By Morgan M.
When I first heard that Yara Shahidi was getting her own spin-off show from the Emmy-award nominated sitcom Black-ish, I knew that it was something that I had to watch. I’ve been obsessed with Yara for a minute, and for good reason. The 17 year old, Harvard-bound actor is everything you should want to be: extremely intelligent, socially conscious, determined and not to mention naturally beautiful all the while still maintaining an air of humility.
As a young, biracial woman (Yara’s mother is African-American and her father is Iranian) who is up and coming in an industry that favors J Law and Emma Stone types as strong female leads, Yara’s pushing some real boundaries. And while Freeform boasts a handful of female characters of color on their programming, Yara’s character Zoe brings something completely unique to the network.
So what’s so different about Zoe? What’s different is that she isn’t so different at all, she’s totally accessible. She’s college student who’s young and stupid just like the rest of us. And what’s more, she uses her race, gender and age as a vehicle for relatability and representation. And she does it really well.
In the hour-long first episode, we witness Zoe, a college Freshman at the fictional Cal U, navigate her way through her first days of classes, parties and college life. Her interaction with the other students whom she soon befriends is all too familiar: anyone whose been to college knows the awkward and tentative nature of those very first interactions. But once you get past the initial fear of judgement, there is a very real bond that emerges from being completely and unapologetically yourself. This is depicted almost perfectly when Zoe and her cohort meet each other for the first time in an late-night lecture.
2 black female athletes from the hood, a Gujarati-American golden boy turned drug dealer, a dreadlocked fashion-savy pothead, a bisexual Jewish-American bad girl, a modern day black panther and a conservative hispanic sweetheart make for a ethnically and ideologically diverse cast. Even from just the first few episodes, you can see how authentic the interactions are between he cast members. They’re relationships are believable, their banter is familiar and they’re actually funny.
Something about this show makes me think that it’ll be an instant classic. With a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and favorable reviews from publications like the New York Times and Rolling Stone, Grown-ish is definitely something worth talking about.
So if you’re in the market for a chill new series that packs a political punch, is incredibly #woke and has a really (like really) good looking cast, Grown-ish is definitely for you. Catch it Wednesday nights at 8 on Freeform.