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'black-ish' recap: Searching for King

Season 1 | Episode 12 | “Martin Luther sKiing Day” | Aired Jan 14, 2015

We are a few days away from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, black-ish fans. For a lot of us, it’s a nice day away from work and school, and, if you’re like the Johnsons, it’s a day to hide out from MLK Day parades. But the holiday is also for reflection about where we are as a society and how much more we all need to build bridges and stay vigilant about racism. Just not vigilant like Andre.

The Johnsons (sans Pops and Ruby) are getting ready to go on their annual MLK ski trip. This year, they’re bringing Andre Jr.’s (white) best friend, Zach, and—thanks to a guilt trip—Andre’s creepy work friend Charlie. Andre is confident that all of his children know the history of the civil rights movement inside and out … until Andre Jr. reveals that he doesn’t know much about the March on Washington or King’s speech at the march. Andre is dumbfounded, especially since Zach knows more about the march than his own son, and thereby dedicates the entire trip to teaching Andre Jr. to be scared of white people.

Rainbow and the other kids, however, manage to sneak out of a long car ride with Andre ranting about the ’60s thanks to Charlie driving his own car. Zoey gives Rainbow the idea to convince Andre, Andre Jr., and Zach to ride with Charlie while Rainbow “teaches” the other set of kids in the van. By “teach,” I mean “sing ‘All About That Bass’ the whole way there.” Meanwhile, Andre tries to get Andre Jr. to see the harsh side of being black at every turn. First, he antagonizes a police officer that pulls them over, expecting the cop to be a racist who’s targeting them because of race. Second, they go into a convenience store, with Andre hoping they’ll be racially profiled. He even steals candy to prove that the store owner is watching them, only to discover he’s taking candy from the “Free Candy” barrel.

Andre decides to give up on instigating racism once he gets to the ski lodge, but his grand opportunity presents itself when they find out the last adjoining suite had been taken … by a white family.

Of course, it’s all a coincidence, and deep down, it seems like Andre knows this to be true. But he decides to take a stand and does a one-man sit-in on a luggage cart. This lands Andre in ski lodge jail for a total of 12 minutes. Thank goodness Rainbow, Zoey, Jack, and Diane booked their hot-stone massages ahead of time, since Andre was trying some nerves.

Andre gets his head out of his butt once we roll around to the next day. Before Andre Jr. and Zach get on the bus to the slopes, Andre apologizes to his son for wanting racism to happen as a teachable moment. Andre Jr. takes it in stride until he gets on the bus. In a raceless reenactment of the beginning of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, Andre Jr., Zach, and a middle-age (or, to Andre Jr., old and tired) lady are discriminated against because they are snowboarders, while Andre, Charlie and the rest of the bus are skiiers. Andre Jr. takes a stand and gives a rousing speech about how everyone on the bus is going to the same place—a bunch of snow—and that snowboarders shouldn’t have to sit at the back of the bus with their boards.

Andre is proud of his son, and a really deep moment happens: Andre Jr. tells his father that he knows that the world isn’t the Benetton Rainbow Coalition ad that a lot of people erroneously believe it is. There’s still a lot of yucky opinions out there despite the melting-pot effect happening in America. Even though Andre Jr. is scared about what could happen to him and his father, he says he’s not going to live in fear. I daresay that Andre learned something from his son … before he sent him to the back of the bus for comparing the moment to Frodo’s dilemma with the One Ring.

I think, with what has been going on in America, this was a very safe, easy way to approach the subject of race relations in a post-Eric Garner/Michael Brown/John Crawford/Tamir Rice America. Not all cops are bad and not all store owners racially profile. Certainly not all people would decide to shoot an unarmed person (especially a child) at point-blank range. But as we have sadly seen, there are people who do condone and excuse these acts. Still, as Andre Jr. observed, fear shouldn’t keep us from living our lives. The way to stop racism is to not give in.

What did you think of this episode and its subtle take on how to handle America’s problems?

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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