227 (TV series)

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227
227 intro.jpg
Genre Sitcom
Created by C.J. Banks
Bill Boulware
Developed by Jack Elinson
Starring Marla Gibbs
Hal Williams
Alaina Reed Hall
Jackée Harry
Helen Martin
Regina King
Kia Goodwin
Curtis Baldwin
Countess Vaughn
Toukie A. Smith
Stoney Jackson
Barry Sobel
Paul Winfield
Theme music composer Ray Colcord
Opening theme "There's No Place Like Home" performed by Marla Gibbs
Composer(s) Ray Colcord
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 116 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Marla Gibbs (1985–1986)
Ronald Rubin (1987–1988)
Bill Boulware (1987–1988)
Bob Myer (1985–1986)
Bob Young (1985–1986)
Richard Gurman (1985–1987)
George Burditt (1987–1988)
Ron Bloomberg (1985–1988)
Jack Elinson (1985-1987)
Roy Campanella, Jr. (1985–1986)
Irma Kalish (1988-1990)
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 22–24 minutes
Production company(s) Embassy Television (1985–1986)
Embassy Communications (1986–1988)
ELP Communications (1988-1990)
Columbia Pictures Television (1988–1990)
Distributor Columbia TriStar Television
Sony Pictures Television
Broadcast
Original channel NBC
Original run September 14, 1985 (1985-09-14) – May 6, 1990 (1990-05-06)
Chronology
Related shows Jackée

227 is an American situation comedy that originally aired on NBC from September 14, 1985, until May 6, 1990. The series stars Marla Gibbs as a sharp-tongued, inner-city resident gossip and housewife, Mary Jenkins. It was produced by Embassy Television from 1985 to 1986 and by Embassy Communications from 1986 until 1988; then ELP Communications through Columbia Pictures Television produced the series in its final two seasons (1988–1990).

Origins[edit]

The series was adapted from a play written in 1978 by Christine Houston about the lives of women in a predominantly black apartment building in 1950s Chicago. The setting of the series, however, was changed to present-day Washington, D.C. The show was created as a starring vehicle for Marla Gibbs, who had become famous as Florence Johnston, the sassy maid on The Jeffersons, and had starred in Houston's play in Los Angeles. This role was similar in nature to that of tart-tongued Florence; Gibbs' character, housewife Mary Jenkins, loved a good gossip and often spoke what she thought, with sometimes not-so-favorable results.

According to Gibbs, 227 was originally offered to ABC, but sold to NBC. The show was scheduled to begin in 1986 since The Jeffersons was still on the air on CBS.[citation needed] However, when The Jeffersons was abruptly and unexpectedly canceled in 1985, Gibbs was free to begin, and 227 went into production a year earlier than had been previously planned.

Synopsis[edit]

227 followed the lives of people in a middle-class apartment building in Washington, D.C. The show was centered around Mary Jenkins, a nosy, tart-tongued housewife. Her husband, Lester (Hal Williams), had his own construction company, and their daughter, Brenda (Regina King), was boy-crazy yet smart and studious. It was King's first acting role.

Also cast in 227 was Sandra Clark (Jackée Harry), Mary's young, sexy building friend who constantly bickered back and forth with her about their respective views on life. Although their relationship was antagonistic at first, Mary and Sandra became good friends as time went on. Also living in the building was Pearl Shay (Helen Martin), a feisty-but-kind-hearted busybody neighbor who was known for snooping and has a sharp sense of humor. Pearl had a grandson named Calvin Dobbs (Curtis Baldwin), whom Brenda had a crush on and would finally date later in the series' run.

Rose Lee Holloway (Alaina Reed Hall) was the kindhearted best friend to all. She had a daughter named Tiffany (Kia Goodwin), who disappeared after the second season. In the premiere episode, Rose became the unexpected landlord of the building after the building's stingy slumlord Mr. Calloway (who was constantly mentioned but never seen onscreen) died. Rose stayed on as landlady until the fourth season.

In the first season, both Helen Martin and Curtis Baldwin, who had only been recurring stars, appeared in nearly every episode. In the second season's opening credits, Martin and Baldwin shared a title card, thus making them official full-time cast members. Martin had her own title card for the third and fifth seasons, while Regina King and Baldwin shared a title card together in those years.

By the time taping started on the third season in 1987, Jackée Harry, who had just won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress changed her stage name to simply Jackée, which she used until 1994. In the fourth season, an 11-year-old child prodigy named Alexandria DeWitt (Countess Vaughn) became the Jenkins' houseguest. Vaughn received her role after she appeared on Star Search and declared to host Ed McMahon that her favorite show was 227. However, Alexandria left during Calvin's graduation episode near the end of season four to reunite with her father in London who had completed his archaeological dig in the Amazon and was now cataloging his items in London.

By the time production on the fourth season began in 1988, tension between stars Gibbs and Jackée were mounting due to the show's increasing focus on the Sandra character. To keep the stars happy, Jackée was given the chance to spin off the Sandra character into her own show. Jackée's television pilot, entitled Jackée, found Sandra moving to New York City and finding work at a spa. NBC aired the episode on May 11, 1989. The pilot was rejected, and Jackée left the show; however, she was a guest star in seven of the final season's episodes.

In the show's final season Toukie Smith, Barry Sobel, Stoney Jackson, Kevin Peter Hall and Paul Winfield joined the cast in an effort to stop the show's sagging ratings. In the end, the cast additions proved ineffective, and 227 ended its run in the spring of 1990.

Cast[edit]

Actor Character Seasons
1 2 3 4 5
Marla Gibbs Mary Jenkins Main
Hal Williams Lester Jenkins Main
Alaina Reed Hall Rose Lee Holloway Main
Jackée Harry Sandra Clark Main Recurring
Regina King Brenda Jenkins Main
Kia Goodwin Tiffany Holloway Main Recurring
Helen Martin Pearl Shay Recurring Main
Curtis Baldwin Calvin Dobbs Recurring Main
Countess Vaughn Alexandria DeWitt Main
Barry Sobel Dylan McMillan Recurring Main
Toukie A. Smith Eva Rawley Recurring Main
Stoney Jackson Travis Filmore Main
Paul Winfield Julian c. Barlow Main
Reynaldo Rey Ray the Mailman Recurring
Kevin Peter Hall Warren Merriwether Recurring
The character Julian c. Barlow spelled his middle initial as a lowercase letter.

Notable guest stars[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Main article: List of 227 episodes

Ratings[edit]

With the exception of The Cosby Show, 227 achieved higher ratings than other sitcoms airing at the time with a predominantly African American cast during the first two seasons of its original run on NBC (1985–1990).[1]

  • 1985–1986: #20 (18.80 rating)
  • 1986–1987: #14 (18.90 rating)
  • 1987–1988: #27 (16.44 rating)
  • 1988-1989: #35 (14.47 rating)
  • 1989-1990: #60 (11.53 rating)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1987 BMI Film & TV Awards Won BMI TV Music Award Ray Colcord
1987 Emmy Awards Won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Jackée Harry
1988 Nominated Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Jackée Harry
1989 Golden Globe Award Nominated Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV Jackée Harry
1986 Young Artist Awards Nominated Best Young Actress Starring in a New Television Series Regina King
1987 Nominated Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress in a Long Running Series Comedy or Drama Regina King
Nominated Exceptional Performance by a Young Actor, Guest Starring in a Television, Comedy or Drama Series Curtis Baldwin
1989 Nominated Best Young Actress Featured, Co-starring, Supporting, Recurring Role in a Comedy or Drama Series or Special Countess Vaughn

Series syndication[edit]

The show went into syndication in the fall of 1990. It has previously aired on cable's BET, TV One and TV Land. The show is currently distributed by Sony Pictures Television and airs on GMC TV and Centric.[2] Selected Minisodes from the first season are available to view for free on Crackle. The show is currently airing weeknights at 11:00PM EST with back to back episodes and again at 1:00AM EST with more back to back episodes on UP (Uprising Channel, formerly GMC), also at 6:30PM EST AND 8:30EST on Encore Black.

DVD release[edit]

On September 28, 2004, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the complete first season of 227 on DVD in Region 1.

References[edit]

External links[edit]