Christmas is a special time in the Johnson household on Blackish. Dre and bow make sure that their children have the very best and get the very best, but Pops doesn’t think that letting kids have whatever they want and then complain about it is a good thing. In fact, he believes his grandchildren are monsters for that very reason.
Being that he is the patriarch of the family, he takes it upon himself to save his grandchildren, so they are going to do Christmas a little differently this year. When Dre protests because Pops plans to give his grandkids the kind of Christmases Dre used to have aren’t ideal, Ruby joins her baby daddy and to say that the kids are spoiled, and it wouldn’t hurt them to get less this Christmas. Reluctantly, Bow and Dre give in.
When Pops lets his grandkids know the plan, understandably, they are not feeling it. Only one present per person; where they do that at? Nonetheless, there is something that they can do about it, so they devise a plan to make their parents cave.
While they get their strategy together, Dre lets his co-workers know what he is doing, and they don’t think it’s a good idea. Deborah (Wanda Sykes) thinks he’s crazy. As they talk about Christmas, she reminisces about her holidays when she was married, which prompts Dre to invite her to his house. She tells him, “thanks but no thanks” because she doesn’t want a pity invite. Let me just here that I am not feeling the Wanda Sykes addition to Blackish. She’s really not that funny, so if she is supposed to be the Charlie replacement, they can keep it because Deon Cole is hilarious. I mean he is effortlessly funny, and she just doesn’t bring the laughs that he did. But I digress.
Back at the house, the kids play out their plan perfectly. Diane is helpful, Jack and Zoey charming and Jr. well his greatest contribution is to be absent. And their plan works. Dre and Bow see the effort that they put in, and it has the effect the Johnson children were looking for. But just as their parents are about to give into their scheme, Pops shuts it down. He’s on to what they are doing and calls them out in front of their parents, who realize that they have been got.
Now, even though Dre and Bow have allowed Pops to enact his kind of Christmas, they start to think about their kids, and they just don’t feel right not giving them a good traditional Christmas. So they plan a “secret Christmas” in the closet upstairs that Pops doesn’t know about.
As their favorite holiday approaches, they have their Christmas Eve dinner, Pop’s style, and the boxed chicken assortment just doesn’t work for Dre. So much so that he stands up to his dad, reveals “secret Christmas” and marches his family upstairs to celebrate.
Proud that he let his father have it and to be giving his children the Christmas they know and love, he smiles as they open their gifts. But they aren’t smiling. They complain that they got the wrong style of gifts or about the gift altogether and what Ruby and Pop’s have been saying about their grandchildren hits Dre dead in his face. He tells him how ungrateful they are and that they need to learn to appreciate their family and the things that they have more.
Disappointed in himself and his children, he talks to his dad who reveals to him the reason why he gave him things out of the refrigerator when he was a child for Christmas. Pops worked a minimum wage job and could barely afford to keep the lights on, so giving Dre a jar of pickles was the best he could do. He admits that Dre and Bow have every right to give their kids the best Christmas and tells him he’s a pretty “decent father.” And to show how much he loves and appreciates his son, he finally gets him the skates he always wanted. His family also shows up at the end of their conversation, clearly having had a change of heart about Christmas and their own selfish, self-centered ways.
In the end, they help Dre in walk in his skates in the kitchen since he has never learned to do so on his own. However, when Grandma Ruby says, “who wants some leftover cake” they abandon him, and he falls to the floor.
Better late than never I guess.