‘Grown-ish’ giving voice to new generation


The occasions of a television spinoff being as successful as the parent program is very rare. Example of spinoffs that have failed majorly includes “Joey,” “Sam & Cat,” and “Big Brothers: UK.” Yet, one program has managed to become more successful than its predecessor.

“Grown-ish” is born from “Black-ish” and follows the life of Zoey Johnson as she begins college at California Tech. “Grown-ish” uses its college background to discuss real issues young people face today like sexual assault, identity and sexuality, which brings a refreshing new voice to television.

One episode from the second season titled, “Messy,” sets the plot at a college party where a popular basketball player and a woman have sexual intercourse. The woman, excited about her experience, tells her friend about what happened which causes the story to get twisted into a sexual assault case and results in a new rule called “Excited Consent.”

Many people are disgusted by the rules and claim it will ruin the atmosphere of the college while others say it protects those most likely to be taken advantage of. Zoey and her friends have a real discussion about the issue, which helps to create more action and bridge gaps between those who misunderstand or need more knowledge.

Knowledge is a major topic “Grown-ish” does not shy away from. Viewers learn much from Nomi and her own struggles with her sexuality and her identity.

Through the first and second seasons, we see her develop from a confused woman who feels like she can not be real with her family to confidently declaring herself as bisexual to her parents. She comes to see herself as more than her sexuality but as a whole person. Under guidance and support from her friends and her professors, she has the freedom to explore herself and find the courage to stand up to her parents.

Empowerment also continues to be a theme in “Grown-ish”. One of the show’s characters, Jazz, is a woman who is stubborn, confident and sure of herself, yet one thing she should be able to control, she can’t. As an athlete and a woman, her body has become the property of her team and her society. She can not choose to do what she wants with it for fear of being ridiculed or losing her friends.

Jazz breaks through this restraint by choosing the way her image is displayed. Women and men alike feel the pressure to conform to what society thinks their bodies should be. By showing a person throwing off these bonds, others are encouraged to do the same.

“Grown-ish” is much more than a television program. It is the voice of a generation that deals with new struggles and feels the pressure to excel. “Grown-ish” is not a show made to appeal to the masses. Instead, it fights for the values of those who are struggling to find representations of themselves on TV and in real life.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)