It's kind of appropriate that the Black-ish premiere aired on the first night of Rosh Hashana (the Jewish new year).
It's always hard to judge a show based on the pilot, but Black-ish is an all around funny and enjoyable show that doesn't try too hard to get laughs.
While it's not necessarily "laugh out loud" funny, the more subtle humor shown in Black-ish Season 1 Episode 1 gives the show heart and makes it less predictable.
When Andre "Dre" Johnson (Anthony Anderson) jumps the gun, ready to accept a promotion to be the first black Senior Vice President of his advertising company, my first thought was that he didn't get it. Instead, he's made the SVP of the brand new Urban Division.
Dre worries that his family is losing touch with their black roots. His son, Andre Jr, goes by Andy at school, joins the field hockey team instead of going out for basketball, and announces that he wants to convert to Judaism so that he can have a Bar Mitzvah.
Dre instead tries to teach him some African heritage, complete with traditional African clothing, which leads to some of the funniest lines of the episode (which you can find on the Black-ish quotes page) as his dad (played by Laurence Fishburne) watches in amusement.
There's a nice exchange between father and son where Andre Jr. tells his father that while he'd prefer to play basketball, he's not very good at it, and field hockey is his way to make baby steps towards meeting girls.
Andre, deciding to take a cue from his son, takes another approach to his new position after nearly getting fired for his eccentric first attempt. He even ends up throwing his son a "Hip Hop Bro-Mitzvah" for his birthday.
Though most of the plot focuses on Dre and Andre Jr., we're also introduced to Andre's wife Rainbow, a biracial doctor, and his other three children. I imagine future episodes will spend more time with the rest of the family.
All in all, Black-ish is a charming sitcom with interesting characters played by talented actors and good writing that has the potential to be one of the best comedies of the fall season. Its not crude or offensive and it knows how to poke fun at stereotypes.
There's a funny moment when Andre Jr.'s friend is searching their fridge for grape soda and actually finds one as Dre asks why they would assume they would have it. They also poke fun at "baked fried chicken."
Stacy Glanzman was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in March, 2019.