Black-ish recap: Old Digger
When Ruby reveals a new man in her life, Dre perfectly shows the double standard between men and women's dating lives
No one wants to think about their parents’ dating lives, and this is rings painfully true for Dre on this week’s episode of Black-ish. Sure, Dre’s parents have been divorced for years and Dre has witnessed the parade of women Pops has canoodled with since — and apparently even a tad before the divorce was final. (No kid should ever be on a “Cheating Husband” reality show, even with the promise of cheddar biscuits afterward). But when it comes to his mother, Dre always pictures Ruby as a virtuous woman who only needs the love of her son and Jesus to fulfill and enrich her life.
The double standard for Pops and Ruby in the episode is obvious and thankfully noted. As a child, Dre was somehow comfortable with Pops’ ladies being introduced to him as his potential “new mama,” most likely because he knew it would never stick. But Ruby dating someone? That realization and announcement was usually met with Dre pushing the suitors down the stairs and adding a little finger shake (courtesy of Dikembe Mutombo) for an extra showing of force. Ruby has been silent on the romance front for years, according to Dre. But little does he know the sacrifices she’s made as a mother to a difficult child. And little does he suspect how much he’ll come to find out when the kids help get Ruby a new man.
DRE & RUBY
Dre’s thoughts on his parents’ dating lives continues into his forties, but of course things change when Ruby suddenly comes to him, talking about a new “passionate and firm lover” in her life. While Dre tries to self-soothe over the news of Ruby’s romance through the power of spiritual humming, Bow embraces the news with a little too much curiosity. She theorizes that Ruby’s new man must be crazy because “crazy loves crazy.” Dre is sure he must be a “freak with a dungeon in the basement,” and Bow immediately agrees. But does he have a sex dungeon or a murder dungeon?
Thankfully it’s neither. Ruby’s new lover (cue Dre’s humming) is named Davis, and he owns several restaurants and a general store. Apparently he’s a “good ol’ fashioned man” that Ruby met on a dating site called “RatchOnly.com” that the kids helped her join as she’s basically the worst with technology. If you’re new to the show, see this episode if only for the snippet of Ruby trying to order fast food at a pole instead of the drive-through system.
Apparently four weeks prior, the kids sat Ruby down to help her fill out a profile, complete with her likes and dislikes. For those who are curious (because who wouldn’t be):
Ruby’s Likes: Elizabeth Taylor’s White Diamonds, Filene’s Basement, Intimacy
Ruby’s Dislikes: Satan, Demons, Cilantro, Bow’s cooking
But in the end, Ruby tells Dre, all she really wants sometimes is a good hug… You know, that kind of hug (cue Dre’s humming as it morphs into a hymn). Despite Dre’s moaning, he finally agrees to go out to dinner with Ruby and Davis, mostly because when he explains his worries to Pops, he reveals an interesting piece of history: Ruby has been dating in secret for years, and usually the men are — well, old would be a polite way of putting it. Seriously, one of them even died on the couch. Actually, Pops says, he stopped breathing on the couch. He actually died in the hospital.
Pops’ theories on Ruby’s dating life, which he believes is only used to make him jealous enough to put her on his Medicaid, prove once again that the dating double standard is pretty universal. Pops says Ruby isn’t really dating at her age, but that it’s different for him because he’s a man. So Dre confidently goes to dinner, where he discovers Davis is definitely not old. In fact, he’s probably closer to his own age.
As they relive the events of the evening in the car, Dre blows everything Davis did out of proportion. He accuses the lovely man of being all over Ruby (when he was really asking everyone to join hands for grace) and talking over people (when he was just proposing a toast). Bow, on the other hand, is pretty happy with Davis as he shared his dream of taking Ruby on a trip around the world, meaning Ruby would be out of her hair for a long time.
So because clearly Bow “was out of her mind” (insert eye roll here), Dre hopes to find solidarity from his male co-workers. Now here is where Charlie’s presence is really missed. Not only is Daphne not involved in this conversation, Charlie’s two cents on the situation would have been a perfect addition to the mix. Oh well, instead we get all of Dre’s co-workers in support of Ruby (except maybe Josh, who’s mostly just in denial about his own mom). But Curtis is really on board because he exclusively dates older women, or Golden Girls, as he calls them. Basically Curtis gets free stuff and a whole lot of loving from women like Ethel Watkins. Dre’s talk with his co-workers, once again, is a total bust.
Davis, meanwhile, has been trying his hardest to get on Dre and the family’s good side. He bought them Lakers tickets, he offers Dre passes to CrossFit with him, and more. But nothing’s gonna work: Dre is on a mission to get him out of Ruby’s life for good, and he’s now turned to the master, Pops. After discovering Ruby’s new man is not old and crotchety (and is in fact called Pop Pop by the kids because he’s “twice as strong as Pops”), Pops has joined the crusade against Davis. Pops’ best plan? To seduce Ruby, of course.
While the family is out to the movies, Pops dyes his hair black (but leaves the beard gray), wears a T-shirt that looks suspiciously Ed Hardy-esque, lights too many candles, throws on some R. Kelly, and tries to romance Ruby using his South African gold coin that keeps around his neck as an amulet. But Ruby is too strong for even a little “Bump n’ Grind” and that sexy gold krugerrand.
NEXT: Dre finally acts like a mature adult…kind of
Dre laments over his and Pops’ loss, but when he sees Davis and Ruby canoodling in the hallway of his own home, he finally loses his mind. No, he doesn’t push Davis down the stairs (he’d be tried as an adult now), he fakes a heart attack and forces Ruby’s motherly instincts to kick in as she throws herself underneath Dre to carry him to the hospital and excise the demons of death from his mind. Davis, of course, leaves the scene, realizing this family has a lot of issues to work out.
The next day, Ruby and Dre finally talk as mature adults. She hoped that after all these years, she would no longer have to sneak around behind Dre’s back with real relationships. And it’s a shame he’s still not there. Ruby reveals that she and Davis are over and leaves Dre feeling guilty about ending his mother’s first serious and open relationship in a long time. He goes to Davis’ place to fix his mistakes and finds Ruby there, but Dre doesn’t fight it. But he doesn’t embrace it either. Meanwhile, Bow realizes that Pops only went through with his plan to seduce Ruby because he clearly still wants to be with Ruby. Let’s see if that plotline comes back around this season.
After helping put their grandmother on a dating site (why did they choose RatchOnly.com?), Zoey catches Junior on the site for himself. Poor guy hasn’t had the best luck meeting girls, and tank-top selfies and puns like calling himself the “fortress of soli-dude” probably aren’t helping. Junior feels pretty confident about his profile because a beautiful girl named Kirsten apparently likes Junior for Junior. But Zoey disagrees and tells the Junior he is probably getting catfished. His siblings agree, even the “trusting to a fault” Jack. In order to test the theory, Zoey tells Junior to say something that no fellow geek would ever agree with, that way he knows if Kirsten is real or some Nigerian scam.
Junior is devastated when he writes that The Incredible Hulk was the greatest Marvel movie of the bunch and Kirsten agrees, so he decides to go along with a punishment for the catfisher. Zoey tells Junior to get Kirsten to meet him in person where she has to wear a white denim jacket as a point of identification. When they get to the cafe where the rendezvous is scheduled, the kids see a man in glasses on a computer wearing said jacket, and Junior’s punishment begins. He stands up on a chair at the man’s table and attempts to humiliate him as Jack and Diane record the whole thing, but just as Junior tries to get the other restaurant patrons to boo the man, the real Kirsten shows up looking exactly like her picture.
When Junior sees her, he goes into overdrive with happiness over learning that a great girl actually likes him for his real personality and over the fact that his siblings were wrong…so much so that Kirsten instantly disappears. Silver lining, if she really loved The Incredible Hulk over Captain America: The Winter Soldier, she probably wasn’t the right girl for Junior anyway.
BEST LINES OF THE NIGHT:
“Hold my purse baby. When Mamma’s done, we’ll get you some cheddar biscuits, okay?” —Ruby, making the worst consolation deal with her kid ever.
“He’s definitely a freak if he’s into Ruby. Do you think it’s a sex dungeon or a murder dungeon?” —Bow, asking the right questions about Ruby’s new “passionate and firm lover.”
“Is it bad that I hope it’s murder” —Dre, speaking for every child discussing their parents’ sex lives.
“Idris Elba. Tom Selleck. Al Jarreau. Jesse Jackson on the balcony.” —Ruby, explaining her universal and not-so-universal tastes for male companionship
“I have 5/8’s of my man voice.” —Junior, giving way too much information about his real life on a dating site called RatchOnly.com. I cannot get over that name.
“Aka Babatunde Odabeyo” —Diane, coming up with a more likely real name to Junior’s new online romantic interest, “Kirsten”
“Oh no, the Golden Girls like to get down. And the great thing about it is they can’t get pregnant, won’t get pregnant, and will never get pregnant.” —Curtis, scarring Dre about his mom’s dating life for the rest of eternity.