Kenya Barris created a hit for ABC with “Black-ish,” with a charming cast that included lovable child actors with unimaginably precise comedic timing. As the child cast grew and Black-ish was renewed for new seasons, the only logical next step was to give Yara Shahidi a college spin-off titled Grown-ish.
It had a simple build with the main characters stuck in a night class for one reason or another. As the show goes on, they meet and hate each other. It was heavily inspired by The Breakfast Club, and the similarities were unmistakable. The writing, however, was noticeably sloppy, and the actors did little to improve the lyrics. Glenn Garvin wrote a disparaging review of Season 1 for Reason, adding that he found the entire cast lacking in talent. This transition was particularly tough for Shahidi, who had to deliver more than perfectly timed jokes and comebacks this time. Her performance in big emotional moments almost always fell flat.
Shahidi’s saving grace, however, was that the show had a motley roster of characters who were more or less already public figures who played a heightened version of himself, something Shahidi was good at. She is incredibly charming and that carries the show with ease.