grown-ish – to be young and full of potential {Preview}

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When I was way too young, and I had all the time for sitcoms, The Cosby Show was my jam. Every Thursday, every week, no matter what. And when it came time for Denise to go off to college, I went with her – and so I began to watch A Different World. Denise didn’t stay long, but I did stick around for more of her friends.

grown-ish feels like A Different World, but more woke for 2018.

It being woke is fine, actually.

If black-ish started a conversation about race in America, grown-ish takes it to college where it has to fight for attention along with homework, parties, and going to class.

We find Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) off to fictional California University (with some questionable hertitage on the part of the school’s founder), where she meets her Breakfast Club friends: two sisters who run track (Chloe and Halle Bailey), Aaron – who she met in the backdoor pilot (Trevor Jackson), Vivek (Jordan Buhat), Nomi (Emily Arlook) and Alex (Rique). All six of them are in Charlie’s (Deon Cole) Marketing Strategies class, aka Drones for You and Me, and trying to figure out what it means to be in college. They all want to figure their ish out, but seem to be struggling. (Charlie’s class meets from midnight to two am, you know they were desperate for units!)


GROWN-ISH - ÒLate RegistrationÓ - In the series premiere, Zoey Johnson arrives at California University certain she will be a hot shot on campus, but quickly learns she may have a little more growing to do. This episode of Ògrown-ishÓ airs Wednesday, January 3 (8:00 - 8:30 P.M. EDT) on Freeform. (Freeform/Kelsey McNeal)

Now, college isn’t a joke, and it’s not easy, as Zoey learns in the first two episodes. She’s still trying to get Aaron to notice her romantically, and she’s trying to understand herself after she abandons Ana (Francia Raisa) at an upperclassmen party. Oh and there’s all that pesky homework to do while she’s trying to get Aaron to notice her. Growing up isn’t easy at all, Zoey learns.

GROWN-ISH - "Bitch, Don't Kill My Vibe" - Zoey starts to experience Òfear of missing outÓ for the first time in her life when she tries to juggle her schoolwork, extracurricular activities and, of course, partying. This episode of Ògrown-ishÓ airs Wednesday, January 3 (8:31 - 9:02 p.m. EST) on Freeform. (Freeform/Eric Liebowitz)

grown-ish deviates from its father in some ways – Zoey’s way more interested in talking to the camera and understanding her situation than Dre ever does on black-ish – but at heart, the show is committed to addressing important issues with humor and truth, through the lens of the post-Millennial generation. Aaron’s still working to educate the masses to the words of James Baldwin, Alex puts up with Zoey’s bull because he knows she’s trying to figure herself out, and in the end, maybe Zoey’s going to learn that artifice is just that: being fake wrapped around the real her.

What does it say of Zoey that she’ll leave a new friend behind after being embarrassed at a party? Or what of Zoey’s choices on how to balance class and her social life? Even if the message of police violence take a back burner to Zoey’s social life, the show still works at keeping its audience woke.

grown-ish premieres with two episodes on Wednesday, January 3 at 8/7c on Freeform.

Roz lives in the Los Angeles area, and has been a long time California girl. Despite her better judgment, she enjoys shows about the shallow sides of her home city, but will also find time to watch iZombie, Jane the Virgin, and much more. With a love of history, she also watches anything that is grounded in real life, including Victoria and black-ish. Having worked with children, she also follows shows she knows they watch (reminding her of those days of yore for her in the process). Contact her at

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