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Halloween is a prankster's paradise on 'black-ish'

Season 1 | Episode 6 | “The Prank King” | Aired Oct 30, 2014

It’s Halloween at the Johnson house and Andre is in a festive mood. Every year, his family engages in a horrible fun tradition—pranking each other, with each prank worse than the next. Everyone in the family loves scaring each other or making fun of each other (e.g., Andre Jr. getting pranked by Zoey with a fake phone call from a popular girl), but Andre has the special title of Prank King.

Just as Andre’s getting into the Halloween mood, Zoey, the only one in the family close to his level of pranking mastery, decides to bow out of the tradition. She’s getting too old for it, she says. Even Andre’s plan to make Zoey remember the joys of pranking by humiliating another kid don’t work. Dressing up as a chair and scaring Andre Jr. once he sat down was hilarious (and made Andre Jr.’s life flash before his eyes), but not even that changed Zoey’s mind. In fact, she tells her dad to “grow up.”

Things go more downhill from there. Zoey and Andre Jr. say they aren’t participating in the annual Johnson family costume. This year, the family was going as The Jackson Five (and Janet Jackson) and they needed all hands on deck to have the right amount of people. What were they going to do without Zoey and Andre Jr. rounding out the group?

The oldest kids might have ruined the costume portion of the Johnson Halloween experience, but it’s the youngest ones who really drive the proverbial nail into the vampire coffin. Jack and Diane don’t want any Halloween candy after learning about diabetes in school. Neither of them want to lose their eyesight and feet to sugar! Dismayed and angry, Andre takes his frustrations out on the Halloween decorations he so lovingly filled his front yard with. Stapling an Air Dancer ghost in the head is probably one of the more macabre ways to say, “My family ruined Halloween.”

Halloween fun is even ruined at work when Charlie punches annoying dude-bro Josh in the face. Josh has it coming—he is hiding in a trash can while wearing a mask, jumping out whenever someone walks by. However, Charlie, always thinking of the most extreme way to do things, knows that Josh is in the trash can the whole time and just wants to punch him. Not only is workplace pranking curbed by the boss, but now Josh (who is sporting a broken nose thanks to Charlie) firmly believes that about 80 percent of black men will hit anyone who tries to scare them. If the stats are coming from Josh, then they are more than likely false, but it’s not only black men who will hit when scared, as Rainbow later demonstrates.

After a terrible non-pranking day at work, Andre comes home to find that his entire family has gone to the movies without him. Sulking, Andre sits down on his couch, determined to believe that he doesn’t need his family to have a good Halloween. Just then, he hears strange noises coming from one of the rooms. He breaks out his tablet, which is connected to his home security cameras. He sees nothing, especially in the fridge, which is out of grapes and most necessary food items.

You might have guessed by now that Andre is at the center of a large con created by his family. Rainbow enlists her children to finally get back at Andre for all the not-funny pranks she’s had to endure over the years. She wants to reign as Master of All Pranks for once! But even still, the joke’s on her; Andre knew about the prank the whole time and was acting scared for their benefit. Having a security camera in the fridge is odd, but it allowed Andre to watch Rainbow candidly discussing the prank when he wasn’t in the room.

The real prank comes when Andre Jr. sees a real intruder on the security camera. But surprise again—it’s Josh, enlisted by Andre to act like a robber. Unfortunately, Josh gets punched in the face by Rainbow. He asks for ice, but what he should do is go to the hospital; getting punched in the face twice should have set his nose off alignment. Also enlisted in the prank was Charlie, who decides to help himself to the Johnson’s foodstuffs while Josh is getting punched.

In the end, the Johnsons had a great Halloween after all, trick-or-treating through the neighborhood as The Jackson Five plus Janet. Andre’s biggest fear—that his kids had finally grown out of the Halloween traditions—is proven false and he gets to keep his title as the Prank King.

One prank that isn’t mentioned is the prank that gets pulled on the audience. What happened to Pops? Seeing him react to Andre’s Prank King ridiculousness would have been hilarious. I bet Pops is the true Prank King in that household.

What did you think of this special Halloween episode?

black-ish airs Wednesdays at 9:30/8:30C on ABC.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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