ABC’s “Black-ish” made waves last year when it announced that an upcoming episode would tackle the subject of police brutality, but it was star Anthony Anderson‘s monologue about hope that had people talking once the episode aired.
The episode sees Anderson’s character, Dre, and his wife, played by Tracee Ellis Ross, argue about the importance of hope in the black community. And in the episode’s emotional climax, Dre reminds her that one of hope’s consequences is the constant fear that someone might try to take it away.
“Watching it, even to this day, I still get teary-eyed,” Anderson told TheWrap about the moment.
And that episode, fittingly titled “Hope,” wasn’t the first time — or the last — that “Black-ish” would deftly handle episodes dealing with heavy and politically charged topics.
“The authenticity of these characters, and the stories and the truthfulness in which we tell them,” Anderson said, “I think that’s how we’re able to tackle shows like the hope episode, or the N-word episode, or a show dealing with gun violence.”
Boundary-pushing subject matter has become a hallmark of ABC’s comedy slate in recent seasons, including “Black-ish” and shows like “Fresh off the Boat,” which follows an Asian-American family in the ’90s, and “The Real O’Neals,” about a teenager who comes out to his deeply Irish Catholic family.
These comedies aren’t simply trying to stir up controversy — each one brings to the network a unique and fully realized point of view that is rarely seen or heard from on a medium as conservative as broadcast television.
“[‘Black-ish’] deals with everything that they are going through as a parent, as a significant other, as a child,” Anderson said.
Sometimes that means discussing subjects that might make viewers uncomfortable.