What's Happening!! (1976–1979)

TV Series  -   -  Comedy
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What's Happening is loosely based on the 1975 movie Cooley High written by Eric Monte. Monte created What's Happening and was also a co-creator and writer for the TV series Good Times.

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3   2   1  
1979   1978   1977   1976  
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Haywood Nelson ...
 Dwayne Nelson (65 episodes, 1976-1979)
Ernest Thomas ...
 Roger 'Raj' Thomas (64 episodes, 1976-1979)
...
 Dee Thomas (64 episodes, 1976-1979)
Fred Berry ...
 Freddie 'Rerun' Stubbs (62 episodes, 1976-1979)
Shirley Hemphill ...
 Shirley Wilson / ... (59 episodes, 1976-1979)
...
 Mabel 'Mama' Thomas (38 episodes, 1976-1978)
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Storyline

A trio of black youths learn about life, love, friendship, credit cards, gambling, and a variety of other things while growing up in an inner city. Written by Afterburner <aburner@erols.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

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Release Date:

5 August 1976 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

(79 episodes)

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Aspect Ratio:

4:3
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In the initial draft, the role that became the character "Rerun" was going to be a skinny white kid. See more »

Quotes

Mama: Roger... give me your belt...
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bullet (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

"A Hit 70's Sitcom with Everlasting Appeal"
11 February 2006 | by (U.S.) – See all my reviews

Anyone who is in their late thirties to forties should remember laughing to the antics of Raj(Ernest Thomas), Dwayne(Haywood Nelson), & Rerun(late Fred Berry) from the popular sitcom "What's Happening!" The show was centered around three ghetto Los Angeles black high school boys & their hilarious high jinks. Roger Thomas(studious & spectacled), Dwayne Nelson(nervous but loyal), & Freddy Stubbs(chubby & dimwitted) were the best of friends who spent a lot of time together at school & at Rob's Soda Shop. At Rob's was Shirley(late comedian Shirley Hemphill), the wise-cracking & worldly waitress who provided sparkling wit with insults to spare. When not with Dwayne & Rerun, Raj came home to strict but loving divorcée mother Mabel Thomas(late Mabel King) & cute but pain in the keister little sister Dee Thomas(Danielle Spencer). From one kind of trouble or silly situation to the next, the three guys never split up, always help each other, & find a way to persevere when the going gets tough.

The show was quite successful & can be shown in reruns on TVLand or Nick at Nite. Oldschoolers & kiddies alike can enjoy a show that gave me hours of unadulterated pleasure as a kid. "What's Happening!" did expand to an unsuccessful spin off called "What's Happening Now!" which featured the core cast all grown up. Raj & Shirley bought & co-owned a diner while Raj pursued a writing career. Raj also is married in this show to Ann-Marie Johnson & cares for her niece. Dwayne & Rerun are off on their careers while sharing an apartment. Dee Thomas is all grown up & in college. The comedy was not as sharp as the original series but kept loyal fans watching. The show did not last but entertained some nonetheless.

All said, "What's Happening!" holds fond memories of a time long gone. Three of the show's actors have passed on in recent years & the core thespians have been low key since the show ended. For those who watched & enjoyed the show, you know that successful sitcoms are hard to come by. Those of you who have not seen "What's Happening!", you missed out on a small piece of 70's Americana.


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