Over two years after ABC shelved a highly political episode of Black-ish over creative differences,” series creator Kenya Barris says the originally February 22, 2018 scheduled ‘Please Baby Please’ is finally seeing the light of day – on Hulu.
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“In November 2017, we made an episode of black-ish entitled ‘Please, Baby, Please,’ ” the EP explained today in a post on social media of the once censored show. “We were one year post-election and coming to the end of a year that left us, like many Americans, grappling with the state of our country and anxious about its future,” Barris continues of the sharp witted Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross-led show.
“Those feelings poured onto the page, becoming 22 minutes of television that I was, and still am, incredibly proud of,” the #blackAF boss added. ‘Please, Baby, Please’ didn’t make it to air that season and, while much has been speculated about its contents, the episode has never been seen publicly… until now.”
‘Please Baby, Please; is up on the Disney-controlled streamer now and found as an addition at the end of the Season 4 scroll.
Opening with Sam Cooke’s awe inspiring ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ from 1964, the episode starts with a candle lighting up a room on a dark and wet suburban night. It then shifts to glaciers collapsing into the Arctic waters and elephants on the plains as V/O from Anderson’s Dre states “the world is constantly changing, but it seems like nowadays, things are changing faster than they ever have been.” Then the Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee written 2006 children’s book ‘Please Baby, Please’ (hence the title), is pulled out as Dre reads to a crying baby DeVante. Things start to weave together a combo of Game of Thrones, Dark Knight Rises‘ Bane and news footage as the episode telling the tale of the Shady King AKA Donald Trump, Prince Barry AKA Barack Obama and America’s history of institutional discrimination.
“Crazy has always existed,” says Laurence Fishburne’s Pops, who is also up the night depicted in the episode. “But now, it’s different now,” the character states of an nation that was then lurching further and further in pitched cultural battle and Trump’s deadly carnival barking
And the stage, as they say, is set.
Set to air in early 2018, the 13th episode of the comedy’s fourth season was pulled from the schedule by the network. Later that spring, an ABC spokesperson said: “One of the things that has always made Black-ish so special is how it deftly examines delicate social issues in a way that simultaneously entertains and educates.” Dropping the hammer, the net went on to say: “However, on this episode, there were creative differences we were unable to resolve.”
Filmed as the traditionally conflict adverse Disney was kicking off its ultimately successful talks for the $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox assets, ‘Please Baby, Please’ undoubtedly presented a source of potential friction with the administration of the former Celebrity Apprentice host. With Fox kingpin Rupert Murdoch whispering in Trump’s ear, the deal could have gone south or sideways to other suitors like Comcast, an outcome Bob Iger and crew obviously wanted to avoid.
“Given our creative differences, neither ABC nor I were happy with the direction of the episode and mutually agreed not to air it,” Barris noted in early 2018 of the episode he directed.
Now, following the killing of George Floyd and the renewed spotlight on systematic racisms and social injustice in this year of election the cultural landscape has shifted, as you can see in Barris’ full post below:
Back in 2018, a synopsis for the Barris and Peter Saji penned ‘Please Baby, Please’ read: “Dre is on baby duty for the night during a storm, and the household is wide awake. He decides to read a crying Devante a bedtime story, but when that doesn’t do the trick, Dre tosses it aside and begins to tell a story of his own about the current state of the country in a way Devante will understand, on a special episode…”
At the time, ABC ran a black-ish encore instead of the controversial episode.
The timing of the unveiling of the censored episode comes as the sixth season of black-ish is up for four Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Anderson and Ross respectively. Hosted and produced by Jimmy Kimmel in what looks to be a virtual ceremony, the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards airs on ABC on September 20
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