Dre's Sister's Wedding Opens An Opportunity For 'black-ish' To Talk Feminism And Naming Rights
As much as Raven-Symoné can prompt Liz Lemon-sized eyerolls by making ill-advised comments on The View , I can't deny that she's a sitcom veteran and still has the ability to deliver a well-written line, so I was happy to see her return as Rhonda Johnson. And Dre's sister's wedding raises a debate in the Johnson home about the retrograde traditions of marriage compared with new efforts to be more amenable to feminism when it's revealed that Bow never changed her name when she got married, because her maiden name was also "Johnson." So even though they're all still the "Johnson" family, Dre is shocked to find out that his wife sees herself as a steadfast feminist, not a traditional wife honoring her husband. Needless to say, the idea takes him almost the entire episode to get used to.
His mother has a similar learning curve. Ruby, who learned her lesson about trying to come to terms with her daughter's sexuality last season, struggles to be more accepting, but what really gets under her skin isn't Rhonda's gayness, but the way Rhonda has quickly become close to her in-laws, while she wants Rhonda's fiancee to keep a formal distance because of her lingering discomfort. And she doesn't drop an opportunity to take sides against Bow, either, which should be no surprise after seeing how excited she was at the prospect of Rainbow's impending death a few episodes ago.
Both she and Rhonda school Rainbow a little bit on intersectional feminism, though that kind of annoys me since I refuse to believe that Bow didn't take at least three undergrad courses on that exact subject. But even though it's a little clumsy, it does give Ruby some great lines, especially "I couldn't afford to burn my bra — I only had the one!" which is a perfect way to sum up the struggles of being torn between white-defined feminism and racism.
But even though there's plenty of time devoted to pointing out that Bow isn't the only person who has a good point, ultimately she stands her ground, and ends the episode as Rainbow Johnson instead of giving in and becoming Rainbow... Johnson. Such is the way that black-ish pokes some fun at the issue, since the Johnsons' disagreement inherently has no effect on the family's status quo, but as always, the best part of the show is the way that Dre and Bow's marriage is built on a foundation so strong that not even battles over feminism and progressiveness — or jokes about opening OK Cupid accounts — can truly shake it.
Image: Kelsey McNeal/ABC; Giphy