Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wanna watch ‘What’s Happening!!’?

One of my all-time favorite culture bloggers is Thembi. She’s always coming up with brilliant concepts and rocking the socks off ’em. And she’s funny as hell.

The other night, Thembi explored a phenomenon familiar to fans of old black sitcoms: the “talent showcase” episode.

Most black sitcoms, at some point, contrived an excuse to have their characters singing and dancing (or “cooning it up,” as Thembi would say) in a competitive or exhibitionary context.

So Thembi put together a smorgasbord of clips from “Good Times,” “Martin,” “227,” “A Different World” and “The Cosby Show” to illustrate the point.

Ahh... sweet memories.

I add here a 2-minute clip of my own: Fred “Rerun” Berry throwing down on “What’s Happening!!” in an audition for “The Gong Show.”

If you want to watch this entire 1978 episode, it’s embedded at the bottom of this page, via the magic of Hulu.

22 comments:

justjudith said...

the givens kids! lol. i watched that one back in the day...i'm so old.

Alan Sepinwall said...

The Rerun dance! Never not awesome.

And I guess I'm old, too.

Kellybelle said...

Haywood Nelson...dreamy. The giant afro used to do it for me back in the day. Him, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Foster Silvers, and that tall, dark brother from "The White Shadow."

bklyn6 said...

What's crazy is, when you posted about Homemade Jamz, I actually thought about them "Bubbling Brown Sugar" kids (couldn't think of their last name).

Haywood Nelson...dreamy. The giant afro used to do it for me back in the day.

Yeah, Haywood was HAAAHT! (That little body was tight!) I don't know if he lives in NY, but a few years ago I saw him in front of Macy's on 34th St. He was sporting the bald look.

I couldn't figure out what was up with Shirley though. In hindsight she seemed a bit butch.

Undercover Black Man said...

Haywood Nelson...dreamy.

Yeah, Haywood was HAAAHT!


I'm learning something.

Can I hear from the fellas now? What women brought the hotness to TV (or movie) screens in the '70s?

Were you digging Judy Pace?

I had a crush on Ren Woods. She had the cutest smile... and she looked like a real person, not a model.

I remember she was a regular in an old MTM sitcom called "We've Got Each Other."

Undercover Black Man said...

Alan: Dude, weren't you a toddler when this show was on??

bklyn6 said...

Okay, I know you wanted to hear from the mens but, I've always thought Judy Pace was gorgeous! And what about this beauties: Von Gretchen Shepard and Azzizi Johari? (I'd link to her pix, but she's nude in all of them.)

And I can't remember the last time anybody mentioned the name "Ren Woods." (btw, whatever happened to actress Tamu?)

Thembi said...

UBM, youre the sweetest. Let's make it official. Will you be my babydaddy?

I love the fact that as soon as I talked about talent shows all of the cool kids thought of Bubblin' Brown Sugar. I only left it out because The Givens Kids were actually guest stars and not part of the regular cast. Don't worry, a guest star post is coming soon!

Ok, I'm actually too young to have seen any of these shows out of syndication (latchkey kids, HOLLA) but had a huge crush on Haywood Nelson anyway. Those tight lil buns in those jeans. And he's a scientologist now...

dj said...

Sniff!

Hulu,why do you hurt me so?

Rare is the occassion that I envy The States and all it has to offer,but Hulu,it is like you are teasing me and the rest of the world.

I know my American friends are being entertained and embedding you to further discussion,but I am on the outside and you have drawn the blinds on the windows.

Hulu,please speed up you plans for global domination and David,please post alternate Youtube links,where available.

The power of the series of tubes,should be used to draw countries closer together,not to exclude and cause such a burning rage that first we take Manhattan,then we take Hulu.

Undercover Black Man said...

^ Canadians, I swear... That decision to secede from the United States isn't sounding so smart now, is it?

::puffs out chest, buffs American flag lapel pin::

dj said...

"secede from the United States isn't sounding so smart now, is it?"

Now, I know you're just messin' with me UBM.

Don't make me open up a can of 1812 style whoop ass on you.LOL

We gave you a beat down then and with all your troops elsewhere,can do it again.

Our Navy can get the oars out of storage and be at your front door in a few months,weather permiting.

We will be polite about it and bring our own beer.

Anonymous said...

By all means, bring the beer and don't forget a little of the sweet canadian red leaf................

Undercover Black Man said...

We gave you a beat down then and with all your troops elsewhere,can do it again.

Hee-hee!

Undercover Black Man said...

I only left it out because The Givens Kids were actually guest stars and not part of the regular cast.

Actually, Thembi, I wanted to answer you post with one about another beloved black-sitcom trope: the "game show appearance." Which is why I dug this one up.

But I couldn't find a vidclip of Fred Sanford on "Let's Make a Deal."

And I know one of those sitcoms had to have done "Family Feud." (Or maybe I'm thinking about "Mama's Family.")

Anyways... keeping doing what you do.

fishealot said...

Hay,hay,hay! Haywood was cool.

Wasn't Rerun one of the Pop-o-Lots?

70's hotties include, but are not limited too:

Thelma, "Good Times", hot.

Pam Grier, firey hot.

Sheila Frazier, supernova hot.

A young Cicely Tyson, I-eeee like it!!

Irene Cara, izz-ouch, I chee wawa!!!!

The bald girl on the Ohio Players album covers - shmoking!

..oh yeah, Freda Payne, .. I ee, I ee, I eee, owe-oooOOOOO!

Peace

Thembi said...

@UBM
Mama's Family DID do Family Feud (and I can't believe we're even talking about this at all) but so did the Wayans Brothers, I think. Fresh Prince also had a game show ep, and any show that was set in a school sure did have a Quiz competition!

I'm following up with a Guest Stars post next week...the people have spoken.

bklyn6 said...

Actually, Thembi, I wanted to answer you post with one about another beloved black-sitcom trope: the "game show appearance."

Wow. I never realized this was a trope. (Now, I'm trying to recall episodes of "Good Times" and if there was ever a "game show appearance.")

Undercover Black Man said...

I'm following up with a Guest Stars post next week...the people have spoken.

I hate to jump the gun, Thembi... but best black-sitcom guest star EVAR had to be... Lena Horne on "Sanford and Son"!

Thembi said...

@bklyn6
No game show appearance on Good Times, although it makes sense as a possible way out of the ghetto...

@UBM
Lena Horne on Sanford & Son is one I havent seen. I say the best was CLEARLY Stevie Wonder on The Cosby show. I don't mind jumping the gun because if Im lucky enough to find an embeddable clip I'll see no shame in going as far to link to this comment.

bklyn6 said...

^Yeah, thembi. That would've made a good, albeit predictable, series finale.

And speaking of Good Times....

fishesalot holla at your girl.

fishesalot said...

bklyn6, I tried to give Thelma a shout-out but the link returned a "forbidden 403" error code. Thanks anyway though, ...for lookin out for a virtual brother.

Peace

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan: Dude, weren't you a toddler when this show was on??

Yes, but it was on in syndication forever.