I grew up being obsessed with everything about television in the 90's. I would spend way to many hours watching The Cosby Show, Full House, Family Matters, Step by Step, 90210, Sister Sister and countless others. However, the one that always stuck out was "A Different World." Although I was no where near college aged I still found myself relating to the characters of Whitley, Dwayne Wayne, Freddie, Kim and Ron. It was a show that spoke to kids of the 90's was so essential that it's still watched and referenced 31 years later.
Naturally, I was thrilled when Freeform announced that it would be developing "Grown-Ish," a show chronicling the life of "Black-ish" character Zoey Johnson in college. Like tons of other older millennial's I automatically started comparing the show to, "A Different World." A modern day version of A Different World?! Yes! However, tuning into the first episode I couldn't have been more wrong as I realized that star Yara Shahidi was carving out her own lane.
The show is touching on topics that impact today's teens right out the gate from depression, drugs, peer pressure, social media and not quite having it all together. Shadidi's character is smart, charming, gorgeous , relatable and flawed. Executive produced by Laurence Fishburne and Anthony Anderson, who play Zoey's grandfather and father on black-ish—it is heartfelt and a perfect spinoff from the ABC hit.
The diverse cast also includes Francia Raisa an extremely conservative Cuban-American from Miami, a bi-sexual Emily Arlook; Trevor Jackson is the woke guy who Zoey can't stop crushing on; Jordan Buhat as Vivek Shah a drug dealer-Drake loving Indian American; Luca Hall who plays a black hippie; rising stars Chloe x Halle as the Forster twins who appear to be cookie cutter track stars on the surface.
Although the show is completely unlike A Different World, I'm thrilled for this new generation who will have its own college show to relate to with new issues, fresh characters and a different outlook on life filled with more opportunities than any other generation has ever known.
Tune into Freeform Wednesday's at 8 p.m. to watch Grown-ish.