Entertainment

‘black-ish,’ a New ABC Comedy, Taps Racial Issues

From left, Laurence Fishburne, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Anthony Anderson attend the Disney/ABC Television Group 2014 Summer TCA held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP)
From left, Laurence Fishburne, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Anthony Anderson attend the Disney/ABC Television Group 2014 Summer TCA held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Tuesday, July 15, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP)

(New York Times) – A lot of people in the television business are said to be curious to see how “black-ish,” ABC’s new comedy, is received when it has its premiere on Wednesday night. What they should really be curious about, though, is where the series goes after its funny but talking-point-heavy first episode.

The sitcom centers on a black family in Los Angeles, the Johnsons, struggling with prosperity. Andre (Anthony Anderson) works at an advertising agency; in the premiere, he’s on the verge of a major promotion. Rainbow (Tracee Ellis Ross) is an anesthesiologist. Their four children are smart and adorable.

If this puts you in mind of the Huxtables of “The Cosby Show,” that’s no accident. But more than the Huxtables ever were, the Johnsons are wrestling with whether their comfortable lives are causing them to forget that they’re black.

Well, Andre is doing most of the wrestling. The other family members display varying degrees of indifference to the issue, and therein lies the comedy. Andre, we learn in an introductory voice-over, grew up in less-than-middle-class fashion, and success leaves him conflicted.

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