BLACK-ISH Review: “Manternity”


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This week’s was one of the show’s filler episodes, a decent half-hour but one that doesn’t rise to the very high standards the show has set for itself. It also feels like it should have aired much earlier in the season. The show’s been messing with its episode order, leading to some continuity errors. This week finally explains why we haven’t seen Vivian aka Black Nanny in months and the sudden appearance of Rachel, the HR executive from corporate who occasionally sits in on at Stevens & Lido.


This week, Bow interviews to be a partner at her medical practice, while Dre considers taking paternity leave to help raise his new son. The only child Dre stayed home and helped raise was Zoey—he was unemployed at the time—and in his mind she’s his best child. Junior wears wizard robes, Hufflepuff wizard robes no less, Jack trips over his own two feet, and Diane is a possible sociopath. He needs to raise the new baby right so he and Zoey can take care of the middle ones. He brings up the idea at work, but everyone except for Josh thinks it’s ridiculous that a father would or even could help with an infant.

Therefore, the arrival of HR executive Rachel. Mr. Stevens sends out a company-wide email calling Dre’s desire to take paternity leave “bitch stuff”, so she’s there to supervise. Dre’s allowed to take his leave, but he begins to regret this idea. Mr. Stevens hands out the files relating to his in front of him, delegating his accounts to the other employees. They list reasons why Dre being gone will be good for the company—they’ll save money on food and toilet paper and they’ll save time when they don’t have to listen to his lectures on race. Dre’s not comfortable seeing himself replaced so quickly and easily, so he changes his mind.


Meanwhile, Bow prepares for her big interview. Her competition for the is someone she’s dubbed “Holiday Hannah”, an overeager young woman who proudly claims she can work on Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day because she doesn’t have kids, she’s single, and her mom is dead. Bow was planning on hiding her pregnancy from her superiors, craftily concealing her stomach behind medical equipment. The plan backfires when a doctor grabs the machine to help a patient who’s dying. The patient dies and Bow’s secret is out.

She decides to try to use the pregnancy to her advantage, telling the interviewees that the pregnancy makes her more loyal, she’ll be back in six weeks, and that pregnant woman can do it all. When she gets home, she talks to Vivian about the interview, prompting Vivian to reveal that she too is pregnant. Bow angrily tells Dre that they need to fire her, as she’s leaving Bow in her time of need, calling her pregnancy selfish, but Dre points out that Vivian used the exact same rationalizations Bow did to explain why she’ll still be a valuable employee. Since we haven’t seen Vivian in months, I guess it’s safe to assume that her pregnancy lead to her dismissal after all.


Bow doesn’t get the , but she tells her supervisors that she’s going to work towards making pregnancy easier for both expecting mothers and their employers. It’s not clear how she’s going to do this, but it’s a nice thought. Dre tells Bow that he’ll get his paternity leave back, so they can focus on their family. It’s a sweet resolution, but the whole episode felt like filler, including a throwaway plot where Ruby enlists the kids to help her prove that Vivian is a thief—her iPod shuffle is missing. With so much energy spent on a character who’s never been an essential part of the show, the whole thing just felt inconsequential.


Season 3, Episode 18 (S03E18)
Black-ish airs Wednesdays at 930PM on ABC

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Jennifer lives for two things: spreading the “Superstore” gospel and themed “Law & Order: SVU” marathons on USA.
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