Moesha

Last updated
Moesha
Moesha Title Card.jpg
Genre Sitcom
Created by Ralph Farquhar
Sara V. Finney
Vida Spears
Starring
Theme music composer Kurt Farquhar
Opening theme"Moesha Main Title" performed by Brandy
Ending theme"Moesha Closing Theme" (Instrumental)
ComposersKurt Farquhar, Mark Mothersbaugh (season 1-2)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons6
No. of episodes127 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
  • Ralph Farquhar (seasons 1–2)
  • Sara V. Finney (seasons 2–4)
  • Vida Spears (seasons 2–5)
  • Jacque Edmonds
  • Warren Hutchenson
  • Fred Johnson
Running time21–24 minutes
Production companiesRegan Jon Productions
(seasons 1–2)
Saradipity Productions
(seasons 3–4)
Jump at the Sun Productions
(seasons 3–5)
Big Ticket Television
Release
Original network UPN
Picture format 480i
Audio format Stereo
Original releaseJanuary 23, 1996 (1996-01-23) 
May 14, 2001 (2001-05-14)
Chronology
Related shows The Parkers

Moesha ( /mˈʃə/ ) is an American television sitcom that aired on UPN from January 23, 1996, to May 14, 2001. The series stars R&B singer Brandy Norwood as Moesha Denise Mitchell, a high school student living with her family in the Leimert Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. It was originally ordered as a pilot for CBS' 1995–1996 television season but was declined by the network. It was then later picked up by UPN, which aired it as a mid-season replacement. It went on to become the biggest success for the nascent network and one of the greatest hits over the course of the network's entire run. The series was a joint production for UPN by Regan Jon Productions, Saradipity Productions, and Jump at the Sun Productions in association with Big Ticket Television.

Contents

Overview

The show focused on the life of an upper-middle-class Black family through the eyes of a typical girl named Moesha. Her father Frank, a widower and Saturn car salesman (and later owner of his own dealership, Brothers Saturn), has married Dee, the vice principal at Moesha's high school, much to Moesha's disapproval. The series was created by Ralph Farquhar, along with the writing team of Sara V. Finney and Vida Spears. The settings for the show include the Mitchell household, the teen hangout, The Den, and in some cases, Crenshaw High School, the school attended by Moesha, Kim, Niecy, and Hakeem. The sitcom was set in the Leimert Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Brandy has been teasing a Moesha reboot, but this is unlikely.

Issues addressed

The show dealt with real social issues affecting teenagers, such as premarital sex, the death of a parent, teen pregnancy, drug use, race relations, sexuality, dementia, and day-to-day issues teenagers faced at home and school such as gender prejudice and inequality. In one of the most controversial episodes, "Secrets and Lies" (aired February 7, 2000), the Mitchell family learned from Aunt Hattie that Frank is the biological father of Dorian, whom the Mitchells and Dorian himself believed to be Frank's nephew. The shocking news of Frank's infidelity during his first marriage turned the family upside-down and resulted in Dorian's rebellion and Moesha moving out of the family home.

Episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
1 14January 23, 1996May 21, 1996
2 24August 27, 1996May 20, 1997
3 23August 26, 1997May 19, 1998
4 22October 6, 1998May 25, 1999
5 22August 23, 1999May 22, 2000
6 22September 4, 2000May 14, 2001

Cast and characters

Main

Season 1 cast of Moesha Moesha cast.gif
Season 1 cast of Moesha
ActorCharacterseasons
123456
Brandy Norwood Moesha Denise "Mo" Mitchell Main
William Allen Young Franklin "Frank" MitchellMain
Countess Vaughn Kimberly Ann "Kim" ParkerMainArchive Footage
Marcus T. Paulk Myles MitchellMain
Lamont Bentley Hakeem CampbellMain
Yvette Wilson Andalusia Louise "Andell" WilkersonMainDoes not appear
Sheryl Lee Ralph Deidra "Dee" Mitchell (née Moss)Main Recurring
Shar Jackson Denise "Niecy" JacksonRecurringMain
Fredro Starr Quinton "Q" BrooksDoes not appearMain Guest Recurring
Ray J Dorian LongDoes not appearMain

Recurring

Production

Opening credits

There have been different versions of the opening credits theme song.

  1. Used for Season 1
  2. Used for Season 2 & 3
  3. Used for the last three seasons

Although the same recording of the theme song was used for the last three seasons, two different openings were used for each of the first three seasons.

  1. The opening sequence for season 1 shows Moesha dancing in front of a fountain, walking with friends, dancing in a moving car, and winning at a game of chess while waving at a guy as he walks away.
  2. The opening sequence for seasons 2 & 3 features the same scenario as that of the first season, but also features some changes. Moesha was still dancing in front of the fountain but with a bass guitar player behind her. Instead of just depicting Moesha with her friends, this intro sees her playing basketball and baseball with her friends and family, driving with her friends, strutting down a block with Kim and Niecy, teaching Kim how to rollerblade (later replaced with footage of Moesha & Q chasing Myles), and once again being served a meal at the diner by Ansell while seated with her family. When Moesha is again distracted by a cute guy walking by, Frank tries to cover Moesha's eyes.
  3. Season 4 showed the cast around the neighborhood and Moesha, Kim, and Niecy dancing at the fountain while wearing red outfits.
  4. Season 5 showed the cast dancing in a panoramic view as Norwood lip-syncs to the theme song on a background of clouds and a rising sun.
  5. The introduction for season 6 is similar to that of season 5, but features a twist. Since Yvette Wilson left Moesha to join the cast of The Parkers and Sheryl Lee Ralph's character Dee became a recurring character, the season 6 opening features footage of Norwood lip-syncing over the portion of the theme song where Yvette Wilson and Sheryl Lee Ralph appeared in the previous season's opening.

Spin-off and Brock Akil universe

Given her popularity for four seasons on Moesha, Countess Vaughn left the show in 1999 for her own show, The Parkers , which premiered on August 30, 1999 on UPN. It centered on Kim attending community college with her mother, played by comedian Mo'Nique. Leaving Moesha, Yvette Wilson joined the cast of The Parkers as Andell Wilkerson, Nikki's childhood friend.

Several Moesha cast members (including Brandy Norwood, Shar Jackson, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Marcus T. Paulk) made crossover appearances on The Parkers . Lamont Bentley, being the most frequent, appearing in three episodes.

Though not direct spin-offs of Moesha, the shows Girlfriends and The Game were created by Moesha writer Mara Brock Akil and exist in the same universe as Moesha. The character Maya Wilkes (Golden Brooks) from Girlfriends lives in Leimert Park like the characters of Moesha, and appeared in an episode babysitting for her sister-in-law Barbara Lee, who happened to be Dorian's birth mother. Niecy later appeared in an episode of Girlfriends.

The Game was spun off from Girlfriends with the loose thread of main character Melanie Barnett (Tia Mowry) being a cousin of Girlfriends main character Joan Clayton (Tracee Ellis Ross). Though this was never mentioned again on The Game, the Melanie and Derwin characters re-appeared in the Girlfriends Season 7 finale episode for a cameo. On Moesha, Brandy played herself as a celebrity doppelganger to Moesha, and ironically Brandy joined the cast of The Game in its fifth season as Chardonnay Pitts, further complicating the notion of the shows existing in the same universe.

Cancellation

By the sixth season, ratings for Moesha had dropped and UPN opted not to renew or air the series for a seventh season. The series ended on an unresolved cliffhanger with Myles being kidnapped by a rival of Dorian, Moesha considering moving in with Hakeem, and a positive pregnancy test being found in the trash at Moesha's dorm room, without positive identification as to whose it was. Entertainment Weekly put out a rumor that certain plots were to be resolved on The Parkers , [1] but those plans never came through, and the storylines were ultimately never resolved.

Possible revival

On November 3, 2017, the cast reunited on The Real and have expressed interest in reviving the show. "Absolutely, we need a reboot to this show, because we ended on a cliff," Norwood pointed out. [2] On August 2020 Norwood revealed that she has been in talks for a reboot to happen, citing its success on Netflix. [3]

Syndication

The show aired in syndication on UPN, Fox, and The WB affiliates. The series aired on WGN America (now NewsNation) from 2005 to 2008, The N from 2005 to 2009, Up TV, BET Her, and BET until mid 2016, and Fuse until 2019. On Up, it was edited for content to make it more "family-friendly" and was often edited heavily for broadcast on BET and BET Her due to airtime constraints. Bounce TV currently airs the series.

In the UK, Moesha aired on Channel 4 from 1996 until 1998, with only the first three seasons being broadcast. It also aired on Nickelodeon from 1996 to 2000, who only showed episodes from the first four seasons which were edited so they would be more suitable for broadcast on children's television. Paramount Channel aired the series from 2000 to 2003, as did Trouble from 2003 to 2006. From 1 November 2019, the programme started airing on Trace Vault following its rebrand from The Vault.

Since 2008, the show has been airing in international syndication in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Israel, the Middle East, Russia, France, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Ireland, South Africa, Latin America, Brazil, and Australia. In Spain, it ran on Disney Channel from 2005 to 2011 in an edited format deemed suitable for children's television.

The series is currently streaming on Netflix in the US, while spinoff series The Parkers is available to stream on the platform as well. [4] The series is also available to stream on Paramount+, BET+, and Hulu. [5] [6] [7]

Home media

On September 27, 2011, CBS Home Entertainment released Moesha: The First Season on DVD in Region 1 via Amazon.com's CreateSpace program. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release, available exclusively through Amazon.com. [8]

DVD NameEp #Release dates
Region 1Region 2Region 4
The Complete 1st Season14September 27, 2011 [8] N/AN/A

Nielsen Ratings

The following table summaries the U.S. television ratings for the series:

SeasonSeason premiereSeason finaleTV seasonRankingViewers
(in millions)
1st January 23, 1996May 21, 19961996#141[ citation needed ]3.5[ citation needed ]
2nd August 27, 1996May 20, 19971996–1997#134[ citation needed ]3.5[ citation needed ]
3rdAugust 26, 1997May 19, 19981997–1998#141 [9] 4.0 [9]
4thOctober 6, 1998May 25, 19991998–1999#137[ citation needed ]3.3[ citation needed ]
5thAugust 23, 1999May 22, 20001999–2000#130[ citation needed ]2.4[ citation needed ]
6thSeptember 4, 2000May 14, 20012000–2001#130 [10] 3.3 [10]

Awards

YearAwardCategoryRecipient
1997 NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Youth Actor/ActressBrandy Norwood
1998NAACP Image Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Countess Vaughn
2000 SHINE Awards Comedy EpisodeFor episode "Let's Talk About Sex"

Related Research Articles

Brandy Norwood American singer and actress from Mississippi

Brandy Rayana Norwood, better known by her mononym Brandy, is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. Born into a musical family in McComb, Mississippi, Norwood was raised in Carson, California, beginning her career as a backing vocalist for teen groups. After signing with Atlantic Records in 1993, she released her self-titled debut album the following year, which sold six million copies worldwide. In 1996, Norwood began starring in the UPN sitcom Moesha, created and written by Ralph Farquhar, as the title character, which lasted six seasons and resulted in numerous other roles. She resumed her music career in 1998 with the wildly successful duet with fellow R&B contemporary Monica, "The Boy Is Mine", which went on to become one of the best selling female duets of all time. Her second album, Never Say Never, featured two number one singles, and earned Norwood her first Grammy Award.

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Sharisse Jackson is an American actress and singer, best known for playing Niecy Jackson on the UPN sitcom Moesha. She was crowned the winner of MTV reality show Celebrity Rap Superstar in 2007.

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Lamont Bentley American actor

Artimus Lamont Gardison Bentley, better known professionally as Lamont Bentley, was an American actor and rapper best known for his role as Hakeem Campbell on the UPN sitcom Moesha and the spin-off The Parkers. Bentley was also known for his role as Crazy K in the 1995 horror film Tales from the Hood and C-Money in the 2001 film The Wash featuring Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg.

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Brandy filmography

As an actress, Brandy Norwood has appeared in feature films and television shows. She made her television debut in 1993 in the ABC sitcom Thea, as the daughter of a single mother. Broadcast to low ratings, the series ran for only one season, but earned her a Young Artists Award nomination for Outstanding Youth Ensemble alongside her co-stars. In 1996, her short-lived engagement on Thea led Brandy to star in her own show, the UPN-produced sitcom Moesha, in which she played the title role of Moesha Mitchell, a Los Angeles girl coping with a stepmother as well as the pressures and demands of becoming an adult. The program debuted on UPN in January 1996, and soon became their most-watched show. The network decided to cancel the show after six seasons on the air, leaving it ending with a cliffhanger for a scrapped seventh season. Brandy was awarded an NAACP Image Award for her performance. In 1997, Brandy was hand-picked by producer Whitney Houston to play the title character in Rodgers and Hammerstein's television version of Cinderella featuring a multicultural cast that also included Jason Alexander, Whoopi Goldberg, and Houston. The two-hour Wonderful World of Disney special garnered an estimated 60 million viewers, giving the network its highest ratings in the time period in 16 years, and won an Emmy Award the following year.

<i>Zoe Ever After</i>

Zoe Ever After is an American sitcom starring Brandy Norwood as Zoe Moon, a recent divorcee who starts her own cosmetics company. The show was Norwood's first leading role in a television series since Moesha (1996–2001) premiered twenty years prior. The show premiered on BET January 5, 2016. It is filmed in Atlanta, Georgia. The series ended on February 16.

Vida Spears is an American television producer and writer. She is best known as the co-creator, with Ralph Farquhar and Sara Finney-Johnson, of the UPN sitcoms Moesha, starring Brandy, and The Parkers, starring Countess Vaughn and Mo'Nique.

References

  1. Rice, Lynette (2001-06-06). "'Band' On the Run". ew.com. Archived from the original on 2009-04-21. Retrieved 2009-07-19.
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-03-04. Retrieved 2018-03-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. Elizabeth, De (August 15, 2020). "Brandy Reveals She's "In Talks" for a "Moesha" Reboot". Teen Vogue. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  4. "Moesha | Netflix". Netflix . Archived from the original on August 4, 2020. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  5. Moesha - BET - Watch on Paramount Plus , retrieved 2021-03-04
  6. "Moesha". Hulu . Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  7. Bjornson, Greta (February 2, 2021). "'Moesha,' 'Sister, Sister' and More Land on Hulu to Kick Off Black History Month Celebration". Decider . Retrieved February 9, 2021.
  8. 1 2 "Moesha Season (1996) Season 1". 2011-10-29. Archived from the original on 2015-11-06. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
  9. 1 2 "The Final Countdown". Entertainment Weekly Published in issue #434 May 29, 1998. May 29, 1998. Archived from the original on November 13, 2014. Retrieved 2010-02-12.
  10. 1 2 "The Bitter End". Entertainment Weekly Published in issue #598 Jun 01, 2001. June 1, 2001. Archived from the original on July 26, 2014. Retrieved 2010-02-12.