ABC rolled out the red carpet for its highly-anticipated new series Mixed-ish, a spin-off of the Emmy-nominated, Black-ish, during the Tuesday night’s Fall-TV season premieres. Mixed-ish follows 12 year-old Rainbow, her siblings, Santa Monica and Johan, and her parents as they escape the downfall of their precious “love-conquers-all commune ” (which is really just a hippie cult) and have to settle down in the suburbs and learn to adapt to an entirely new way of life. Mixed-ish stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Saved by the Bell/NYPD Blue), Tika Sumpter (The Have and the Have Nots), Gary Cole (Veep), and newcomer Arica Himmel, who portrays young Rainbow.
After hearing about this show some months ago, I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical about watching a Black mom and a White dad maneuver through the mid-1980’s Reagan-era with their little mixed children. My question was, how would they make this funny and make me continue to tune in every week? Kids being bullied for looking different, dressing weird, and having different lifestyle views. Sounds more like one of those early 90s after-school specials, if you ask me. But, I decided to put down my pre-judgment gavel and check it out anyway. Since I really enjoy Black-ish, I should feel the same about Mixed-ish, too, right? Click To Tweet
In this first episode, the comedic flow wasn’t flowing like it does in Black-ish. I know, I know. It’s a new show and it has to find its footing; but I really didn’t have as many laugh-out-loud moments as I’d hoped to. While Tika Sumpter, who plays mom, Alicia, is one of the most gorgeous, brown-skinned women on this earth, she has never been a comedic actress to me. Tika tends to shine more when she’s in her dramatic element.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar, who portrays dad, Paul, didn’t do it for me either. I’m still trying to figure out what happened with the casting. On the early previews of the show, Gosselaar wasn’t in that role. The original Paul was going to be played by Anders Holm (Workaholics), who I believe could have really brought the super-funny to this character and the whole show for that matter. So, when I saw that Zack Morrison was the final pick, I was a little bummed, honestly.
Nevertheless, all the funny wasn’t lost when little Mykal-Michelle Harris (Santa Monica) took front-and-center with her funny one-liners wrapped up in a package of total adorableness. That child did her thing and the only time I had a really good chuckle was any time that she was on screen.
Also, I can’t wrap this up without giving props to comedian Christina Anthony (Key and Peele), who portrays Alicia’s relative, Denise. She was an entire mood when she hit the screen bringing the sassy and the funny. I know once the writers figure out what they’re doing with her character, Anthony is going to be destined for comedy gold.
Although, Mixed-ish is spanking new and has some major polishing up to do (I wonder how long Tracee Ellis Ross is going to continue to narrate the episodes), all is not lost with this show. Mixed-ish does a decent job of giving us those blast-from-the-past vibes through the fashion, home decor, and 80s TV show theme songs. Plus, there are some worthwhile funny moments. I’d say if you like Black-ish and you’re interested in seeing Rainbow’s prequel before she blossomed into the nearly perfect specimen that she is on Black-ish, you should definitely check it out.