Family Reunion: Season 1, Episode 1 “Remember How This All Started?” [Series Premiere] – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

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Family Reunion is reminiscent of old school sitcoms in all the best ways.


Network
Netflix
Creator(s) Meg DeLoatch
Director(s) Eric Dean Seaton
Writer(s) Meg DeLoatch
Air Date 7/10/2019
Genre(s) Family, Comedy
Good If You Like
  • Or Rather Miss Black Sitcoms About Family
  • Jokes Around Black Southern Culture
  • Light Commentary About Black Culture
Isn’t For You If You
  • Don’t Like Family-Oriented Comedy
Introduced This Episode
Cocoa Tia Mowry-Hardrict
Ami Jordyn Raya James
Maybelle Telma Hopkins
Jeb Richard Roundtree
Jade Talia Jackson
Shaka Isaiah Russell-Bailey
Mazzi Cameron J. Wright
Ava Lexi Underwood
McKayla Lindsey Da Sylveira
Elvis Lance Alexander
Drew Noah Alexander Gerry
Amelia Loretta Devine
Moz Anthony Alabi
Daniel Warren Burke

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The Introduction

Thanks to Moz’s football career, for the last 15 or so years he and his family have lived in Seattle. However, his home is Columbus, Georgia. That is where his mother Amelia, M’Dear, is, his pastor dad Jeb, Aunt Maybelle, and so many others. Which is why during the family reunion, Moz and his wife Cocoa decide it would be a good idea to move to Columbus.

Now, for their young kids, Ami, Mazzi, and Shaka, this is fine with them. However, for their oldest Jade? Not so much. This is mostly due to her liking Columbus enough to visit, but not necessarily being fond of the culture. For while it has cute boys like Drew, and odd ones like Elvia, and she gets along with this girl named Ava, there are also McKayla types. Girls who, like her siblings, make Jade not feel Black enough.

Yet, with no choice in the matter, Jade, and the rest of her family, seem to be moving down south. Which, considering Moz and Cocoa parent differently than what is local custom, won’t just be a hard adjustment for her. It will be for the whole family.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Does Daniel have a job?

Highlights

While It Gives You Nostalgia, It Still Feels New

Family Reunion could easily fit in WB’s, Disney’s, maybe even Nickelodeon’s late 90s or early 00s lineup. Especially considering it fits what many call the last Black renaissance vibe in that it gives you a diverse depiction of Black people. However, what makes it feel modern is that it doesn’t save topics for special episodes. Take one of Jade’s brother’s teasing her about her complexion. Rather than make it a big thing about how all Black is beautiful, it is handled as a statement, and let go. The same goes for Jade not knowing who the Black Panther Party is.

What this show does is recognize that on top of there being diverse appearances to Black people, in terms of skin tone, hairstyles, and way of dress, there are also different cultures. Black in Seattle is not the same as Black in Oakland, California. Just as much as being Black in New York City isn’t the same as being Black in Columbus, Georgia. While all are Black Americans, how and what they learn about their history, music, culture, is all different. Thus crafting a show which not only gives a sense of inclusivity, but also being a rare example of such an inclusive show which is appropriate for kids, teens, and more conservative families.

On The Fence

The Episode Feels So Long

With all that said, for those used to family shows being 23 or so minutes, with Family Reunion being about 32, it feels long. Which I don’t know if it is long in a bad, overstay its welcome, getting boring, kind of way or long in it requires a mental adjustment. For at around 23 or 24 minutes, mentally you could see them wrapping things up there and the credits rolling. So it going past that is a little jarring.

First Impression: Positive (Watch This)

Family Reunion, admittedly, is the kind of show I can imagine some writing off because Netflix and children, family entertainment even, don’t correlate. However, it is clear to me DeLoatch has been gifted that legendary Netflix opportunity to be given a chance to fail and not doing so. With the cast they have, the writing, and what you can see going forward, Family Reunion feels just like that. If not, better said, a show which makes you feel like you are reuniting with your childhood favorite in Mrs. Mowry-Hardict, yet truly being given something that recognizes what worked in the past and modernizing that for new audiences. All without tripping or missing a beat.

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