Personal, Television

Lessons From A Different World

Confession: before last month, I’d never watched A Different World. Go ahead, take away my Black Card. It’s been revoked on occasion before. When I was young the show wasn’t syndicated yet. I remember seeing a couple of episodes as I got older. But all I could remember is that Dwayne Wayne wound up with this crazy chick named Whitley Gilbert, Sinbad was in it and Mr. Gaines ran a restaurant at the college (yes, the college, I didn’t even know the name of the school). Because I’m not a big TV watcher, I didn’t place any importance on watching this or any other show.

Enter this guy who started calling me “Freddie.” Yeah, that might’ve been a cute way to flirt if I actually knew who the hell Freddie was. Since I suffer from mild narcissism, I decided to start watching the show on Netflix from the first season because this Freddie chick just had to be awesome. I was beginning to lose my patience because she doesn’t show up until the second season, but that’s not the point of this post…

I watched all six seasons and was so unfocused on anything else (see, this is one reason I don’t have cable. Netflix is bad enough). Anyway…this show taught me a lot of things and reiterated things I already knew. Like…

As you grow in life, you’ll lose people: In episode “Homie, Don’t Ya Know Me?”  Lena’s (Jada Pinkett) friends from her hometown visit and they accuse her of not being “down” anymore since attending college.

It featured young black talents that went on to be successful in other ways: Tisha Campbell, Marques Houston, IMx, Kris Kross etc.

Love can be complicated. But if it’s meant to be, it WILL be: Dwayne and Whitley, Freddie and Ron, Kimberly and Spencer…you get it.

It talked about serious issues: AIDS, guns, drugs, domestic violence, children in the foster care system – this show talked about real life stuff and in a way that black people could relate.

It featured icons that looked like ME: Patti Labelle, Billy Dee Williams, Gladys Knight, En Vogue, Halle Berry, Whoopi Goldberg etc.

Opposites attract: There were many unlikely friendships that blossomed. People tend to be self absorbed these days and if they don’t like you – snip snip, you’re out. This show teaches that you can get and should get along with people that are different from you. True friendship.

I’m quite a bit like Whitley (uh oh)

Relax, Relate, Release!

This show brought out so many different emotions in me. I ugly cried when Freddie was trying to help a young boy get adopted. I got goosebumps like crazy when Dwayne reclaimed Whitley at her wedding where she was supposed to marry someone else. I laughed so hard that I had to pause the TV sometimes. And at the end of the last episode I wasn’t ready for it to end. I’d say that the era for great TV fizzed out long ago, but I’m grateful for gems like this one. Since I watched it, can I have my Black Card back now…?

What’s your favorite old school sitcom? Were you into A Different World?

Until next time…


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