Charlie Telphy is black-ish's version of the wacky neighbor, and so he was due for an episode where he babysat the kids. And, when Junior and Jack help Charlie hook up with guest star Amber Rose on black-ish, using Nancy Meyers films as their guide, it winds up feeling a little cliche.
My only critique is that aside from the cable-knit sweater Diane Keaton definitely wore in Something's Gotta Give, all of the Meyers references are from It's Complicated. When, strangely enough, it could have used a little What Women Want. Diane is right to be shocked and appalled by the dudes' plan, because it uses Dominique as a cardboard cutout that makes you say "damn." (Rose does look fantastic onscreen.)
I felt like the biggest flaw in the episode is that the writers didn't give Amber Rose's Dominique much of a character. Like... at all. There's really no reason to even cast a big name guest star, and since Rose has been publicly advocating against slut-shaming and sexism, I think she probably deserved a character who got to be more than just the reward Charlie gets for accepting his weird, creepy self.
And, you know what, the ending where Charlie and Dominique agree that they're both shallow enough to stay together could have worked — if Dominique had been even 100th as strange and funny as Charlie is.
Meanwhile, Dre and Bow feud over where Zoey is going to head to college. And, rather than make the two parents fight over whether Ivy League or Historical Black universities are better, the conflict is over Bow trying to relive her college days while Dre attempts to convince Zoey to go to a local University of California school because he hates flying and he's going to miss his daughter. Which is very sweet, even if I wished that Rainbow got a moment with Zoey as well.
I appreciate black-ish not going the easy route, but it does make for an episode that doesn't really have much going on below the surface-level story. Overall, the episode isn't bad at all. If anything, it just feels like a slightly missed opportunity. With the budget for another guest star and the chance to do a more significant storyline about black students choosing colleges (relevant with the ongoing Mizzou conflict) it was sadly a bit of a waste.
Image: John Fleenor/ABC (2); Giphy