That’s a concept milked for laughs on any family sitcom. But on Wednesday’s episode of black-ish, the question of how to be a parent is at the core of a much more dramatic – and important – storyline.
Taking place almost entirely in the Johnson’s living room, Wednesday’s episode of the ABC comedy follows the family as they wait for a grand jury’s decision regarding a fictional police brutality case similar to ones that have recently made real-life headlines.
There are enough moments of levity to still call this episode of black-ish a comedy, but most of what plays out over the 30-minute show is a nuanced discussion about race relations in the United States.
Through the eyes of the sitcom’s multigenerational family, the writers of black-ish present differing viewpoints on the topics of racism, police-community relations, violent protests and even how – or if – parents should discuss these topics with their children.
“Between gossip blogs, the internet and 24-hour news, it’s become impossible to control what our kids see. And they’re naturally curious,” Dre (Anthony Anderson) says at the top of Wednesday’s episode. “At some point, whether we like it or not, our kids are going to ask [hard] questions that we have to answer.”
And while black-ish may not have all the answers, it at least can make starting the conversation at home a little easier.
black-ish airs Wednesdays (9:30 p.m. ET) on ABC.