Wednesday, February 6, 2019

REVIEW: 'Grown-ish' - Zoey and Her Friends Have a Spirited Debate About a New School Policy in 'Messy'

Freeform's Grown-ish - Episode 2.07 "Messy"

When a new "Enthusiastic Sober Consent" policy is introduced on the CalU campus, everyone has strong opinions about whether it's in place for the students' benefit or to protect the school. Cash is caught in the crossfire and Luca is surprised when Zoey jumps to his defense.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Freeform's Grown-ish.

"Messy" was written by Richard Brandon Manus and directed by Linda Mendoza

At the end of the first season, three men were fighting for Zoey's love - Aaron, Luca and Cash. In the end, she chose to date Luca. It's been very welcome to watch as everyone accepts that decision and allows everything to naturally evolve from there. There isn't any lingering tension that should give hope to one of the guys not chosen still having a shot with her. They understand the decision that she made and are moving on with their lives as well. Sure, Luca and Aaron don't get along. But there isn't a beat where Aaron is angling to get together with Zoey the moment that there is tension in her relationship with Luca. Instead, the priority is on the current relationship. Zoey and Luca are figuring out how to communicate better together. However, those fears of yearning for someone else do make up a component of this episode. This is Cash's first appearance of the season. It may also be his last because of the developments that happen here. Zoey says hi to him and defends him when a scandal breaks out that changes the college policy regarding sexual consent on campus. But that is her perspective that comes from her well-informed opinion and being able to discuss it with her friends. Of course, Luca sees it as her defending Cash because she doesn't want him to leave the school. That's what happens with Cash too. He is forced out over something that is basically one big misunderstanding. It's clear the show wanted this conversation to happen regarding someone the audience knew. But they also didn't want it to completely tarnish Cash's overall character. As such, it's a false accusation but one that has very real consequences. He has sex with a girl at a party. They both wanted it and enjoyed it. However, the conversation around the act makes it seem as if he assaulted her. That's the impression the show wants the audience to have about the situation. It is more interested in the conversation that happens afterwards regarding the school's new policy. Now, the show doesn't have an authority figure in the school administration who can speak eloquently about the thoughts behind this decision. In fact, the characters in those positions of power are mostly just used for comedic effect despite the importance they could have in the foundation of the show. And yet, the show also gets a lot of power by this being a conversation amongst the friends. They are all college students trying to figure their lives out while having fun at the same time. They don't want a policy to limit what they can and can't do. However, Zoey and Ana see it as something that can make everything safer and actually foster an environment of conversation. Sure, it's scary a lot of the time when it comes to dating and sex. But each person should feel empowered to speak out during any moment and be understood. The show does make some jokes at Aaron and Vivek's expense here. But it's mostly a very engaging conversation. One that may not be enforceable because the school can't be in the room when it happens. It may just be a way for the institution to defend itself should something tragic occur in the future. That may make the students very cynical about the whole thing. But again, it fosters a conversation. The issue isn't black-or-white. There isn't an easy solution to ensure that people aren't assaulted. An honest conversation is a step in the right direction though to ensure that people are thinking about their actions before they actually take them.