The 'black-ish' Family Hires A Nanny And Dre Has To Check His "Black White Guilt"
What happens when a couple of harried parents call in reinforcements? According to Dre, only white people have nannies, so the option's off the table for the Johnsons, even when Jack nearly winds up eating medical waste for lunch. But, of course, since this is a sitcom, black-ish explores "black white guilt" over childcare, as the wealthy Johnsons simultaneously want to take advantage of that wealth in order to end their stress but also worry about exploiting nannies, who are almost always of color. Dre's coworkers are all in support of nannies, likely because they are rich too. black-ish Season 2 has been slowly working its way through the way class impacts so many of the decisions that families make.
When Vivian (Regina Hall), the dream nanny, shows up to interview, she's both black enough to slightly assuage Dre's concerns (though he remains skeptical) and, crucially, promises Bow that she'll take care of the parents too. And after a single mac & cheese dinner that puts Bow's terrible cooking to shame, Dre, too, is excited to have Vivi on the the family payroll. But quickly, the couple change their mind after a few awkward incidents — Dre feels uncomfortable being reminded that he's wealthy while Vivi struggles to support her family, and Bow mistakes Vivi's friendliness for genuine closeness.
Eventually, the Johnsons sit down with Vivi and talk to her about setting boundaries, and trying to get comfortable with the new arrangement. But I was surprised that instead of kicking her out, they decide to confess to her what they've been feeling. My impression as I watched the episode is that Vivian would be revealed as "crazy" and wind up getting kicked out. But instead, the Johnsons have to actually think about the things they feel uncomfortable with, confront them, and come up with solutions. And, of course, tell Vivi to stop spreading their business all over Los Angeles.
The kids are demoted to running gags this week, so they best fit in bullet point form:
-I am very intrigued about more flashbacks that feature Young!Diane, who seemingly came out of the womb with her signature HBIC fully formed.
-Diane's Hillary Clinton-esque struggle to come across as friendly and nice in the middle of a tough election shows the rare thing that can make the two Johnson sisters get along. And while she eventually loses the election, Diane does gain a worthy adversary in Vivian, who stops her attack ads from getting slanderous.
-Poor Junior's attempts to seduce Vivi are unsuccessful, but they are very, very funny.
-I'm hoping the conclusion of this episode means that Regina Hall will pop up every once and a while in future episodes. With both Laurence Fishburne and Jenifer Lewis sitting this one out, black-ish could use some more funny supporting cast members, and Hall deserves as many opportunities as possible. Don't call her Black Nanny, but do write her into more episodes, please!
Image: Kelsey McNeal/ABC