Stuff: How Much is Too Much?

In the Blackish episode Stuff Dre and his parents Pops and Ruby go back and forth about how much stuff is too much for the kids on Christmas. Pops starts off by saying, “Son why is your black ass buying into this white Christmas?” and Ruby adds to it “Christmas is about Jesus”. This episode focuses on the generational differences about tradition in the black family. Pops says that it was Dre’s generation that started holiday shopping and that it is spoiling the kids. Pops says that they are going to celebrate old school Christmas by giving the kids one gift each. Dre and Bow go back and forth about if they should give the kids extra gifts because they felt so bad for the kids. So they decide to do it secretly until Dre couldn’t take it anymore.

At the dinner table Pops and Dre argue about the old school Christmas and the new school Christmas. Pops  makes the family eat Church’s Chicken out of a box with can soda and the kids don’t want to eat it. Dre finally comes to a conclusion and says “You know what Jack is right why are we eating chicken out of a box?”. Pops says, “Excuse me?”. Pops tells Diane to sit down when she tries to go order sushi. Pops says to Dre this is what you had and you turned out alright and Dre says “I turned out alright in-spite of all of this”. Pops say, “Now you got a little money in your pocket and now my traditional Christmas Eve dinner isn’t good enough for you”. Dre tells the kids to go upstairs because he wants them to open their Christmas presents. After the kids complain about their presents and showed how ungrateful they are Dre goes back down stairs and apologizes to Pops. Dre says, “As fathers we try to give our kids more than we had sometimes that just isn’t the best thing”. Later on that day Pops and Dre have a honest conversation about fatherhood and how Pops couldn’t provide a better Christmas for Dre when he was younger because he worked a minimum wage job. In the end they forgave each other.

This reminds me of the article “Father Knows Best” and “The Cosby Show”: Nostalgia and the Sitcom Tradition by June M. Frazer and Timothy C. Frazer. Because Blackish is so similar to The Cosby Show they are an affluent family this is not threatened by poverty or financial problems (Frazer, 1993). The article also claims that the hierarchical structure of The Cosby Show shows the gender roles enforced in the way Cliff Huxtable was presented (Frazer, 1993). In relation to Blackish Pops is the head of the house in some ways because he is the one who makes the decision to celebrate “old school” Christmas. Dre, even though it is his house he still respects Pops. When the family was sitting at the dinner table Pops was at the front end and Dre was sitting at the other end usually this signals dominance and control. Just like Cliff and his father, Dre and Pops have a special relationship that mold them together.

Barris, K. (Writer) (2015). Stuff (Season 2 Episode 10). Blackish. Location: ABC Studio.

Frazer, J. M., & Frazer, T. C. (1993). “Father Knows Best” and “The Cosby Show”: Nostalgia and the Sitcom Tradition. Journal Of Popular Culture27(3), 163-172.

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