Season 3 of Black-ish starts off on the perfect note: a Young Thug song. The Atlanta rapper’s “Special” plays in the background as Dre muses about the joys of receiving special treatment. In Dre’s words, first-class treatment is as American as apple pie and baseball (well, baseball before steroids, but after segregation… okay, maybe just apple pie then). Dre’s latest plan to get that kind of treatment is to “ball out” on vacation and buy his whole family VIP tickets to Disney World (and yes, that’s the real Disney World, not a knock-off parody – the benefits of airing on ABC!). Work threatens to interfere, but Dre still runs off and leaves an all-important upcoming Microsoft presentation to Charlie. That’s probably not a good idea, considering Charlie is so freaked out by ghosts in his apartment (“all my shoelaces are missing and all my forks are flat”) that he’s currently living in the office, and also has no idea what Microsoft is, but nothing will get in the way of Dre’s dream vacation.
Of course, as anyone who’s ever been to Disney World could guess, some immediate obstacles greet the Johnson family’s arrival at the park. It’s hot, Pops is complaining (even though he’s making money from renting the home on Airbnb), and Jack’s short height threatens to prevent him from riding the best attractions. Luckily, VIP tour guide Cody (the ever-lovable Jim Rash) is here to help. Dre is happy to have “bought” Cody (or his services, at any rate). In classic American fashion, Dre has paid a lot of money to feel special… certainly more special than when Pops and Ruby took him to Disneyland as a kid and refused to even buy him a mouse-head popsicle. Now, Dre doesn’t want anything to bring him down from his cloud and that includes Charlie’s desperate calls about the nature of Microsoft. As it turns out, the VIP life is pretty good. Although it takes the kids awhile to get used to their line-cutting privileges, they soon take charge, telling general admission not to make eye contact as they cut ahead to the fronts of lines.
Bow isn’t so lucky. Cody quickly informs her that her pregnancy prevents her from any ride with “a sharp tilt, turn, loop, sudden drop, or sudden stop.” She gets sidelined with Pops and Ruby, who are busy buying drinks for everyone they can find to spite Dre, who they see as ungrateful. After all, they sacrificed a lot for that 1983 Disney trip Dre hated so much: Pops even broke into a car and stole those tickets. Well, okay, it was Ruby’s car, and she paid for the tickets with money she stole by opening Christmas cards at the post office, but still. Bow is tempted to just go back to the hotel and escape the heat, and Pops and Ruby are inclined to agree. On their way, though, they get sidelined by the Soaring Around the World ride and its blessed air conditioning. Pops pretends to be unfazed by the ride’s visuals (“Yeah, I feel like I’m flying, but I know I’m not”) but by the end he’s squealing with joy alongside everyone else and panicking that they’ll crash into the Great Wall of China. As Ruby puts it, “It’s terrible – just a lifelike illusion full of majesty and sensory delight.”
NEXT: Junior finds his Rey