Grown*ish | C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me) (S1 E5)

by Ariana Romero  | via Refinery29

Every week, grown-ish just seems more and more confident of who it is. Last week, that was with genuinely funny bits for heroine Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi), which were mixed in with complex commentary on bi-erasure and the dark financial arts of the NCAA. This week, in Wu-Tang reference by way of a Cash Mooney (Da’Vinchi) pun “C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me),” it’s with a seriously complicated look at our attitudes towards sex, virginity, “branding,” and the wild pressures of all three. And, somehow, we all still leave the episode feeling like we’re watching a modern-day comedy and not an after-school special from 1884.

Let’s figure out how grown-ish managed those thematic gymnastics.

We enter “C.R.E.A.M.” with the assurance Zoey and college basketball phenom Cash are now officially booed up after the tension of “Starboy.” Like the Hiddleswift of yore, they pose for “candid” paparazzi photos on the street and take adorable “private” pics with friends. Everyone around them is aware of their love and jealous. Naturally, Zoey couldn’t be happier. Except, things go sour when the haters and losers begin trolling Zoey in Cash’s comments, calling her “fat” and a “ho.” One jerk takes things too far, writing of Cash’s WCW, “I smashed,” while another eloquently adds, “Queen eats [enter eggplant emoji here].” Lovely.

This is why the true golden rule of the internet is, “Never, ever, read the comments.”

Unfortunately, Cash doesn’t listen to my pristine advice, and fires back, “My bae is pure! #Virgin. #Thin.” In less than 10 seconds, Cash has completely dashed Zoey’s trust and shared her sexual history with the world. Yes, even though said sexual history is non-existent, it’s still an egregious breach of confidence. It doesn’t matter if Zoey has slept with 0 people or 1,000 people, giving the entire world that information without permission is a no-go.

So, Zoey is rightly angry, especially since #TheVirginZoey is now trending on Twitter. The Fosters sisters (Chloe Bailey and Halle Bailey) think their friend should tell Cash “Boy, bye” and show him the box to the left. Luca Hall (Luka Sabbat) is, as usual, wondering why Zoey is so pressed about being embarrassed. Poor Vivek Shah (Jordan Buhat) simply doesn’t want Zoey to end things with the Big Man On Campus before his own upcoming birthday party.

Amid all of this relationship chaos, Luca informs Zoey that Cash is going through a much bigger crisis than his girlfriend ignoring his text messages. On top of that, his estranged father is also auctioning off Cash’s possessions for, well, cash and it’s turned into a major media storm. In an attempt to be a good girlfriend and human person, Zoey proves she’s literally a ride-or-die and hops in the car for Cash’s trip to confront his father.

Now trapped in a moving car, this is hypothetically where both parties would put away their anger to have a good, heartfelt conversation amid an emotional catastrophe. But, we’re dealing with people who were at prom approximately 10 days ago. So, they first give each other an impossibly long silent treatment — opening up a chance for a cameo from black-ish dad Andre Jonhson (Anthony Anderson) to prove Zoey excels at the awkward pauses — before finally sharing their feelings. What comes from this conversation is one of grown-ish’s greatest moments yet.

Click HERE to read the rest of the recap, “C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me) )(S1 E5)”

Starboy (S1 E4) | Cashin’ Out (S1 E6)