ATX Television Festival-goers were treated to a never-before-seen upcoming episode from Season 2B of Freeform’s Grown-ish series, followed by a Q&A session with executive producer Craig Doyle and stars Yara Shahidi, Francia Raisa, Jordan Buhat, and Trevor Jackson.
The second half of the season will continue to follow Zoey (Shahidi) and her friends as they find themselves at dramatic crossroads in their relationships, academics, and adulthood. Since being cut off by her father at the end of Season 2A, Zoey must now adjust to a new way of living, which won’t come without its complications.
“This is the first time that Zoey is generally out of her bubble because she’s always had that socioeconomic status to fall back on,” said Shahidi. “Even in those moments where she is connected to the world around her, there’s that layer of the class system and the fact that she has been raised in this wealthier lifestyle.. so her being cut off is such a shift… I appreciate the journey the character goes on.”
This season has also an expanded the number of episodes from 13 (in season one) to 20, which granted the writers a “little bit more real estate to be able to step certain things out” and “slowplay some of the relationships,” said Doyle. “We’ll get into everybody’s life a little bit better.”
Much like its predecessor, Black-ish, Grown-ish has been praised for tackling topics that are socially relevant in the current environment. This season will get into things like cultural appropriation, mental health, and academic scandal in a way that will feel “organic and authentic.”
“When you try to do socially conscious shows, it’s really hard not to make it a PSA,” said Doyle. “When it’s in the forefront,” the TV audience is “going to smell it out and know it’s not authentic.”
It was recently announced that Grown-ish will be returning for a third season. On the possibility of taking the show beyond the CalU campus, “The idea is this feels bigger than just college. We didn’t want to be just painted into a four-year window where we see people cruise through and cruise out,” said Doyle. “We have that luxury if we wanted to do that… I can imagine it going way beyond and I can imagine it staying in the parameters that it’s currently in.”
Grown-ish airs Wednesdays on Freeform and is also available to stream on Hulu.