All Articles Tagged "black sitcoms"
It’s a “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” reunion!
Raven-Symoné, the young star of the ’90s ABC sitcom, will guest star on Nick at Nite’s “See Dad Run,” which co-stars Mark Curry, who played the titular character on “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper.” “See Dad Run” centers on a former sitcom (Scott Baio) who’s now a stay-at-home father. Raven will play talk show host Whitney Gibbons. David (Baio) agrees to appear on her show despite their previous history. Cooper plays David’s friend Marcus on the series. Raven’s episode is set to air during Season 2 in the fall on Nick at Nite.
Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” aired from 1992 to 1997 and centered on single high-school teacher and coach Mr. Cooper (Curry), who lived with two female roommates, one being Vanessa, played by Peete. Raven played Nicole, the daughter of Mark’s cousin Geneva Lee (Saundra Quarterman), both of whom moved in with Mark and Vanessa in Season 2 after roommate Robin Dumars (Dawnn Lewis) moved out.
Are you excited to see Raven and Mark Curry together again?
Read more at BlackVoices.com
Black sitcoms in the ’90s made for good TV. But as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. The question, though, is what caused these thoroughly beloved shows to suddenly find themselves without network homes after long — and sometimes rather short — runs? Did the sitcoms’ core audiences just outgrow the characters or did the plots go too left for fans to keep interest? You tell us.
It’s always sad when people pass away, especially exceptionally talented people who leave this earth at a young age. Whether it’s from illnesses, accidents, or cold-blooded murder, these 10 actors and actresses’ deaths were shocking because they were very unexpected. Here’s a shout out to those who we enjoyed for their great roles who left us way too soon.
Michelle Thomas, aka, Myra from “Family Matters”
I used to love everything about “Family Matters,” especially during the much lauded Steve Urkel years. And when you think of Steve Urkel, not only do you think of his love Laura Winslow, but you have to think of his character’s past steady girlfriend, Myra Monkhouse. Played by Michelle Thomas, Myra was a bubbly but nice character, who could, under jealous circumstances, get a little feisty. She was in the role of Myra from ’93 to ’98. In real life, Thomas died unexpectedly in 1998. Just a year earlier the actress was diagnosed with a rare form of stomach cancer, and she went on to undergo surgery twice for tumors. In the end, Thomas died in December of 1998 surrounded by friends and family in the hospital. She was only 29.
Name the classic black TV shows and the usual suspects always get named: “Cosby Show,” “Martin,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Living Single,” “In Living Color,” and so on and so forth. But we all know that the ’90s and early ’00s were the golden age for great black sitcoms, and while the ones already named got all the shine, a flurry of awesome ones deserved just as much love and notoriety for their hilarity, realness and for being just plain ‘ol good TV. Here are nine of our favorites that could have used some more love (and views), and feel free to name your own underrated joints. Be prepared to click. *winks*
“The Cosby Show”? “The Jeffersons”? “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”? If none of these shows sound familiar to you, then you’ve definitely missed a big chunk of television history. These TV shows represent some of the most successful television sitcoms ever. The fact that they all had long TV runs on major networks such as NBC, and CBS is a true testament to just how much of a phenomenon these shows became. What all of these shows share in common is that they starred a completely or majority black cast, something that has not always been easy to succeed with. That’s not the only thing these shows have in common. They all share certain formula’s that led to their success on large television networks and they also have avoided certain choices that typically lead to the downfall of many other black TV shows.
Firstly, Let’s have a look at history’s most successful black TV shows. Narrowing things down, these four shows appear to be the most successful black television shows of all time.
Originally a spin off from 1970s sitcom “All in the Family,” the show featured Sherman Hemsley and Isabel Sanford playing George and Louise Jefferson, a wealthy married couple who owned a chain of dry cleaners. The show aired from 1975 to 1985.
“The Cosby Show”
The Huxtables are still, till this day, one of the most memorable families on television. Featuring Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad playing a married couple that were both successful in their respective careers being a doctor and a lawyer. The show was on air from 1984 to 1992.
“A Different World”
As a spinoff from “The Cosby Show,” the show was designed by Bill Cosby to follow the lives of college students at historically black Hillman College on the verge of successful careers. The show aired from 1987-1993.
“Fresh Prince of Bel Air”
Just the fact that you can recite the entire opening song for this show just proves how successful the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” was. The show was about a rich family in Bel-Air, who brings in cousin Will to keep him off the streets in Philadelphia. It aired from 1990-1996.
Okay, so what exactly do all these shows have in common? Well, the most painfully obvious one would be that they all feature families or characters that are well off. Either they already have successful careers or they are about to embark on successful careers. Secondly, they all featured characters growing up in positive environments and any reference to drugs, poverty or racism is minimal. Third, they all featured characters that were great role models as the characters always made the right decision in the end.
By looking at the most successful shows on major television networks, it appears as though most black families are doing well, and that families who suffer financially are the minority. Unfortunately these portrayals are not an accurate reflection of society.
One in three black men will go to prison at least once in their lifetime. Black teens have the highest pregnancy rate. Black people have 21% less married couples than the average Americans, as well as more than double the amount of single parent homes than the average American.
So what happens when a black television show attempts to accurately portray some of the hardships facing black Americans today?
Well, in most cases, the television show does not last. Examples of these would be shows like “My Wife and Kids” or “The Hughleys.”
“My Wife And Kids” seemed to be on its way to having long term success after having major success on ABC. So what caused this show to suddenly lose ratings? Some critics argue that the son Jr. getting his girlfriend pregnant on the show led to a decline in ratings and its ultimate cancellation.
Now, let’s look at “The Hughleys” which had a successful first season on ABC, however, soon got cancelled by the big next after two seasons. Although, it was picked up by UPN for an additional two seasons, this doesn’t hide the fact that it failed on a major television network. So what exactly was wrong with the show?
Despite the show having many comedic aspects, one of the underlying themes of the show was tumultuous race relations. Darryl Hughley would constantly get accused of losing his “blackness,” the neighbors not being used to having a black family and his kids having identity issues at school. Is this the reason that viewers lost interest in the show? Not necessarily, but considering that historical black shows always had a way of hiding the reality of the situations, it wouldn’t be surprising if these blatant race related story lines were often too “real” for viewers who watch such a large network like ABC.
This is not to dismiss the fact that there have been a lot of successful black shows on smaller networks such as UPN, The WB, TBS, and BET. These shows include “Moesha,” “Girlfriends,” and “The Parkers” as a few examples. Shows like “Living Single,” and “Martin” also enjoyed some success on FOX; however, these shows had a primarily black audience limiting its crossover potential.
It is still blatantly apparent that crossover into major US networks such as NBC, CBS, and ABC is still greatly limited. Essentially, to have success on any major television network, the show must portray a black family to not only be successful and but to also not fall victim to any of society’s troubling issues or fit into any typical African American stereotypes.
To create a black sitcom that deals with any of society’s hardships such as poverty, the economy or racism appears to be television suicide in mainstream America.
Where would our favorite TV stars be without their sidekicks, eh? Sidekicks, both in real life and on 30 minute television shows, are essential. They have your back and help you make important decisions, and they’re often the best at figuring out who is in your life for the right reasons, and who needs to get the boot. Seriously though, where would Martin be without Tommy and Cole? They got him to go back to Gina when he was playing like he was over her during a bad break up. Or where would Florida Evans be without her girl, and neighbor, Willona Woods? She helped her look out for the Evans family after James died. These are some of the classic examples. Of course, we’ve found out where these people are through previous “Where Are They Now” installments, so we decided to focus this time on a few folks from some more recent black comedies that we enjoyed (aka, no Pam, Willona Woods, etc.–been done). Per the usual, be prepared to click, but it’s worth it!
For years, when it came to watching “Sister, Sister” everybody knew that Roger, who was played by Marques Houston, was the ultimate sidekick. Of course, he wasn’t around strictly to be friendly, as he was always trying to mack on Tia and Tamera, but he was there for them when they needed him. When they didn’t need him, he knew what to do–”Go home Roger.” But once the ladies graduated and found themselves at the University of Michigan, they made besties with a girl named Diavian Johnson. She was the the girlfriend who gave them the real, and occasionally started drama (remember when she made out with Tia’s fine ex-boyfriend?), but she was a good friend. Of course, I’m sure you know that Alexis Fields is the little sister of “Living Single” star, Kim Fields.
After doing “Sister, Sister,” Fields went on to have a recurring role on “Kenan & Kel,” “Moesha,” “One On One,” and most recently, popped up on episodes of “Let’s Stay Together.” She also got married and had a little cutie patootie daughter named Kaycie with her husband, Kevin Jackson. Since then, she’s focused more on mommyhood than acting, and we can’t blame her, homegirl’s got it all!
Before reality tv ran rampant, there was a such thing as a scripted program. Some of them were called situation comedies, more often known as sitcoms. Such shows featured a series of actors or actresses. And in rare instances these shows featured a predominately black cast. But not like a reality show, where bottles were thrown, tables were shook or altercations ensued, these cast members weren’t beefing with each other; but portrayed the notion of friendship. Though they had their differences, they ultimately had each others’ best interests at heart. Reminiscent of a younger, darker Golden Girls and the predecessor to Girlfriends, Living Single was one of the best examples of a black sitcom and here are just a few reasons why we miss tuning into new episodes on Fox.
NBC is branching out and reaching to touch more with multi ethnic stories.
Next on the network’s line up of black programming is “Guys with Kids,” starring Tempestt Bledsoe and Anthony Anderson.
The co-stars told the Associated Press that they are going to be representing positive images of black families.
“We just don’t have that right now, not on network television,” said Anderson, who has two children of his own. “Like the Cosby Show, this will be an opportunity to see the love, support, humor and beauty of a black family on TV.”
Produced by Jimmy Fallon, the show is about three dads trying to hold onto their youth as they experience their 30s.
Get more details on the sitcom on EurWeb.com.
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We’ve done our share of child star stories in the past, but we usually go searching for kids from obscure movies who literally go missing off of the face of the earth. Today, I decided to do a little research on a few kids from some of my favorite black sitcoms (and a drama) over the past few years, and see what they have been up to. From silly but smart comedies like “Everybody Hates Chris” to dramatic and thought-provoking shows like “The Wire,” these young stars were some of my favorites in their respective programs. Be prepared to click per the usual.
Many of us know Tichina Arnold from her role as Gina Waters’ best friend, “Pam” on the hit show Martin. And then she reemerged as Rochelle, the take no mess mother of Chris in Everybody Hates Chris. Just because Tichina has starred in some of the best black shows doesn’t mean she doesn’t know her history. We tested Tichina’s knowledge of black sitcoms, with some pretty tricky trivia questions. Check out the video to see if the actress, singer and mother soared or flopped.
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