While critics’ reviews of Grown-ish have ranged from fair to glowing, the response from viewers has been almost unanimously positive. The Freeform series, a spinoff of ABC’s Black-ish about oldest daughter Zoey Johnson’s (Yara Shahidi) college years, gave the network its best debut ratings in yearswhat Splinter referred to as “a ratings bonanza.” In short, Grown-ish sounds very popular. Must be nice!
But in case you’re not one of the 1.562 million people who caught the first two episodes last week, here’s yet another reason why you should think about tuning in: Grown-ish has a bisexual character who doesn’t suck!
Nomi Segal (Emily Arlook) is one of the students Zoey meets during her midnight class about drones and squatters’ rights (just watch the show) taught by fellow returning Black-ish character, Charlie Delphy (Deon Cole).
In the first episode, we learn that although Nomi appears to have no qualms about her sexuality, personallyshe doesn’t seem too hung up about hooking up in the bathroom with some hottie she cruised while waiting in line for course registrationshe has yet to actually come out to her family, fearing their reaction.
“I just want to be their daughter, not their bisexual daughter,” she says to Zoey and friends.
Sex scenes and pathos? Win-win!
Perhaps best of all is what we don’t see. We don’t see her caught between her feelings for men and women, which is not how bisexuality works. We don’t see her engaged in a 24/7 triple-kiss with people of different sexes, which is also not how bisexuality works. And we don’t see her manipulating the other characters as part of some wicked bisexual scheme, as is often the case with bi characters on TV.
“We do still see many characters whose schemes are tied directly to their bisexual+ identity,” reads GLAAD’s 2017 report on LGBTQ representation on TV. “Not every character needs to or should be the ‘good guy,’ they also should not all be manipulative villains.”
Nomi doesn’t exactly break new ground for bisexual characters on TV. She’s white, like most queer characters on TV are, plus she’s a woman, like the majority of TV’s bi characters. But according to GLAAD’s report, bi folks are woefully underrepresented on the small screenand when they are represented, it’s not always great! So I guess it’s pretty cool that the team behind Grown-ish not only made sure to include a character like Nomi but also made sure that she wouldn’t be terrible.
Watch the teaser for the third episode of Grown-ish below, which aired last night(1/10) on Freeform.