To set up the plot, introduce characters, and intrigue the audience in one singular episode of television is nearly impossible. But, in my new blog series Pilot Season, we’re going to analyze how popular television series tackle the first episode. Each television show featured will be a show that I’ve never (or barely) watched before. At the end of each post, I’ll let y’all know whether or not the first episode enticed me enough to keep watching.
For our first…or shall I say “pilot” episode, we’re going to discuss Grown-ish’s first episode “Late Registration”.
Watch out world, I’m watching Grown-ish now!
“Late Registration” is heavily inspired by the iconic John Hughes-directed 1985 teen movie The Breakfast Club. Most of the episode is centered around introducing the main cast of characters and why they all ended up in this strange Digital Marketing class that starts at midnight and ends at 2-freaking-AM.
I immediately related to the concept of being forced to take an odd college class. If you went to college, chances are you took a class about an off-kilter subject or at a crazy time to fit your daily schedule or meet your degree’s credit criteria.
(I mean, anything to graduate on time…am I right?)
I specifically remember a History of the Motion Picture class I took one year that ran once a week from about 7:00 – 10:30. The things that I saw in that class could fill up an entire blog post. Seriously.
Anyway, each member of Grown-ish’s main cast told their story while the commentary of Zoey, played by Yara Shahidi, dashed in a sprinkle of backstory. After most of the cast gave their expository “please relate to me” speech, I did relate to most of the characters and became interested in how their stories would progress.
Why does Kenya Barris hate likable characters?
I don’t know what it is about Kenya Barris’ obsession with unlikable characters (i.e. the strange cringe-fest that is #blackAF) But, at first, Zoey came off very holier-than-thou and abrasive. She talked like she was on such a higher level than any other member of the group. She specifically says she would have never connected with any of them if they weren’t caught in this strange class together.
I have only caught a couple of episodes of Black-ish in passing, so I don’t understand what warranted such London Tipton-esque behavior. After she told the story about why she landed in this midnight class (she was avoiding her first college friend after embarrassing the hell out of her at a cool people party), I felt conflicted about whether I wanted to keep watching.
Thankfully, as the episode progressed, Zoey had an eye-opening moment of self-awareness. The situation with her old friend made her reevaluate her actions and question whether she was comfortable with the person she was becoming. That genuine moment opened the door to a deeper discussion about identity. You can watch this scene in the clip below.
At that moment, Zoey caught up with the rest of the cast in terms of intrigue.
The episode ended with Zoey finding out her old college friend is her new roommate. This immediately tipped off the part of my brain that’s ALL about the drama and piping hot tea.
One sentence synopsis: “It’s like The Breakfast Club, but with Pink hair lotion.”
Will I Keep Watching?
I’m interested in watching a few more episodes but I’m not hooked yet. The characters are believable and I want to see how they evolve over the series.
I’m equally as interested in seeing what hairstyle Zoey will rock next episode. Box braids? A curly bun? Some faux locs? I’ve got to watch it and see.
Do you think I should keep watching Grown-ish? If you have any suggestions for new TV shows for me to watch; let me know! Your suggestion may be featured in a future episode of Pilot Season.
To end off the pilot episode of Pilot Season, here’s one of the most littyyy songs from the 80s. The one, the only: