Sunday, January 7, 2018

'Grown-ish' is definitely no 'A Different World,' the use of drugs is overstated in the show

My take on the double premiere of 'Grown-ish': It was just okay. Could have been better.

Grown-ish, the new Black-ish spinoff, follows Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) to college as she deals with her new adult life and tackles all of the new responsibilities that come with being on her own. 
In multiple scenes during the premiere episodes, the recreational use of drugs comes into play. Zoey is a freshman and new to this life of freedom with moving out of her parents house. She quickly makes new friends and one of them is a drug dealer who later gives Zoey Adderall pills. 

While procrastinating from doing her class assignments, Zoey attends college parties and her new drug dealer "friend" offers her the Adderall so she can have a little push to finish her paper. Because, as the show makes it seem, most kids nowadays need that little push to help them focus on their studies. 



I did not like the constant drug mentions and the fact that Zoey succumbed to peer pressure by taking the Adderall pills, not just once, but multiple times! 

I shook my head the entire time at every pill-popping scene. Like, C'MONNNN, REALLY?!! 

The writers just took a highly popular family show (Black-ish) and spun off into something reckless. 

There are ways to tackle difficult topics without making it seem like the norm.


See, I'm 32 years old and back when I was in college (I say this like I'm extremely old, giving the 'back in my day' speech), my friends and I never needed drugs to help focus. I pulled plenty of all-nighters while in college and all I needed was coffee or an energy drink or both. 

I was really disappointed watching Zoey take the drugs, especially when she took it a second time. Hopefully she doesn't get addicted and think it's okay to pop pills just to get by in college. 

Mind you, she JUST STARTED her college journey! She didn't even make it to finals yet! 

Now, Yara Shahidi visited The View and talked about the tough topics the show will face as Grown-ish confronts prescription drug use on campus -- and more broadly, “different views … on drug addiction,” normalization of drug culture and how students are “inheriting … these pre-set up institutions.”

And, while some people praised the show for touching base on the reality of what kids are going through and the unique challenges they face nowadays, I still feel like the drugs could have been left out of the script entirely and the show could have gone in another direction.

I understand this college show (or any other new college-type show for that matter) will never live up to my all-time favorite, A Different World... that would be setting my expectations too high. I constantly binge-watch the '80s/'90s sitcom and always think how amazing that show was to touch on so many important issues and topics while still entertaining a young audience. 
While checking in to see what others were saying about Grown-ish on Twitter, I saw many references to A Different World. Many people compared the two shows and some even dared to say Grown-ish is the 2018 version of A Different World. 








However, I will give the show another chance and watch again because I like Yara as an actress and I think she's amazing. 

I'm crossing my fingers as I hope this show turns into a more positive depiction of college life. 

New episodes of Grown-ish air on Wednesday nights at 8/7c on Freeform. 
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