Did Blackish just break my heart?
On a recent trip to LA I stumbled upon Tracee Ellis Ross in Los Feliz. I wasn't prepared for the welling impulse to rush over to her and tell her how much I love Blackish (she plays Rainbow) and how she is the best thing on it. I don't get loopy around stars but something about seeing her in person filling me with a Beatlesmania-esque giddiness.
In a sea of clever shows peddling brain laughs, Kenya Harris's Blackish on ABC is the rare purveyor of solid guffaws. It may be fashionably smart and weird, but it's also old school nutty. The characters are great, casting is generally on point, and they have the guts to mix class with true tastelessness. It never fails to feel fully human. Plus they handle beefy topics with both depth and a light touch. Just check out their post-Trump episode for proof.
That's the casting of generally despicable human garbage fire Chris Brown in their most recent episode totally bummed me out. He's no Bill Cosby. But he's on that spectrum. Granted, they poke plenty of fun at his character, a hip hop star named Richard Youngsta, who pretty much only talks about how much he loves money. But it ultimately seems like character rehab for the spiralling Brown.
I did sense an awareness of Brown's blighted past in the tone of his scenes. Brown is clearly not a talented actor, and they chose to keep his character appropriately one-dimensional. The casting did serve to create a character for Richard Youngsta, when Brown couldn't muster one. But I couldn't help but feel distracted by Brown's inclusion in an otherwise sparkling effort.