Whether it was designed to be a tribute to women in celebration of The International Women’s Day or just a regular day in the life, Grown-ish Season 1 Episode 10, “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp,” dissects the challenges faced by black women in the dating pool.
It is seriously amazing how this show keeps pushing the envelope, dropping names, and even pictures this episode, making references to relate life personalities, such that the narrative feels so much like watching real life unfold.
Doing all that, while remaining light and giving off feel-good vibes, is impressive, to say the least. It’s like watching a talk show or some teenage blog, where everything is virtually laid bare.
It is also important to point out that the stories are now being told not just through the eyes of the main character, Zoey, but through the other characters. Vivek was the focus of Grown-ish Season 1 Episode 9 and this one focuses on the twins, Jazz and Sky.
The essence of this shared scope is that it brings inclusivity among the characters, such that they are not too irrelevant to the theme. It also helps to see the stories told from different perspectives, keeps the message fresh and hits the right audience.
Suffice it to say that Jazz and Sky literally slay this entire episode with their passion and realness in depicting these challenges. Zoey remains the narrator of the series and still has her life going on; matter of fact, she begins this conversation and sets the premise before seamlessly handing over to the other participants.
With extra screen time for the other characters, there is a clearer understanding as to why they are a part of the show in the first place. To say that this is the best episode to date would be a huge understatement because the buzz on social media during and after its airing is a testament to how well it is executed.
Over time, there had been a widespread belief that Black women are at the lowest rung of the dating ladder. It’s white women at the apex, followed by Latinas and mixed women.
This episode digs deep into this topic and presents adequate statistics to back up the claim, one of which is the fact that 82% of non-black men have some bias towards black women. There are also pictures of famous black celebrities dating or married to non-black women. This shows that the showrunners put a great deal of effort into developing the story.
Though set in a college environment, the students are made to represent adults in the outside world, in depicting how these race relations play out.
Sometimes we are oblivious to our bias and Aaron is a clear example of that. Over the course of a number of episodes, Aaron has become more comical and sometimes, a laughing-stock among the other friends.
He was initially introduced to the series as a hot, strong, cool dude, a bait to ladies but his charm has watered down a lot as the show has progressed. He is now shown as that person who thinks he is one thing, probably something huge, but ultimately realizes that he has been delusional. He plays this new role really well, with funny facial expressions and rude awakenings that make him look like a handsome moron.
The discourse on white men and rock climbing is a stereotype that may infuriate some people but Grown-ish offers no apologies, probably because it is intended to expose the perception black women have towards white men because the bias works both ways.
Equally, it is fair that the narrative does not give a free pass to black men. Basically, black men, represented by Aaron, are seen as being uninterested in black women. Trying to save face, Aaron decides it would be best to take a selfie with a Cameroonian woman. How shallow and ridiculous!
While the issues are highlighted, some hypotheses on the root cause are also discussed and a possible solution is proffered. How the episode does that with such limited time is ovation-worthy. It is like a carefully-planned research report in motion picture format.
The editing is on point, with the way the camera pans out to illustrations and back to the speaker, as the points are being made. For example, when Zoey is giving the statistics from OKCupid.
The truth of the matter, as the episode rationalizes, is that there is certainly a systemic bias towards black women in terms of how their actions are interpreted. What a white woman gets away with, a black woman cannot.
These are subtle but ingrained imprints in our societal fabrics, which this episode tries to shed light on. The solution to that is unknown, but the reason for raising conversations of this nature is to foster positive change.
Though the discussion is in favor of black women, obviously, the episode balances the blame by showing that black women are also biased towards other races, especially white men. It further posits that it would be helpful to open up and love whoever comes forward, irrespective of race.
Come to think of it, no better piece of advice could be given. In reality, there is really no hard and fast rule about whom to date. Many people pay no attention to race or color; they just roll with the flow, just like Doug explains to Jazz and Sky.
In the opening monologue, Zoey notes that in college, people were mixing up and mingling. That is a very welcome trend, especially in fostering race relations in America. Diversity is important and being closed off-limits one’s options, which is what Jazz and Sky try to communicate from their mini adventure.
Through all the clues and points, this episode is a masterpiece, balanced, insightful, well portrayed and true to time and circumstances. It is expected that the buzz it has created will attract more viewers to the show. Freeform’s new philosophy is certainly taking no prisoners by way of moving “a little forward,” which is conveyed through addressing hitherto obscure and uncomfortable issues and Grown-ish is undeniably a part of that movement.
What did you think of this episode of Grown-ish? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!
Grown-ish airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on Freeform.
Want more from Tell-Tale TV? Subscribe to our newsletter here!