It’s all about tackling the true college culture.
The highly-anticipated, generation Z-targeted show, Grown-ish is almost here! Grown-ish centers around the eldest daughter, Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi), from the hit show Black-ish (ABC). Zoey was the popular black girl in high school, but things will not be the same for her at the fictional Southern California University. Always being confident in her opinions, whether that be around friends or family is what Zoey has been known for. She’s headed off to college for her freshman year and she’ll quickly learn that it is not everything that she thought it would be. The season is going to take us on a journey as Zoey finds friends and learns all about the college life.
Instead of the typical way of showing college experiences on television, Grown-ish will give us a more authentic look at college culture in today’s society. Zoey and friends will be giving their opinions on many topics, including relationships, the “hook up” culture, and a black woman’s place in society.The laughs will definitely be accompanied by some moments that require a second thought. We’re very excited for this new step in Zoey’s life, so let’s explain a few reasons of why you should watch this show that is sure to be a hit!
1. Yara Shahidi is playing Zoey Johnson.
The show is lead by the young notable activist, Yara Shahidi. She’s the one you hear about in fashion and teen magazines like Teen Vogue and Seventeen where she discusses her activism and fashion sense. Or maybe you’ve seen her in pictures with former first lady Michelle Obama or powerhouse showrunner Shonda Rhimes. For the past four years, she has been playing the ever-present Zoey Johnson, that we could all at some point relate to as the annoyed and self-assured teenager. She’s just as vocal – if not more – about her views off screen as she is on it. She has been continuously vocal in the past couple of years about where she stands both politically and culturally. In the show, she’ll be showcasing – along with her castmates – her views on many trials that go into navigating as a college student.
Keeping with the theme of the episodes being narrated, just like the college Black-ish episode, Grown-ish will be narrated by Zoey. Instead of us seeing through the thoughts of a middle-aged black man in the suburbs, we’ll get to see through the thoughts of a young black college girl. As you may imagine, their opinions on most subjects will probably be different. This is why the show is perfect for Freeform. It’ll provide an outlet for this particular demographic of young adults. Yara heading the show gives her a chance to be a part of the creative processes that went into making the sitcom. Her collaborations with showrunner Kenya Barris will provide a different atmosphere to comedy.
“The spine of this show is Yara Shahidi, is Zoey. She’s the narrative engine.” – Kenya Barris
2. It’s a Black-ish spin-off!
Grown-ish is the spin-off that follows Zoey Johnson through all the ups and downs that going to college unavoidably brings. Blackish is centered around the Johnson family but is told through the narration of Andre Johnson (Anthony Anderson). Each week on the sitcom, a lesson is learned through comedic yet thoughtful experiences in an episodic formula. Grown-ish will definitely have the same vibes as Black-ish with its weekly lessons giving Zoey’s peers a chance to share their different views and experiences while in college.
Black-ish has been a huge success featuring a black family living in Los Angeles going through life while having to deal with all the problems that come with it. Not only will we get to see Zoey on Black-ish still, the Black-ish cast will also be making appearances on Grown-ish. Andre and Rainbow Johnson (Tracee Ellis Ross) have already made their way into a few episodes. Black-ish has received multiple award nominations.Tracee won at the Golden Globes for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy. The show has also won an Image Award and an African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) for best comedy series. Yara has also won an Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. These nominations and wins are accompanied by so many more. Grown-ish – coming from the same showrunner and following the same formula – is sure to be a success as well.
3. Grown-ish’s diverse cast is sure to provide the basis for some important storytelling.
On top of Yara being the lead role in the series, the supporting cast also brings a great dynamic to the show. Jazz and Sky are played by singers Chloe and Halle Bailey.They’ve been seen in many posts with Yara participating in many of the same activism events. Their characters are track stars from the south side who put on a facade to appease the masses. Aaron Jackson will be played by American Crime’s Trevor Jackson. He’s the president of the Black Student Union on campus and he also plays a love interest to Zoey. In an interview, Trevor explained why this show was something he wanted to be a part of:
“I want to be part of something that moves culture and really hits the nail on the head. “
Another familiar name is Francia Raisa who will play Ana Torres. She is Zoey’s “Cuban-American, first generation, catholic republican raised” roommate. The show is has a great cast with each person bringing something different to the table. We’re excited to see how their characters mix during their college experiences. The representation is shown both by the characters on screen and by the actors that play them. The scene released of the cast doing The Breakfast Club song already has us a little too excited to see what more they’ll bring to that opening episode.
4. Social and political issues will be discussed but so will college as a whole.
As mentioned before, the college series will feature many topics both political and social that pertain to college as a whole. This is definitely a reason to watch if you’re into learning about the viewpoints of others and why they think the way that they do. Black-ish has done a fantastic job of interlacing political subjects or just normal controversial family topics into their series. There is no doubt that Grown-ish will have it under control too.
Topics like the “hook up” culture, first dates, first college parties, and black women’s place in society are sure to help somebody in some way. With the cast being so in tune with the outside political and social state of our country, the portrayal of the stories will have a genuine feeling to it. It will probably feature a few cliches but we are confident that Barris will put a twist on it.
“Rather than directly addressing a specific political or social happening, Grown-ish tackles college culture as a whole.” – Yara Shahidi
5. It will either make you excited or nostalgic about your college years.
If you haven’t been to college yet or are currently in it this show is probably going to make you want to get there faster. The promo for the series looks lively and fun, even though in one of the moments Zoey is crying into a friends shoulder, but breakdowns always happen eventually.
Kenya Barris cited that the show got its inspiration from A Different World and The Carrie Diaries. The mere mention of A Different World makes us want to see the show that much more. It was all about the lessons you learned in college and fits perfectly with the Grown-ish descriptions. It has been a while since that show aired but we’re sure he was inspired by all the best parts. This is where the nostalgia will come in for those who loved A Different World or have already finished college. The show will make you think about all the good and sometimes horrible experiences – we all know we had them.
“Changing networks was probably one of the best things that could’ve happened to this show because the audience on Freeform is really [who] this is for,” says creator Kenya Barris, who cites The Cosby Show spin-off A Different World and, more surprisingly, the short-lived Sex and the City prequel The Carrie Diaries as inspirations.
Grown-ish is sure to bring many laughs and heartfelt moments.
So are you excited yet? The show has a lot of elements and with its great cast and being a Black-ish spinoff – they are sure to deliver quality humorous content. The topics for the first couple episodes show a promising season. The show will be starting out with a strong base. Even though it will bring in viewers from Black-ish, its time slot on Freeform will definitely add some brand new viewers to the mix.
We’re looking forward to seeing Zoey navigate through her freshman year of college. We’ll be getting a few laughs from the moments when her parents pop up but the main parts of the show will be all about Zoey. We can’t wait to see her grow and change in all the best ways, hopefully. The new cast full of great diverse characters is going to add so much to Zoey’s already interesting personality. It’s going to be a great first season!
Check out the promo here!