Kenya Barris and Rashida Jones lead the way in Netflix series #blackAF, a comedy laced with racial questions and supreme family dysfunctionality.
Netflix series #blackAF season 1 will be released on the platform on April 17, 2020 — add it to your list now.
In the first couple of episodes, you do wonder if #blackAF is trying to be clever. We’ve seen it all before, a fictional reality show, or “mockumentary” that attempts to provide similar elements of the genre for comedic purposes. A little like American Vandal, but with Season 2, it became less effective with the repetitive jokes.
But #blackAF Season 1 does not succumb to laughing itself out of the door. Kenya Barris (playing himself) and his family have decided to accept one of their daughter’s wishes — to make a documentary on themselves. Kenya Barris is obviously the breadwinner, with his wife Joya (played by Rashida Jones) being the wife and mother that keeps the family together.
As you can tell by the title of #blackAF and the rather unimaginative but purposefully repetitive episode titles, plenty of the jokes are inclined towards race. Kenya Barris is pitifully insecure — after reaching the heights of his career, he struggles with his identity, chirping on about white people incessantly, sometimes for the sake of it, but other times out of frustration.
#blackAF is a double-edged sword — while the series highlights the divide in culture and race in America, it does so ironically. Kenya is often seen as “overreacting” or being “fictitious” with his claims. The irony is he is right but at the same time he is wrong — it’s a vicious cycle, where the jokes are meant to be served as a case study rather than a sure opinion.
#blackAF Season 1 tackle the privileged family — how making it can provide first world problems that seem insignificant but wholly significant to the character. The family is well cast and well sold, each providing varying personalities to create a back-and-forth comedy environment. #blackAF also tackles marriage and the power struggles we often see in the media amongst richer families and narratively. Kenya Barris and Rashida Jones play the couples at odds with each other well — playing father and mother games in their own unique way.
Netflix series #blackAF is a whole lot of fun, and surprisingly has some serious undertones in the later episodes. I think it’s done enough to warrant itself a second season if audiences are willing. #blackAF Season 1 puts family dysfunctionality into a whole new ball game.
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