Grown-ish and Alone Together

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Grown-ish and Alone Together

Postby cmsellers » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:34 pm

Despite the Fox-Disney Merger, ABC is still trying to make its own FX with blackjack and hookers. They've launched two new sitcoms targeted at Milennials which I've been watching: Grown-ish, a spinoff of Blackish, and the original Alone Together.

Now, I think that Blackish is the funniest sitcom on network television and arguably second-funniest currently airing, period, after Archer. And it seemed at first like Grown-ish was an attempt to be another Community. You've got the wacky professor, the nebbishy dean, and the ragged band of misfits. Unfortunately, this show so far hasn't done it for me.

I think there's several reasons for this. The first is that, unlike with Community, the characters on Grown-ish are all fairly similar, being mostly upper-middle-class kids, except for two track scholarship students. The second is that the characters tend to act much more mature than any undergraduates I've met, and I cannot really suspend disbelief. The third is that the first few episodes have largely been a dramedy about Zoe's dating life, and the only dating-focused show I've enjoyed is How I Met Your Mother, which isn't reeeallly a dating-focused show.

My first reaction to watching Alone Together was that this was a show written by Baby Boomers about Millennials which just seemed too cringy. (Turns out that it was created by Millennials and parodying that, but Poe's Law and all that.) However the ending of the first episode made me laugh, and by the second episode I decided that this is cringe comedy about two awful people.

I like such shows in principle, but I can think of as many such shows that I haven't particularly liked (You're the Worst, Broad City, Workaholics, Idiotsitter) as those that I've loved (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Bojack Horseman, The Mick). It's too soon to tell which category this will fall into, but while I only moderately enjoyed the first two episodes I liked both better than any of the four episodes of Grown-ish. I also appreciated the joke about watching TV shows on shady Eastern European websites, because that's ... totally not ... *shiftyeyes* how I was watching Alone Together.

Has anyone else been watching these shows?
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Re: Grown-ish and Alone Together

Postby cmsellers » Thu Mar 01, 2018 3:18 pm

So I was going to wait until the season was over before updating this post, but after the most recent episodes I decided to check the critical responses to these shows.

Critic ratings: (Rotten Tomatoes/Metacritic)
Grown-ish: (91%/71)
Alone Together: (55%/60)

User ratings: (Rotten Tomatoes/Metacritic/IMDB)
Grown-ish: (56%/5.6/6.4)
Alone Together: (75%/5.5/5.9)

In other words, critical reviews are much better for Grown-ish than for Alone Together, while user reviews are overall similar between the two. (Alone Together does better on Rotten Tomatoes but slightly worse on the other two sites.) And the reason I noticed this in the first place is that I like Alone Together much better than Grown-ish. So what's going on?

My feeling after watching several episodes is that Alone Together is a show which authentically captures part of the Millennial experience, but it's not applicable to all Millennials. I can relate to it, and yet I still feel like it tries a bit too hard.

Meanwhile Grown-ish is a show about "kids these days" which is very clearly written by older people. This probably explains a lot of the difference in critical reviews. Even the negative reviews by critics seem to miss the mark on exactly what makes it bad.

I'm going to try to force myself to watch the rest of the season for Grown-ish, because I had such high hopes initially. But each passing episode is harder to watch; I probably should just give up.

Meanwhile, I've come to like Alone Together, and I will be mildly disappointed if it's canceled, as I expect it will be based on the reviews and especially the Nielsen ratings it's been getting. However it's not (yet) a show that I'm going to go around pushing on people.
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Re: Grown-ish and Alone Together

Postby DanteHoratio » Sun Mar 04, 2018 2:55 pm

cmsellers wrote:The second is that the characters tend to act much more mature than any undergraduates I've met, and I cannot really suspend disbelief.

I known alot of teens and undergraduates who were pretty mature. More than many adults, in fact.
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Re: Grown-ish and Alone Together

Postby cmsellers » Thu Mar 29, 2018 5:10 am

Even relatively mature young people don't act like adults. Your brain doesn't finish developing before your mid-twenties, and it shows.

Any rate, the first season of both shows are over.

The season finale of Grown-ish made me laugh twice, which I think is the first time I've laughed at this show. It could be that they saved the best jokes for last and it's not actually improving. It still feels really soap-opera-y and still feels like it's written by painfully out-of-touch old people. However between the last episode making me laugh a couple times and the fact that they avoided the temptation to end the season on a cliffhanger, I'll probably give it another shot next year.

Alone Together hasn't really improved since the second or third episode, but it's been consistently good. It was apparently renewed for a second season before the first aired, though I wouldn't be entirely surprised if, in light of the ratings it's gotten, Freeform un-renews it. Still, I definitely enjoy this show, and assuming a second season happens I'll look forward to it.
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