Netflix’s All About The Washingtons sells the Joseph and Justine Simmons fictionalised selves well, but unfortunately, the sitcom is just not funny.
Netflix Original Series All About The Washingtons has routinely been watched before on a hazy Saturday morning. A suburban family living in a moderately decent middle-class house, with each child presenting distracting comical traits, and the parents having opposing ways of approaching certain tasks. Apparently, they still make comedies like this, with the obligatory laughing track to convince you that we are having fun.
The difference with All About The Washingtons is the family it represents, essentially making it an autobiographical sitcom. The Netflix show follows Joey Washington (Rev Run aka Joseph Simmons) and his wife Justine Washington (Justine Simmons), playing fictionalized versions of themselves raising a family of kids. Joey decides to retire from hip-hop and become a family man, opening the door for his wife to pursue a career after years of taking care of the children. As a take on family life, you can familiarise yourself with the dynamic of a high earner and the parent that has the responsibility of caring for the children. It is uniquely refreshing to witness a narrative where those roles reverse, even if the problem solving probably would not be as easy as represented in this sitcom.
If you are familiar with the TV series Run’s House (Joseph Simmon’s family reality show), then you will undoubtedly feel more enjoyment from All About The Washingtons due to its exaggerated nature of their fictionalised selves. The first episode opens up with Joey making his ultimate decision of retiring, with his wife immediately diving into career mode. Conflicts emerge immediately, with Joey attempting to provide fatherly advice to his daughter and Justine giving the opposite guidance.
Unfortunately, the usual family jokes are where the Netflix series hits a brick wall. The run-of-the-mill gags occur quite frequently and it is something we will be all too familiar with. For years we have witnessed daytime sitcoms that land on the Disney channel and Saturday morning TV, offering no value from a narrative perspective. I guess for those who still follow the career of the former Run–D.M.C. rapper, this will provide some enlightening perspective to his family life from a satirical perspective, but if you have seen his reality shows I am not sure what else you are getting from Joseph Simmons apart from fan sentiment.
And this is where I question, what is the point of All About The Washingtons? Is it meant to represent the adjustment Joseph and Justine Simmons faced when he had to retire his stage name? Or did they genuinely believe this story was good enough to tell within the confines of a sitcom? Either way, it’s not that funny or engaging, and the laughing track makes everything sound all too ironic. All you can do is sit back and enjoy the dynamic, at least.
There is one scene that did make me laugh purely because of the insult of it all. When Joey announced he was retiring, one of his sons had a brief panic attack about the family surviving financially. Joey reassured them that they will be okay. It’s funny because of course, the family will not be suffering for money. If you are planning on watching it, plan it on a Saturday morning in bed, when you could not care less and there may be a chance that you will be amused by All About The Washingtons, drowning out the laughing track with your own.