Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

The Upshaws Season 4 is harmless fun

Season 4 of Netflix’s The Upshaws welcomes back Mike Epps and his crew. The series follows the life of Bennie Upshaw (played by Epps), the head of a Black working-class family residing in Indianapolis. Bennie is a charming and well-intentioned mechanic, but he has a knack for creating chaos. 

He tries to provide for and care for his family despite his flaws. The Upshaw family includes Bennie’s wife Regina (played by Kim Fields), their two young daughters Aaliyah (portrayed by Khali Daniya-Renee Spraggins) and Maya (played by Journey Christine), and their firstborn son Bernard (played by Jermelle Simon).

When we last the family, Regina decided to take some me time and move into her sister Lucretia’s (Wanda Sykes) house while recovering from her heart attack. Kelvin (Diamond Lyons), the teenage son Bennie fathered with another woman, is now living with him. I credit the creative team behind The Upshaws for keeping the show engaging.

Kim Fields continues her reign as the show’s MVP, and her arc for Season 4 resonated with me as I thought of many strong Black Women in my life. I must credit the writers for not wrapping up the storyline in one episode and letting it marinate.

Although I still don’t enjoy Mike Epps’ stand-up specials, he excels in portraying Bennie. Like many comedians, Epps is experiencing a career resurgence by taking on dramatic supporting roles while still utilizing his comedic skills. His four-season stint as Bennie has proven that, with the right team, Epps can successfully take on a leading dramatic role.

Season 4 continues to give Sykes’ standout moments and credit to the writers for crafting her character’s honest storyline. At the same time, the young actors who play Bennie’s children deliver great on-screen moments while avoiding the cliché of portraying the kids as more intelligent than their parents. The characters embrace their youth and are growing up on the show, which I like.

The show’s use of a laugh track still hinders me as it sometimes takes me out of the moment. Nevertheless, seeing two Black Queens appear in Season 4 makes up for it. The Upshaws continues to mix heart and humor successfully, and I look forward to the fifth season.

Final Grade: B

The Upshaws Season 4 is streaming on Netflix now. 

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