Old School Lane’s Nickelodeon Tribute: My Brother and Me
As we’ve reviewed each teen sitcom show from Nickelodeon in the 90’s, we’ve seen a pattern when it comes to the casting. There’s almost no diversity in the characters. All the characters fromÂ Hey DudeÂ were White with the exception of Danny, who was a Native American. All the main characters inÂ Welcome FreshmenÂ were White with the exception of Kevin.Â The Adventures of Pete and Pete: a mostly White cast.Â Clarissa Explains it All: a mostly White cast.Â The Secret World of Alex Mack: a mostly White cast. The executives knew they needed to add a little bit more diversity in their lineup. On October 15, 1994,Â My Brother and MeÂ debuted.
The show was about the Parker family living their everyday lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. The family consists of the following:
Roger Parker (played by Jim R. Coleman) is the father. He’s a sports reporter.
Jennifer Parker (played by Karen Fraction) is the mother.
Alfred “Alfie” Parker (played by Arthur Reggie III) is the first son. He’s portrayed as the cool, hip guy who loves basketball, hanging out with his best friend, and teasing his brother.
Derek “Dee Dee” Parker (played by Ralph Woolfolk IV) is the second son. He’s portrayed as the young, naive kid who looks up to his brother and hanging out with his best friends.
Melanie Parker (played by Aisling Sistrunk) is their only daughter. She’s portrayed as the sassy, smart teenager of the family who loves to hang out with her best friend.
Their best friends consist of the following:
Milton “Goo” Berry (played by Jimmy Lee Newman, Jr.) is Alfie’s best friend. He’s portrayed as the tough guy who likes to pick on Dee Dee and his friends for their size.
Donnell Wilbur (played by Stefan Warnli) is Dee Dee’s best friend. He’s a smart, witty kid who’s catchphrase was “Don’t hold your breath.”
Deonne Wilbur (played by Amanda Seales) is Donnell’s older sister and Melanie’s best friend. Deonne has a bit of sass just like Donnell, but is a bit more pessimistic.
Harry White (played by Keith Naylor) is Dee Dee’s best friend. He’s the only White person in the entire show. He’s a bit slow and dumb, but he always very loyal to Dee Dee and Donnell.
Throughout the show, they live their everyday lives and deal with everyday situations from playing practical jokes on each other to Â dealing with bullies toÂ trying to sell candy to buy expensive jackets. One of the most iconic things about the show was the recurring catchphrases and inner monologues that the characters would think to themselves. The one scene from the show that everyone remembers when watching the show was the episode in which Alfie and Goo are imagining on how to make more money for the jackets. They think that they could make their own products and commercialize it. Goo thinks of releasing his own fruit punch and calling it “Goo Punch”.
The show was cancelled on February 2, 1995, four months after it debuted. It wasn’t because it wasn’t popular, it was. In 1996 and 1997, the show was nominated for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Youth or Children’s Series/Special. It was because there was major disagreements between the producers and the creators of the show. The 2nd season was planned and the episodes were already written, but they didn’t agree with one another to keep the show afloat due to their different points of view. UnlikeÂ RugratsÂ in which they were able to hire new writers after Paul Germain and the majority of the old writers left after their disagreements,Â My Brother and MeÂ no longer aired at Nickelodeon ever since its cancellation. It has not aired again since then.
Some of the actors did other projects afterÂ My Brother and MeÂ while most of them faded into obscurity.
Arthur Reggie III had appeared in a few TV shows after he quit acting and became a rap singer. He raps under the name Show Bizness.
Amanda Seales had quit acting afterÂ My Brother and MeÂ and became a musician known as Amanda Diva.
Ralph Woolfolk IV had studied English at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA and went to Harvard University to study law.
Jim Coleman has appeared in other TV shows and movies such asÂ seaQuest DSV, Saved by the Light, Zeus and Roxanne, Olive Juice, Sheena, American Gangster, Strokes,Â andÂ Prime of Your Life.
Karen Fraction has appeared in other TV shows and movies such asÂ Our Son, The Matchmaker, seaQuest 2032, Palmetto, Walker, Texas Ranger, Taina,Â andÂ Sheena.Â She passed away on October 30, 2007 after a 5 year battle with breast cancer. She’s survived by her two children and her husband Lawrence Hamilton.
Overall, looking back at this show, it was a really great attempt to bring some variety to bring some diversity in Nickelodeon. It was the first show to include an all black cast and would inspire many other shows to bring more diversity in the show such asÂ TheÂ Brothers GarciaÂ andÂ Taina.Â At the time shows that already included an all black cast such asÂ Family Matters, The Cosby Show, A Different World,Â andÂ MartinÂ were being viewed by many people. So a show likeÂ My Brother and MeÂ was a nice addition to the Nickelodeon teen sitcom series. But looking back at the show, it’s beyond corny and cheesy! While the inner monologues and recurring catchphrases keep the show consistent, it’s just emphasizes the cheesiness more. Also, I have an issue with some of the names of the characters. I mean Alfie, Dee Dee, and Goo sound really ridiculous. It sounds like a five year old named them. Also, I have an issue with Harry being a dumb White character. But then again, at the time, most White people who were in shows with a Black cast were portrayed as dumb. It just dates the show even more. But I found it to be a bit charming. They were trying very hard to portray as a good show for kids with a diverse cast and good humor and it shows.
If you’re a fan of cheesy, corny shows, check it out sometime. If it doesn’t sound like your thing, then skip it. But at least appreciate thatÂ My Brother and MeÂ broke the mold among the casting of different diversities for a Nickelodeon teen sitcom.
That’s all for now. Hope to see you around Old School Lane soon. Thanks for reading.