Anthony Anderson and Laurence Fishburne headline ABC’s new comedy “Black-ish,” which gained a lot of early attention for a couple of reasons. First, it’s a family comedy with a black cast, and there has been an inexplicable dearth of those on network television. Second, it certainly has an attention-grabbing title.
ABC has a knack for putting on shows with titles that immediately generate a strong response, dating back to “Cougar Town.” Last season gave us “Trophy Wife,” while “Selfie” has gotten plenty of negative reactions to its title in advance of its premiere later this month.
“Black-ish” tells us it’s going to deal with racial issues, and it’s going to deal with the experience of being black in America. Clearly this was something that was uncomfortable for some people, while others applauded it. The bottom line for many, though, was whether or not the show was funny.
TheWrap’s Mekeisha Madden Toby determined that it was, but also cautioned the show’s creator Kenya Barris from focusing too much on the racial stuff in future installments. “If they rely too heavily on jokes driven by race and culture, in every episode, the show will become a parody of itself,” she wrote.
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After the premiere, the Twitter-sphere exploded with mixed reactions from the pilot, but it was rarely about the quality of the jokes or the acting. In almost every case, people were discussing the racial aspect of the show, with some applauding “Black-ish” for so candidly broaching topics most other shows leave alone, while others blatantly called the show racist.
Most of the negative reactions about the show came before the premiere, based on the polarizing title and the trailer which heavily featured Anderson trying to impress his family’s African ancestry on his children. Thankfully, this was just a minor part of the pilot, but the promos for the show did make it seem that this mission would be the main thrust of the show.
In many cases, people admitted to early misgivings about the show only to discover that they enjoyed it once they sat down and watched it. “Cougar Town” fans have been trying to convince their friends to do that for years.
We’ve compiled some of the best (and worst) reactions to the “Black-ish” premiere below.
“Black-ish” airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. ET on ABC.
Lol the reactions to #blackish are all over the place. Love it. It’s started a conversation.
– Candice Frederick (@ReelTalker) September 25, 2014
We’re not worried abt our children being “black enough”, society will teach them they ARE black no matter what. No need to overdo #blackish
– Kim Love (@kimmaytube) September 25, 2014
– TFD_Iggles_Fan (@PCCampanell) September 25, 2014
#Blackish seems to be poking fun at the black race in the name of comedy. Not feeling it past the first episode. Funny, yes…but degrading
– Ms. Publicity (@MsPublicity) September 25, 2014
#Blackish why not do a black sitcom without all the im black, we black, he black, she black?
– wood star (@StarWoodstar) September 25, 2014
– Carah* (@Carah_H) September 25, 2014
Very interested in seeing where #blackish goes. So much to be discussed & portrayed. Feels good to see a primetime show I can identify with.
– Willie Beamen (@iWiLLnotstopp) September 25, 2014
The show #Blackish isn’t as bad as I thought it would be….I can actually lowkey relate to them
– Blair Waldorf (@Im_Munchy) September 25, 2014
– Todd Johnson (@PastorToddJ) September 25, 2014
Tonight #blackish broke barriers, and hopefully opened eyes.
– tresunoseis (@tresixteen) September 25, 2014
I hope #Blackish had high ratings because the name turns off millions
– DeMayne Earvin (@DeMayne) September 25, 2014