It’s safe to say that one of the main themes of Black-ish is that, more often than not, Dre’s insecurities become the crux of not only the episode, but all the problems, high jinks, and shenanigans the family then must experience. That’s what makes Black-ish so funny and relatable. Parents have so many concerns and insecurities about raising their children — and for good reason.
So when Dre’s worries in “Super Rich Kids” began with how dissimilar he is from his first-born son, Junior, it was obvious that eventually that worry would turn into some kind of insecurity lying deep within our Johnson family patriarch. In this case, it’s whether or not he is enough for his son.
DRE & JUNIOR
As per usual, Dre begins the episode with an overarching statement, “As a father, there’s nothing better than the birth of your first son.” Dre explains that a son is supposed carry on a father’s values, morals, “flyness.” Essentially they should be just like you. But as we know, Junior is nothing like Dre, and Dre calls that a real kick in the berries. However, things quickly change when Dre meets some of Junior’s new friends, who happen to show an interest in something Dre holds very close to his heart: sneakers.
Dre tells Bow that for the first time, he actually feels like Junior might be something like him after all. He’s taking interest in new kicks, he’s “son-ing” Dre when talking about recent pop culture (shoutout to the Drake-Meek Mill beef). In fact, when Junior asks if he can buy the new Jordans, Dre starts openly weeping with joy.
Unfortunately that joy doesn’t last long when Junior returns home with his sneakers all scuffed up and dirty, a move that Dre finds to be almost sacrilege, but Junior’s friends just laugh off. When one of Junior’s friends reveals just how rich he is, Dre’s insecurities bubble to the surface. Once again, his co-workers are of no help; even Charlie bolsters Dre’s crazy notions rather than balancing out Stevens’ nonsense. Dre believes that being surrounded by friends in the upper upper-middle class will make him lose touch with reality, like Stevens who believes a loaf of bread costs $195.
So when Bow reveals Junior has a slumber party at his friend’s house, Dre demands to drop him off and see just who might be corrupting his boy to have terribly unreasonable standards and expectations. He meets the friend’s father (played by Nat Faxon), and Dre quickly becomes overwhelmed by just how rich this man and his family really are.
Dre allows himself to feel so out of place that he has an unfortunate incident involving mistaking a chair for a toilet (enough said), and he quickly pulls Junior from his viewing of the not-yet-released new Lego Movie to escape the premises.
We finally see where Dre’s insecurities come from after he has a nice long talk with Bow: When Dre was 15, he walked a date home who happened to come from a wealthy family. When her mother answered the door in her Chanel suit and best pearls, Dre instantly became painfully aware of his own meager living situation and became embarrassed and ashamed about his origins.
Dre explains to Bow that he never wants Junior to feel embarrassed about his life or his father in particular, but here’s where Junior’s differences with Dre turns out to be a huge positive: Junior explains that Dre will never not be enough for him. If anything, he’s a little too much.
NEXT: Lies and the lying liars who tell them
BOW & THE REST OF THE KIDS
Meanwhile, Bow’s side story involves a whole lot of lying in an almost ingenious Usual Suspects moment from Jack. Yes, Jack almost pulls off a Keyser Söze until he completely ruins it up for himself…like usual.
Bow’s biggest concern in “Super Rich Kids” is just how much and how easily her kids seem to lie to her about little things. But the lies don’t become a huge issue until Bow allows herself to fall into her own insecurities when the Johnson family nanny, Vivian, is the one who points out her kids’ incessant lies to her.
Throughout the episode, Bow tries to prove that her kids aren’t just big fat liars, with disastrous results. Because if there’s one thing we do learn in “Super Rich Kids,” not only are her kids (and Ruby) absolutely liars, they’re actually pretty good ones.
Bow learns that after Jack broke a nice glass in the cabinet, he then tried to throw the suspicion off him by painting himself as a victim. He then found out that his siblings ratted him out, and he pretended to confess, only to make them feel sorry for him and do his punishment chores for him. And he almost gets away with it — until he breaks a vase in front of Bow and Vivian.
In the end, Bow finally tells Vivian that her disapproving comments need to be quieted to a minimum when it comes to Bow’s parenting skills, but Bow herself also learns she has to be more confident in how she handles her kids, as well.
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BEST QUOTES OF THE NIGHT
“Gauche, borrowed from the French gauchier. Meaning to be socially awkward, clumsy. Use it in a sentence? ‘When Dre doesn’t want to make eye contact with me at the urinal, that is gauche.’” —Charlie being good ol’ Charlie
Stevens: Wealthy lives matter, Dre.
Charlie and Dre: What?
Stevens: Oh, that came out wrong. Wealthy lives matter most.
Charlie: What you really need to worry about is rich people’s best kept secrets. They like to keep minorities as pets. Did you see the documentary, The Toy?
Dre: That was a Richard Pryor movie.
Charlie: Was it Dre? Was it?
“But how is he going to admire me? I don’t have anything prehistoric to put my gum in.” —Dre on his strange his insecurity that a skull with gum equals the perfect income and admiration status
Bow: That’s it! You’re grounded. [Points to Zoey] No Kanye concert for you. Jack, no basketball for you. [Points to Ruby] No alcohol for you. And… [Looks at Diane] Oh my God, is there anything that you love?
Bow: No vengeance for you.
Diane: I was gonna say “I’ll get you for this,” but I guess that’s off the table.