The Freeform sitcom grown-ish premiered in January 2018, and it’s had the attention of a lot of young adults ever since—including myself. The show follows black-ish character Zoey Johnson as she enters college at the fabricated California University. Before I bash the authenticity of the show, I must admit that it’s actually one of my favs. It’s cute, funny, and relevant—all of the things I look for in mindless TV viewing. As a college student, I definitely relate loosely to many of the situations depicted in the series, such as stress, heartache and roommate problems. That said, I’ve also been able to recognize areas where the show over exaggerates or wrongly illustrates college life. Here are some of the things I’ve noticed:
1. No one looks that good for class
I understand Zoey is a design student, but she literally ALWAYS looks amazing--hair done, makeup flawless, and outfit perfectly styled. Additionally, all of her friends, and pretty much all of the students on the show, appear the same way. I challenge you to go into any college class anywhere and find that. More likely, you’ll find lots of hoodies.
2. What's with the super posh dorms and apartments?
Zoey’s dorm as a freshman is roomy and cute AF. I’d like to tell the producers of the show that they need to stop getting up the hopes of high schoolers, because it’s rare to find dorm rooms that wonderful. As a sophomore, she moves out of the dorms and gets an apartment with her two besties. If viewers thought the dorms in the show were nice, this apartment is unbeatable. It’s probably one of the nicest apartments I have ever seen. Unless Mom and Dad are paying your rent, I’m not sure how you score a place like that in college.
3. Internships are hard to come by
As a freshman, Zoey somehow gets an internship with Teen Vogue. Umm. Anyone who is currently in college knows how competitive internships are in today’s market. Especially as a freshman. Especially for a company like Teen Vogue. I get that the writers are just trying to make the show more interesting, but the hard truth is that everyone wants internships and there aren’t a lot out there.
4. College students are not THAT obsessed with social media and technology
The characters have technology dependence problems IMO. They are constantly doing things on their phones, and they’re all somehow social media superstar influencers. Yes, we college students use a lot of technology, but I really think the show takes it to an extreme. Way to make older generations look down on us even more than they already do.
5. You don’t get to take fun classes as a freshman
Zoey’s classes as a freshman sound awesome. She immediately launches into professional design workshops, for example. Where are the boring gen-eds? I guess I can’t speak for every college, but in my experience, you have to get through a lot of mandatory, useless credits before you can enjoy field-specific, immersive classes.
6. Why are these kids so mean to each other?
These students are savages--they are constantly checking each other, throwing around snippy comments, and creating hostile environments. Apparently the writers think this is how friend groups interact. Everyone is different, and some groups of friends are playful and direct with each other, but I personally couldn’t stand to hang out with these people.
7. Students and deans do not talk
Zoey is close with the dean of students, Dean Parker. She often goes to his office just to chat. I’ll just say that I have no idea who the dean of students is at my university, and I definitely would not visit him or her just to chat.
8. Most students don’t start going to bars until their junior or senior year
Am I the only one who finds it odd that a bunch of freshmen are constantly partying it up downtown and buying drinks for each other? One of the hardest parts of freshman year for many is wanting to party but being too young. The fact that these youngsters are somehow bypassing that annoying rite of passage is just not possible.
Realistic or not, the show is charming (really). After all, we don’t watch TV for its accuracy. Just don’t go thinking your college experience is going to be anything like that of Zoey and her gang’s.