This is a small dog looking directly at the camera.
Vitalii Khodzinskyi

Zoey is unrelenting.

“Grown-ish” is back and this time around the Freeform sitcom promises an exciting return as Zoey Johnson (Yara Shahidi) finally enters junior year. She’s now an upper class woman but she’s still the same old self-absorbed Zoey that we all know and cherish. As the season 3 trailer promised, there are a lot of bombshells.

Here’s what’s happened so far: Zoey came back from her London business trip with rapper Joey Badass and is maintaining a professional relationship with him as his stylist. The twins Jazz (Chloe Bailey) and Sky (Halle Bailey), are lacking funding for their athletic careers so, they have to find other sources of income. Most importantly, Nomi Segal (Emily Arlook) is 5 months pregnant. The rest of the team are the same so, not worth mentioning.

In the new season of “Grown-ish” we find that Nomi reportedly felt lonely after her concerning relationship with Professor Hewson (Katherine Moennig), and instead of getting a mental health check, she decided what she needed was a baby to give her unconditional love. Of course, she didn’t want to tell Zoey because of how judgemental she is, so of all people she told Zoey’s ex, Luca Hall (Luka Sabbat). Luca is known for not caring much about anyone except for himself so he was great at just listening. So Zoey took it upon herself to be the voice of reality in helping to organize Nomi. She thought she did the right thing by giving tough love, when really she was being unkind. Her team tried to remind her that no matter how much you want to help someone, it doesn’t help to shame them when doing so but they failed. Zoey is unrelenting.

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You’d think that after being lectured time and time again on being less self-absorbed, Zoey would be considerate of her friends more, but nope. In this season of “Grown-ish” she centers herself and creates unnecessary drama again. (I’ve come to believe that she always needs a bit of drama in her life to stay happy.)

Since Nomi confessed that she developed a strong friendship with Luca during the first trimester of her pregnancy, in “Close Friends” Zoey tries hard to make amends with Nomi by making good with Luca. In Zoey’s mind, since Luca is now one of Nomi’s best-friends, she thinks it’s important for them to have a relationship too because she’s declared that Nomi is her best-friend. Isn’t that a bit of a stretch for her to call Nomi her best-friend though? They’re not even that close. I’ve noticed that Zoey immediately affords a contrived kinship and intimacy with the people in her circle whenever she feels like she isn’t being centered in their world. So, she throws around the title best-friend like it’s water.

Still, in this episode after taking steps to rebuild a friendship with Luca, he pushed back and showed his narcissistic and combative attitude. When she pitched his new clothing line to Joey Badass to grow awareness for his work, instead of being thankful, he saw it as an interference. What she did was kind but Luca gaslight her into believing that it was terrible, which was annoying to watch. Usually, when watching their interactions, I roll my eyes from irritation but this time around I was just frustrated at how cheesy it was for the writers of “Grown-ish” to turn a fight into an opportunity to rekindle their toxic relationship. But perhaps Zoey has an affinity to Luca because they are both very egocentric so they enable the worst in each other.

In any case, their pairing is destructive. Luca doesn’t want Zoey to be more successful than him because he’s insecure, so when she surpasses him, it flares up his inferiority complex. Although Zoey, is well-aware of how his insecurity often hinders her aspirations, she’s still in denial because she wants the image of being with a cool artist like him which is bizarre. I mean the man told her that she didn’t have talent and said the only reason she became a stylist for Joey Badass, is because she’s attractive. He even repeated the same sentiment again right before they kissed and still, Zoey is overlooking it.

A guy like Luca who says, “do you not remember when you played me for this dude,” when describing a time when his girlfriend got a job opportunity, asked his permission to take it (even though she didn’t need to), and went for it (despite him trying to lower her confidence), is a guy who is disruptive of progress. So let’s call him what he is, an f-boy.

If you needed any more proof, see how he treats the new girl Jillian (Ryan Destiny) like she’s nothing. In “Damn” even though Jillian was sitting quietly on his bed, Luca went to talk to Zoey and neglected to mention that he had company. He didn’t even seem to explain who he was talking to after going back to bed. It’s obvious he didn’t share details because in “Close Friends” when Zoey and Jillian meet in class, it’s clear Jillian has no idea that Zoey is Luca’s ex. I’m in the belief that even if they are in a casual “friends with benefits” relationship, Luca should still be respectful of Jillian and afford her basic decency.

In the upcoming episodes can we separate Zoey and Luca please? They don’t make sense. Let her be the girl boss that she’s trying so hard to be and sprinkle in other love interests because so far the roster of suitors available to her isn’t doing the show any favours. Luca sucks and at this point we all know it.

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