Mixed-ish is a 2019 sitcom spun off from Black-ish (the second spin-off, right after Grown-ish). The series is a prequel, focusing character Rainbow's (Arica Himmel, with Tracee Ellis-Ross narrating as adult Rainbow) formative years in The '80s after she and her family get chased off a commune and try to assimilate back into regular society as a mixed-race family. Her father Paul (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) stays at home trying to adjust to his new reality, while her mother Alicia (Tika Sumpter) navigates the work place. Her younger brother Johan (Ethan William Childress) and little sister Santamonica (Mykal-Michelle Harris) join her at a socially-segregated school. Her grandfather Harrison Jackson III (Gary Cole) and aunt Denise (Christina Anthony) occasionally drop in.
Amusingly enough, singer (and also racially mixed) Mariah Carey sings the theme song.
Tropes in this series include:
- The Alleged Car: When Alicia gets a bonus, rather than use it to buy her dream car, she buys a car for Denise while she takes Denise's old car, which is breaking down and constantly smoking.
- Attention Whore: Santamonica loves being the center of attention. When Johan breaks his arm and starts getting more attention than her, she acts out, even pulling on the fire alarm at school to get others to notice her.
- But Not Too White: Tika Sumpter is much darker-skinned than Anna Deavere Smith, the actress who plays the Alicia character on Black-ish. Tracee Ellis-Ross states the casting was a case of Ability over Appearance.
- Call-Forward: Santamonica's flighty and materialistic attitude is reflected 30 years later on Black-ish where Santamonica (played by Rashida Jones there) is starring in a reality show and looks for a rich man to marry.
- Commune: The Johnson family previously lived on one that was committed to racial equality, with many mixed-race families like themselves before the authorities closed it down. Afterward, moving to the outside world where this is still far less acceptable in the US gives the series much of its drama.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Frequently invoked, especially as the show features a mixed race black/white family in the 80's (the show notes that the Loving V. Virginia US Supreme Court decision striking down all bans on interracial marriage was decided only 18 years prior to when the series' events started), as well as the gender roles with Paul staying at home and Alicia being in the workplace as well as common racial microaggressions in the office.
- Doting Grandparent: Despite his jerkass tendencies, Harrison loves his grandchildren and wants to share his lifestyle and wealth with him, especially Santamonica, who he has called his favorite. He also tries to prepare Johan for the bullying he will receive for crying in public, telling him it will build character and make him successful.
- The '80s: The series takes place in 1985.
- Half-Breed Discrimination: The kids first day of school was met with derision from the racially segregated student body and a few questions on what they were mixed with. Johan and Santamonica fit in easily by picking a side, black and white respectively, but Rainbow refuses to.
- Hippie Parents: Paul and Alicia are these. Alicia assimilates into the professional world of the mid-1980s in her appearance while Paul retains the same bohemian style from the commune and his youth.
- Little Miss Snarker: Santamonica fits this entirely. Not only is she the youngest child, but almost everything out of her mouth is a snarky comment.
- Maligned Mixed Marriage: Paul and Alicia didn't feel this aspect until the commune was shut down in which they and their mixed race kids are constantly judged, sometimes by their own family members.
- Mixed Ancestry: Bo and her siblings' mixed heritage gives the series its name, along with being the main focus.
- One Drop Rule: This trope is discussed by Bo with her voiceover, noting that in the US anyone with (visible, at least) black ancestry gets classified as black. She's not comfortable with that, however, preferring to embrace both sides of her heritage and call herself mixed, while her siblings "pick a side" based on their looks.
- Poorly Disguised Pilot: The first episode was actually a regular Black-ish episode filmed during season 5s original run (and with Anders Holm portraying Paul). ABC made the decision to pick up the show and that episode was refilmed with Mark-Paul Gosselaar playing Paul due to Holm dropping out because of scheduling conflicts.
- Race Fetish / Has a Type: Paul is primarily attracted to black women, a characteristic alluded to on Black-ish previously.
- Racist Grandma: Harrison is clearly a product of his time, but he makes it clear he genuinely loves his grandchildren and he isnt too bad about it.
- Sassy Black Woman: Denise fits this trope to a T. It is indicated that much of her perspective of blackness is garnered from media, so this may be what she's trying to emulate.