10 Life-Essential Questions Grown-ish Hilariously Addresses in ‘If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late’

Byron Cohen/Freeform
Byron Cohen/Freeform

1. Is a “u up” text basically the equivalent of a Chris Brown song, i.e., super unromantic?

Aaron keeps sending Zoey “u up” texts, and she’s perplexed as to whether it means that he’s in love with her or that she’s just the “‘u up’ bitch.” This sets off an interesting discussion about the romanticness of such a text. See, depending on who you are and where you grew up, the infamous “u up” text—which is nowhere NEAR limited to college; some of you are preparing your “u up” texts right now and you have already pulled money from your 401(k) without penalty—can either be sweet or effectively a last-ditch effort to reel in whatever booty you can get when all else has failed on the night’s booty quest.


I tend to side with the latter—last-ditch booty-procurement quest—which I do think firmly makes it a Chris Brown song, i.e., nonromantic. Chris Brown songs are all about that action at this point with no attempt at romance, subtlety or pretense. You want a song about drugs, sex and R&B gangbanging (of the Blood or Crip variety, though I suppose of the Bang Bros variety, too) that doesn’t look to make any woman feel special? Well, Chris Brown is your guy. In that case, a “u up” text and a Chris Brown song are the same shit. I’m surprised he doesn’t have a song called “U Up.” (He doesn’t; I checked.)

2. What time is “ho time”?

2:30 in the morning.

3. What does “hooking up” mean?

After Zoey receives her fourth “u up” text from Aaron, Nomi tells Zoey that a little “d” (or a big one) never hurt anybody, and Zoey retorts that she and Aaron are strictly hooking up, and everybody (including me) wonders what exactly that means since, for Zoey, it apparently doesn’t include the “d.” This might be the most universally confounding question of all time; the truth is, nobody really knows. The ancient Mayans had theories, but so do the current Gucci gangers. It’s all a mystery.

In my experiences, to white people, hooking up can mean literally anything from making out to filming a flick with 17 people present. OR it can mean oral with no intercourse, which, to many, can leave you virginal. I haz confused. In this episode, though, even the white chicks think that hooking up means sex, as do the twins, Sky and Jaz. The only person who doesn’t? Ana, who “hooked up” with her uncle by having dinner in his hotel suite.

4. Do guys talk about this shit—ya know, hooking up and shit?

Yep. We do, and it’s just as confusing for us (even in older age). Aaron is wondering (read: concerned about) why Zoey hasn’t answered his “u up” text, even doing that thing where you move your phone around constantly JUST in case you missed a text because your phone is in a dead spot. Every millimeter counts, and yes, that’s what she said.

Aaron tells Vivek that they messed around, which means making out to Aaron but not to Vivek, who thinks “messing around” means some “top-shelf action,” but Aaron informs him that if there was a little sloppy toppy, then he’d have said they kicked it. My head almost exploded. And that was not a pun, even though it kind of is. Even if I didn’t intend it.

5. What’s a nudie bank?

Vivek is the guy we all hate. Period. In the first episode, he says his father is a bum even though by his own explanation, his father seems like a great dude. Upping the self-absorbed ante, Vivek views nudes simply as pictures of his dong that he sends to women. He’s more interested in the pictures of his wang than the pictures of women he receives, which is probably none, to the point where he’s curating a library of his own dong pics, which he probably views at least twice a day. Aaron has to explain that a nudie bank is the pictures from OTHERS you’ve received, not those that you’ve taken of yourself. #Fax #Facts


6. Do chicks from the hood—represented on Grown-ish by on-the-show twins Jaz and Sky—watch Big Bang Theory?

Yes. Yes, they do, and to assume that they’re stereotypically watching television shows like Basketball Wives is some racist-ass shit.


7. How easy is it to spiral into an over-texting meltdown?

Cringeworthy-level easy. One of the funniest scenes in this episode is watching Zoey fall down the entirely one-sided texting rabbit hole with Aaron. She starts with her own “u up” text, coupled with the requisite IDC IDC IDC “Sorry that wasn’t for you” follow-up, ONLY to acknowledge that it was for him because really, she didn’t want to him to think she was over him in case he might end up being over her.


Then we get to painfully watch as she tries to undo each previous text with a subsequent text that creates more ridiculousness, even getting to the point of talking about family diseases. The scene is PERFECTLY punctuated when Aaron sends the two words that not only run an alcohol-and-salt-dipped sword through your heart but also twist it: “Please stop.” No extra caps. No exclamation points. Just simple, plain and painful. I cringed.

8. Is Buffalo Wild Wings lit?

According to Aaron, yes.

9. Is it easy to be a player these days and juggle multiple people in a dating capacity?

Yes. Unless you are not built that way. Zoey is not built that way. At all. Most of us aren’t. It’s HARD work being a player, and if you have a heart to ANY degree, you will fail at some point. Also, Zoey is attempting to date two dudes who she keeps around her often. Also, technology can fuck up all of your shenanigans. #RookieMistakes


10. Is honesty the best policy?

Yes. Yes it is.

Panama Jackson is the Senior Editor of Very Smart Brothas. He's pretty fly for a light guy. You can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking all her brown liquors.



That scene of Zoey texting Aaron was the most uncomfortable 5 minutes of television I’ve ever watched. By the end, I was hiding behind my sofa.