybe he can get creative and write on another subject.  Damn.

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I think I am the opposite of everyone else here.  I thought the pilot and start of the season was far better than the latter half, and I thought the last two vacation episodes were just embarrassingly awful.  I certainly would check out another season, but I'm definitely iffy on this show after those last two episodes.

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