Grown-ish jumps right into the pros and cons of the college life.
Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) has started her first year of college! Even though she came into it thinking that she had everything figured out, she quickly learns that she can’t navigate through college the same way she did high school. The premiere episode followed Zoey and her soon to be friends as they tell the stories of how they all ended up in the same night class about drones together. Aaron (Trevor Jackson), Jazlyn (Chloe Bailey), Skyler (Halle Bailey), Vivek (Jordan Buhat), Luca (Luka Sabbat), and Nomi (Emily Arlook) all had interesting stories to tell about how they ended up in the class. But it’s Zoey’s story that brings in the lesson. After meeting Ana (Francia Raisa) due to their – highly complicated – drink orders, her and Zoey attend a day party where things go from good to bad. Zoey dubs herself a horrible person once she realizes that leaving a friend in their own puke at a party isn’t a common thing that people do. In a group table scene, that is inspired by the scene from The Breakfast Club, they all learn that they have insecurities about how they’re viewed by outside eyes. As Zoey put it, “We were all scared.”
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In the episode airing behind the premiere, we find Zoey struggling to keep up with her social and academic life – we can all relate. Instead of trying to tough it out and work out a better schedule for herself, she ends up ‘poppin’ an addy’. After taking the pill, she finds herself still missing class and not getting her paper finished, which is the main reason she decided to take the Adderall. This one seems like it may be something that will come up later, considering at the end of the episode she took another pill before responding to a “U Up?” text from Aaron. The first two episodes hopped right into some good topics and gave us all relate to a character or a situation in some kind of way.
Here to discuss Zoey’s debut as a not so self-assured college student is our Grown-ish Roundtable!
Jeria (@jereyea) – Student, Stan, and Tweeter
Miya (@MsMiya_) – Writer, Film Enthusiast, Singer.
Ryan (@legendarylevy) – child actor, TV & movie buff
Chi (@polyhansen) – college student, free writer, pop media enthusiast, practice in promotion and sales.
Loan (@Loaanou) – fashion lover, women’s enthusiast, French, catch me at OPA or Wisteria Lane.
1. We met all of Zoey’s new friends tonight! They were all from different backgrounds and their personalities were definitely not all the same. Which new friend of Zoey’s did you like the most?
Jeria (@jereyea): Out of all of Zoey’s friends, I really liked the twins because I relate to them so much. I have to “code switch” on the regular basis, and my mom has always instilled in me that your reputation is everything.
Miya (@MsMiya_): Ana, personally, is a character I truly liked, one I wished I saw more of in the first two episodes. Hopefully, down the line, she’ll get more screen time because her character is one I truly relate to.
Ryan (@legendarylevy): Luca Hall, aka baby Basquiat, has to be one of my favorites. Luca who is played by Luka Sabbat closely mimics parts of Sabbats life who at 20 years old is a huge fashion influencer.
Chi (@polyhansen): I’m feeling the twins, I feel like they’re going to be the ones to keep it most real with her.
Loan (@Loaanou): My favorite has to be Luca Hall, he seems down to earth, true to himself, he doesn’t care about what people may think about him, I feel a connection to his character.
2. The first episode had a lot of The Breakfast Club references, how did you feel about those moments?
Jeria: For most of the episode, I didn’t realize that there were as many of the references from The Breakfast Club, partially because I have not seen the whole movie, but when it came full circle to them talking about why they were there, I caught it, and I thought it was a really nice spin on how they brought it together.
Miya: I truly enjoyed those moments. I love when shows pay homage to classic films.
Ryan: The Breakfast Club references are cute. From Zoe’s father wanting her to come home for the weekend and watch the classic movie to Zoe connecting it to her meeting her friends in the late night class. In the breakfast club, the characters are The Nerd, The Princess, The Jock, The Basket Case, The Criminal who are all white. Well in Grown-Ish, the “teen” archetypes show modern-day personalities reflecting today’s society and multiculturalism. Also different from the movie, Zoe and her friends are not in detention but all are taking a late college class that none of them care to take. Aaron is the only one who did chose the class but only due to it having a black teacher. A big question of The Breakfast Club was will they all stay friends after detention maybe this foreshadows the future of Grown-ish: will Zoe and friends stay friends?
Chi: The Breakfast Club is a classic, but I feel like they trying to make that connection and it just isn’t there. I get it; because their all different and are in college for different reasons, but they could’ve presented that without The Breakfast Club reference.
Loan: What I liked about this feeling was that the show feels like a modern version of the breakfast club, but with a more diverse cast, topics that we can relate nowadays as members of the Millennial generation.
3. Both episodes took on topics that are big in college, caring about what other people think of you and drug use. What do you think about the way Zoey handled both situations?
Jeria: I think Zoey handled both situations in the best way that she knew how. In high school, people caring about what she did was her whole entire life, so she figured the pills would do the same thing. I don’t think she handled either situations in the best way she could have, but rather the best way that she knew how based on past experiences.
Miya: I think Zoey handled the “caring what other people think of you” aspect well but she handled the “drug use” poorly. I was not expecting her to be like “hooked” on drugs in like the first episode, I thought that maybe, down the line they would introduce that storyline.
Ryan: I could not believe Zoey left Ana drunk that was a huge no-no but possibly a lesson learned for Zoe who realized she did wrong. If you go out with a friend and they drink and get drunk, you don’t leave them, you make sure they get home safe. Zoe had good intentions trying to get her homework done but she fell into peer pressure and took Adderall not just once but twice. Even after Zoey’s homework is all finished and admits she made a mistake to Ana we see Zoe reach for a pill. Caring what other people think of you and drug use are real-life issues that college students and people deal with in life. Showing this in television starts a conversation and informs people of the real-life events they or their loved ones may face.
Chi: Zoey is handling situations like drug use and caring about others opinions in the typical young adult way. She is taking it day by day, in Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe she is obviously having a battle with who she is and who she thinks she needs to be in a college environment. It’s a lot of pressure and Zoey is conflicted which I think is going to cause her to make a lot of mistakes down the line.
Loan: As she said at the beginning of episode 1, she doesn’t know anything, so she’s discovering what it’s like to be on her own, she’s discovering the real world as an individual, so when it comes to the drug use, I think that she handled it “good”, she wasn’t forced, she chooses to do it, so I guess at the end she knows what she’s getting into, if it’s good for her or not.
4. Zoey has a crush! Are we here for Zoey’s crush on Aaron? Do they have a ship name yet?
Jeria: I think Aaron is extremely cute, and a nice guy, but I think he’s leading Zoey on with no real intentions of them dating. He just wants sex, and that is proven with that “You up? Wanna hang?” text. We’ve all gotten one of those texts before, and at time of night, the only thing that’s open is legs, Denny’s, and the ER. Zoey seems too bougie for Denny’s, and she’s not hurt so that only leaves one thing.
Miya: Not sure if I am here for Zoey’s crush on Aaron. Mainly because I like Luka and I can see them truly becoming a thing later on in the show.
Ryan: Aaron’s a crush probably not more. Not invested in the relationship cause it seems like it’s all in Zoey’s head.
Chi: I was here for Aaron and Zoey until he sent her that “You up?” text and didn’t even have the decency of walking her home. Zaron? Maybe? Not here for it! I may grow to like it again if Aaron starts showing genuine interest.
Loan: Personally I’m not here for it, Aaron on my part is more like a Big brother for Zoey, rather than a potential boyfriend.
5. The show has already delved into some good topics. Since it’s still early, what other college topics do you hope Grown-ish digs into this season?
Jeria: Since the entire cast is so fair skinned, I think it would be interesting to talk about colorism to redeem themselves from the casting of the show. I also would like to see some conflict between Zoey, and the characters that aren’t as well off financially as Zoey.
Miya: I really want them to discuss the insomnia aspect of college, not going to bed and then skipping classes. Maybe they can talk more about how some professors don’t care if you show up, but you the student, are still responsible for all the work.
Ryan: Some topics Grown-ish could dig into could be anxiety, depression, freshman 15, alcoholism, fighting, gossiping, online bullying, racism, homophobia, sexuality, gender stereotypes, and family violence.
Chi: They can dig into so many topics because college is a place of many discoveries. It may be too deep of a topic, but if it is anything like Black-ish, it should definitely touch on IPV (interpersonal violence) situations such as sexual assault, harassment etc. On a less serious note, they could demonstrate college events that show school spirit. That would get viewers hyped for college and encourage them to choose the appropriate school for them to show their school spirit.
Loan: I hope it will speak on representation in the “education administration”, for example, I haven’t seen not one black teacher like at all. So it would be cool to see how they portray this subject on TV.
6. How well do you think Zoey is handling college so far?
Jeria: Zoey is not handling college well at all. It is her first week or two, and she’s already pill popping. I am not surprised considering on blackish, her reputation, and how she was perceived by the outside world was all she cared about, but now it is becoming toxic. I’m enjoying seeing that she has a bit more depth.
Miya: I can’t truly comment because she indeed just got there. Maybe after a couple of episodes, I can input my opinion.
Ryan: Zoe is doing well and is handling college the best she can. The problems she’s facing of being late for class, homework deadlines, crushes and drugs are common issues for college students.
Chi: I repeat, she is handling it just as any other young adult would handle their first year of college….she’s not. She’s just going day by day hopefully learning from her slip-ups, but I see her acting on feelings and not logic and we all know how that ends.
Loan: Zoey is doing pretty good, I mean she already has a group of friends, she’s starting to know her limits, errors, she’s learning life…
7. Now that Zoey has made amends with her new roommate, Ana, they seem to have become instant friends. Do you think this friendship will last now that they have opened up to each other?
Jeria: I think Zoey and her roommate will be pretty close, but when she finds out about the pill-popping, tension will begin to rise. Zoey will feel like she’s being judged and will shut down. Also, they’re too similar to each other, and eventually that gets tiring, and that could ruin a relationship.
Miya: I sure hope so, because I really like their dynamic. I truly think they balance each other out.
Ryan: I was happy to see Zoey and Ana talk to each other. Shows what a little communication can do. They do seem to be instant close but depending on Zoey’s actions like saying she’s not taking pills again then taking them might influence the friendship.
Chi: I think Anna will become Zoey’s closest friend out of all their friends because they knew each other initially, they room together, they’re both freshman etc. Their bond is going to grow into something special and I can’t wait.
Loan: I think their friendship will last, I mean I hope, when it comes to friendship, communication is the key to resolve every problem, so I’m glad they talked because what Zoey did was awful. Zoey wanted to impress, and Ana was having a bad time, they weren’t really there for each other.
Final Verdict: Grown-ish is going to have to grow on us, so we’ll be watching more!
We are liking this new space that Zoey is exploring. She’s making mistakes and learning lessons the hard way – basically, living a regular college girl’s life. She hasn’t done too much but we are sure there is going to be more tough situations down the road. We’re loving her new friends so far! Even though Zoey said that those will become some of the most important people in her life, we can foresee some conflicts popping up between them. Just like our poll on Twitter, we’re not so sure we’re feeling Aaron too much.
The show did not hit all the stops. The Breakfast Club references were there but not completely hitting home, but once you realized they were there it kind of made sense. Having more diverse characters gave their twist to the references a little boost. We’re not completely in love with the show yet, but there are plenty more episodes still left for us.
What are we looking forward to next? Do we care to watch next week?Nonetheless, we are here to see some more episodes of Zoey Johnson in college. Grown-ish is only just getting started and we can see that Zoey and company are going to go through a lot together – it’s what makes them have such a strong bond, right? We’re excited to see what other controversial topics the show decides to tackle next and how Zoey will grow and mature from her experiences. It’s going to be a great first season!