Wednesday, July 3, 2019

REVIEW: 'Grown-ish' - A Relaxing Weekend Doesn't Go According to Plan for Zoey and Her Friends in 'Self Care'

Freeform's Grown-ish - Episode 2.16 "Self Care"

Zoey and her girls head to the Johnson family home in Sherman Oaks for a weekend of self-care and detoxing... but Zoey soon learns that her idea of relaxation may not align with what they all really need. Aaron reconnects with his passion for activism and hosts a fundraiser for his community.

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.

"Self Care" was written by Lisa McQuillan and directed by Amy Coughlin

This episode is set over the MLK holiday weekend but is airing heading into the July 4th holiday weekend. The timeline continuity of this universe doesn't make all that much sense. It's hard to tell if this season is happening concurrently with what was happening on Black-ish in the winter and spring of this year or not. The parent show told episodes that were timely according to the calendar. This criticism may not be a big deal in the grand scheme of things. It may just be annoying to those viewers who are watching live. Plus, it's perfectly reasonable that the second semester in a college year starts in January. The show just struggles because of its airing pattern which disrupts its ability to tell stories in a timely fashion. Moreover, if that's something that is glaring and problematic for any individual viewer, then the show probably isn't putting in the work to keep us engaged with the story that is currently happening. Zoey and her friends actually visit the set of Black-ish here. The entire main story is set in the Johnson family house. Junior returns as well and continues his flirtation with Sky. That is an amusing subplot that continues to be a little vague regarding just how serious the other characters or the audience should take it. Meanwhile, Zoey is just trying to give her friends a nice, relaxing weekend. Sure, it also seems to smooth over a lot of the tension between Zoey and her family. Are Dre and Bow comfortable having this group of college students at their home while they are away for the weekend? Are they even aware that it's happening? Zoey was shocked to discover Junior was still home. He insists he needs some time for self care as well. And yet, he's mostly treated as a punchline. It's much more important to realize that self care isn't just something that can happen in a specific amount of time. It's something that has to be worked on and become a part of one's routine. Zoey does her best. Instead, she spirals into despair after realizing that she hasn't really accomplished a lot of the goals she set for herself when she was younger. Just a few years ago, she thought she would be conquering the world. And now, she is faced with the reality check that nothing ever really goes according to plan. She has the support of her friends. She has never lost that despite how horrible she has been to them in the past. She opens up her family home to them. They eventually have a good time once Zoey stops trying so hard. The relaxation is the most important thing of this trip. She just needs to have fun with her friends. Of course, it's also a time where secrets come out. Nomi finally shares with everyone that she has been dating their former professor. Their responses are typical while possibly not being great in the longterm. Ana can point to couples that make their age differences work. Zoey gives Nomi her blessing by saying Nomi probably knows what she's doing because she's the one actually in the relationship. And yet, the season has depicted troubling signs with this couple because of the secrets involved. Will that suddenly change now that Nomi's friends know the truth? Elsewhere, Aaron is trying to get back to his activism roots. It's mostly just a silly story though that shows that Aaron really doesn't know anything about connecting with his peers and the local community. He doesn't know how to inspire people to action or be considerate to what others may be going through. That's what makes it strange when the fundraiser for the community is still a success because Vivek kicks in a thousand dollars for the project.