In 2018, ABC made a very expensive mistake.
After approving the production of an episode of its popular sitcom Black-ish, the network decided to shelve the episode just days before it was supposed to air. That decision did not sit well with the show’s creator, Kenya Barris, who ended up leaving The Walt Disney Company and signing a mega-deal with Netflix instead. But now, thanks to America’s grappling with racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, a new batch of executives at ABC Entertainment have finally signed off on the episode more than two years later – and you can watch it on Hulu right now.
Here’s a statement straight from Barris himself:
— kenya barris (@funnyblackdude) August 10, 2020
“Please, Baby, Please” would have been a part of the show’s fourth season. The episode was shot in November of 2017 and intended to air on February 27, 2018, but was instead pulled and put on a shelf for an indefinite period of time. But now Disney has opened the gates and made the episode available.
The “controversial” episode involves Dre (Anthony Anderson) reading his infant son Devante a bedtime story about the first year of the boy’s life, featuring what THR calls “a mix of political allegory (an animated fairy tale about a character named The Shady King) and actuality (news footage of Donald Trump, the Charlottesville attacks and the NFL kneeling protests).” In hindsight, it’s easy to see why a notoriously risk-averse company like Disney might have been spooked by the idea of letting one of its networks air an episode that openly criticized the president. But to approve the script, table read, and production only to get cold feet and yank the episode at the last second is pure cowardice.
The episode spoke to the uncertainty and unease that many felt in this country after just one year of Donald Trump’s presidency; that was far from a great time in America’s history, but things have gotten so much worse since then that I imagine a lot of people might watch this episode and wish that they were back in that period again. Dre reads his son a book called “Please, Baby, Please” – a real book that was co-written by Do the Right Thing and Black Klansman director Spike Lee and his wife, and Spike Lee provided the voiceover narration for that segment of the episode.
You can head over to Hulu to watch the episode in full now.
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