There’s a show (on network television believe or not) that we just started watching a few months ago. You might have been put off by it, thinking it is a typical comedy full of stereotypes, but actually it’s the exact opposite. We love the show “Blackish” for how it poignantly discusses society in a meaningful way. If you are already wrapped up in Game of Thrones or Stranger Things, at least humor us and watch the episode “Lemons,” to see why we love this show so much.
“Lemons,” is us. It is America. It’s our hometown. It’s our community. It’s the 834 offices. Writer and show creator, Kenya Barris, has distilled “our” mixed emotions about the election and the upcoming inauguration in one half hour. And really that’s all this topic needs. You see we all have some feelings about these times and this show looks at those emotions and let’s them all play out in a surprisingly patriotic and empathetic way. We needed that.
If you haven’t watched “Blackish”, ABC (the show’s network) gives this description: “Andre ‘Dre’ Johnson has a great job, a beautiful wife, Rainbow, four kids, and a colonial home in the ‘burbs. But has success brought too much assimilation for this black family?” (http://abc.go.com/shows/blackish, 2016).
Sounds a little bit ‘Cosby-esque,’ but this show is actually very witty and very thoughtful at the same time. It’s grittier than “Cosby,” and not everyone always ends up hugging at the end. There are some purposely-stereotypical characters on the show: the boss on the show, a white male and “self proclaimed” republican, Charlie and Dre (who is very serious) come from “the hood,” Lucy “the nondescript white woman,” and Rainbow – the hippy mom and doctor.
“Lemons,” picks up the week of the inauguration, the whole family and Dre’s coworkers are still quietly coping with the election. A feeling many of us can relate. The oldest son is going to recite Dr. King Jr’s famous “I Have A Dream,” speech for his school’s “healing rally.” The oldest daughter Zoey, decides she is going to help the rally by making lemonade, which seems like a meaningless effort to her mother Rainbow (who is donning a rainbow scarf and NPR shirt).
Did we mention Dre also works at a marketing agency? Another reason why we love this show, it has some very relatable moments for our team. Unfortunately for the team at Dre’s agency, they have a deadline for a pitch that is due that day, and no one has started it. That would never happen at 834 -trust us. They got this huge pitch on November 8th (election day). Now Dre and team are trying to focus and get this pitch done, placing them all around a conference room table as a news channel is on in the background, streaming politics leading up to the inauguration.
What got our attention, is that “Lemons,” takes on a discussion that breaks each of the characters out of their social norm and allows them to explain their feelings about the election and reveal who they voted for and why they did it. Many of us have been dying to do this, but in real life this can be risky. This is the discussion we all needed to hear this week. Dre who is usually is the loudest in the room, is unusually quiet during this debate. When he finally breaks his silence it is a moment that stopped us in our tracks (thank you again, Kenya Barris for creating this show).
Meanwhile, Zoey keeps making her lemonade. And Rainbow keeps trying to get her to understand why she needs to care more about politics. And Zoey tells her mom that she needs to stop pushing her liberal politics on her because sometimes people just want lemonade, not liberal lemonade-not conservative lemonade – but lemonade for everyone. Zoey tells her mom that she appreciates her mom’s values and next time around she and her friends will get to vote.
We don’t want to give too many details about “Lemons,” but it woke us up and made us optimistic. This week may be harder for some of us than others. We feel like we have lost our dream, we have lost the race, but we have not lost our values. This is a country that believes in change and that is a constant. We need to work together. We need to stop calling the “other” crazy, wrong or evil. We need to try to be understanding and reach out. That is what this country is about, our differences and our ability to accept them. And sometimes we just need plain old lemonade.