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black•ish is an American dom com created by Kenya Barris which premiered on ABC in 2014.

The series centers around Andre "Dre" Johnson, Sr. (Anthony Anderson), an ad executive, and his anesthesiologist wife Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross), as they raise their children while reconciling their status as a black family in an upper middle class environment.

black•ish was one of very few minority-led sitcoms to air on a major network when it premiered, and has since been regarded as having helped lead a new wave of diversity in American television during The New '10s. Because of its subject matter, it's also considered something of a 2010s update of The Cosby Show, which discussed similar themes.

Due to its success, black•ish has also spawned a franchise of spinoffs. The first spinoff, grown•ish, which follows eldest daughter Zoey (Yara Shahidi) as she begins her college studies, premiered on Freeform in 2018. The second spinoff, mixed•ish, a Bow-centric prequel that follows her upbringing as a mixed-race child in The '80s, premiered on ABC in 2019 and ran for two seasons. There are a few additional spin-offs in development/development hell: old-ish, which ended up not getting picked up and centered on Dre's parents Pops (Laurence Fishburne) and Ruby (Jenifer Lewis); and brown-ish, which will follow a Latino family with Eva Longoria serving as a producer.

The show ran for 8 seasons, airing its series finale on April 19, 2022.

Tropes in this series include:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • Bow's two doctor friends in "Hero Pizza" are played by Judy Reyes and Parminder Nagra, who have also played health care workers in medical shows (Scrubs and ER, respectively).
    • In "Rock, Paper, Scissors, Gun," Pops (fake) teaches Zoey karate.
    • In 'Hope', he listens to Dre in a flashback waxing lyrical about civil rights while he rotates metal stress balls in his hand with an irritated look on his face like another Fishburne character.
    • Ruby alludes to dating James Ingram, at which the show cuts to an old picture of Ingram and Jenifer Lewis from when they were actually dating.
    • Daveed Diggs enters the show having just come back after years of living in France. Plus, Ruby comes into the room saying "What'd I miss?"
    • Diane is embarrassed by Bow's attempts to protest a parody of American Girls Collection that only includes two highly stereotypical black characters. Marsai Martin played the live-action version of an American Girl character in Melody 1963: Love Has To Win.
  • An Aesop: The moral of the "Lemons" episode is that whatever your politics are, people on the other side are generally good people who have legitimate grievances and reasons to vote the way they do, and it is important to listen to them as opposed to demonizing them.
  • The Alcoholic: It's implied quite a few times that Pops has a drinking problem.
    Pops: (about a Hot Wheels track) Well beat him [Jack] with something I love. I love this... because I used to beat you with it.
    Dre: How many White Russians have you had?
    Pops: Irrelevant. But a lot.
    • In "Lemons", Pops says Junior might have "the gene."
  • Anachronism Stew: Deliberately played for laughs in "Pops' Pops' Pops", in which Pops' story about his grandfather is ostensibly set in the 1920s but features various anachronisms both blatant (breakdancing is invented) and subtle (a mention of Spanish Flu).
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: In "The Dozens", Dre teaches Junior how to roast people as self-defense against bullies. The way we see him do it is by locating 3 faults about the person and using those as his ammo. Remember, Junior is generally The Ditz.
  • Ax-Crazy: Diane shows signs of this.
    • In "The Nod" she says there's no way a patient's death in the ER can be conclusively blamed on the doctors.
    • In "Crime and Punishment" she's really excited about hitting someone with a frying pan when Pops is showing her how various kitchen items can be used to spank someone.
    • In "Martin Luther Skiing Day" Charlie says she scares him.
    • In "The Purge", Diane is enthralled with the idea of Ruby's Mischief Night. She even had a Molotov cocktail on standby before Bow intervened. Also during Charlie's mock funeral, she seems to like the concept of death.
    • "Jack of All Trades" had her principal try to discuss her behavior during school, though Dre and Bow brush it aside since they're more worried about Jack's interest in blue-collar work.
  • Black and Nerdy: Dre struggles to relate to Junior, who is more interested in Marvel Comics and the works of J. R. R. Tolkien than basketball or other traditionally "black" pursuits.
  • Black Gal on White Guy Drama: In "Andre from Marseille", Zoey dates a white French guy (also named Andre) that Dre disapproves of. Until he breaks up with her, that is, at which point he assumes that Andre is racist and enlists Junior to find out information about him, only to find out that the "Becky" that he left Zoey for is in fact black.
  • Black Republican: One episode deals with Junior joining the Republican Club at school, leaving his family in complete disbelief. They later find out he only joined because of a girl he liked was in the same club, but were terrified that she may influence his views. Andre and Bow later meet the girl's parents, which goes disastrously. They later realize that they need to encourage their kids to consider other points of view, but then are relived when Junior says he's a Democrat again — only because Zoey introduced him to another girl in the Democrat Club.
  • Book Ends: The final episode's intro is set up like the very first episode's intro, with Dre reflecting on his success and home while Kanye West's "Jesus Walks" plays in the background, except this time Dre's narration is reflecting on the past 8 years.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Downplayed. Bow is uncomfortable with Junior dating a white girl despite the fact that she herself is bi-racial and has a white father. (Curiously, she did seem okay with Zoey's white French boyfriend in "Andre from Marseille".)
  • Both Sides Have a Point: The colorism debate in "Black Like Us" leads to this. Junior is correct that the family (especially Dre) has some colorist tendencies and it's dishonest and hypocritical to claim otherwise. Bow is correct that her having lighter skin (and being biracial) doesn't make her less black, nor does it negate the racism she encounters. Junior and Bow both also point out that the constant jokes about them being light-skinned are rather mean-spirited. On the flipside, Dre and Ruby are correct that light-skinned privilege is very much a thing, and while Bow and Junior aren't responsible for it, they do benefit from it. They also point out how screwed up it is that, even among other black people, light skin is seen as more beautiful. However, Ruby does acknowledge at the end that this doesn't give her the right to saw Bow isn't "black enough," and genuinely apologizes to her — and Bow apologizes in kind for the discrimination Ruby faces. Finally, Diane is right that while Dre and Ruby are dark-skinned, neither of them are as dark as her, and as much as they claim to not be colorist, the fact that they never discuss it speaks volumes.
  • Bottle Episode: "Hope" features no cast members outside of the Johnson family, and takes place entirely in their living room, with the exception of The Stinger, which shows Ruby in their driveway.
  • Bourgeois Bohemian: Both of Bow's parents. Andre and Ruby aren't fans of Bow's mom due to her "bougie" attitude most of the time.
  • Boyfriend-Blocking Dad: Dre automatically dislikes Zoey's boyfriends.
  • But Not Too Black: "Black Like Us" discusses colorism specifically, dealing with Diane being the darkest-skinned one in the family.
  • Catfishing: An episode saw Junior suspect that the girl he's talking to might be a catfish when she shows interest in all the things he likes. Averted, because she was actually real, but he managed to mess it up when he meet her.
  • Celebrity Paradox: When Dre is panicking about the family coming down with something in "Daddy Dre-Care", he mentions a movie that starred Laurence Fishburne:
    Dre: It is happening. Contagion is here and it is gonna get me and gonna get us!
    • Junior complains about being told he looks like "Raven-Symoné with a fade"; Raven-Symoné plays Dre's sister Rhonda.
    • Dre complains about Bow not taking his last name, citing if Amber Rose did, Bow could, too. Amber Rose was playing Charlie's love interest Dominique in the second season.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Dre's work friend Charlie.
  • Comedic Sociopathy: Both of Dre's parents run on this. Pops took a little too much glee in the thought of Dre corporally punishing his grandkids, while Ruby (allegedly) blew up Pops' car. And his boat. Twice. And burned all his hats.
  • Comic Sutra: In "The Talk", Junior informs Dre of a sexual position called "The Triceratops". When Dre looks it up, he has a very disturbed reaction.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Dre tells his mom Junior wants to become a Republican, she has no problem with the idea of him running a tavern. That is, a publican.
  • Confirmation Bias: Invoked in "Hope." When Pops is complaining about the police killing case on the news, claiming it's a textbook police attacking a black man case, Junior points out that Pops is ignoring several facts about the case such as the fact the suspect was armed and the police pulled him over because he was driving 90 MPH.
  • Continuity Snarl: In the season 3 episode "Their Eyes Were Watching Screens," both Andre and Bow refer to Diane (and by extension, Jack) as being 10 years old, despite the fact she was introduced at six years old (in fact, according to an early episode, she was born not very long before the 2008 presidential election).
  • Contraception Deception: In the episode "Sex, Lies, and Vasectomies", Bow learns that her husband Dre never had the vasectomy he had supposedly scheduled a few years ago, and waits to see if he'll tell her the truth.
  • Cousin Oliver Syndrome: Youngest child Devante who was born at the end of season 3 may count as this.
    • So does Kyra, Dre's homeless teenage cousin, who's taken in by Bow and Dre in season 5 until her long-lost father shows up to reclaim her.
  • Darker and Edgier: Even beyond the racial stuff, this show tackles subjects no other sitcom would likely touch. Bet you never thought you'd see such a show take on, say, graying pubic hair.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The episode "Being Bow-Racial" focused more on Rainbow while Dre gets negated to a side plot. She even does voice-over monologues and has a mini-segment dedicated to explaining the ideology behind being interracial.
  • Discriminate and Switch: Common enough.
  • Divorce Assets Conflict: Pops mentions that he lost his beloved car when he and his ex-wife got divorced. A later episode reveals that's because she blew it up. Along with his boat.
  • Documentary Episode: "Any Given Saturday" is shown as a video documentary prepared by Diane for class about Jack playing basketball.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off!: Pops got his nickname from the fact that he used to swiftly and brutally punish his son by spanking him with a Hot Wheels track. Dre and Rainbow worry about the effect that using corporal punishment on their own kids might have.
  • Do Wrong, Right: When the principal tells Dre and Bow about Junior insulting the other kids, Dre, who was the one who taught Junior how to do it, is so happy he starts dancing.
  • Do You Think I Can't Feel: Dre's speech to his coworkers near the end of "Lemons" when he's asked why he hasn't said anything regarding Trump's election and if he even cares about what's happening to America. Yes, he's sad, angry and scared. Very much so. But at the same time, it wasn't completely shocking either.
  • Double Standard: When Dre and Bow find out that Junior had sex with his girlfriend, Dre is actually happy for him and congratulates him, while Bow is more negative and thinks that he just used his girlfriend for sex. Meanwhile when Bow reveals that Zoey is sexually active, Andre is horrified and Bow is okay with it.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In "Black Santa/White Christmas," Bow mentions that her mother would dress her and her sisters as female versions of the three kings. Later episodes change her siblings to a boy and a girl and had them raised without even knowing what Christmas was.
  • Everything Is Racist: Dre attempts to invoke this in "Martin Luther Skiing Day" to teach Junior about prejudice. Hilarity Ensues.
    • "Colored Commentary" also shows he frequently plays the race card for fun. Rainbow says that Dre is the Marco Polo of racism, because he is very good at finding it everywhere.
  • Executive Excess: Dre's boss Leslie Stevens, co-founder and CEO of Stevens & Lido, is regularly suggested to be one. Whilst at work he's most often portrayed as lazy and clueless, regularly slacking off to discuss Andre's issues, he also casually implies that amongst other things he repeatedly cheats on his wife, has got at least one of his maid's pregnant and gambles with company money. Its also a recurring joke for him to slip into casual conversation a vague offhand reference to some extreme escapade or other he's done, such as mentioning that he once crashed a boat full of cocaine and prostitutes into California. Along with the long list of more seriously illegal acts he's potentially done (in particular the implication he regularly has to cover up his son Connor's actions), this is always Played for Laughs.
  • First Gray Hair: Bow expresses some horror when she discovers a single white female moving in downstairs.
  • First Rule of the Yard: When Junior is kicked out of his private school and has to go to public school, everyone in the family is worried. Zoe tells him that surviving in public school is easy: you just find the biggest kid and pick a fight with him. Junior has a chair lifted to hit said kid in the head when he overhears the kid's conversation about Harry Potter and makes friends with him instead.
  • Flanderization: Dre's white co-workers gradually slide from blissfully clueless about racial issues to openly racist, though his dad thinks that they just plain hate him at the end of the episode "Jack of All Trades."
  • Generation Xerox: Junior’s relationship with his parents is almost exactly like Dre’s with his own. Junior is closer to Bow as Dre is with Ruby, and Dre shows Junior tough love like Pops did/does. Also, Bow looks down upon Junior’s girlfriend similar to how Ruby treats Bow.
  • Genius Ditz: For all of Junior's dimwittedness, he turns out to be incredibly skilled at insulting people once Dre teaches him how. This has been used for a quiet Continuity Nod in "Jacked o' Lantern" when he does it to his cousins, and in "Chop Shop" he cuttingly points out Dre's hypocrisy, leaving his father really uncomfortable and unable to respond.
  • Grand Finale: The series finale sees the Johnsons moving out of their home of eight seasons to an affluent black neighborhood and Andre leaving Stevens & Lido, marking the Character Development that they are no longer willing to tolerate racist microaggressions and are now secure enough to seek out closer relationships with the black community. They hold a homegoing/funeral for their old house and memories and from there, the entire cast and crew joins them outside in celebration.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Bow struggles a lot with her biracial identity, and the constant jibes from Ruby calling her "Halfrican" don't help.
  • Height Angst: In “When I Grow Up (To Be A Man)”, Jack is cut from the basketball team and blames it on being short. Dre briefly considers giving him human growth hormone.
  • Here We Go Again!: A Latino family moves into the Johnsons' home in The Stinger of the finale, and run into Janine, who wastes no time with the racist microaggressions.
  • Hippie Van: Rainbow's parents live in one. It runs on poo.
  • Hollywood Drowning: In "Sink or Swim", Dre does this after attending a pool party despite his inability to swim.
  • Homework Slave: Junior tries asking out a popular girl with help from Zoe. At first, it seems to work and the girl agrees to take him on a date. However, it becomes clear that she only agreed to go out with him so he could edit a video for her. Junior is oblivious to the fact he was used, and when it's pointed out to him, he was more upset that he wasn't able to study for a math test.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In "Juneteenth", when Dre confronts the kids' school about the Columbus Day play Jack and Diane perform in:
    Dre: I can't believe you would honor a slave trader like Columbus when you do not honor Juneteenth a proud black holiday tradition that my family treasures!
    Junior: What?! We don't celebrate Juneteenth.
    Dre: Shut up, Junior!
  • Imagine Spot: Dre has these from time to time. One of the best examples is probably the golden bike and ice cream truck scene.
  • Impromptu Tracheotomy: Performed by Bow on Charlie in the middle of her cocktail party. Involved a steak knife, a bendy straw and a dash of vodka.
  • In-Series Nickname: "Party Time" for Jack.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Tanya, one of Dre's coworkers, is a Korean-American woman from Torrance. Despite this, one of her white coworkers repeatedly asks her questions about Chinese culture and apologizes whenever saying something negative about China.
  • It Makes Sense in Context
    Rainbow: Gandhi inspired the world. YOU are a giant man-baby.
  • Irony:
    • Dre's mother is a devout Christian. She's displayed Wrath, Pride, Lust, and Sloth, with Gluttony, Greed, and Envy missing. Sometimes she's done it in the same episode, like crossing herself and proudly describing herself as a "bad @#$%&!" like Empire's Cookie. Even Vanity in "White Breakfast", when she says being a "piece of @$#" is "a blessing...and a curse."
    • In "40 Acres and a Vote", she's a Democrat In Name Only as much of her ideals sounds a lot like Trump rather than Clinton, such as wondering why there wasn't a wall bordering Mexico built yet, and even unironically quoting Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Bow attended Brown University while Dre attended the not-Ivy but historically-Black Howard University. Subverted with Zoey, who gets rejected from Brown but gets into the not-an-Ivy-but-still-prestigious NYU, but turns it down in favor of the nearby, fictional California University. Junior gets into the Ivy-adjacent Stanford and Howard, choosing Howard, but later takes a gap year over his concerns about not being ready for college.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: Bow's college friends in "Femenisn't" are played by Tracy Ellis-Ross' co-stars from Girlfriends.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: "Your mom can be a bit-... much."
  • Maiden Name Debate: The focus of "Johnson & Johnson". Rainbow did not take Andre's last name, something that was technically meaningless, as his last name and her maiden name are both Johnson. However, when Dre realizes that Bow technically kept her maiden name, he's upset just on principle.
  • Matchmaker Failure: In one episode, Junior asks his sister Zoe if she can help set him up with a girl he likes. Zoe scoffs at this, finding the girl too nerdy, and tries setting him up with a more attractive girl. It looks like she's successful at first, as Junior lands a date with this girl. Then he reveals the only reason the girl went out with him was so he would edit a video for her. Zoe is actually more upset about this than Junior, because she took pride in her matchmaking skills.
  • Mistaken for Fake Hair: "Good Dre Hunting" has a recurring gag of Dre being convinced that Bow's therapist is wearing a wig. Even after the therapist pulls her hair in front of him to show it's not a wig, he's still not convinced. In the end, Bow also admits she thinks it's a wig.
  • Money Dumb: In one episode, Bow admits she lets Dre take control of the family's finances, as she finds it confusing and intimidating. As it turns out, Dre is just as confused by finances as she is. The episode ends with Dre and Bow agreeing to work together to help understand the family's finances.
  • Moving-Away Ending: The Grand Finale has the Johnsons moving from their old home and into a new neighborhood.
  • Multigenerational Household: Pops lives with the family and watches the kids while Dre and Rainbow are at work, though Dre states that he thinks this arrangement is not the best idea. Later in the series, Ruby also stays with the Johnsons whenever Pops is not around.
  • My Secret Pregnancy: In "Manternity", Rainbow is trying to hide her pregnancy from the hospital staff because she's up for a promotion.
  • Negative Continuity: In the first season Christmas special, Bow mentions having two sisters. Later episodes give her a brother and just one sister.
  • New Transfer Student: Junior, to public school in Season 4.
  • Noodle Incident: There seems to be a tension between Charlie and Diane, which hasn't been explained so far. See "Martin Luther Skiing Day" for an example.
  • Not So Above It All: When Junior brings home a white girlfriend, it's actually Bow far more than Dre who has a problem with it, to the point of taking over narrating duties.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: In "Femenisn't", Dre realizes that he's as clueless about gender politics as his white coworkers are of race.
  • N-Word Privileges: Discussed on the second season opener "The Word". Jack says the word while rapping the uncensored version of "Gold Digger" at his school's talent show and, thanks to a no-tolerance for hate speech policy Bo advocated for, faces the possibility of being expelled. Dre thinks it's okay for Jack to use the word while the school principal, who is also black, does not.
    • In a fantasy scene set in the 1920s, the privileges even seem to ripple backwards in time against all logic; Dre objects to white Josh's period-appropriate references to "Negroes" and isn't even sure why:
      Dre: I know it's the exact right word for our times, but... just the way you say it...
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: To say that Bow doesn't get along with her mother-in-law Ruby is an understatement.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Dre's father goes by the name "Pops".
  • Pædo Hunt: In "Who's Afraid of the Big Black Man?", when Bow calls out Dre for leaving a little white girl all alone in an elevator and asks what's the worst could've happened. Dre imagined that he would be accosted by Chris Hansen himself with a news crew labeling him as a molester.
  • Parental Favouritism: Andre and Bow love all their kids the same, but with their older children, it's clear they have preferences. Andre makes it no secret that Zoey is his favorite child and considers Junior a disappointment. Likewise, Bow is closer to Junior and is usually dismissive of Zoey. They don’t play favorites with the twins and Devante.
    • Also indicated with Pops and Ruby; Andre is total Mama's Boy for Ruby and has a distant relationship with Pops whereas his sister Rhonda is closer to Pops and not very close with Ruby at all due to her uncomfortableness with her sexuality.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Ruby's main weapon of choice, especially when talking to Rainbow.
  • Plastic Bitch: Zoey wants to help her nerdy brother Junior hook up with an Asian Airhead at their school. Junior mentions he heard a rumor she got a boob job. Zoey confirms these rumors are true and that she also had some "light butt work". The girl establishes herself as an Alpha Bitch when she uses Junior to edit an audition video for The Bachelor.
  • Playing Cyrano: Zoey does this for Junior. It works, but only because the girl wanted to use Junior to edit a video for her.
  • Precision F-Strike: Happens in "The Word" during a talent show when Jack sings "Gold Digger".
    • Occasionally someone will let loose a bleeped swear. Most notably in the season 5 when Bow confronted Junior about his gap year plans and said "Are you fucking kidding me?"
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy:
    • Dre's work friend Josh does this frequently, with hilarious and equally annoying results. Dre and Charlie constantly make it clear that it's not okay, to no avail.
    • One episode had an investor who thinks Dre isn't black enough, to the point that Dre even questions his black-ness. When Dre tells him off, the investor was actually impressed with him.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Diane and Jack. Diane is incredibly intelligent, mature, and well-spoken for her age, while Jack is a prankster and troublemaker.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: "Liberal Arts" is a barely veiled trial-run for what became the Zoey focused college spinoff grown•ish. Complete with her own funny sidekick and romantic interest.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Ruby makes Rainbow hit this after four seasons by meddling with her baby's formula (Bow was breast-feeding).
  • Relax-o-Vision: An animated segment explaining the history of trash-talking in "The Dozens" ends with a title card from the producers explaining that "Slavery animation too depressing to show."
  • The Reveal: How does Dre's mother cook all that delicious Soul Food every Christmas? She orders it from a Hispanic lady while everyone's out and fakes it. Once Bow stumbles upon it, she gets roped into the charade.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: In "Lemons", Dre compares the election results to a shocking upset in sports.
    Dre: What happens when the winners and losers are supposed to be on the same team? Seriously, I'm really asking. What happens?
  • Ripped from the Headlines:
    • "Hope" centers around a news story about a black man being shot by a cop, echoing a number of news stories that had happened prior to the episode.
    • Season 3's "Lemons" discussed the general political climate of America in the wake of the 2016 election two months after said election, which is when the episode aired. Dre saying it felt like only a few days might be a Development Gag.
    • The protesters shown at the Howard campus in "Black Math" came from the controversy surrounding stolen financial aid money.
  • Rule of Funny: After showing flashbacks with Dre's mom blowing up Pops' car (and getting arrested), then his boat (and getting arrested), then Dre mentions her "boat dynamite" stash. Even in the 70s, it's extremely unlikely for someone to be able to buy a large amount of dynamite without the authorities looking very closely at them, especially someone black (who keeps blowing things up). Maybe that's how she got arrested.
  • Running Gag: Zoey being possibly Rick Fox's daughter.
    • Charlie's afraid of Diane, with Diane playing into his fears.
    • Nobody knows how old Charlie is, not even himself.
    • Bow telling people she is a doctor, no matter if it fits the conversation.
    • Bow hating the other mothers of Diane's and Jack's mates.
  • Same Surname Means Related: Averted; both sides of the family have the surname "Johnson."
  • Scary Black Man: In the Halloween episode, Dre thinks he sees one in his living room while looking at a security feed of the house. It turns out he's looking at himself.
  • School Uniforms are the New Black: At least for the younger kids, the teens don't have them (which apparently isn't an unusual setup for an LA-area private school).
  • "Schoolhouse Rock!" Lesson: "I Am a Slave", a song from the Season 4 premiere, teaches about Juneteenth and how the slaves were freed.
  • Sequel Hook: The finale ends with a small Latino family moving into the Johnsons' old home, with the couple being greeted by Janine and her misplaced attempts to bond with them by giving them a Dorito "taco salad". Time will tell if this is the setup for brownish.
  • Shout-Out: The twins are named after a song by John Cougar-Mellencamp. This is addressed in Season 2, where they're naturally quite weirded out to be named after a romantic couple.
  • Shadow Archetype: Plays into the Parental Favoritism; as Dre and Bow's least preferred child each reflects their character flaws. Bow can be just as prideful and flighty as Zoey is and Dre does have quite a lot in common with Junior; namely both being huge Momma's Boys and No Social Skills (though Dre is better in that regard). Also, it's indicated that as a kid, Dre was as awkward as Junior is.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Dre's parents have a rather tumultuous on-and-off relationship. It involves high explosives (until the authorities confiscated them). His mom is portrayed as the primary aggressor, and Dre does his best to keep them apart at all costs. Leaving aside the dynamite, this isn't exactly an unrealistic portrait of an abusive relationship.
    Pops: When I'm with your mother, I never feel more alive!
    Dre: What about when it's over?
    Pops: Well, then I feel lucky to be alive!
  • Special Guest: Spoofed with Jermaine Dupri's appearance in "30 Something", where almost all his lines are just randomly spouting facts about himself.
  • Sucky School: What Bow and Dre, and everyone else for that matter (except Pops), thinks public school will be like when Junior gets expelled from his private school. The school is actually not that bad.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • After a season and a half of outrageous Conspicuous Consumption, Dre and Bow discover their financial situation is completely screwed.
    • Rainbow ends up with Post-partum depression after having D'evante.
    • Dre being the standard clueless sitcom dad who overreacts to everything would have been uncommented on in other shows, but in this one it leads him and Bow to the brink of divorce.
    • After episodes of Ruby being an over-critical but funny Mother-in-Law to Bow, things come to a head when she disrespects Bow's wishes to feed D'evante with breast milk rather than formula and (a post-partum depressed) Bow tells her that she is tired of taking her disrespect and tells her to get out of her house, with Dre backing Bow up.
    • Junior's Hilariously Abusive Childhood isn't at all hilarious to him, and he alternates between desperately wanting Dre's approval, and just plain avoiding spending time with him.
    • "Dre at Home Order" shows how quarantine during COVID-19 is slowly getting to Dre, until he breaks down over a box of cookies. Meanwhile, Diane worries that she may end doing her entire high school education at home.
    • "Age Against The Machine" has Dre realizing that he can no longer protest the way that he used to, because he has a family and a job to worry about now. Also, Stevens expresses concern that Junior using social media to protest could get him in trouble with people who want to work with him.
    • "What About Gary?" depicts how annoying black people find white people trying to help them in order to deal with their guilt. Gary is perfectly willing to work with Dre and learn from him, but he balks at sending his kids to public school, which disappoints Dre. Later on, Dre explains that he fears that the willingness to help is temporary and that it may go away again.
    • In the seventh season finale, Dre gets rejected for a possible new job because he doesn't have the necessary experience for a General VP position. He gets fed up with his current job and quits, only to scramble around making his own company while lying to Bow about being unemployed. After confessing, he goes on to do well at a presentation for a client... only to be asked back by his old company, who didn't want to lose him in the first place. He goes back because while he did do well, his company is new and could end up failing in the long run, as most companies do.
    • When Charlie is getting married to Vivica A. Fox, Dre is made his best man. However, the two of them get into an argument which ends Dre stating that they are only work friends. Bow then tells him that Charlie is, in fact, Dre's best and only friend, due in no small part to Dre's off-putting personality. Dre realizes how true this is when he attempts to bond with his younger co-workers and fails miserably.
    • Also concerning the same wedding, Diane is not invited by Vivica A. Fox. Why? Because of how she has harassed Charlie over the years!
    • After years of dealing with the Innocently Insensitive behaviors of Janine and the rest of the neighbors, Dre and his family end the show by finally getting fed up and move away to an all-black neighborhood, where they won't be on their guard all the time.
  • Take That!:
    • Diane on a boring story Jack kept her up late with: "Thirty minutes. No twist. It was like an episode of Entourage."
    • In the fairly serious episode "Hope", one of the bits of levity comes when someone suggests that the black boy who was beaten by the police may have been attacked because he was selling copies of the Spike Lee movie Chi Raq.
  • The Talk: Dre discovers that Junior already got it from Bow years earlier without him, and insists on giving his own. Much to his discomfort.
  • Took a Level in Dumbass: Jack; as his actor aged out of the Deliberately Cute Child role, they started to make the character a bit of a dope with bad grades to further contrast him with Diane.
  • Token Minority: In-universe, Dre worries that this is the only reason he was promoted at the ad agency he works at, especially since he's the new head of the "Urban Division".
    Dre (internal monologue): Did they just put me in charge of "black stuff"?
  • Training Montage: Defied in "Any Given Saturday", where Diane decides to not show Jack's training on her documentary and instead show the montage "that Hollywood doesn't dare to do", showing what the others are doing while Jack is training.
  • Very Special Episode: The highly acclaimed "Hope", in which the family simply sits around discussing the issue of police brutality.
    • Season 3's "Lemons", which discussed racial and political tensions in the wake of the 2016 election.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: Subverted. In "Rock, Paper, Scissors, Gun", Pops tells Zoey he's going to teach her karate, but later admits he just wanted her to do chores. Then Zoey does the same thing to Jack.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: Happens In-Universe in "Lemons", where Zoey makes it clear to Bow that the lemonade she's making for her friends is just lemonade. It isn't a Shout-Out to Beyoncé's album or "When life gives you lemons" or anything, it's just lemonade. Bow is annoyed by this.
  • Where da White Women At?: Junior dates a white girl during the episode "Being Bow-racial", which makes Bow feel somewhat uncomfortable and forces her to confront her identity as a biracial woman who herself was the result of the gender-inverse.
  • What Happened to the Mouse??: Nobody ever saved the toddler from the elevator.
  • Where Did We Go Wrong?: Played for Laughs when Junior tells Dre that he joined the Young Republicans club. Dre's mom and Bow even hug each other and cry when they find out. Turns out he only joined to impress a girl... who also happens to be black.
  • The Whitest Black Guy: Andre was raised in an impoverished urban family while his kids live an upper-middle class suburban one. He's concerned with things like his oldest son having no black friends or trying out for field hockey (a sport that is typically only played by girls in US schools) but they took it up to eleven.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Diane is easily the most level-headed and mature of the Johnson kids, and possibly the whole family. She's six (at the start of the series).
  • Younger Than He Looks: Dre. To his children at least.
    Junior: I think you look good for your age.
    Dre: Thank you, son. Forty's not bad, huh?
    All the kids gasp in horror.
    Junior: You're only forty? Good Lord! You've lived a hard life!


Video Example(s):


Blackish- Jr's a Republican

Jr.'s family can't quite follow the fact that he has become a Republican.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / BlackRepublican

Media sources: