Grown-ish: 9 Ways the Black-ish Spinoff Is Killing it!

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Grown-ish, the highly anticipated Black-ish spinoff made its debut, and it did not disappoint.

It's young, fresh, relevant and bold. It may be Freeform's latest hit, and it has been well received by the masses.

Did it meet expectations? Did it live up to the hype? In short, it had a solid start. 

What does Grown-ish have going for it, and what made it a success so far? Check out the slideshow below to find out!

Grown-ish airs on Freeform on Wednesdays at 8/7c and black-ish airs on ABC at 9/8c.

1. The Breakfast Club References

The Breakfast Club References
The Breakfast Club is a teen cult classic, one of John Hughes' finest, and one of the best movies ever. You can fight me if you disagree (Please don't; I'm small and fragile). It's also timeless; it has appealed to multiple generations for the past 30 years. It was the perfect pop culture phenomena for the show to draw inspiration from. Not to mention the fact that a modern, revamped version of The Breakfast Club would be the greatest thing ever, and while many shows have nodded to it, this time it really works.

The obvious choice would have been for the show to fully lean into A Different World territory, which it still does. Black-ish often draws parallels to The Cosby Show, and Grown-ish knew going in that they would be compared to A Different World. Instead of being meta, Grown-ish opted for The Breakfast Club instead. Who can resist a The Breakfast Club nod? No one!

2. It Elevates Zoey

It Elevates Zoey
There was nothing wrong with Zoey when she was on Black-ish. She was the embodiment of "Black Girl Magic" while we caught glimpses of the complexity of being a teen girl. She had depth, but she was also predictably shallow. She was considerate, but she was also self-absorbed. She was insightful but also occasionally an airhead. But out of the Johnson children, she often was outshone by a precocious and terrifying Diane and the lovable, laughable blerd, Junior.

Grown-ish is where we get to see Zoey on her own without her siblings around. The confident, unflappable elder Johnson kid is insecure, lost, and questioning everything in that way kids who have been catapulted into co-ed life away from home are. It's a true coming-of-age story, and we get to know Zoey as an individual, finally.

3. Realistic Diversity

Realistic Diversity
Diversity is a hot-button topic and very tricky. The goal is always to take a balanced and realistic approach because lack of representation of various types of people has plagued television since forever. But there's also a matter of not making it forced. Fortunately, Grown-ish nails this.

College is arguably the most exposure anyone will ever have to diverse groups of people, cultures, upbringings, and viewpoints. That's part of the fun. Not only does Zoey's diverse group of friends feel organic and true to form, but they manage to fall within certain stereotypes while also turning those same stereptypes on their head. Zoey's friends are composed of all types of ethnicities, social/financial classes, cultures, religions, sexual orientations, political affiliations, and viewpoints. It's refreshing.

4. Yara Shahidi

Yara Shahidi
Yara Shahidi has been a teen to watch since Black-ish premiered. She's an actress, activist, and one of the most innovative and trailblazing teen actresses to come to our attention in the past few years. Now she has the opportunity to show off her chops by leading her own show.

It's no easy feat for Yara, given the high expectations and comparisons to iconic series' of the past; but she holds her own. Plus, there is an extra layer of investment in Zoey's journey because Yara is embarking on her own journey as a college freshman. It brings authenticity to the role knowing that she's right in line with her character in some ways.

5. The Characters

The Characters
While each character falls into some trope or pesky Millennial stereotype, they still manage to be familiar, relatable and have a depth that makes them more than just what's on the surface. It's that depth that helps viewers who may not have otherwise related to someone different than them better understand the motivations around them.

Aaron, the pro-black, "fight the power" student down for all the causes and protests is exactly the type of person you'd encounter on campus, but he's kind of a dork too. He'll likely be the person who will have to learn that there isn't one set way to be black.

Nomi is the confident, Jewish bisexual woman who deep down is afraid of how her family will treat her when they find out the truth. Skyler and Jazlyn appear cool and put together on the surface, but they carry the weight and expectations of their entire community. They also have the extra burden of dealing with the scrutiny of being black female athletes, and their ability to code switch in an effort to be palatable and suitable despite their upbringing is one of the most realistic aspects of the show thus far.

Vivek, the oldest child of immigrants, juggles the high expectations of his family, with his side business of drug dealing, and deeply seeded shame, and possible internalized racism and self-loathing. In addition to being politically incorrect and a materialistic label whore, he's arguably the most fascinating of the bunch.

Luca, as the pot-smoking, non- gender conformist fashionista who doesn't give a damn, is probably the only one who has it the most figured out because he's aware that no one has it figured out. And Ana is the sheltered, culture shocked girl who doesn't know how to cope with being away from home for the first time.

6. Bold, Daring, and Relevant Topics

Bold, Daring, and Relevant Topics
Keeping true to form with both its predecessor and Freeform's new, edgy format, Grown-ish doesn't pull any punches tackling real-world issues and controversial subjects. Two episodes in, and we're well-versed on multiple drugs, drug use, sexuality, sex, race, microaggressions and more.

Zoey may have already developed an Adderall addiction, Nomi is as sexually liberated as it gets, Luca is almost always high, and social warrior, Aaron, is always hype about his latest cause. The possibilities are endless with what the show can explore, and the show isn't afraid to push the envelope.

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