Okay, I just had to post today. If you’ve been following my blog then you know that I always post on Mondays at 8am.
Well today’s post is a last minute decision of mine on the count of that there’s no way I couldn’t post about this.
We all have our favorite shows growing up and that even when they’re no longer on the air we bemoan that fact. Or hunt down and buy the collection. Or binge watch on Netflix or Hulu, if we’re lucky enough to find that particular show.
And guess what show I’ve been reliving my youth through all over again? A Different World and today is the anniversary of its original release!
Happy Anniversary A Different World!
This masterpiece was a spin-off from the Cosby Show. It followed daughter Denise Huxtable and her life as a college student at her parents alma mater. I grew up watching the show from beginning to end. And now I’ve been re-watching it on Netflix. Which my love for the show took root and blossomed again in season two.
Lisa Bonet’s pregnancy scandal with boyfriend Lenny Kravitz changed and re-arranged the show. She was written out of the show as being a college drop out. Who was last heard from kayaking down a river in Africa. Before returning to the Cosby Show as a married woman and stepmom.
The show lasted six seasons from 1987 to 1993. And it was six seasons of fun, hair pulling, yelling at the TV and screaming thank you Jesus. And I admit, although I went to a college in the boondies, north east of the US. A Different World made me can’t wait to grow up and go to a HBCU. To join a sorority and do the whole step dance thing.
I mean, doesn’t this look like fun:
Another thing A Different World did was raise awareness. They aired special episodes on subjects like date rape, HIV, the LA riots, etc. The episode where Freddie was sexually assaulted by her date and so called friend was very moving. And I couldn’t have been more grateful and proud she had a true friend in Dwayne Wayne who came to save her. Now that’s a real man.
It’s been 25 years since the Rodney King and LA riots. Yet we’re still dealing with the same issues of racial profiling and police brutality. The Freddie Gray and Baltimore riots last year and now the rioting in Charlotte this past week. A Different World tackled issues of race relations. In particular towards the Rodney King acquittal in season six. And guest starring Sister Souljah.
They raised awareness about race in an earlier episode in season five. When Dwayne and Ron were arrested along with 3 other students from a rival school at an away game. Sadly the show ends with Dwayne and Ron’s car spray painted with the “N” word on the hood. And the 3 students who started the fight because they were trying to do the same thing did nothing.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil
is for good men
– Edmund Burke
They also talked about AIDS after Magic Johnson revealed he had the disease. Actress Tina Campbell guest starred as a college student who contracted HIV by having unprotected sex with her high school boyfriend.
Yet aside from the special episodes A Different World was ultimately about growing up. Finding one’s place in the world and finding good lifelong friends. Finding love, embracing one’s nerdiness and enjoying college life. Although, I doubt you’d want to live it up quite like Ron Johnson did.
A lesson I learned years before I went to college. To never excel in partying with As and bring home a C average. Money will not be wasted sending my little butt to college for me to be bringing home no Cs. I’m not crazy. And it’s the same thing I’ll be hammering into my own kids too.
But some of my favorite episodes were also the ones that made me laugh so hard I cried. Like the episode where Ron didn’t want to work on his paper and bought a plagiarized copy. Afterwards he found out Whitley and her partner did the same thing. And had the same paper too. So he lassoed Dwayne into doing their paper all weekend long, missing a party they planned to go to. Just to find out Monday morning in class that he was tricked. Dwayne and Whitley set the whole thing up to make him do his work properly.
Or the episode where they were stuck during a hurricane during spring break. Dwayne and Ron dressed like women, a la Some Like It Hot, to hide out from drug dealers because they took the wrong bag. I also loved the episode where Ron and Freddie were trapped at the radio station because of a hurricane. And didn’t realize they were back on the air and everyone heard them making out. Though I was sad Kim and Ron broke up, I adored Freddie and Ron as a couple. But Kim would later find a new love with another pre-med student from the islands, Spencer. Yeh mon!
But my favorite episode of all was Whitley’s wedding.
So happy 29th anniversary A Different World! And thank you writers, producers, actors and actresses for the memories, the laughter and much needed lessons.
Did you watch A Different World? What’s your favorite episode(s)? How did A Different World impact your views about community, social justice, love, etc.? If Hillman was a real college would you have enrolled?