I love ABC’s family comedies. I have been waiting all summer for them to return, eagerly watching reruns of The Goldbergs and Modern Family in the meantime. So you can imagine my excitement on Wednesday when 8 o’clock rolled around and my favorite shows returned to my life.
The Goldbergs was a great homage to The Breakfast Club and Speechless looks like it has potential. Even Modern Family, which I often find myself tiring of, showed a great 22 minutes of comedy. blackish is one of my favorites, though, and I was ready to see what they had up their sleeves.
What they had up their sleeves was a half-hour Disney World infomercial.
I had seen the commercials before and knew that the Johnsons were going to Disney World. I also am well aware that Disney owns ABC. I just expected something…different? Better? Less heavy handed?
If a TV show has an episode at Disney, I can understand a reference to Space Mountain or the Small World tea cups or Mickey Mouse or a parade. I have never been to Disney, but I am familiar with these attractions – they’ve entered popular knowledge. But this episode highlighted specific parts of the Disney VIP experience (getting to cut the lines) and name dropped more obscure rides, like the new Soarin’ Around the World ride that Rainbow, Ruby, and Pops go on (it has air conditioning!). Okay, we get it. Disney World is great and has something for everyone.
Even the plot of the episode wasn’t the strongest. Dre’s relationship with class and race are a frequent topic on the show, but the way he reacts to his kids’ behavior at Disney didn’t really make sense within the episode or within the way that we know these characters. (The miniature plot of Diane losing her glasses turned out to be nothing but her missing out on the greatness, which as a glasses-wearer myself makes no sense.)
Also, blackish takes place in Los Angeles. Why did they fly to Florida? Disneyland in Anaheim is right there! Is that really a thing rich LA people do, fly all the way to Florida for a theme park and a resort?
blackish reruns aired throughout the summer and one episode in particular was aired multiple times: the Black Lives Matter episode. In that episode, the whole family is gathered in the living room, discussing about police brutality and how to get involved in protest and how to talk to children about what’s happening. It was a well done, topical episode that sparked meaningful and needed conversation. I couldn’t help thinking about it as I watched this season premiere.
Was some sort of deal struck with ABC? We’ll give you 22 minutes of meaningful, political Black Lives Matter discussion as long as your season premiere is a Disney ad? I do think that Black Lives Matter episode was worth it, but man this Disney ad was rough.
I don’t mean to totally hate on this episode. Parts of it were funny, I enjoyed it, I was glad to be back with the Johnsons (and Charlie). I’m excited to get back to a normal episode next week – I feel like this Disney episode got the season off to a weird start, though I’m sure in a month I’ll have forgotten. I’m ready for the show to get back to its strengths without heavy handed (and not greatly executed) corporate involvement.
Did you like the Disney episode? Are you tired of The Goldberg’s movie-inspired episodes? Who is more annoying, Eric Stonestreet or Eric Stonestreet? Let me know!