The Max animated comedy series “Young Love” takes a unique approach to Black storytelling by focusing on the everyday experiences of millennial parents raising their daughter in Chicago’s West Side. Unlike other Black animated comedies that rely on the overperformance of race to win over audiences, “Young Love” explores the inherent absurdity and ironies of being Black in America. The show avoids the noise of cultural performance and instead hums on a low frequency, detaching itself from industry conventions and creating a refreshing and authentic portrayal of Black characters.
Created and directed by Matthew Cherry, the creator of the Academy Award-winning animated short “Hair Love,” “Young Love” delves into the lives of Angela, a hair stylist with confidence issues, and Stephen, an up-and-coming music producer with money problems. Together, they navigate the challenges of parenting their precocious daughter Zuri, who challenges traditional gender roles. The show embraces its Black setting and pays homage to classic Black sitcoms, weaving together storylines about job instability and familial responsibility.
“Young Love” stands out by refusing to reinvent the wheel and instead draws wisdom from the rich history of Black sitcoms. The show embraces the familiarity of these classics and incorporates them into its narrative. By doing so, it creates a relatable and authentic portrayal of Black life, without the need for exceptionalism. With its focus on character and place, “Young Love” provides a more realized Black setting and showcases the everyday experiences that many Black individuals face, making it a necessary and refreshing addition to the world of animated comedies.