Charlie & Co. (1985–1986)
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The series followed a middle class African-American family that lived on the South Side of Chicago. Charlie Richmond(Flip Wilson)was a black middle class employee of the Division of Highways for the state of Illinois,who juggled his work and home life with his lovely wife Diana,who was an elementary school teacher(played by Gladys Knight). The couple had three children,the older child,sixteen year-old "Junior" (Kristoff St. John),the teenage daughter Lauren(Fran Robinson),and the baby child,nine year-old Robert(Jaleel White). Actress Della Reese joined the cast during the latter half of the season as Charlie's sister Aunt Rachel.
Some of the episodes were extremely funny in their own right,and some were not,courtesy of Flip Wilson's outrageous comedy and punchlines,and it didn't help in the ratings neither. However,this sitcom provided a stepping stone for two of the actors who would go on to bigger and better things in their careers....Kristoff St. John(who was also seen in another short-lived series prior to this was the TV-version of "The Bad News Bears")would go on to make a career in daytime television as Neil Winters on the popular daytime serial "The Young and the Restless". And as for Jaleel White,his biggest triumph career boost was yet to come four years later on another black sitcom series "Family Matters" which became one of the biggest hits that came out of the mid-1980's that lasted no more than nine and a half seasons on the air and brought White fame and fortune as next door nerd Steve Urkel. Whatever happened to the career boost of Fran Robinson? Whatever happened to Fran Robinson?
"Charlie and Company" faulted in the ratings and it shows in some of the episodes. CBS put this sitcom on its Wednesday night schedule which it plummeted in the ratings when they put this half-hour sitcom opposite the ABC powerhouse prime time soap drama "Dynasty" which clobbered it. In some of the episodes the writing was beyond horrible,but during its run the acting(especially coming from Gladys Knight)went from bad to worst,and it is the reason why this show was canceled after 18 episodes. It remains one of the lost black sitcoms of the 1980's,and it hasn't been heard from since.
I'm sure this show might catch the interest of some die-hard Steve Urkel fans, but don't worry about catching any reruns soon. It won't even make the cut on BET.
In one, Flip is sitting at the breakfast table with the kids and Gladys Knight as his wife, had set some food on the table and was walking away and Flip said, "you devil, you," as she walked away.
Another one, they were camping in the living room or something, they were all in sleeping bags, and Flip yells out, "who put the lock on your mother's sleeping bag?" I don't know if it was supposed to be romantic, but it was very immature for a man with three kids to behave like this.
When Della Reese joined the show, she was as an antagonist to Flip, her son-in-law, and she would say, "What happened? Did you wake up on the wrong side of your cage?" I didn't watch the show based on these promos alone. It was enough to drive anyone away.
If anyone liked it, I'm glad for them.