by Lindsey Mutz
Review of Grown-ish, Episode 1×05, C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Alters Everything Around Me).
In last week’s episode, Zoey took an interest in Cash Mooney, the school’s newest basketball star. In this episode, they have become a solid couple, and have been dating long enough to make everyone in the school jealous.
Things seem to be going pretty well until an internet troll calls Zoey a “hoe” on social media, and Cash quickly defends her by posting that she’s a virgin. Zoey is horrified, and he takes it down, but not before it gets thousands of views. All of her friends encourage her to “cash out” on Cash, and she starts to agree with them, until Luca tells her that Cash’s Dad is all over the news, auctioning off his high school memorabilia.
Zoey finds Cash and decides to go with him to visit his Dad, because she feels bad for him. They sit in an awkward silence for a while, prompting a hilarious flashback bringing the return of Anthony Anderson as Andre Johnson, growing increasingly uncomfortable with Zoey’s silent treatments. He caves in the end and gives her a stack of one hundred dollar bills.
Finally, Cash and Zoey start talking, and Cash reveals that he intentionally posted about Zoey’s virginity, saying that her good-girl status fits well with his brand. As would be expected, Zoey freaks out, forces him to pull over, and tries to call a Lyft, only to get back in the car with Cash when he admits that he never thought he would find a girl like her. She then acknowledges that she might not be interested in dating him if he wasn’t a star basketball player.
This entire scene felt off-kilter to me. Tonally, it was all over the place. First Zoey is sympathetic towards Cash’s family drama, then she’s angry at him, then she’s suddenly okay with him using her virginity as a token for his brand. Is Grown-ish really trying to suggest that dating someone for being a virgin is the same as dating someone for being a basketball player? It seems like they are. But there is a big difference between being an athlete and being a virgin. They’re not even remotely comparable, so it puzzles me why Grown-ish would address virginity in this way. I expect they will come back to it as the season goes on, but still…this was not a great start.
Zoey and Cash make up in the end, admitting that they really do like each other for who they are, not just what they can offer to one another. And while they seem to be on good terms now, something tells me these issues will resurface.
In a surprisingly refreshing and nuanced B plot, Nomi reveals to Ana that she dumped her boyfriend Dave because he came out to her as bisexual, and she can’t stop picturing him with other guys. Nomi is bisexual too, but she can’t get behind the fact that Dave likes guys. Nomi acknowledges that she’s a hypocrite, but can’t help it. The double standards surrounding bisexuality have not been explored very much in mainstream television, so it’s very cool for Grown-ish to tackle these issues directly.
Overall, this episode had its ups and downs, but it’s trying to dig into real, complicated issues, so we can’t fault it for making some mistakes along the way. Tune in next week for more adventures with Zoey, Cash and the rest of her gang!
Featured image via Grown-ish Twitter @grownish.