Veteran actor and comedian Anthony Anderson reaped his first Emmy bid for playing successful ad exec Dre Johnson in ABC’s freshman sitcom “Black-ish.” This laffer follows the Johnson clan as they try to reconcile their affluent lifestyle with their racial heritage. He hopes to prevail with his episode submission, “Sex, Lies and Vasectomies.” Will first time be the charm for Anderson?
Dre (Anderson) panics when his wife Bow (Tracee Ellis Ross) has a pregnancy scare. After having their four kids, he had agreed to have a vasectomy, but he never went through with the procedure and has been lying about it ever since. She discovers she’s not pregnant, but also uncovers the truth about Dre, so while he tries more and more desperately to lie his way out of trouble, she puts the pressure on, feigning a pregnancy until he confesses, and in a moment of poetic justice, he steps in a rat trap and breaks his toes, leading them to reconcile at the hospital.
Will Anderson’s performance win him his first Emmy? Let’s weigh the pros and cons:
The Emmys have a long history of honoring sitcom dads, from Dick Van Dyke in “The Dick Van Dyke Show” to Ray Romano in “Everybody Loves Raymond.” Anderson’s character fits this Emmy-friendly mold.
Anderson has enjoyed a varied career in TV, with credits ranging from “The Shield” and “Law & Order” to “All About the Andersons” and “The Bernie Mac Show.” He may be considered overdue for his first Emmy hug.
The episode gives Anderson the opportunity for broad, outlandish comedy, which Emmy voters have consistently preferred in this category (e.g. Jim Parsons in “The Big Bang Theory,” Jon Cryer in “Two and a Half Men“). However, at the end of the episode, he also gets subtler, tender moments between Dre and his wife, giving him added empathy and range.
He goes to great lengths to conceal and perpetuate his lie, so he may come off as unlikable.
Despite the show’s first-season success, Anderson represents the only nomination for “Black-ish.” Is there enough TV academy support for the show for Anderson to win?
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Photo: Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross in “Black-ish.” Credit: ABC/Nicole Wilder