Grand Crew is the best show you aren't watching
NBC/Peacock's Grand Crew, was one of my favorite shows of 2022. It's a “hang out” show about a group of six friends who regularly get together at a wine bar on Los Angeles’ east side. I've seen fellow fans describe Grand Crew as a
Black Happy Endings, which I think is accurate. It's also the rare show that somehow manages to be very specifically Black and not especially Black at the same time.
Wine comes with a lot of pomp and pretense. Displaying your knowledge about wine can be a dominance display. Talking about wine becomes a way to establish power hierarchies, or in in a room, like bragging about stock picks, or who's the better quarterback. Wine is what rich white people drink, with the white part of that phrase implied if not stated outright. As Phil Augusta Jackson says in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly.
To me, that just felt like a very exciting opportunity to show that this space that I think is seen as inherently white does have a lot of people of color that really enjoy the experience as well.
Grand Crew plays with this idea of wine as a thing that rich white people drink. On the show, it's another alcoholic beverage option like beer or tequila. Wine is what this group ends up drinking because the wine bar is the last bar on the east side in which Anthony hasn't dated and broken up one of the bartenders.
Although the characters often use the language of wine to describe it (think phrases like:
It tastes like tobacco and black cherry.), it's done without pretense. They're not using these words to show off. They're using them to describe the wine, sometimes to hilarious effect.
What I also love about Grand Crew is the subtle way it highlights black winemakers. A Theopolis Vineyards poster was part of the set design for season 1. Look closely at the wines behind the bar, and you might spot a bottle of Maison Noir. The show is making wine seem accessible, easy, and something that Black Americans can and do enjoy.
Season two debuted March 3, 2022. It's every bit as funny as the first season. You can watch new episodes Friday nights on NBC at 8:30 p.m. (7:30 central), or Saturdays on Peacock. Friday night can be a terrible time slot for comedies. My hope is that Grand Crew finds a diverse, loyal, and lucrative audience in spite of that and gets renewed for (at least) a third season.