Titled “Lemons,” the episode was both written and directed by showrunner Kenya Barris, and highlighted the tensions between Trump and Hillary Clinton supporters. After watching the results with his family in stunned horror, Dre (Anthony Anderson) comes into work to find his team still shaken by the election eight weeks after the fact.
Many viewers on social media praised Anderson’s debate monologue, an emotional, personal, and patriotic response to coworkers criticizing his reaction.
“I love this country even though at times it doesn’t love me back,” he said. “For my whole life, my parents, my grandparents, me, for most black people, this system has never worked for us. But we still play ball, tried to do our best to live by the rules even though we knew they would never work out in our favor, had to live in neighborhoods that you wouldn’t drive through, send our kids to schools with books so beat up you couldn’t read them, work jobs that you wouldn’t consider in your nightmares.”
He added: “You think I’m not sad that Hillary didn’t win? That I’m not terrified about what Trump’s about to do? I’m used to things not going my way. I’m sorry that you’re not and it’s blowing your mind, so excuse me if I get a little offended because I didn’t see all of this outrage when everything was happening to all of my people since we were stuffed on boats in chains. I love this country as much — if not more — than you do. And don’t you ever forget that.”
Watch a clip below.
“How did @anthonyanderson NOT win at the #GoldenGlobes?????” one fan tweeted in response. Others called the monologue “phenomenal,” “powerful,” and “the most impactful minutes of TV.”
During an interview with Vulture, Barris reflected on the moment by referencing Dave Chappelle’s Saturday Night Live monologue and the subsequent “Election Night” sketch. “When [Dre] says, ‘Now you know what it’s like, we all woke up feeling black,’ it’s like maybe we can all sort of feel disenfranchised from the country, and all feel like we took a gut punch,” Barris said. “Instead of now saying we’re black and we’re white, we can all stand together as one. Not as black people, not as white people, not as minorities versus mainstream, but as Americans. That’s what he was trying to say.”
Dre’s speech in Wednesday’s episode capped off an office debate over the election that addressed why some voters picked Trump over Clinton. Attempting to fight off accusations of racism, Lucy (Catherine Reitman) said, “I’m not some crazy right-wing nut, you guys. I voted for Obama — twice. I even got my Republican parents to vote for him. He felt different. I believed he was gonna change stuff. But it’s eight years later. My dad’s still out of work. My hometown’s about to go under. And Hillary comes out saying she’s basically going to keep everything the same. I’m sorry, but that doesn’t work for me and my family.”
Watch a clip from the exchange below.
Barris addressed the episode on Instagram after it aired, writing, “This was my first attempt at Writing/Directing and I feel so honored and fortunate to have been able to have the opportunity to do it with the talented cast, crew, and writers that I work with everyday and call my family. THANK YOU ALL!!!”