Last season, “Black-ish” aired a critically praised episode (titled “Crime and Punishment”) about corporal punishment that sparked a debate about whether or not parents should spank their children.
The hit ABC comedy isn’t planning on taking the gloves off in its second season. Early in the run, an episode will tackle “the N word” — and its repercussions — when youngest son Jack (Miles Brown) utters it during a talent show performance at his grade school.
“We wanted to do it last year, but we felt like it might have been low-hanging fruit for us,” says showrunner Kenya Barris. “But in this off-season, you’ve seen where we’re at. As we’re supposed to be evolving, (racism) is still rearing its ugly head constantly. So we felt like the word was still timely.”
Much like with “Crime and Punishment,” the show will find each member of the family taking a different stance on the subject. “I have my own feelings about it and I know that a lot of people in my own house and my friends have different feelings about it,” says Barris. “So I felt like the show was a good place to address it. Let’s examine this word and take a real look at it.”
And, he says, ABC was supportive. “As long as we tell our stories in a comedic and respectful way, they are really behind us.”
Last year’s No. 1 new comedy, the second season of “Black-ish” will premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 9:30 p.m.