Living Vicariously: Grownish Season 1
College is over but we are living vicariously through Blackish spinoff star, Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) and the rest of the Grownish cast. After only five episodes, the Freeform original series has been renewed for a second season. And rightfully so, everyone from current college students to fans in their 30s, can’t get enough of life at fictional Cal U.
As a recent graduate, adjusting to life, as what I think I can call an adult, has been trying. I remember complaining to my older brother about my struggle to balance midterm exams, making it to the gym, and my part-time job. Today, eight months post-grad, I would go back to that being my dilemma in in a heartbeat. That's not to say a full course load and an intense part-time job are walks in the park but the convenience of all your needs being in a centralized location combined with sharing a wall with most of your emotional support squad makes everything feel lighter.
Zoey’s girl squad, Ana (Francia Raisa), Nomi (Emily Arlook), Jazz and Sky (Chloe and Halle) is always prepared for an emergency dorm room huddle. Every time Zoey gathers everyone to dissect a message from a guy she’s into, I’m suddenly right back in Katzenbach Hall reading the same text message to my girls for the 17th time. As cliche as it sounds, the friends you meet in college plant a special seed in your heart. It’s the kind that kicks out the jitters in your stomach as you watch your parents roll away in an empty Nissan Maxima that was filled with everything from your childhood room only moments ago. They’re the same seeds that blossom when it’s eight weeks after graduation and you feel the need to book a cross-country flight because that’s where your (once upon a time) roommate) now lives.
The nostalgia keeps us tuning in to Freeform every Wednesday night at 7:30pm but the vast advancement in television culture is what keeps Grownish and its stories on our tongues the next day. Grownish continues to tackle stories we could not have imagined years ago. Episode one sheds a light on the ties to slavery that many American universities once had. I was shocked to hear " I knew Ronald G. Withrop was our founder...and he dabbled in slavery" as one of the shows first few lines. I found it particularly interesting because of the parallel to my own college. My university, after much scrutiny, agreed to address its personal connection to slavery, last year, the year after they celebrated 250 years. Better late than never, huh?
The slavery message was just the beginning of Grownish forcing us to be #woke. In episode 4, they address the controversy behind a man who likes men and women being "gay" while a woman with a sexual preference of both sexes gets the pass to be labeled bisexual. I like to think of my college as being one with progressive views and action forward thinkers but this is something I saw so often on campus. Grownish does a great job of illustrating just how bias these so called opinions are calling them out for what it really is- prejudice.
As a big fan of the show, from the storylines to the actors and hip-hop song titles, I'm excited to see what Kenya Barris and his team do next. I can't rewind time and place myself in undergrad again so I'll take what I can get with my weekly dose of Cal U.