Friday, September 27, 2013

Favorite Episodes: A Different World

I've watched a lot of television series through the years that were popular, but not among my friends. A Different World is one of them. I didn't see any of the episodes during the original run (it went off the air when I was in elementary school), but I found the comedy in reruns during the summer of 1997 or 1998 and was hooked. In fact, by the time I got to college myself, I knew I wanted to be a Resident Assistant partly due to the portrayal of the position on this show! When I mentioned this a few months after being hired as one, most of my colleagues just stared... they weren't familiar with Whitley, Dwayne, Jaleesa, and the others. It wasn't until grad school that I really found friends who knew the series and how great it was.

It wasn't until a few years ago that I managed to actually see all of the episodes (it still runs a few times a day on TV1, and there's also YouTube...), so it's about time that I went through and selected some of my favorite episodes. Season four was particularly difficult for me to narrow down the winner! Note: my normal rules apply, meaning holiday episodes aren't eligible, and I try not to choose episodes that I have already covered substantially elsewhere.
Season 1: "Rudy and the Snow Queen" (S01E06): I had a lot of reservations about Jaleesa in the beginning, for the same reason everyone else did - she was a 26-year-old divorcee starting college. In this episode, this fact stands out, as Jaleesa's ex-husband starts dating her sister! But the more fun storyline is that Rudy comes to visit Denise but prefers spending her time with Whitley, really annoying the elder Huxtable, and making for some pretty funny moments.

Season 2: "Risky Business" (S02E13): I think one of the things that made this series great are the many crossovers between The Cosby Show folks and the college kids at Hillman. In this episode, Clair comes to give a seminar and brings along Vanessa and a friend, hoping to spike interest in the school. Well, Vanessa, of course, is more interested in boys and partying than academics and professors, so it's only a matter of time before she gets caught.

Season 3: "Under One Roof" (S03E11): This isn't the most humorous episode, but it's a good one nonetheless. Ron allows a classmate to stay over at the apartment without telling Dwayne, but after a while they're both sick of the roommate who won't pay a dime toward anything. Plus, Whitley thinks that the Dean inviting her to co-host an annual tea will be wonderful, but the Dean seems to think Freddie has a brighter future, upsetting Whitley.

Season 4: "Sister to Sister, Sister" (S04E21): It's pledge time, and Kim and Terrence are the low men on their totem poles, with Whitley and Ron acting as pledgemasters for their respective organizations. Whitley is too rough on her group and the rebel, while Ron has to get Terrence to understand the sense of family that is created by a Greek group. There are some great jokes, a couple of step moves, and the stereotypical demands.

Season 5: "In the Eye of the Storm" (S05E05): A hurricane is headed to Hillman, and when the roads flood, a bunch of people are stuck at The Pit instead of shelters. Colonel Taylor takes charge and doesn't allow Terrence to do much, but the boy does manage to save the day in the end, which I find heartwarming. The funny part of the episode is over at the radio station, where Ron and Freddie are trapped during the storm. They wind up becoming intimate but it's not a secret... the microphone is on as they talk about it!

Season 6: "Happy Birthday to Moi" (S06E15): This episode depicts Whitley well, showing that she hasn't changed all that much over the years. She convinces Kim to let her help plan her own surprise birthday party, but when Dwayne finds out, he treats the occasion badly to teach his wife a lesson. Meanwhile, with the "new generation" of students, Charmaine and Terrell try to cheat on a French midterm, but they mix up the baby monitor receiver and recorder, getting caught.

Any favorites you want to mention?
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