Not to be confused with the 1992 theatrical feature based on the same title.
The series "South Central" was one of the astounding short-lived shows that featured African-American characters in a positive light. The series was set in South Central Los Angeles and it was the setting for this remarkably hard-edged comedy/drama about a divorced,black single mother trying to raise her family in a tough and sometimes dangerous inner city neighborhood. Joan Mosley(Tina Lifford)was adjusting to working for the neighborhood grocery co-op after having been laid off from her high-paying administrative job. Not only did she have to struggle financially,but she was trying to raise her family and protect them from the violence around them. Her older son,Marcus,had been killed by neighborhood gang members. Joan is also a divorce widow who has two surviving children, Andre(Larenz Tate),is a lazy but well-meaning high school senior whose grades left much to be desired,not to mention common sense. His sister,Tasha(Tasha Scott),a diligent student who gets excellent grades and stays out of trouble has a tendency to tattle on her older brother,who normally gets into some sort of trouble.
Living with them in her small house was little Deion(Keith Mbulo),who was also Andre's little brother was a foster child who never spoke. Andre however,had become infatuated with Nicole(Maia Campbell),a sexy girl who worked part-time for Dr. Raymond McHenry(Kenneth Page),a physician friend of his mother's. However,Nicole was also a college student while working under Dr. McHenry. Although Nicole liked him they had difficulty getting together since her successful parents didn't want their daughter to date someone from the hood. Other cast members were Rashad(Lamont Bentley),who was Andre's best friend and also some of Andre's buddy from school. Sweets(Broadway and Tony award winning sensation Paula Kelly) was Joan's next door neighbor and best friend; Bobby(Clifton Powell),ran the co-op where Joan worked,and in late episodes was Joan's love interest. Other employees who worked at the co-op were Lucille(Jennifer Lopez)who was the Spanish-speaking cashier and also Mayo(Earl Billings)who was the stock clerk there.
At the time of its airing,South Central was praised by the critics for its realistic portrayal of life in the inner city,even if the language that was used was explicit in ways was stronger than they would have liked. This was a show the steered away from the stereotypical portrayal of blacks that were in a lot of those sitcoms that came out during the 1990's. These were real people with real problems and real situations.It was one of the sitcoms that FOX had in the 90's that were the shows to watch and its right up there with "Roc" as one of the best from the era. Unfortunately,the series may have been too depressing to appeal to a mass audience which was a desperate campaign to keep this series on the air for another season,but was canceled after its initial short-lived run. The series premiered in mid-season on FOX,producing 13 episodes from April 5, 1994 until August 30, 1994. The series was under the creation of Michael J. Weithorn(the man who was also behind "Family Ties","Ned and Stacey","The Sinbad Show",and later on for "The King Of Queens"),who was also the executive producer of this series along with Ralph Farquhar(of "Moesha",and "The Parkers" fame).
This series was also a career launch not only for Larenz Tate(who before this show was on another short-lived series from the late-80's,early-90's "The Royal Family",with Redd Foxx,and after this would go on to make feature films like "Menace II Society",and "Love Jones"),but for Maia Campbell("In The House"),the late Lamont Bentley("Moesha"),and Tasha Scott("The Parent Hood"). This show hasn't been since it aired more than 15 years ago.....it needs to be brought back.
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