This is a one-dollar-banknotes-placed-on-table to signify the role of money in season 3 episode 6 of "Grown-ish".
Matthias Groeneveld

Yes. Zoey is privileged, but we already knew that.

The most recent episode of Grown-ish was very hard to watch. It’s true, I’ve often discussed how Zoey’s (Yara Shahidi) selfishness is intolerable, but the way it was addressed was a little too harsh. Aaron really took out his stress on Zoey. I pitied her. 

In “Real life S**t” Sky (Halle Bailey) embarrassed her white boyfriend for no reason and Aaron (Trevor Jackson)  went to a job fair and got rejected for every job he applied for. So, he deferred to Zoey to get him an internship with her dad that could potentially lead to a permanent position with the offer of a student loan forgiveness benefit. Yet, as usual Zoey got caught up with her own problems (coming up with looks for Joey Badass) and completely forgot to contact her dad about setting up an interview for Aaron. Of course, Aaron was well-prepared and even well-dressed for the internship but it meant nothing since Zoey’s dad wasn’t even aware that he applied for his company’s internship. When Aaron realized that Zoey failed him, he was enraged, going so far as yelling about how unreliable she is, how draining and imbalanced their relationship was and essentially told her to leave before he insulted her further. It was too much.

First, Zoey isn’t responsible for Aaron’s future and yes she may have failed him but perhaps going on to talk about how he is always there for her is a bit of stretch no? I struggle to understand how he can compare their trifles and his often restrained way of communicating with Zoey to the burden her gave her by expecting her to find an internship for him that would wipe out his student loans. Yes Zoey is self-centered. Yes, she’s privileged, but it’s unfair to automatically expect her to carry this burden.

Used in Accordance with our Privacy Policy.

His behavior was even more egregious given how he often plays around with Zoey’s heart. Remember, he strung her along until he realized that another guy (Luca) was interested in her then suddenly he had to be with her. Then he even got involved with one of Zoey’s best-friend’s Ana (Francia Raisa) and was quite short  with Zoey about it when she tried to express how uncomfortable the relationship made her —and for nothing too because in the end he decided that he didn’t want anything serious with Ana. With all that, still Zoey was emphatic and forgave him. She didn’t even need to maintain a friendship with Aaron because he actually causes her distress instead creating a sense of peace yet she did.

That said, Zoey should have remembered. There you go. Good now? That’s literally her only fault in this episode. She simply forgot to do something, a mistake which she luckily has the power to correct with a simple phone call. So, Aaron was dramatic and over-exaggerating when he was berating her with insults and it was so unattractive. (We really saw his true colours in the moment.)

 I feel that he used the excuse of her mistake to emotionally purge all the frustration he’d bottled up overtime from being rejected by her. His behavior was immature especially since he was able to get a job in the end owing to the help of Zoey’s dad. Ultimately, even if she didn’t make the call for that to happen, the very fact that her dad helped him shows how their relationship helped him in the end. He materially benefits from their relationship far more than she does. 

It’s also worth noting how the writers of “Grown-ish” use educational monologues as if to say: “See? We’re Woke,” instead of actually creating a narrative that demonstrates this. For instance, there’s a lot of criticism by black viewers, specifically dark-skinned black women, who has expressed their dissatisfaction for the lack of representation of dark-skinned people in “Grown-ish” and to remedy this, the writers introduced Jillian (Ryan Destiny). Yet, Destiny’s character isn’t very present. Jillian doesn’t play much of a role except to be the antagonist to Zoey and give a few lines here and there. It’s disappointing.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Jillian plays the role of cupid which is usually designated to black characters in white romance stories wherein, black characters are portrayed as one-dimensional and with no romantic inclinations or ambitions of their own. Except this case, it would be because she’s dark-skinned. Let’s hope “Grown-ish” proves me wrong.

I pray that Zoey snaps out of her melancholy and actually becomes less selfish instead of always saying she will and never doing it. I plead for more meaningful lines and a character development for Jillian and ask for less monologues, more action, and story developments for all side characters. But for now, what I’m really waiting for is the inevitable moment when Aaron cowers back to Zoey with shame and regret because of how he spoke to her. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *