Last Thursday, as I was flipping through the channels, I noticed a few things missing and a few things that were prevalent. Back in the day, Thursday nights were when my family would prop ourselves in front of the television and watch The Cosby Show and A Different World. We were going to make sure that nothing interrupted our Thursday nights, and we stuck to that routine for years.
But last week I would have been hard-pressed to find anything remotely similar to those shows. Nowadays, black family sitcoms have been replaced with a plethora of reality shows, most of which are not family friendly. Gone are the days of the Jeffersons, Roger and Rerun, the Evans family and, of course, the Huxtables, who then spawned the students of Hillman College.
In honor of #TBT, we’re taking a walk down black-sitcom memory lane and highlighting a few of our old-school favorites.
Good Times: “The Big Move”
One of the saddest moments in black-sitcom history was when Florida Evans and her family found out James died while at work. The episode included Florida’s infamous “Damn, damn, damn.” I still get a wet eye looking at the episode.
What’s Happening: “Doobie or Not Doobie”
Bootlegging has come a long way since Rerun tried to stuff a cassette recorder in his coat just to capture the essence that was the Doobie Brothers. But of course he got a little too excited during the actual concert, and his cover was blown.
The Cosby Show: “Happy Anniversary”
The Huxtables will always be an iconic depiction of the black family. It’s hard to narrow down just one greatest Huxtable moment, so I came up with two. In this first one, they prove that the family that sings together stays together.
The Cosby Show: “Cliff in Love”
Clair was a true matriarch of her family. Not only was she able to hold down her law career, but she also kept her household in shape and took care of her husband. In this clip, she explains to Elvin her concept of marriage, and that even though she has no problem serving Dr. Huxtable, he also has no problem serving her.
A Different World: “Save the Best for Last”
It was supposed to be the wedding of the century. Whitley was marrying Sen. Byron Douglas III, who most people now know as Papa Pope from Scandal. That was until Dwayne Wayne had his say. As you know, the rest is history.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: “How Come He Don’t Want Me”?
Through all of the turmoil Uncle Phil and Will went through, this moment between the two of them will always be a tearjerker. Will’s father, played by Ben Vereen, resurfaces in his life, only to leave again once Will gets his hopes up. Some say this scene was some of the best acting Will Smith has ever done.
I’m sure there are countless other black-sitcom moments that I missed, but a little reminiscing on a #TBT is good.
What are some of your favorite sitcom moments? Share in the comments section.
Yesha Callahan is editor of The Grapevine and a staff writer at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.