ABC’s hit show Black-ish tackles a variety of topics each week, but a recurring subplot on the show is the seemingly never-ending competition between Andre “Dre” Johnson, Sr. (Anthony Anderson) and his eldest son Andre “Junior” Johnson, Jr. (Marcus Scribner). Dre is basically threatened by Junior becoming a man and eventually replacing him as head of the family. Most of this is in Dre’s mind as Junior is a typical teen living from one moment to the next.
This week’s episode finds the pair playing a game of one-on-one as Grandpa Earl (Laurence Fishburne) and younger brother Jack (Miles Brown) look on. Dre doesn’t want to Junior to win, but there’s little he can do to stop the faster, stronger, and more athletic teenager. Watch how he handles his defeat:
If you’re not familiar with the show, Dre usually finds a way to manipulate Junior before he wins by faking a heart attack. Junior didn’t fall for it this time. However, he was not ready for the way Dre handled his defeat. Junior thought Dre would lose it and find some way to get back at him. That’s why Junior stands there with his chest poked out, waiting to absorb an attack from his father.
The attack never comes. Instead, Dre diffuses the situation by telling Junior how proud he is that he’s becoming a man. To which Junior responds, “It’s no fun rubbing it in if you’re nice.” Granted, Black-ish is a sitcom and Dre was manipulating his son, but his tactic was effective nonetheless.
No matter how fierce a rival your opponent is or how hard either of you compete, most animosity can be squashed by being nice. When you extend your hand out of respect after a hard-fought contest, your opponent will shake your hand or walk away confused as Junior did. Either way is better than a negative outcome you’ll both regret.