[TV REVIEW] Grown-ish cast addresses social pressures


Freeform website

Yara Shahidi stars as Zoey Johnson in Freeform’s new TV series “grown-ish.””

Witty one liners and diverse casting mesh with life lessons in Freeform’s “Grown-ish” to create an entertaining series that will no doubt appeal to young adults.

The spin-off of ABC’s “Black-ish” is sure to excite fans of the original show as they are reunited with Dre Johnson (Anthony Anderson) who panics as his daughter leaves for “California University.”After a flawless high school career, Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) confidently takes on her freshman year only to find that she’s out of her element. In an unconventional night class taught by Charlie Telphy (Deon Cole), her father’s eccentric colleague, Zoey befriends an unlikely group of late registrants. With main characters including Nomi Segal (Emily Arlook), a proudly-bisexual Jewish feminist, Vivek Shah (Jordan Buhat), a Drake devotee from a Hindu family, and Ana Torres (Francia Raisa) a conservative Cuban-American, viewers are bound to find a kindred spirit.

Despite some overlap in recurring “Black-ish” characters, “Grown-ish” is markedly its own show. The series brings to light current college campus issues and social pressures that many millenials have likely experienced. As college freshmen, the characters struggle with their sexualities and racial identities in an unfamiliar setting. Drug use and party culture play pivotal roles in the double feature pilot episode as the characters are pressured to fit in. Zoey also faces less severe personal conflicts as she attempts to repair broken friendships, balance her schoolwork and social life, and win the attention of her crush, Aaron Jackson (Trevor Jackson).

“Grown-ish” will also strike a chord with many teenagers as Zoey learns what it means to authentically be herself.

With its broad array of characters, dry sense of humor, and relevant social commentary, viewers  are sure to enjoy Freeform’s new series “Grown-ish.” The Jan. 3 premiere marked Freeform’s most successful TV launch since 2016, and the beginning of a highly entertaining and socially aware coming of age story.


Watch “Grown-ish” on Freeform and the Freeform app on Wednesdays at 8/7c


4/5 stars