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Sitcom Watch: 'Black-Ish' Takes on White Feminism

By Dustin Rowles | TV | October 11, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | October 11, 2019 |


Perfect Harmony — The NBC sitcom may be struggling in the ratings, but it’s beginning to perfect the blend of Bradley Whitford’s existential despair and Anna Camp’s chipper Southerness. In this week’s episode, Whitford’s character uses his despair to help Anna Camp’s character overcome her stage fright and sing Dolly Parton songs in front a dive-bar crowd. (Grade: B)

Black-ish — Most episodes of Black-ish are good, but every six or seven episodes, they’ll air an exceptional one that takes on a particular issue, and this week’s episode was one of those special ones. Bow confronts white feminism and Dre comes to terms with the fact that men are the white people of feminism. It’s terrific. (Grade: A)

Mixed-ish — It was also a really good episode of Mixed-ish, which explores what “good hair” means to the mixed-race kids on the school’s picture day. Is that natural hair, or straightened hair, and for Johan, does it mean going to a white barber or a Black barbershop? And for Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s white dad, it mostly just means shutting up. (Grade: A-)

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — I don’t normally include Sunny because it’s cable, but it’s the only cable comedy I’m watching at the moment, and this was a particularly great episode. It sees the Gang try to prevent a city councilor from voting on a bill to criminalize public urination on Dee Day — a day in which the rest of the gang are required to do as Dee says. It’s another one of those episodes where the series goes places only It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia can go. (Grade: B+)

The Unicorn — Walton Goggins takes a break from the dating scene this week to deal with the anger he has over losing his wife, which sees him learn to own that anger during a widowers group. Also, either Walton Goggins is short or Omar Benson Miller is very tall. (Grade: B-)

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The Goldbergs — Geoff got his own storyline this week. Having decided against college while he finds himself, Geoff decides to basically start an Uber Eats/Postmates type business in the pre-Internet days with amusing results, although not that amusing. (Grade: C+)

Schooled — Lainey tries to become girlfriends with the new teacher (Haneefah Wood), while Coach Rick endeavors to turn a short, scrappy student into his Rudy with disastrous results. (Grade: C)

Superstore — Heidi Gardner guest stars in this week’s episode as Dina’s nemesis Colleen. Dina tries to blackmail Garrett into forcing Colleen to quit, but Garrett becomes smitten with Colleen. Jon Barinholtz (Ike’s brother) also gets an elevated role in this week’s episode when Jonah is forced to befriend him in order to convince the stockroom folks to join the union. The Mateo C-plot, however, is the best. (Grade: B)

Sunnyside — Nope, I’m done.

Single Parents — Leighton Meester’s real-life husband Adam Brody returns as the estranged father of her child, with whom she has an insane sexual attraction. He proves, however, not to be completely terrible. Taran Killam, channeling Adam Sandler, yells a lot in this episode, and it’s pretty great. (Grade: B)

The Conners — I checked in on The Conners for the first time since midway through last season to see if it has improved. It hasn’t, in part because without Roseanne, it’s afraid to take on social issues, and tackling social issues was what made the ’90s version as good as it was (and what made the revival so bad). Now it’s just kind of a bland family sitcom that wastes the considerable talents of John Goodman and Laurie Metcalf. For what it’s worth, Becky’s moved into the Conner residence and has a kid now, Dan is dating a character played by Katey Sagal, and Darlene is stuck in a love triangle much to the dismay of her daughter. Michael Fishman’s D.J. still only gets one scene per episode. (Grade: C)

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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