'black-ish' Tries To Cross the Political Aisle

It reads as a remarkable coincidence that this episode is trailing Dr. Ben Carson's announcement that he was running for president, because "Black Republicans" were the topic of black-ish 's second to last episode, and as per usual when the show goes to a semi political or cultural well, the results were thoughtful and rang very true, even if the strong comedic moments were a little few and far between. But that may be because of how hard it is to laugh at politics lately, especially considering the events in Baltimore, protests over the minimum wage, and the long, corrupt road of another presidential campaign season on the horizon.

Dre immediately flips out and Bow can't even conceptualize what that means when Junior goes the full Alex P. Keaton and joins the Young Republicans to impress a girl. I enjoyed the family's reaction to the news — Bow and Ruby even hugged one another in despair. Being a Republican comes with a lot more baggage than just wanting less taxes these days. The divide between liberal and conservative American politicians has grown exponentially in recent years, and there's a sense that being Republican increasingly benefits a smaller and smaller pool of Americans, almost all of them rich, white, and straight. Needless to say, that clashes with Dre's perspective as the son of divorced, black, poor parents and Bow's as a devoted hippie.

I was curious how black-ish planned to flip this script, but it pretty much just ends with Bow and Dre realizing they can't force their son to believe anything, just encourage them to figure it out on their own. There's a little bit of fun to be had with how similar some Republicans and Democrats are, from religion to their love of freshly hunted bacon, but notably, at no point do they really agree that being a Republican ain't that bad or anything — Junior's crush, Hillary (heh), may also be black, but her very Republican parents really kinda suck, calling their "Fortune 400" company a small business and looking down their noses at women who have careers and families.

The B-story mostly exists to remind us that there are kids in this family, and Diane is the cutest tiny girl Urkel I've ever seen. In my opinion, she played it just right. Next week is the black-ish finale, and after this string of politically themed episodes, hopefully it sticks the landing with anothe strong half-hour.

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