by Sesali Bowen | via Refinery29
Finally. Grown-ish is here. The black-ish spinoff stars the eldest Johnson child, Zoey (Yara Shahidi) on her adventures as a first-year student at her university. But just like Zoey is blossoming into an independent person separate from her family as a fresh-faced college student, grown-ish is also standing on its own as a series. It airs on a different network and has a completely different premise than black-ish. As such, I am going to give grown-ish the respect it deserves and treat recap as if it’s brand, spanking new. So let’s jump right in.
It’s only the first week of classes for Zoey, and she’s having an experience that many first years have probably had. Her father Andre (Anthony Anderson) is having an emotional breakdown trying to adjust to his daughter being away from home. She breaks the news that she isn’t coming home for weekend, which prompts more hysterical tears from Dre over the phone. She’s left with one option, to hang up on him.
Let me pause here to say that the grown-ish intro music, performed by Chloe x Halle is amazing.
Anyway, Zoey’s classic introduction to college life also includes a generic knowledge of the campus history and layout of California University. She narrates it all. Zoey knows which spots are hot, and which aren’t. She knows where she won’t get any cell service, and she knows how dope the basketball team is. She’s even hip to the racist practices of the school’s founders. It’s exactly the wealth of information that’s passed around during orientation. Like I said, it’s all classic college stuff.
But what’s abnormal for Zoey is the fact that she’s taking a class that meets from midnight until 2 a.m. and is taught by Dr. Charles Tuffy (Deon Cole). Zoey knows Professor Tuffy as Charlie, one of her dad’s super weird and shady coworkers. The course is about drones exclusively, and Professor Tuffy is also using it as an opportunity to sell some puppies. Some of the other students include sex workers and drug addicts, who work better on a nightly schedule. It’s a strange situation, but there is a significant silver lining.
Dr. Tuffy’s class unites Zoey with the odd group of students that make her crew. Nomi (Emily Arlook) is Jewish and feminist AF. She ended up in Dr. Tuffy’s class after missing the registration deadline because she was hooking up with a girl in the bathroom. Her uncle, Bert Parker (Chris Parnell), is also a dean at Cal U and has no clue about his niece’s sexual fluidity. As a result, he insists on her finding love with a nice Jewish boy, despite having eight failed marriages himself.
Jazlyn (Chloe Bailey) and Skylar (Halle Bailey) are newly recruited twin track stars. Performing athleticism, sportsmanship, refinement, and sisterly love has been the key to their success. However, they grew up in the hood and feel extreme amounts of pressure to make it in life. And when faculty and staff aren’t around, they don’t get along so seamlessly. They were in a heated argument that landed them in Dr. Tuffy’s marketing class as a last resort.
Aaron (Trevor Jackson) is the only person that Zoey knew before class. She met the enthusiastic activist during orientation. He is also the only one who chose to take the course willfully because he wanted to prioritize courses with Black professors. He also wears about 20 pins that advocate for Black lives in some form or the other.
Click HERE to read the rest of the recap, “Late Registration (S1 E1)”