black-ish Premiere: Did You Fall for ABC's Newest Modern Family?

Black-ish Preview

Has ABC finally found a worthy companion to Modern Family?

Based on the pilot episode of black-ish, the network’s new Anthony Anderson-Tracee Ellis Ross vehicle, a “definite maybe” is in order.

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black-ish‘s opening moments — which found an Ultimate Hollywood Tours bus observing ad exec Dre Johnson and physician Rainbow and their four children, and calling them “the mythical and majestic black family… out of their natural habitat and still thriving” — scored bigger laughs than a half-dozen episodes combined of Super Fun Night (the ill-fated Wednesday 9:30 stinker ABC tried to make happen this time last year).

Better still, Dre’s decidedly un-PC narration threw a sharp side-eye at the co-opting of African-American culture: “In the ‘urban’ world, Justin Timberlake and Robin Thicke are R&B gods, Kim Kardashian’s the symbol for big butts, and Asian guys are just unholdable on the dance floor. Come on! Big butts, R&B and dancin’? Those were the black man’s go-tos!”

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Yes, as Matt Mitovich pointed out in his “fall TV first impression” piece, the episode took a pretty silly turn at the midway point — focusing on son Andre’s wish for a bar mitzvah — but with an appealing cast further upgraded by Laurence Fishburne as Dre’s truth-bomb-dropping pop, there’s real potential here. And Anderson and Ross’ chemistry was easy and well-worn, especially during a bedroom scene that found Dre aghast at the revelation that Rainbow believed O.J. Simpson was guilty of murder.

Let’s just hope further black-ish episodes keep exploring the “anthropological” parody element — in the vein of “If Black People Said What White People Say” viral video series — versus merely trying to be a Modern Family knockoff with a predominantly black cast.

What did you think of black-ish? Is it a good fit for the post-Modern Family slot? And will you be tuning in for Episode 2? Grade it in our poll below, then sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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89 Comments
  1. R says:

    So so bad imo. 5minutes in and was already thinking about changing channels. I watched until the end though and now I want my 20 or so minutes back.

  2. Yoki says:

    Hilarious. I think you can’t get the jokes unless you relate.

  3. Tran says:

    Couldn’t even stand this sitcom and the title says it all. Hope it doesn’t last long but overall I give Black-ish a C.

  4. Tracitv says:

    It was funny. I do think u have to be af-american to relate. I can relate. Just don’t think “middle america” will. This should have been on tnt or USA.

  5. Leo says:

    it was better than I expected. Really hope some white people can get past their own feelings to give this show a chance. Judge it on it’s own merits and not because some of them feel offended because of the tittle.

    • Amber says:

      Well, I’m white and I loved it. Why wouldn’t other white people? Funny and pretty clean, how could you ask for more?

      • Rachel says:

        Couldn’t agree more with both Leo and Amber.

      • Jasmine says:

        Well, I am Black and I didnt love it! It was marginally funny, I laughed out loud ONCE! I hoped it would be an updated, modern version of the “Cosby Show” but it was more like “Meet the Browns”. I will give it another shot, but But none of my friends Are willing to do that!

    • Heather says:

      I’m a middle-aged white woman and my hubby and I really liked it, we thought it was really funny! it is set on our DVR!!

    • Matt says:

      The title didn’t turn me off, but about 5 minutes in I felt like the show was doing nothing but playing on race and I was done. Comparing himself to Jackie Robinson because of a promotion, talking about one guy being an “honorary brother” but another guy was not. Being upset his son was playing field hockey because it is apparently a white sport. I will however agree with the author of the article that the first 5 minutes was better than any of Super Fun Night.

  6. MarkC says:

    I relate. Thought it was funny. The rest of the country probably won’t connect with this show.

  7. Mick says:

    I like the show and hope they delve deeper into why the color blind philosophy is actually a harmful one. It did just too hammy with the Bro Mitzvah.

  8. Justin says:

    I really liked it. It kept a funny vibe throughout the episode. I loved the side jokes of “us vs. them”, and that family meeting at the dinner table.

  9. Kenbud says:

    I’m anxious to see some episodes where ABC commercials don’t ruin the funny parts. Enjoyed the premise. Fishburne is hilarious.

  10. Mika02 says:

    Loved it so did many of my friends and family.

  11. Aleana says:

    I gave it a B it was good had it’s funny moments I’ll continue to watch we need more African American family sitcoms but I’ll admit I miss Trophy Wife

  12. Babygate says:

    I’m not African-American and I don’t think you have to be black to enjoy it. I laughed out loud and enjoyed every second of it. The two main characters have amazing chemistry. And I loved Andy. I loved that these kids just want to be themselves and not get tied down to stereotypes. I even loved Pop. And I don’t get the comparison to Modern Family at all. This show stands all on its own. Kudos!

  13. Jenna says:

    I thought it was funny. Best post MF show to date. In fact, I think the whole ABC 2 hour comedy block tonite is a winner. All 4 shows are entertaining, and hopefully will do well, ratings-wise.

  14. Billy Ray says:

    isn’t this sort of the same premise behind the D L Hughley series a few years ago?

  15. Ray says:

    I want Happy Endings back.

  16. Amber says:

    I really liked. Funny and fairly clean? Oh yeah, I’ll be back.

  17. monieet says:

    TAKE THIS OFF TV. I CAN NOT BELIEVE ABC PUT THIS RACIST SHOW ON TELEVISION. ANTHONY ANDERSON, TRACEE ELLIS ROSS, AND LAWRENCE FISHBURNE should be ashamed to be associated with a show of minstrel status. There is no need for a second episode. If the intent is to show a race of people in a negative way, congrats ABC you achieved your goal.

    REMOVE IT FROM THE LINEUP.

    • Jack says:

      Call me crazy, but I dont think TvLine has the power to take things off of tv…YOU do have the power to not watch it anymore, though…

    • Pennie says:

      It’s not racist. It’s 100 percent true life. To be black in america is to be other. they are calling out white-washed culture with comedic timing. You need to take a step back and look at what racism truly is because you obviously don’t know what it means. FYI, I’ll tell you a hint, black people can’t be racist. educate yourself. you want racism look up the kkk.

    • jordan says:

      Oh black folks can’t disagree with the show–don’t flatter yourself.

    • jordan says:

      Ummm change the channel, oh can’t find the remote

  18. K Erik Souza says:

    I was a little upset watching it but I’m glad I stuck in there. So long as they don’t make the main character the “hero” of the series and keep him as the foil that we all learn from then I think it will find its voice.

  19. Holdyoear says:

    “Morpheus, I know that ain’t you. You took that blue pill huh? That explains how you ended up on this crappy show.”

  20. jack says:

    I thought the show was great and its just being more open about something we all sweep under the rug (race). I think its funny and I’m glad that Abc decided to put something on thats different. If you’re not open-minded enough to get passed the title then don’t watch but you are missing out because all day everyday is the same shows over and over why not try something new

  21. Pat says:

    I watched and thought it was funny. Again if a comedy can make me have a laugh, then I say to them, thank you. I am glad to see that Modern Family has a good companion.

  22. Jake says:

    It was OK, but not great. Having said that, it was a million times better than anything Chuck Lorre has ever done, or will do…

  23. Eva says:

    It was very funny, definitely above average – but, to me, one thing didn’t mesh, and that was Laurence Fishbourne as a comedy family patriarch. Maybe I’m stuck on him as Jack Crawford on Hannibal, but he just seemed like the character came from a whole different family (and show). Hopefully, he’ll find a better comedy footing further down the line.

  24. Lorie says:

    I loved it! Great chemistry b/w Anthony and Tracee.

  25. Julio says:

    I did like the premise of the show, just felt like they were still portraying the stereo type of “the angry black man”. The kids storyline I think was really good. I’ll watch the series because we need more POC lead shows and this one is decent.

  26. kim says:

    It was a good start to a show. And yes maybe you have to be afro – am to get it, just like I feel you gotta be caucation to appreciate or understand the success of modern family perhaps. I am mixed so I give everything a try but a c grade is a bit dramatic.

  27. Jack says:

    Funny-ish.

  28. Me says:

    The creators kept saying in commercials that they looked to the Cosby show while creating Blackish. The problem is that the Cosby show worked because the center piece was that they where just the average family who happened to be black. Blackish went the over way, they are black who happen to be the above average family. I think that is what I didn’t like about it. The racial issues were just way more in your face. If they tone it down in further episodes it might have a shot.

  29. Had great hopes for the show…great cast and it started out ok but went down hill ….hopefully it will find its legs and get funnier

  30. coryrox78 says:

    My family and I enjoyed it. It’s nice to have a show represent a different perspective.

  31. This was a lot better than I thought it was going to be. I’ll give it a shot and see how it goes.

  32. Stormy says:

    Why should the POC be butt hurt about whites co-opting hip hop, rap etc. when they themselves want to do the same thing with white characters in literature etc? It goes both ways doesn’t it?

    • Brooke says:

      Huh? Do tell me about these white authors who have their creations taken from them by non-white people. I want to hear all about how the Great American Novel and classic American lit ISN’T overrun by white men.

      • Me says:

        To be fair, people where up in arms when Repunzal was cast in Once upon a time.

      • Stormy says:

        Start with The Wiz starring a too old Diana Ross as Dorothy, sift through Cinderella with Brandy and Whitney Houston, a black Lancelot and Rapunzel on OUAT and Blair Underwood as Ironside [although Ironside could hardly be classed as literature]. The point is that the great works of the western world are primarily white. If the POC can co-opt it, turn about is fair play.

  33. besspaula says:

    blackish is not funny nor good. think shes too old to play his wife. kids arent bad. the premise is an old story living in a white affluent neighborhood and kids getting into white kids sports. dont live there. an african display to not forget who u are. come on.

  34. Tom says:

    Why with all the volitile race issues wearing down our planet, do we insist on naming a NEW show; BLACKISH!!???

    • Stormy says:

      ITA. IMO stressing the similarities would be more effective than highlighting the differences. The Cosby show wasn’t about a black family. It was about an American family.

      • Tom says:

        Yes. I understand.
        My only point was the title of the show. Not the content or anything else.
        They didn’t call it “The Black Cosby Show”!
        Black white, both and all races do it to each other.

    • newsdee says:

      That’s why I refuse to watch….and I’m black.

  35. Ram510 says:

    I loved the premiere and look forward to more. I think it could be a good idea for longevity purposes to add some other characters of different races and touch on cultural and social differences there as well. I think every culture has traditions they want to hold on to and not lose sight of as the times change

  36. Joe Regular says:

    I thought some holes in the script, really tried to put too much into one episode, and some inconsistencies. I think the generational gap is what needs focus. Great to see Tracey Ellis Ross, she’s golden. I would keep the farcical parts to a minimum to avoid paroding itself.

  37. J says:

    The show wasn’t bad. The acting was good. The problem was the whole thing made me really uncomfortable! Everything from the super inappropriate white guy in the office to Andre telling his wife that she wasn’t really black made me cringe. I might give it one more shot but if every episode will be about Andre’s mission to blackify his family I won’t be able to watch.

    Also, I know it’s supposed to be a comedy. But aren’t the creators of the show guilty of the same thing Andre’s boss is? Andrea can’t just be a senior vp. He has to be senior vp of the urban division. This show cant just be about a family. It has to be about a black family that may or may not be black enough?

  38. Marilyn Rodrigue@yahoo.com says:

    I did not like it.did not think it was funny and actually thought it a bit racist. Will not watch it again

  39. TVworks2014 says:

    The George Lopez show that run for years made fun of racial differences and was very mexican. But it was funny as heck. I think we all are trying too hard to be PC these days. As far as if Blackish was a white family doing things in reverse. It’s pretty impossible and not believable being that us white folks have never been othered or oppressed in this country. We don’t have the cache. Loved All in the family growing up. But loved sanford n son even more. Both were racially tinged shows.

  40. Janice Milen says:

    I enjoyed it. They are all great actors!

  41. Just as I thought…my post was not published….ABC Racehism is alive and thriving….

  42. Kate says:

    The “worthy companion” to Modern Family could have and should have been Trophy Wife, if ABC had possessed the common sense to move it. Still furious that they cancelled that show.

  43. For what it is worth, the storyline about the son wanted a bar mitzvah was based on a real experience in Anthony Anderson’s life. His son living the above average African-American life wanted the party and his dad threw him a bro mitzvah.

  44. SUNNY says:

    I WAS VERY PLEASED WITH THE PILOT OF BLACKISH. ITS THIS GENERATION’S COSBY SHOW. DIGNIFIED AND INTELLIGENT AND YET STILL REALISTIC DIALOGUE FOUND IN BLACK FAMILIES. REALLY DO HOPE IT SUCCEEDS. 😊

  45. SUNNY says:

    I REALLY AGREED WITH THE COMMENTS OF JOE REGULAR, AS AN AFRO-AM WOMAN THE FUNNIEST PARTS FOR ME WAS THE GENERATION GAP. I APPRECIATE THE KNOWLEDGE ON RACE, YET LIKE THE COSBY SHOW GIVE OTHER RACES A LITTLE AT A TIME TO DIGEST. WHAT A BEAUTIFUL FAMILY TO LOOK AT ON TV IN ITSELF. LETS FOCUS ON THAT FOR NOW. LOVE U TRACY ELLIS YOUR THE EPITOME OF CLASSY…

  46. Dee T. says:

    My friends say that they enjoyed it. I refuse to watch something called “Blackish”….and also will not watch something titled “whitish”. Whoever came up with the name of this sit-com did the actors a dsiservice by calling it this.

  47. Elise says:

    Didn’t see the 1st show but loved the 2nd episode. Will continue to tune in.

  48. Wendy Andrews says:

    Best new sitcom of the fall. Every episode has made me and my 11 year daughter laugh out loud! Too funny. Great writing and actors. Not exactly typical family, but they are fun and funny and a good comic relief during a weeknight!

  49. sunny says:

    BEST SHOW , I LOVED IT AND HOPES SECOND SEASON COMES ON…I can relate to this show, I do agree not everyone will relate or can agree to it. This show does expose some of the under cover individual’s at the workplace, come on everyone racism still goes on today. just under cover….. it still happens in todays world.. this show has many messages behind it.. it all depends on how you look at life and how you were raised will determine your opinion on if you like the show. Its sad it still goes on and some people try to hide it .. we all know who is under covers…. this show is only revealing the truth and putting under covers on the spot. I am not Black and don’t need to be black to like this show nor to relate to it… when will people finally wake up and stop all this under covers…. Loved this show!!!!! love Anthony Anderson