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Grown-ish is a far cry from A Different World

When it was announced that Black-ish, the hit ABC sitcom about an affluent African American family doing their best to immerse their kids in the their ethnic culture while still enjoying the fruits of their labor, would be getting a spinoff following the oldest daughter, Zoe Johnson, as she headed to college people were somewhat excited. When it was pegged to be an updated and more current version of the hit series A Different World people were more than excited and the show was highly anticipated. We were expecting to see Zoe navigate life as a college freshmen, out of the sheltered and, low key white bread, lifestyle. We were anticipating seeing her explore more of her life after highschool, then it aired…

Now, don’t get me wrong, I like Grown-ish, I think it’s entertaining, but it’s a far cry from A Different World. I didn’t expect the show that be identical to A Different World, mainly since Zoe wasn’t attending an HBCU, so there’s that, but I think the show is missing the mark on at least 2 major marks.

Let’s run through these. 
  1. SCHOOL – If you haven’t watched the show, then this will come as a shock, but if you watch the show like I do weekly then you know that the lack of scenes with them in class is alarming. We know that Zoe wants to pursue fashion so we saw her in a few fashion based classes, but in reality that's not your freshmen year. You are taking your basic classes; math, english, history, science. I think it actually promotes a bit of a false narrative for high school kids right now. You aren't going to be taking classes in your intended major your freshmen year. I think having her sit through a history lecture, or show her studying for a statistics based math class, or something more broad the first season would resonate more. 
  2. GUIDANCE - Where is the guidance? Give them a real teacher that makes a difference in their lives, yes, having Charlie teach a midnight class is entertaining, but again far fetched. A Different World presented teachers and advisers, coaches, administers, that truly made a difference in their lives both academically. If they don't want to go that route, they can have Zoey connect with an upperclassmen as a mentor. They can still show the comedic relief that the show is based around, while still having her receive advice about school and relationships, and whatever else from someone that has gone through or is still navigating through college just like her. 

Like I said before, don't get me wrong I love the show, I think it's great for the younger generation since it does highlight different aspects of being a college student in this day and age. The pressures of social media, fitting in, budgeting money, drugs, peer pressure etc....but it just wraps everything up in a nice little bow. I would like to see some of the deeper story arcs carry over a little bit. 

Now that I've vented a little bit about what I think is missing from the show, let's talk about what I love about the show. 

  1.  DIVERSITY: Well for starters I love the diversity in Zoey's group of friends. The show went above and beyond to make sure that they displayed how many types of people you will encounter in college, of all ethnicities, from all backgrounds, of all sexualities. 
  2. REALITY: The show is doing a fabulous job at bringing in real life situation that teenagers and early 20 year old are currently through. For instance, peer pressure, social media pressures, dating, and school/life balance. I also appreciate that the show doesn't depict them as having their lives completely together. They show the Zoey struggling in relationships, and not just with the men she's dating, we see the struggles that happen in friendships as well.
  3. TIMELY: Finally, the show is timely. Everything from the slang they use to way the dress, is current and on par with today's society. The show isn't stuffy at all, it's not full of fluff where everyday is just a perfect day on campus and in their lives. They who real struggles that young adults that age face and it comes across as authentic. 
Be sure to check out Grownish Thursday nights on Freeform.

Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @TammyTalks

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