‘Grown-ish’ 2×19 Review: “Only Human”

Grown-ish tackled mental health, particularly black mental health, and raising mental health awareness this week in “Only Human.”

Aaron hosts a party at Hawkins, everyone seems to be enjoying themselves and having a good time, except this one kid who checks out early and goes back to his dorm room. Honestly, I held my breath for a moment because from behind I wasn’t sure if Luca had died his dreads blonde and I was deeply worried.

The next thing you know the police and ambulance are arriving and this guy (whose name we never find out) is being rolled out on a stretcher. Aaron is visibly upset and calls a mandatory meeting with all the Hawkins residents to discuss what happened. What surprises him is that all of these young African American kids, his own peers, are dealing with their own shit on a daily basis and not telling a soul.

I know what its like to be the black student on a predominantly white college campus. You can feel very isolated and alone. It’s hard to find your way, when no one looks like you or speaks like you do. These kids are not eating, or sleeping in some cases because they feel an overwhelming responsibility to be the best and do well, and to make their families proud. There is pressure on them because for some, they might be the first to go to college.

As the conversation about mental health grows deeper, we learn the students are not asking for help from their family or peers. Maybe this kid couldn’t take it anymore, and he felt like he had no where to turn or he was embarrassed? We never find out, and that’s the point. Does the why really matter?

Aaron laments that within the African American community, mental health is not a topic people talk about. Its often ignored or chalked up to stress or being “weak.” Those misconceptions and stereotypes are doing a lot of damage however and these kids are feeling the repercussions. I felt for them and with them.

Meanwhile, Zoey is having some issues of her own, because it’s time for her to declare a major and she’s hit a stumbling block. Zoey’s academic probation drama has not helped her, obviously and  most professors don’t want to take a chance on her, but her friends and Luca have her back. The twins and Nomi, tell her yes, she messed up by cheating, yes she needs to work that much harder BUT she is talented and she does deserve to follow her passion and dream of being in the fashion industry.

On a side note, Luca bakes Zoey some Zucchini bread because he says, “It’s good for mental clarity and Eczema.” LMAO!  I love him so much right now. He and Zoey are like the reverse of Dre and Bow. Luca is Bow and Zoey is Dre. I see you Grown-ish writers! Zoey petitions the board, to declare her own major and presents a really good dissertation to her professors called “The Sociology of Fashion.”  Her professors dug it and so did I. Zoey and the gang quickly celebrate this huge milestone and now Zoey gets to participate in the Sophomore fun run and wear her major proudly. Good for you Zoey! You are learning and growing everyday. Hopefully your parents will start to notice and not completely give up on you.

Adulting is hard guys, college is supposed to be both challenging and fun. It’s supposed to prepare you for the “real” world, for life. Zoey is finding out that it takes baby steps to make progress, you don’t always have to leap, you know? Celebrate life’s little successes. I’m damn proud of her for sticking with her major and figuring out what she wants to do! She is passionate about fashion and adept in her analysis of how it fits into culture and society. Luca can be the designer and Zoey can be the stylist, they can be team Zuca. I’d let them style me!

Grown-ish airs on Freeform at 8/7c.

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