Skip to main content

A Different World, Nothing Has Changed

I recently finished re-watching all six-season of "A Different World". Yes, the pandemic has us all in various modes of binge-watching with myself deciding to take a blast from the past. 

The 144 episodes that my eyeballs went through, the same amount of times my shoulders danced to the amazing opening theme song (Aretha's version - Seasons 2-5 are the best, by far), served as a tribute to my youth, my upbringing, and in a time when the world feels chaotic and beyond understanding, takes me into a realm of laughter, culture, joy, and intrigue. 

Little did I know, the show I was using to take me away suddenly reminded me of where we are. 

A Different World reminded me of the varying differences not just in life, but in culture, television, and experiences that exist. True to its namesake, the show embodied how different worlds were...and remain. 

Growing up as a child in Brooklyn, NY, these were the shows that serve as the foundation of my youth and its memories. A Different World. The Cosby Show (yes, even now knowing what we know today about Bill Cosby). Living Single. Martin. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And on, and on, and on. 

Not once did I ever think about these shows as a category, or even as a "genre" during my youth and adolescence. My friends - all of them - were also engaged in these shows. No matter what they looked like, spoke like, believed in, or spent like. 

It took me a long time - probably college - to realize that there were many who had very little knowledge of these shows. Or expressed interest in them. They were "black" shows. This became so very clear during my freshman year of college when my dorm was run over with excitement by the series finale of Friends

Don't get me wrong, it's a good show, but I've always thought it was overrated. Why? Because there was an original show of the same concept that was a much funnier and a much more authentic version of what life in New York City was like. Who hangs out in a Cafe, every day? On the same couch? 

And of course, all you need to do is dig into the history of Living Single, Friends, and NBC executives to find out the truth of it all. But I digress. 

It was then that it clicked - even in entertainment, and entertainment consumption, we are compartmentalized, ignorant, or bias. You can choose. 

But even in watching ADW, it was the content throughout the show that at the time was pushing the bar on then taboo topics. Of course, this is ADW's legacy, and it's why the series is so great. Sexuality (they couldn't even show a condom on television!). Racism. Prison system. Domestic Abuse. Education. Socioeconomics. Hey, it was the first television show in prime time to touch on the issue of AIDS (a tremendous must-see episode). ADW brought it strong. And while sitting there trying to get away from the daily beating of the world, ADW constantly reminded me every twenty-eight minutes of each episode, how little has changed. 

The most glaring episode was that of "The Cat's in a Cradle" (Season 5, Episode 14). The issue of racial confrontations and its birth from tunneled - and misguided - historical racial views and perceptions are all throughout this one. And while I sat on my couch binge-watching a show from 1992, it ALL felt so real, so relevant, so...unchanged. 

 

28 years later, we're still having the same conversations. Unable to truly see others. 

And while ADW was a trailblazer in the late '80s into the early '90s (the thought of dropping "nigger" in verbal and written form on national television so easily even shocked me), the idea that we're almost three decades removed and are still battling the same thought processes and ideologies - some probably would say on a stronger, louder platform, today - is disappointing. It says so much for the fight for equality and where we need to go. 

With that said, if you're feeling nostalgic, or even explorative on some classics you might have missed, definitely give ADW a spin on Amazon Prime. Even for just a few must-see episodes. Obviously, I'm going to recommend it - it's a tremendous show that served as the groundwork for so many topics, the starting point for so many actors (hello Jada Pinkett!), and everything that was so fashionable and awesome about the budding '90s. 

And oh yeah, skip the first season. Don't waste your time on that.  

Recent Favorites

2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs Keeps Me Casual on Hockey

It's been a long time since I've talked hockey on this.  Wait! Huh? Come again? Yes, hockey. In fact, the last time I posted anything, I was mesmerized by the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals between the Los Angeles Kings and the New York Rangers.  Fast forward to 2024, and my hockey fandom took another step forward. For years I've been the admitted casual. And you know what, I'm okay with that. Unfortunately, my unconditional love fandom for my New York Knicks presents a conflict that will forever curtail anything serious from happening between hockey and myself.  Nonetheless, I felt like this post-season heightened my hockey fandom to another level. Hockey is amazingly awesome. I very much enjoyed the Stanley Cup Playoffs, caught myself choosing Rangers games over early April Yankees baseball, and overall, found myself playing NHL 24 on the ol' Playstation 4.  Yeah, I fell hard. But before I shelf my spring fling with hockey until April 2025, here are just a few quick pon

Wanting the Alternate Route For Bronny James

Welcome to the NBA, Bronny James!  In what was the worst-kept novelty of a storyline in the sports world in LeBron and Bronny one day gracing the NBA together, we're finally here!  First, congrats to Bronny! Entering the NBA is incredibly difficult, especially more than ever considering its global reach. Regardless, he is now part of the fraternity and amongst the elite in the game. Haters will say what they want, but he's there.  And second, congratulations to LeBron and Savannah James. What will be lost in all of this is that they raised a strong young man who yes, took advantage of his access and genetics, and is now at this point in his life - his ultimate goal. Bronny at the core, had no reason to want this - none. He easily could have rested, relaxed, and enjoyed the spoils of this birth lottery. Instead, he wanted what h knew would be the shadow of a massive legacy - and still did the work. That takes guts.  I commend the kid for not resting on Dad's name and wealth.

Thoughts on First 2024 Presidential Debate

It’s the most unwanted rematch likely in history. Biden vs. Trump What we saw tonight was exactly what many moderates expected and solidified what we didn’t want to say out loud - we have to have better options than these two, no? There isn’t much to say about this debate, especially from this debate nerd. This was the absolute shits in regards to inspiring a nation for an upcoming election season, which in many ways, still resonates with political fatigue from 2020. But you know that, already. You knew that ten minutes into the debate. The two best quotes I’ve come across to wrap up my overall feeling are the following: On one side it’s hell no, and on the other, it’s oh no. It’s who we shouldn’t have be President vs. who we can’t let be President A few more quick thoughts on last night 1st Presidential Debate:  - For me, this format was the biggest positive of the night and a very good baseline for where future political debates need to go. In a world of “takes” and who shouts the lo