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Watch out world, I'm grown now...
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grown•ish is a 2018 sitcom Spin-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 (later becomes the Dean of students). Rounding out the cast are the militant activist Aaron (Trevor Jackson), the social conservative Ana (Francia Raisa), dreamy artist Luca (Luka Sabbat), brash and bisexual Nomi (Emily Arlook), sneaky schemer Vivek (Jordan Buhat), twin athletes Jazlyn and Skylar (Chloe and Halle Bailey), and the Dean of students Burt Parker (Chris Parnell) who is also Nomi's uncle (season 1 only). Later Jazlyn's boyfriend Doug (Diggy Simmons) joins the main cast.

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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 Teen Drama and deals much more heavily in adult content.

In March 2022, the show received a surprise renewal for a fifth season, keeping it on the air as the mothership show black•ish ended earlier that same year. Yara Shahidi, Trevor Jackson, and Diggy Simmons are the only cast members that have been brought back, and Marcus Scribner is joining the cast and reprising his role as Andre "Junior" Johnson Jr., embarking on his own college experience.

Basically, black•ish is to The Cosby Show as grown•ish is to A Different World.


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Tropes found in grown•ish include:

  • Aborted Arc: Nomi's relationship with her professor and any potential fallout gets dropped in season three, as she ends up pregnant.
  • Big Man on Campus: Aaron is an extremely popular guy at the campus. He attends to numerous parties, has tons of friends and is a major Chick Magnet.
  • Blunt "No": After Zoey gets financially cut off due to cheating on an exam and being placed under academic probation, she gets her car repossessed by her father, Andre. Zoey initiates a Pop-Up Texting conservation, trying to make nice. She's met with "NOPE" with every question, even when she asks if he still loved her. She then texts her mom, Rainbow if she can talk to Andre for her. She's met with another "NOPE", and to a request to stop texting her dad, as it's hard enough for him to put his foot down.
  • 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: Inverted, Nomi is bisexual and calls herself as such, but mostly is shown hooking up with women. The last two seasons deal with her relationship to a man, who is the father of her baby.
  • California University: The college Zoey attends is literally called California University. It seems to mostly be based on UCLA.
  • Character Narrator: Zoey narrates the events of every episode, even the ones she herself doesn't actually know about. Sometimes she also looks at the audience and to talk to them about her inner thoughts.
  • 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.
  • Crossover Ship: Sky and Junior from black•ish, though as of season three that seems to be over. invoked
  • Crying After Sex: Ana reveals Aaron cries after sex in Close Friends. He snarks that he "gets moved after his excellent performances".
  • 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.
  • First Guy Wins: Aaron is the first male character introduced in the backdoor pilot that Zoey meets, and is the man she eventually chooses after a four season-long love triangle arc between her, Aaron and Luca.
  • 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.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: In "Self Care", while the girls are hanging out, they're startled by a sudden cry from the bathroom and Zoey, Ana, and Nomi rush there only to be horrified when they find Junior and Sky sharing a bubble bath and realize what the scream was.
  • 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.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Vivek and Ana have sex in the mid-season 4 finale. She tells him that they are never to speak of it again.
  • Love Triangle: The biggest story arc of the entire series is the love triangle between Zoey, Aaron and Luca. In season one, Aaron and Luca both pine over Zoey and later, Cash, making it a love square. Zoey ends up picking Luca. Later in season two, she and Luca break up and Zoey may be gravitating towards Aaron again. Season three has her reconnecting with Aaron as Luca dates someone else. Season four sees Aaron "winning" as Zoey finally states that she's in love with him, and her relationship with Luca is platonic.
  • 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 a 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.
  • I Never: The season 4 premiere has the cast playing this game that ends disastrously when the question "Who is more likely to cheat?" comes up, causing all the couples and exes in the room to suddenly start fighting.
  • 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:
    • Averted and discussed In-Universe. Nomi, an explicitly bisexual woman, 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, also comes 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.
    • Played With with Vivek, during a MDMA-fueled threesome with his girlfriend and another man. He and the other man kiss, but as he tells Aaron and Doug, he is still straight as he didn't really feel anything. Aaron and Doug vehemently disagree and think Vivek is either gay or bisexual (though they mostly call him gay). It takes a lecture from Nomi for them to finally be reasonable.
    • Brought up again in season 4 with Des; when he tells Jazlyn that he came out to his parents and went through some drama with them, Jazlyn assumed he came out as gay. Des later clarified he came out as queer and is attracted to women as well as men. Jazlyn actually doesn't seem to mind that Des is queer/pansexual and was interested in him...until she found out that Des is also gender non-conforming and showed up to their date/hang out wearing a dress.
  • Out of Focus: Vivek, Charlie, and the Dean typically have less screen time than the rest of the cast.
  • Pair the Spares: The two characters that are not in any relationship (Vivek and Ana) hook up during the last season.
  • Preppy Name: Balty Winthrop, the great-great-grandson of California University's founder.
  • Put on a Bus: Skylar makes the Olympic team in season 3 and is gone in season 4 to cover for Halle Bailey filming The Little Mermaid live-action remake.
  • 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. Since then, there has been several appearances from black•ish characters; Dre and Pops stop by several times, Season three saw Aaron trying to get a job at Stevens & Lido, and Junior actually recurred for a period of time while he was dating Sky. Season four has Jack and Diane finally stopping by and visiting Zoey.
  • Right Through the Wall: Played for Laughs in "Hard Place", when Ana has to hear Vivek of all people having sex while she's sexually frustrated due to her own religious boyfriend having taken a Vow of Celibacy.
  • Sex God: Ana is deeply disturbed one night when she hears that not only is Vivek having sex, but by screams he's actually seemingly good at it. Something she confirms for herself in season 4, when they have Sex for Solace and she's seemingly amazed.
  • Sex Is Evil, and I Am Horny: Played With. When Ana and her Love Interest Javi have sex for the first time while under a Vow of Celibacy, it turns out to be terrible with him being completely unable to please her and her actually injuring him. After some soul-searching, they both blame it on their religious guilt and decide to break up... but then we Smash Cut to a Post Coital Collapse on the sofa, with their second time being much better, leading them to the conclusion that Sex Is Good and abandoning their Vow of Celibacy.
  • Sex Montage: In season 3, we get a montage of Ana and Javi's terrible first attempt at sex due to their religious guilt. Due to the show's rating, it's not explicit, with most of the "action" covered by a Modesty Bedsheet and a few shots of Ana's Toplessness from the Back.
  • Secret Test of Character: Indigo tells Zoey to be brutally honest with her about her outfit choices only to threaten to fire Zoey when she does. When Indigo makes another fashion blunder, Zoey chooses her integrity as a stylist over her fear of her job and tells it to her straight. As Indigo reveals, this was actually a test she puts all her stylists through.
  • Ship Sinking: Zoey takes it upon herself to torpedo the Zoey/Luca ship, stating that they're great "creative partners" but that's it. And she admits to herself that Aaron is the one that she truly loves.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Several to Drake.
    • ”In My Feelings” includes a shoutout to Atlanta and Luca and Zoey call its creator, Donald Glover a genius.
    • ”In My Feelings” also shouts out Kanye West (and gives him a great deal of criticism), as well as Beyoncé.
  • The Stinger: The end of season four's finale sees a scene of Junior from black•ish attending Cal U, officially joining the show.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Vivek finally gets busted for possession of drugs, and only gets a slap on the wrist. He's grateful for getting off so easily and doing community service, until the end of "Demons" in which he gets a call that he's been expelled from Cal U. And later, his father effectively disowns him.
  • 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.
  • Teen Pregnancy: Well, more like Young Adult Pregnancy as Nomi who is 19-20 shows up pregnant after summer break.
  • 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.
  • Vow of Celibacy: Season 3 has Ana's Love Interest Javi reveal to her he's celibate, much to her (sexual) frustration. She tries to make it work, but ends up exaggerating in trying to "respect his boundaries", such as trying to give him a handshake instead of a goodbye kiss. They manage to make it work, and she even joins his church, but one night they both succumb to the temptation and sleep together only for the sex to turn out to be awful due to their guilt. But they try it again later to better results, and both ultimately decide to abandon their vows.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Aaron and Zoey have been on this dance for 3 seasons, decing they're Better as Friends for a while but still obviously having feelings for each other. They Do in the Season Finale of the third season.

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