Is Grownish Overblown or a real life depiction of College?


by Asten Cosby

Hello all and welcome to my corner of the internet! So, as most of you know, Freeform released to spin-off to ABC’s hit series, Black-ish, on January 3, 2018. The spin-off, entitled Grown-ish, chronicles the life of Zoey Johnson (played by Yara Shahidi), as she attends the fictitious Cal U.

At only four episodes in, the show has already hit some of the most important topics of conversation in today’s society, including relationships, stereotypes, homosexuality, and the monetary compensation of college athletes, making it arguably one of the more relatable television shows on air right now.

So, as a watcher of the show and an actual college student, I decided to find out if Grown-ish was as relatable to college students as I felt it could be. I asked some colleagues of mine to help me out and I decided to share their responses here on However, before I do that, I want to give you a rundown of how the first four episodes went.


So, the first episode opens with Zoey talking to her dad on the phone on the day of her first class. She mentions that it has only been three days since she left and she had already talked to her dad for an inordinate amount of time. Anyway, Zoey has her first class, a midnight class where the viewer is introduced to the rest of the characters in the show.

The characters are as follows in order of their introduction: Nomi, a closeted bisexual, Jazlyn and Skyler, twin athletes who have to conceal who they truly are for the sake of sports, Aaron, a passionate revolutionary, Luca, a fashionable, unfazed student and Vivek, a Hindu Indian “drug dealer” who wants to follow in the footsteps of Drake.

During the class, the students are required to fill out a survey as to why they are there and that’s when we, the viewers, get to know more about them through the eyes of Zoey. The next day after Zoey’s class, we meet Zoey’s new roommate, Ana.

Ana and Zoey don’t get along too well, due to Zoey leaving her at a party, but they eventually make up and become the best of friends. Alongside her friends, Zoey tunnels through life as an adult dealing with relationships, drugs, and everything that college has to offer.

In the second episode, we see Zoey struggling with remaining focused on her paper on Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and she tries Adderall for the first time to focus, but ends up focusing on online shopping instead. On top of that, she ends up going to a party that Aaron invited her to, hoping to spend time with him, but she ends up earning the title “Cup B*tch.” Then, as she’s leaving, Aaron stops her and she thinks that they will finally be able to spend some time together, and her hopes and dreams are crushed, because he asks some random guy to walk her back to her dorm.

And just as she’s settling in for the night, she gets that fateful “U up?” text from Aaron, and sees that her night isn’t over yet. And as the third episode opens with shots of Zoey and Aaron together at a party. she ends up getting another “U up?” text from Aaron and contemplates responding.

She chooses not to after a debate with her girlfriends and learning what “hooking up” means. And after Aaron ditches her for her doppelganger, Zoey sends her first “U up?” message, that ultimately results in a text meltdown that seriously gets my heart pounding and my nerves on edge every time I think about it.


After the realization and embarrassment sets in, Zoey sets her sights on Luca and ends up trying to juggle talking to both guys without either one of them finding out about the other. Except, they do. And they both dump her.

In the next episode she meets standout basketball star Cash Mooney and essentially starts to fall for him until she finds out that Cash is cheating on his tests to stay eligible to play. And that is where the show has stopped until the new episode airs tonight.

So, as you can tell, the show is pretty dang interesting, but like I mentioned before, I wanted to know if the show was as relatable to other college students as I felt it should be.

Do you feel as if you relate to the show’s portrayal in the life of a college student? How?
“Yes and no… some things to me seem corny, and I feel like way because Zoey isn’t at an HBCU (Historically Black College or University)? So maybe that’s why.” -Lyric
“So-so. I can’t really relate to the whole party scene of college. I hardly go to parties, but I do experience the late nights with homework and having college crushes…” -Slim

“Absolutely! Zoey’s awkwardness is unfortunately too familiar and like my freshman year of college. Even though I’m not as confused about the way guys work like she is, I still remember the same experiences of having a crush like she did with Trevor Jackson’s character (Aaron).” -Autumn

Even if you cannot relate, do you feel as if it is an accurate depiction of college life? Why?

“No I don’t because their dorms seem nicer (haha). And once again, her experience is at a PWI and not an HBCU.” -Lyric
“Every college girl has had the same experiences as Zoey. It’s inevitable.” -Autumn


What character can you relate to the most? Why?

“I relate to each character in different aspects. I relate to Zoey because I ran my high school. That smart girl, stylish, and a sweetheart. I relate to Aaron because I’m pro-black…my intentions are soulfully for the betterment of the black community. I most definitely relate to Ana because I was shy and timid coming into college but once it finally set in that my parents weren’t around. I kind of broke out of that shell and went to almost every party Fall Semester.” -Karen

“I feel like I relate with both Luka and Nomi, because they are both extremely laid-back characters. All and all, I think Nomi and I share the most characteristics.” -Slim
“Unfortunately, I can’t relate to any of them at all.” -Lyric

In “Late Registration”, Zoey shares the story about leaving her friend, Anna, at a party to avoid embarrassment. Do you think that she was in the wrong? Would you have done the same thing? If so, why?

“Zoey was definitely in the wrong for leaving her friend. I would have never done that, as an adult when you invite your friend you are now responsible for them. You may dread the moment they show their a**, but you know that if y’all came together, that y’all are leaving together.” -Slim

“I think she was VERY wrong. I wouldn’t dare leave someone behind at (a party). I’m big on the buddy system and sister code.” -Lyric

“Zoey was COMPLETELY out of pocket for leaving Anna. This event made it clear that Zoey has no idea of what Girl Code is. You come together, you leave together. That’s a top rule!” -Autumn

Write a short synopsis of how Grown-ish is going so far. How do you like the show?

“I love it. Honestly, it’s hilarious and I want to say 80% accurate about college. I would watch some episodes and definitely see myself in that moment or having one of those moments in my freshman year. Long story short I feel as if Grown-ish gives the 2nd most accurate insight to college after A Different World.” -Karen

“So far, Zoey is going through a college life crisis and is trying to learn the ropes of being a freshman. She already experiences crazy college parties, the influence of drugs and alcohol, and most significantly, boys. She’s already lost the attention of two boys that were genuinely interested in her and now she’s caught the eye of another potential boo.” -Autumn

So what do you all think? Is Grown-ish really showing what college is like now? Do you watch Grown-ish and want to be featured in my posts? Comment down below! Thanks for reading and I’ll see you all next week!

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