Wednesday, June 26, 2019

REVIEW: 'Grown-ish' - Ana and Aaron Have Different Expectations From Their New Relationship in 'Tweakin'

Freeform's Grown-ish - Episode 2.15 "Tweakin'"

Labels are on everyone's mind as Ana and Aaron struggle to define what they each want out of their relationship. Doug and Vivek are convinced that Aaron is boo'd up. Zoey tries getting "Luca Jae Hall"-level high, but winds up overdoing it.

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.

"Tweakin'" was written by Wade Allain-Marcus and directed by Nick Wong

Relationships have proven to be critical to this show. The first season propped up Zoey's complicated and messy love life with several guys pursuing her. The second season has seen her find stability with Luca. Meanwhile, the rest of the ensemble have found surprising romantic connections of their own. That is the main source of serialization amongst the storytelling. Relationships mean so much to these characters. They place it as a priority in their lives. They feel the pressure to fall in love and actually form connections that will last forever. It's very idealistic in that way. Of course, the show also has to be believable with the twists and turns with these relationships. This season has committed to Ana and Aaron as a couple. It was the source of a lot of drama. They chose to keep it a secret for a little while as they tried to figure out just how serious these feelings actually were for each other. That proved to be substantial. It caused a ton of heartbreak with Zoey and her friends learning the truth. And now, the show is seemingly suggesting that it could all be over with already. That too is startling and unexpected. It shows that some relationships die just as quickly as they begin. Sure, it seems unlikely that this will be the final word on the subject. The show doesn't do a great job in explaining where Aaron is coming from either. He wants to rationalize the decision by saying that they are in two different places when it comes to this relationship. Ana wants to be serious and exclusive while Aaron doesn't feel like he can give that kind of commitment right now. That comes after Aaron spends the episode telling Vivek and Doug that all the signals don't mean what they infer even though he pulls away at the last minute from having sex with someone else. All of the traditional plot beats are there for Aaron to come to this major realization about his feelings for Aaron. This feels like the time when they make their relationship official. And yet, it has already felt like that. The show feels the pressure to extensively comment on the status of all of its relationships here. As such, many of them are going through these moments where they may be tested. Of course, none of them are as serious as what Ana and Aaron face. But again, the show is vague in defining what leads the two of them to drift apart. That does damn the overall story just a little bit. It's hard to get a good grasp on what's happening. It may just be in service to whatever twist the show is planning on later this season. The audience was meant to feel good about this couple. The signals were there that they would be stable. The warning signs weren't as apparent and troubling as they are with Nomi and Paige. Those two still see the value in maintaining the secret. They see it as arousing and passionate. The sneaking around is hot to them. But it also covers up the true sense of trust and vulnerability. Nomi doesn't want to talk about this relationship outside of her time with Paige. As such, it seems destined to die. And finally, things are incredibly secure with Zoey and Luca. Sure, there is some light pressure when Zoey becomes paranoid after getting high. But that doesn't amount to much. It's just suppose to create that feel-good moment in the end where it's clear that the love is present through the tiny gestures. That is enough even though Zoey may always be concerned about how much time anyone may have left together. None of this keeps her from giving Ana the advice she desperately needs in the moment either - even though she's confused about which friend is coming to her in her time of need.