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This was one of my favorite tv shows growing up! as other users commented, it was the first thing i would turn on after school! it was not only the funniest show, but it dealt with a single parent home, and i was raised in a single parent home, so i related to it. i miss seeing Raj make a fool out of himself, by being so nerdy and Dee, with all the sarcasm, you never stopped laughing....and Shirley, anything she said, made you laugh. i think if more people posted their comments, than maybe it will impact someone to syndicate the show! as you can see, the cast of the show never really made it, perhaps this could help their careers, so bring us RERUNS of "What's Happening"! we miss Rerun and all his dance moves...."Hey Hey Hey"!
Believe me, WHATS HAPPENING came out on a perfect time. There was'nt a
better TV show to grow up on!
Who could ever forget 1)Raj, the wise, bird-cracklin nerdish dude who
never sit in a chair the right way! 2) Rerun, the round, always-in-step
party mover 3) Dwayne, the not so smart, heckling nervous breakdown "They
cut off your fingers and your toes, man!" 4) And good ol' bratty sister
who reminded you of everyone's sister!
WHATS HAPPENING is really missed by this commentator. Come on TVLAND, give us some RERUNs! RERUNs!
This is one of my favorite shows of all time, if not my favorite show
of all time. From Raj mumbling under his breath, to Rerun worshiping a
head of lettuce, to Dwayne just being along for the ride, What's
Happening was as much a slice of Americana as such shows as "I Love
Lucy" and "Friends". I loved seeing them get into one mess after
another. For instance, the episode when the guys apparently broke a
brand new TV set that was used for a church raffle when they dropped it
at Raj's house. They counted on Rerun to win the set, since he
purchased about 80 tickets. How ironic that the one ticket he used to
pay off his lunch tab to Shirley the waitress was the winning ticket
for the TV? So Shirley wound up with the TV.
In any event, I heard that there will be a What's Happening marathon sometime in November on TVLand. If this is true, please let me know! Thanks for reading my post. Peace!
I have to say that I grew up on these reruns. I was surprised to see and remember how much I enjoyed the show during the recent TV Land marathon. The show was still groundbreaking too. I never understood why Mabel King who played Mama so beautifully left. I still remember Rerun, Dwayne, Raj, Dee, and Shirley as a happy group of people in working class Los Angeles, California. I'm not black but I can relate to the financial struggles that they held despite maintaining a happy suburban life. They provided many memorable moments for me over the weekend. It was nice to see Irene Cara in a guest appearance and Alice Ghostley and others too many to mention. The sitcom was probably criticized in its day but today, I can see it as a brilliant piece of realistic comedy touching on subjects tactfully and carefully like teenage pregnancy, marriage, divorce, single-parent home and of course, financial problems like all families share. I believe it was the first sitcom in my memory to feature divorce in a positive light rather than negative. Enjoy it!
What's Happening was loosely based on the movie "Cooley High". It is
sometime shown in reruns along with its vastly inferior sequel, What's
The heart of the show was the relationship among the three high school buddies, studious Roger, dim bulb Dwayne, and clownish Rerun. The late Shirley Hemphill got off some good zingers as the surly waitress of the malt shop the guys hung out in. Dee was the perfect snide and bratty kid sister to Roger, and Mama dished out discipline and love.
One of the best episodes was a two-parter that is seldom shown in reruns. Roger, Rerun and Dwayne were forced into illegally taping a Doobie Brothers concert (the rock group appeared as themselves) by some criminals. The tape recorder is discovered when it falls out from underneath Rerun's coat, and one of the musicians sees it. The Doobie Brothers then work with the three buddies to catch the criminals.
One day,bored out of my mind with shopping,I was sitting in an outlet store watching TV,and behold!!!! This was one of my fondest memories of childhood back in the day,coming home after school and watching the antics of Roger,Dewayne,and Rerun getting into all sorts of trouble only to get Roger's smart-mouth sister Dee and Roger's mother get them out of unsuspected situations. Interesting note on "What's Happening!!",though.....it got the idea from a 1975 film "Cooley High"(on which the show was based)about three Chicago kids who were having fun and getting into all sorts of trouble......The show(getting back to "What's Happening"!!) was based in the residental section of Los Angeles where the mom was the single parent with two children in the household. The show itself was side-splitting hilarious indeed catching the gang down at the soda stop coming up with some crazy scheme or another,and catching Rerun and Shirley(the waitress) battling it out,or getting some girl to go out with them. The show was a major top ten hit for the ABC network(which started off as a trial run,but returned in the fall as a weekly series). The theme score to the show was done by the great Henry Mancini,and its a classic. Some of the cast members reunited for a spinoff called "What's Happening Now!!",with Roger getting married off,and Rerun and Dewayne having a business of their own,and the waitress Shirley who brought Rob's Place and is the owner. Rumor has it that two of the cast members of that show Dewayne,(played by Haywood Nelson),and Dee(played by Danielle Spencer) are living in North Carolina now,and Roger(played by Ernest Thomas)is doing feature films(notably seen in Denzel Washington's movie "The Hurricane") nowadays. Great show,but its a crying shame that is not on any of the cable channels. Worth watching though. Classic.
What's Happening!! was one of the greatest shows of the late 70's. What I really liked about the show was that every episode seemed to have a different plot line to it. I gave it a 9 and not a 10 because it was canceled and did not go out on top. The reason why I gave it a 9 was because it captured positive late 70's black culture. It did not have to use " black exploitation" to make it a great show. In the entire run of the show (3 seasons) their never was a violent scene and they never had to use the "N" word to make it funny. My favorite character of the show was Rerun (Fred Berry) because he seemed to play the personality of the "loveable loser" to perfection which made him a great actor. Also, I liked Dee (Danielle Spencer) a lot because she handled the role of childhood star with grace. After her childhood acting days ended she didn't use the money for bad reasons. She went on to become a veterinarian. Which can show people that you can be a childhood star and still live a normal adult life (contatary to popular belief).
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.
One of the best sitcoms made. It is a shame TV Land or Nick at Nite does not have "What's Happening!!" on their network. This show deserves to be played again, there are so many people who have not seen it. "What's Happening!!" was not meant to be a permanent show on ABC. It went for a trial run on ABC,but viewers like it so much it returned in the fall. One thing I like about "What's Happening!!" is it deals with a single parent in the house hold. When the father comes around the children sometimes have bad experiences with him. We do not see this anymore in sitcoms that much. If you look at family sitcoms today most of them have the two parents. But "What's Happening!!" was not affraid to be different, not afraid to show how a child's parent (the father) could not be a good person. But then again "What's Happening!!" also showed the good times Roger, Rerun & Dwayne could have (getting into unsuspected trouble). This is a great show and I hope to see it repeated on television.
First off, lay off the stereotyping comments. They portrayed 'some' of the characters as overweight because 'some' people are overweight, especially black women. 'Fat' people tend to be funny, peculiar? I have no complaints about this show even though I have had complaints about blacks on these boards in the past. This was a GREAT show and they were all very funny and worked together very well. Wish they could bring it back but Fred Berry is dead now. So bummer.
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