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What's Happening!! : Season 1

Ernest Thomas , Haywood Nelson , Alan Rafkin , Bill Foster    DVD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
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Cool out and return to the days of tight pants, afro picks, and... empty wallets. What's Happening was the African American answer to Happy Days and featured a theme almost as catchy as Quincy Jones's bouncy number for Sanford and Son (this time by the great Henry Mancini). The popular L.A.-based sitcom premiered in 1976 during the height of the disco craze and the action centers around bespectacled teenager Raj (Ernest Thomas, the show's Richie Cunningham) and fun-lovin' pals Dwayne (Haywood Nelson) and Rerun ("'cause every summer he gotta go back to school to repeat what he did all winter"; played by Fred Berry). The boys are kept in check by Raj's hardworking single mother, Mrs. Thomas (Mabel King), bratty kid sister Dee (Danielle Spencer), and sassy waitress Shirley (Shirley Hemphill). (Sadly, King and Hemphill passed away in 1999; Berry in 2003.)

When not in school--and the show takes place largely outside the halls of academia--the gang hangs out at the soda shop, "bumps" to the latest grooves, and trades quips with local cuties, like Debbi Morgan's Diane. That's about it. Of course, the trio does get into (minor) trouble each week and learns a valuable lesson before the end of each episode, but What's Happening mostly revolves around the fun they would conjure up out of the tiniest of budgets. Consequently, money--or the lack of it--figures prominently throughout the series. If What's Happening wasn't as groundbreaking as Good Times or as acerbic as The Jefffersons, it was directed at a slightly younger, more innocent audience. Kids throughout the nation came to rely on Raj, Dwayne, and especially the beret-and-suspender-sporting Rerun for all the latest catch phrases (like "Hey, hey, hey!") and funky moves. --Kathleen C. Fennessy


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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun-Fun-FUNNY...NOT Filth-Filth-FILTHY! June 5 2004
Format:DVD
This is one of the funnest shows ever to watch. I pre-ordered this as soon as I found out it was going to be released. The characters are people you'd like to have a neighbors. Wholesome and fun to be with (watch), my nephew just turned 13 and he loves to 'pop this in' to watch whenever he comes over. What's amazing is the light hearted humor that is 'timeless' and any youth (or adults) can connect with it even today. I also enjoy watching a sitcom that is not filthy dirty, there's WAY TOO MUCH of this in todays TV. To quote one of the greatest stand-up comedians of the past, Phyllis Diller once said, "In my day we HAD to be FUNNY and NOT FILTHY!" I think with all the money paid to these TV execs. and writers, you'd think they could emulate their predecessors a little better to produce wholesome funny family shows like 'What's Happening'(maybe the talent isn't there anymore) shows like this are a thing of the past. TOO BAD!! I rate this *****'s not because it was the best show ever on TV, but because it beats anything hands down that's on TV now.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Even better than I remember April 21 2004
Format:DVD
This show is really funny. It is amazing to watch it today and realize that most of the jokes would not even be allowed because of PC. As an ensemble cast the chemistry is perfect. My favorite character is Dee. Somehow even though she is deadpan and sometimes you can almost see he looking like she is about to laugh when she delivers her lines she is just hilarious. Sometimes the fat jokes wear a little thin but it is the chemistry between the cast that makes this so good.
Best episode is when Dee ends up pitching burgers and Shirley plays Mama who is away.
Best line is Roger when he is trying to get a date for Shirley through a dating service. The woman thinks the date is for Raj and he explains it is for Shirley when she say "Well that is a horse of a different coclor" Raj replies "No she's black too".
Like with most sitcoms this one was really bad at the end (the last season was really strained) but this first season is a classic. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love it! Where are the next 2 seasons? April 3 2004
Format:DVD
This is a slice of television history that must be taken and passed among generations new and old to enjoy. What's Happening is classic humor that takes you back to the days when children could be children without all the stress and pressure that come with today's times.
You had the witty and intelligent Raj, with his nerdy style and those glasses, his outspoken and spunky sister, Dee, whose "OOH! I'ma tell Mama...U gon get it,Raj" had us all shaking our heads. Then their were his boys, Dwayne (Hey, hey, hey) and the butt of all the fat jokes, Rerun (man, that brotha could DANCE!) There will never be another like him. God rest his soul. The mother was an example of the love, strength and no nonsense attitude only a single parent can have. Mabel King was classy and added a taste of sophistication to What's Happening. God rest her soul. Shirley (Shirley Hemphill) was also a hit, with her sharp wit and that six inch fro. Her popular character definitely represented for the big sistas with her "take no mess" attitude. God rest her soul.
I was only 7 when this came out and recently purchased this DVD set to relive those memories of coming home, plopping down in front of the television and watching people that looked just like me going through trials and tribulations everyone can relate to. You could almost taste the orange sodas, burgers and shakes at the soda shop. Such innocence back then. Kids of today truly don't know what they're missing. They just don't make good-hearted shows like this anymore. I recommend getting this set and watching it with your own children.
Peace. CLB.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Give me a dolla or I tell mama March 12 2004
Format:DVD
With the DVD release of 'What's Happenin' we are finally able to show children of the 1990's who Urkel's father was. Rojer Thomas, the world's first black nerd is in high form here as the star of this controversial television show. Controversial you say? You better believe it. Look at all the bad dancing on that show. The most famous of course is during the shows opening credits. When 'Roj' is sitting backwards on his chair and hitting himself of the chin with his fists. What the heck is he doing???
Now if you are a lover of BIIIIIG women, this show has a heaping double dose. First you get mama, all of her at once and Lord knows you better have a wide screen TV. We also have SHirly, the Snow Woman. Snow Woman? Yes that's right. You know how Snowmen are basiclly built with three balls of snow? Well Shirlly is shaped like that. Big fro, huge bosom, and gargantuan boody. Love her all at once daddy, this woman likes a strong man.
I love this show because it shows how people really are in real life.....goofy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the funniest sit-coms of all-time March 10 2004
By Daniel Jolley TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
I was thrilled to death when I learned that the first season of What's Happening!! was being released on DVD. When I was growing up, this show was a constant staple of my after-school afternoons, but I can't remember how long it's been since I got to see a single episode. Now, it's as if I was never separated from all my good friends: Raj, Rerun, Dwayne, Dee, Shirley, and Mrs. Thomas. I hope the release of this DVD will restore some of the popularity that this hilarious sit-com enjoyed and will introduce the show to a whole new generation of youngsters. I don't think I've ever laughed as hard and continually as I did re-watching these classic episodes again now, despite the fact that I've seen every episode many times in the past. Sadly, three of the stars have passed away in recent years (Mabel King - Mrs. Thomas, Shirley Hemphill - Shirley, and Fred "Rerun" Berry), but I see this DVD set as a fitting homage to some of television's greatest and most memorable characters.
What's Happening!! goes all the way back to 1976; as such, it is truly one of the pioneer television shows featuring an African-American cast; the only real agenda this show had, though, was to make people laugh and, in its own way, impart valuable lessons about growing up and life in general.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A Childhood Favorite!
I was eleven years old when What's Happening premeired on television and this was a show that my friends and I enjoyed watching. Read more
Published on July 10 2004 by Thebookwoman
5.0 out of 5 stars Hey!!! Hey!!! Hey!!!
Absolutely hilarious!!!!!!! This show is one of my all time favorite. I love the character "Dee." The first season is a winner. You can't go wrong.
Published on July 3 2004 by A. Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Great show
I wasn't even born when this show was on tv, but let me tell you, it is one of the funniest sitcoms that i've seen. Read more
Published on July 1 2004 by Ed
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING
This is one of my favorite all-time sit-coms, with Dee and her sarcasm that I love so much, with Shirley and her wits I also love, this has got to be one of those comedies that... Read more
Published on June 27 2004 by Monica D. Affleck
5.0 out of 5 stars This Was The Show Back Then!!!!!!
I Watched What's Happening back then when I was a child growing up in the 70's. TV shows back then were better shows. These Shows of today stinks Too High Heaven! Read more
Published on May 19 2004 by ROBIN BAILEY
5.0 out of 5 stars Off da chain!!!!!!!!!
This purchase was one of the best sets that I've ever bought. It is hilarious and an absolute must-have for anyone's DVD collection. Read more
Published on May 10 2004 by "msjames10"
5.0 out of 5 stars Hey Hey Hey
I can't tell which is better - the show, or the memories they bring back. Excellent selection of episodes, all sure to make you laugh. I'm glad I bought it.
Published on April 29 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Real TV
I would recommend this DVD to anyone. It's non-stop laughter. I just got it in the mail two weeks ago and I've already repeated several of my favorite episodes. *****(five stars)
Published on April 8 2004 by T.A.
3.0 out of 5 stars No Extras Means No Perfect Score
This is one of the best series ever on TV. I watch this DVD all the time and it still cracks me up. Sadly, Fred Berry died last year, robbing the world of the character Rerun. Read more
Published on March 20 2004 by Peter07
5.0 out of 5 stars This Show is timeless....
For us 30 somethings who grew up on this show, we couldn't be more excited, because we know how truly funny and special it is. Read more
Published on March 16 2004
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