'black-ish' Jokes About Dre Getting a Vasectomy, But the Results Could Be a Lot Funnier

Yes, there are still a few new episodes of black-ish left this season, but unfortunately this week doesn't have very much new to share. The episode nominally covers the fallout from when Dre lied about getting a vasectomy. I'm a little embarrassed that I knew this so immediately, but that exact plot (or at least the first act of it) is right out of several other shows, from Gilmore Girls to American Dad! I've said it intermittently all season long — the more black-ish relies on typical plots, the worse it is.

For example, the Maury parody feels like it comes out of nowhere and is way more forced than the other fantasy sequences the show has done. I don't think it should rely on going into little interludes like that when they don't fit into the episode. For example, the Valentine's Day episode used those moments to break up the monotony from the restaurant confrontations.

I feel like some of the focus and specifics of the earlier episodes has been lost. The Nod. The clash of the two sets of parents. The obligation to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This generic episode has no such theme — it's about time that the show returns to that POV. Other than a random Easter basket in the background of a shot or two, there's no other indication that this episode should be coming this late in the season. Other than pranks, supposedly?

The shenanigans once Bow knows about the vasectomy? Enh. Turning Dre and his coworkers into incredible sexists? Pretty strange and comedically disappointing. This episode doesn't have anything to do with guys' wimpiness when it comes to pain (seriously, Dre, you can't endure thirty seconds when your wife when through childbirth three times).

The only things that work are small moments proving that the show itself is stronger than what it's putting out, like Ross' reactions, Junior's monologue about a fire killing the whole cast, and... that's about it. Everything else appreciable has already drifted out of my mind — I know I laughed a fair number of times at Anthony Anderson's antics, but I can't remember them clearly. I do think the emphasis on Dre/Bow's marriage rather than the kids is interesting, but while black-ish has spend the last few episodes deepening its characters, it would be useful if they were able to go back to their original socially progressive comedy.