Grown-ish Season 1, Episode 8 Recap: "Erase Your Social"

Photo: Courtesy of Freeform.
Friends, Zoey Johnson’s (Yara Shahidi) heart has been through so much these last few weeks. She humiliated herself in front of Aaron Jackson (Trevor Jackson) with that epic text meltdown. She burned a bridge with art bae Luca Hall (Luka Sabbat) by failing at even the most basic rules of playerdom. And, the Cash Mooney (Da'Vinchi) situation was simply a fiasco of massive proportions. So, grown-ish made the right decision this week by stepping away from Zoey's romantic chaos to focus on the reason she’s in college in the first place: her future.
“Erase Your Social” is all about what happens when Zoe gets the fellowship of her dreams. Unsurprisingly, everything goes horribly awry.
We start the episode out with ZoZo waxing poetic about the psychological effects of social media likes and her generation’s digital addiction. Considering Zoey points out all the red flags of social media obsession… and then promptly falls down the Instagram rabbit hole, we should all know Zoey’s internet-fueled fall can’t be far off.
But, before any more woes can befall our leading lady, there’s some good news; Zoey finally got that Teen Vogue fellowship (not internship!) she was so worried about earlier this season. Immediately, she posts a selfie with the congratulatory email in the background. There is no way Zoey’s entire university didn’t eye roll at such a humblebrag of an Insta move. Just be straight forward and post the screenshot! They all know what you’re doing.
However, Zoey doesn’t have time to worry about being That Person, because she’s too busy sharing pics of every single waking moment at Teen Vogue — including photos from inside the bathroom stall. As an ex Teen Vogue intern I get it. Yet, Zoey’s friends aren’t so crazy about her Instagram spamming. The Foster sisters (Chloe and Halle Bailey) had to scroll through about 70 selfies to find a photo of her cousin’s wedding. Maybe Zoey needs to take a social media chill pill?
Such an Instagram moratorium becomes necessary when TV editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth (played by the real Welteroth, who recently left the publication) announces Zoey will shadow her for the rest of the fellowship. The only rule is, don’t end up embarrassing Elaine with any social media posts. After all, Zoey is now so active on The Gram, she has been gifted with a hallowed verification check mark by the social media gods. The only question here is how Zoey is going to mess up, not when.
At least Zoey delays the inevitable by going totally dark on social. The blackout helps Zoey realize just how addicted everyone else is to their screens. The leading examples are Ana Torres (Francia Raisa) and Nomi Segal (Emily Arlook), who end up going full troll on Twitter. The target of their flame war? The lovely, beloved Janelle Monae. Her crimes? Being able to count or something. Honestly, specific grievances are lost in the fog of (Twitter) war. Eventually things get so out of hand, Ana ends up suspended from the platform while Nomi is completely tossed off Twitter for good.
Even with all of these walking, talking, and sulking illustration of social media’s great dangers, Zoey can’t avoid the siren call of Instagram. After killing it at the Gram blackout, the teen breaks and takes an office selfie following a hard day of work. Unfortunately, she can’t bask in the glow of endless likes because she went and broke Teen Vogue’s cardinal rule. Zoey embarrassed Elaine by accidentally leaking a trendy brand’s top secret upcoming collection, which was hiding in the background of the criminal selfie. So, not only did Zoey essentially scoop herself, she also ruined a lucrative advertiser relationship. Print journalism can't afford those kinds of mistakes.
Obviously, ZoZo is off Elaine’s desk. At least she wasn’t fired? At least she learned something? And, in another silver lining, this career drama brings Luca, who stumbled his fashionable way into the Teen Vogue fellowship program, directly back to the center of the story as Elaine’s new right hand man. No one complains about more Luca.
Extra Credit
After Rainbow’s (Tracee Ellis Ross) cameo a few weeks ago, it’s good to get a flashback of Johnson family patriarch Dre (Anthony Anderson) in all his ‘90s glory. Of course he’s outsmarted by three-way calling. Dear Black Jesus!
Aaron inadvertently becomes the Black face of the alt-right movement because he’s a low-key (lovable) fool. Raise your hand if you’re shocked. Nobody?
Someone give Vivek (Jordan Buhat) a real storyline. You deserve an A in Drones Class if you understood his Finsta-and-Google-based feud with the Foster sisters.
This week's Drone Class lesson: Speaking of Drones Class, it’s back and we all need to figure out how to do Charlie’s (Deon Cole) taxes. Does anyone have any receipts?
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