‘The Upshaws’ Part 5 Review: Netflix’s Family Comedy Is Lighthearted, Short, And Sweet

There are umpteen shows in the genre of family comedy-drama. Full House, Modern Family, That 70s Show, The Wonder Years, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, etc. are shows that cater to the above-mentioned genre, and each show is based on a different premise, yet the core remains the same: family members dealing with each other. The Upshaws is back with part five of the show, which further takes the viewers through the Upshaw family and the dilemmas they go through daily. Created by Regina Y. Hicks and Wanda Sykes from the start, part five of this Netflix original series was released on April 17, 2024.


Part five of The Upshaws only has six episodes, each having a runtime of twenty-five to thirty minutes, which is fair for situational comedy. The show begins with Lucretia Turner moving in with Bernard and her younger sister Regina, as she has to vacate her building because she does not have a lease that proves her ownership. The only thing she owns right now is Bennie’s garage. At the end of Part 4, Lucretia refuses to sell the garage after witnessing Bennie’s attachment to the place, even though he isn’t doing much to sustain it. Lucretia came up with the idea of turning the garage into a spot that would repair electric vehicles as well. Even though Bennie was not in favor of it, he had to give in. 

The Upshaws Part 5 also discussed Aaliyah and her new boyfriend, Tristan, and how the family got around to accepting she was dating. Lucretia, in the later part of Part 5, is supposed to make a crucial life decision that might change how the family perceives her. Will Lucretia make a life-altering decision for herself? What was the point of concern that affected Aaliyah and Tristan’s relationship? 


The screenplay is just an extension of the previous installment. There were not many changes in the pacing of the show even though a lot of interesting subplots were added, and the makers chose to keep it concise and crisp. The narrative is sharp and adequate for the viewers to understand what is happening in the lives of the family members. The humor sadly takes a back seat as it feels like the writing and delivery of the punch lines seem all over the place. The scenarios are interesting, yet the punchlines don’t land. All the subplots have a definite ending. The makers discuss teenage relationships and how parents deal with the current number of children who are falling in love. 

Bennie suspecting Tristan to be a bad guy is a fun subplot to watch and enjoy because it is highly relatable. Another subplot involving Regina and Tristan’s mother not getting along is a hoot to watch and probably a good lesson on insecurities. I wish there was more to Tasha’s character in the show, who appeared in the last two episodes, with her subplot completely taking over the running plotline. Tasha happens to be Bennie’s old lover, who gave birth to his son Kelvin. Tasha’s storyline could have been more layered, as there is no understanding of what led to her breakup or why she is keen on hanging on to Bennie for financial support. Tasha and Bennie’s son is a crucial part of the earlier seasons, but this season, Kelvin is hardly made a part of any narrative. 


The writers quite accurately pointed out how sons are treated differently when it comes to dating. This is done rather subtly, but it points out how families and the entire world are biased towards men, and women are expected to always be careful while interacting with the opposite sex. One episode focused on how black history has been taught to the kids. That subplot needed a lot more punchlines, keeping in mind the subject matter they were handling. Just as the showmakers tried to imply that government-funded schools do a hack job of handling black history, the episode ironically ended up resembling the very thing it was critiquing. The episode did not make as much of an impact as it should have. 

The direction of the show is simple yet impactful enough to keep the viewers engaged till the end. The climax of the show is interesting and unexpected. There were several new characters brought in that blended well with the narrative, and this is only possible because the direction seemed seamless. It is interesting to watch most of the female characters at the forefront, thanks to the makers, who want to share simple stories from a female perspective. Part five of The Upshaws says a lot about the LGBTQ+ community through a subplot. Thankfully, it is seamlessly integrated into the main plot of the show, and the decent direction makes the show watchable from start to finish. Fortunately, the show has released all the episodes together instead of taking the route many other streaming platforms and channels have taken of dropping an episode a week. Genres like comedy and thrillers require a watch to be ‘binged’ in one sitting to understand the storylines and nuances around them. 


The performances in The Upshaws, as usual, are watchable, and it remains simple and uncomplicated. All the cast members are now used to the humor of the show and the characterization behind their roles, which eases the viewing experience. The only element that the show lacks is the complexity and layers in the subplots and the characters, whose presence could have made the series a lot more interesting. The Upshaws just like the last few seasons, does good work when it comes to the humor, making it a watchable series to watch on a lazy Friday or a weekend.

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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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