Grown-ish is a 2018 sitcom spun off from Black-ish airing on Freeform. The show stars Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) starting her first year of college at Cal U (a literal California University) and navigating through young adulthood and hanging out with her new friends. Also coming from Black-ish is Charlie Telphy (Deon Cole) who teaches a night class at the school. Rounding out the cast are Aaron (Trevor Jackson), Ana (Francia Raisa), Luca (Luka Sabbat), Nomi (Emily Arlook), Vivek (Jordan Buhat), twins Jazlyn and Skylar (Chloe and Halle Bailey) and Dean of students Burt Parker (Chris Parnell) who is also Nomi's uncle.
Like Black-ish, the show focuses on one character's perspective, their lives and friends, with many a gag per episode. Unlike Black-ish, the show leans more toward Young Adult Drama and deals much more heavily in adult content.
Tropes found in Grown-ish include:
- Bi the Way: Nomi and her ex, David.
- Broken Ace: Zoey was the Only Sane Woman in her family and popular all through high school, but the college experience completely throws her off, leaving her bumbling through her academic and romantic life. This leads to her cheating on a test and getting caught and later being cut off financially by her dad in season 2.
- But Not Too Bi: Nomi is bisexual and calls herself as such, but mostly is shown hooking up with women.
- California University: The college Zoey attends is literally called California University. It seems to mostly be based on UCLA.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Professor Telphy showcases the same airheadedness he does on Black-ish. Luca also has some Cuckoolander tendencies as part of his creative personality.
- Cock Fight: Aaron and Luca openly dislike each other, with the main point of contention being their shared attraction to Zoey.
- Darker and Edgier: Grown-ish takes advantage of its cable home and deals with more provocative issues than its broadcast network sibling, not to mention dropping TV-MA-type swears like "shit," "goddamn," and "asshole." No F-Bombs, however. Yet.
- Darkest Hour: Zoey cheats on an exam and is later caught. At first, it seems like it will be okay as she only gets academic probation instead of expulsion, but later her father and grandfather stop by after being tipped off by Charlie. From there, Dre learns that she cheated, as well as drinking underage and had a live-in boyfriend of sorts and gets angry with her and cuts her off financially.
- "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The theme song is sung by Chloe and Halle Bailey, who record music outside the show as Chloe x Halle.
- Five-Token Band: The main college characters include five girls, three of whom are black, one who is Latina, and one is white Jewish and bisexual. Out of the three guys, two are black and one is Indian-American.
- Fox News Liberal: Ana, who is a Latina conservative. While her friends and the show respect her views, she's mainly there to provide just one type of contrarian opinion in a show that spotlights progressive ideals above all else.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode is named after either a song or album title made by a black artist.
- It's All About Me: Most of the plots stem of Zoey's self-centeredness and her realizing to see from other perspectives and learn to empathize. She's working on this.
- Love Triangle: The main focus of the first season, with Aaron and Luca both pining over Zoey and later, Cash, makes it a love square. Zoey ends up picking Luca.
- Lower-Class Lout: Jazlyn and Skylar are from Compton, California and are careful to disguise this part of themselves so not to appear "ghetto," but occasionally they slip up.
- Malcolm Xerox: Aaron is very downplayed example; he's active with black causes and keen to lead protests for the black students on campus. This tends to lead to conflicts with his friends over his militancy, and he's shown to also be vaguely homophobic.
- New Job as the Plot Demands: Charlie Telphy is made Dean of Students after Chris Parnell's departure from the show. Zoey hangs a lampshade on it, narrating that even she's confused on how he got the job.
- No Bisexuals: Discussed In-Universe. Nomi was miffed that the girl she was seeing was treating her like a lesbian that hasn't come out yet, but then she later has a similar reaction when David, the guy she was seeing, came out to her as bisexual. She breaks it off with him, first because she thinks is different for a guy to be bi as opposed to a girl, and then realizes it's her own prejudice she needs to deal with. Aaron plays this trope straight, thinking David is gay.
- Out of Focus: Vivek, Charlie, and the Dean typically have less screentime than the rest of the cast.
- Required Spinoff Crossover: Dre was shown in the pilot hysterically crying over that Zoey was now gone, and then later Bow actually came to the school when Zoey wasn't responding to her texts. Then in season two, both Dre and Pops stop by after hearing about Zoey's academic probation and Juinor accompanies Zoey to a club.
- Spiritual Successor: To A Different World.
- Student Teacher Romance: Nomi gets closer to her professor, who is also a lesbian and she helps Nomi navigate the LGBTQ world. They share a kiss. and Nomi is enamored.
- Token White: Nomi, who is also bisexual and Jewish.
- Unlimited Wardrobe: Zoey is always seen in the latest fashions and never repeats an outfit. Partially justified, as she is studying fashion.