Everything We Want To Know About Zoey's Black-ish Spin-Off

Photo: Ron Tom/ABC.
Last night’s episode of Black-ish is the first one not narrated by either Rainbow or Dre Johnson. The show creators handed that responsibility off to the eldest Johnson child. In this episode, Zoey's is the voice that matters. And for pretty good reason: Last night’s episode doubled as the backdoor pilot for the upcoming spin-off show focused on Zoey's experiences at school.
College-bound Zoey is dropped off for a weekend of orientation at the fictional California University of Liberal Arts where she makes a couple of new friends. Dre, obviously not ready to see his daughter out of the house, is full of anxiety and despair. Weeks before, he had also forgotten to send Zoey’s housing application, forcing her to have an awkward meeting with the university’s president and dean.
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Even when I applied for college in 2006, housing details were handled electronically just like everything else, so I found this dilemma to be wholly unrealistic. But I get it, this is just TV. However, now that we’ve had a peek at what’s in store for the new chapter of Black-ish, I still have a few questions.
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Photo: Ron Tom/ABC.
Will Charlie be a regular character?

One of the surprising plot twists in last night’s episode was the reveal that Charlie is an adjunct professor at Zoey’s new school. He teaches a late-night marketing class filled with sex workers and former drug addicts. His unpredictable contributions to Black-ish have always been one of my favorite aspects of the show. Having him as a regular on the spin-off would definitely be a treat and keep the new show connected to its roots.
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Photo: Kelsey McNeal/ABC.
How often will we see the rest of the Johnson family?

Last week, Zoey made the decision to attend CULA over a university in New York because she didn’t want to miss important moments with the rest of her family — like the birth of her newest sibling, Devonté. Was this a strategic move by Black-ish to create more opportunities to have the rest of the Johnson’s on the show, as well? We know Dre wouldn’t mind.
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Photo: Ron Tom/ABC.
How family-friendly and politically charged will Zoey’s show be?

I can’t be 100% sure, but it seemed like last night’s episode of Black-ish was a bit more teen friendly. If this is going to be a thing in the new series, we hope this doesn’t also mean that it’s going to be stuffed into a Friday evening time slot. Because that’s where shows go to die.

And although activism was packed neatly into the episode as an overarching theme, it wasn’t clear whether or not that it would be carried throughout the entire series, as it is in Netflix's Dear White People. Staunch activism is not the only means to a woke end. Zoey could have some powerful revelations about race through any number of interactions and experiences at a white college. I certainly did.
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Photo: Ron Tom/ABC.
Are Zoey’s new friendships going to last?

Pretty early on, Zoey makes a friend in the form of Miriam, a white Jewish girl who doesn’t pick up on social cues and thinks a few semi-sexual experiences with Black guys makes her "down." After bailing on their college tour because nonbinary gender pronouns overwhelm them [rolls eyes], Zoey and Miriam meet BSU member Aaron, and Zoey is immediately smitten.

The cultural differences between Zoey and Miriam already seem to be too much for them to overcome, but so do Zoey and Aaron’s experiences of being Black. Will any of these relationships stand the test of time and carry on into the spin-off?
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When does the new series premiere?

We are still in the dark about the details of this new spin-off. With no premiere date or additional casting details, we can only assume that the new show will arrive sometime soon. Shahidi revealed that she plans on deferring her admittance to college for a year. This could very be a strategic move for her to film and promote the new show over the next year. Our fingers are crossed.
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