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‘Black-ish’ Review: Secrets of ‘The Nod’

“You’re yelling at me for Junior getting tomahawked on. You took Diane to the hospital, she saw a tomahawk in somebody’s skull.” -Dre Johnson

Every culture has subtleties that can’t be fully understood without living and breathing the experience. Be it common vernacular or body language, a lot of things can go over the head of unaware parties. In African American culture, one of those subtleties is the nod. Unfortunately, Junior doesn’t know the nod is a thing along with other idiosyncrasies that Dre believes his son should know. The nod is a sign of acknowledgement, “I see you. You see me.” If someone nods and the nod is not reciprocated, it is not a sign of disrespect but one of naiveté.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0Zn4NCsP9Q[/youtube]

Dre panics and decides to find Junior some black friends to hang with so he can be in the loop.

Meanwhile, Rainbow tries to convince Diane that being a doctor is cool after realizing that her daughter wants to become a professional in the marketing industry just like her father. Dre’s cool advertising job has an easier educational path, better perks, and requires way less work than becoming a doctor. The problem is that Rainbow was counting on Diane to continue her legacy.

Diane remains steadfast. She has made her decision and that’s that. Rainbow devises a scheme to fix the problem, but ends up traumatizing Diane instead. A third plot involves a new black co-worker at Dre’s job who gets a little too close for comfort in several ways before an eventual blowup.

Black-ish is starting to find a comfort zone that allows it to explore niche cultural references while also being a funny show about a family whose adventures we look forward to each week. Three episodes in, this primetime newcomer can be trusted to bring laughs for each episode. ABC agrees and has ordered a full season pickup of Black-ish after strong ratings from the first three episodes. If you haven’t watched the show yet, give it a shot. Who knows? You might become part of a budding audience.

Black-ish airs on ABC  on Wednesdays at 9:30 Eastern time.

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