South Central (TV series)

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South Central
Genre Comedy-drama
Created by Ralph Farquhar
Michael J. Weithorn
Written by Mara Brock Akil
Ralph Farquhar
Gary Hardwick
Kathleen McGhee-Anderson
Gina Prince-Bythewood
Michael Anthony Snowden
Michael J. Weithorn
Directed by W.E. Baker
Stan Lathan
Terri McCoy
Starring Tina Lifford
Larenz Tate
Tasha Scott
Keith Mbulo
Paula Kelly
Ken Page
Composer(s) Kurt Farquhar
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 10
Production
Executive producer(s) Ralph Farquhar
Michael J. Weithorn
Producer(s) W.E. Baker
Running time 22–24 minutes
Broadcast
Original channel Fox
Original run April 5, 1994 (1994-04-05) – June 7, 1994 (1994-06-07)

South Central is an American comedy-drama series that aired on the Fox network from April 5, 1994 to June 7, 1994. It was cancelled following its first season, with the airing of only 10 episodes.

Synopsis[edit]

The series was set in South Central Los Angeles, and dealt with the lives of an African American family, the Moseleys, and issues such as gang violence, drugs, dating, sex, school, and unemployment. Joan Moseley (Tina Lifford) is a divorced mother, raising three children with no assistance from her ex-husband. Her oldest son Marcus having been murdered years earlier by a gang member, Joan's financial situation becomes complicated after she is laid off. Her remaining children include Andre (Larenz Tate), Tasha (Tasha Scott), and foster son Deion Carter (Keith Mbulo). Rounding out the cast of characters are Joan's friend "Sweets" (Paula Kelly) and Andre's mentor Dr. Ray McHenry (Ken Page).

South Central featured many guest stars including Jennifer Lopez, Shar Jackson, and Maia Campbell. The series, which was produced on a smaller budget than most sitcoms, was popular among critics for what was perceived as a realistic and sometimes dark portrayal of urban life.[1]

Cancellation[edit]

The show aired on Tuesday evenings following Roc. Due to the decline in ratings of the entire night of programming, Fox cancelled all the shows on that night (which also included The Sinbad Show and In Living Color)[2] and created the Tuesday Night movie. The cancellation of the series, all of which had predominately black casts, prompted Jesse Jackson to call for a boycott of the network for perceived institutional racism.[3] Fox maintained that the series were low rated and the decision to cancel was not racially motivated.[4]

Series creator Ralph Farquhar would later co-create the UPN sitcom Moesha, along with Sara V. Finney and Vida Spears. The series (a more traditional sitcom) was set in Leimert Park, a middle-class neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles. Lamont Bentley and Shar Jackson were members of the cast.

Cast[edit]

  • Tina Lifford — Joan Mosely
  • Larenz Tate — Andre Mosely
  • Tasha Scott — Tasha Mosely
  • Keith Mbulo — Deion Carter

Recurring cast[edit]

Episode list[edit]

Series # Season # Prod. code Title Notes Original air date
1 1 1S79 Pilot Joan objects when Andre purchases a beeper. Although he insists that he needs it to keep his social life in order, Joan believes the beeper will make him a target for drug dealers or gang members. She orders him to get rid of it. Joan finds herself out of work after a series of layoffs by the school district. April 5, 1994
2 2 1S01 "Money" Embarrassed by the prospect of going on welfare, Andre takes a loan from a gangster who was friends with his older brother, Marcus. Joan is furious, as she fears that Andre is becoming involved with the same activities that led to his brother's death. She returns the money to the young man, and is outraged when he says that he thought of Marcus as family. She blames Marcus's gang lifestyle for his death, and declares that his fellow gang members cannot possibly understand the Moselys' pain. Joan is also disturbed by the fact that the man's mother is proud of him for hustling and dealing drugs. The woman doesn't care where her son gets the money, as long as he provides for her. April 12, 1994
3 3 1S02 "RTD" After Andre brings home a terrible report card, Joan orders him to attend a session with his mentor, Ray. Andre goes against his mother's wishes by taking the bus (RTD) to Ray's office. Andre and Rashad have a confrontation with a gang member, who tries to steal their radio. Rashad jumps out the window, but the guy pulls a gun on Andre. The gunman's friend recognizes Andre as Marcus's brother and defuses the situation. Andre becomes smitten with Ray's secretary, a smart and wealthy girl named Nicole. He decides to go to church with Ray that Sunday in the hopes of seeing her again. While riding the bus, Andre has a run-in with the same guy, who beats him and steals his basketball shoes. When Andre shows up for church with a black eye and no shoes, Nicole's parents conclude that he is a thug and forbid her from seeing him. Nicole and Andre spend hours talking on the phone. April 19, 1994
4 4 1S03 "CO-op" While working as a cashier at the local co-op market, Joan appears in a television news segment about black-owned businesses. Bobby, her boss, publicly declares himself a hero for providing employment to a down-on-her-luck woman who had been forced to go on food stamps. Joan is completely humiliated, and lights into Bobby for sharing her business with the whole city. Bobby insists that he simply wanted to generate good publicity for the co-op, but later apologizes for his insensitivity. Isaiah comes to the store and tries to take back the items Ujamaa is stocked with but Bobby talks him out of it. Tasha is distressed that she cannot attend track meets or hang out with her friends because she must watch Deion every day. He refuses to obey her, and begins to scream and physically attack her at one point. When Tasha takes Deion to a therapy session, his psychiatrist senses her frustration and gives her a chance to get some things off her chest. Tasha is happy when Deion reaches out to her, if only momentarily. May 3, 1994
5 5 1S04 "Men" Joan and Isaiah meet up again at the co-op, and have a much more pleasant encounter than their first meeting. Sweets invites him to a party, and Tasha later catches them kissing. Andre is enraged. He had encouraged Ray to ask her out, and believes his mother should give him a chance. Joan declares that she and Ray are only friends, and orders Andre to mind his own business. However, she tells Isaiah that she cannot get into a serious relationship because her life is already too complicated. Andre sneaks out of the house to see Nicole. May 10, 1994
6 6 1S05 "Dad" Tasha is overjoyed when her father, James, unexpectedly shows up for her 14th birthday party; but her mother and brother are less than thrilled. Despite Nicole's pleas, Andre refuses to behave civilly toward his father. Andre confronts a group of gang members who try to crash the party. He is furious when James comes off as the hero by defusing the situation peacefully. Andre tells him off and starts a shoving match. After James criticizes Joan's parenting skills (and suggests that she might be responsible for Marcus's death), she screams at him and throws him out of the party. Tasha follows her father and spends the rest of the day with him. Andre discovers some surprising information; although he had assumed that James abandoned the family, Joan actually ended the marriage. When Tasha returns, Joan tells her that she doesn't have to turn her back on her father, but could show her mother some appreciation. May 17, 1994
7 7 1S06 "Gun" (Part 1) Nicole and Andre continue to see each other behind her parents' backs. Tired of being pushed around and threatened, Andre begins carrying a gun in the hopes of gaining respect around the neighborhood. Although Andre tries to hide it in the upper reaches of his closet, Deion quickly finds out about the weapon. To be continued... May 24, 1994
8 8 1S07 "Gun" (Part 2)" Andre pulls his gun on a boy who bumps into him at a party. A mortified Nicole decides that her parents were right about Andre. She breaks up with him. Andre insists on accompanying Nicole on the bus to ensure that she makes it home safely. She refuses to say a word to him for the entire ride. May 24, 1994
9 9 1S08 "Dog" Deion becomes enchanted with a stray dog that begins hanging around the house. The usually emotionless boy smiles, laughs and imitates the dog. Joan fears that the dog has health problems and orders the kids to get rid of it. Andre and Tasha try to follow their mother's instructions, but Deion throws a fit. Andre gets into a fist fight with Rashad after he catches him making out with Tasha's friend Janelle in the Mosely house. The commotion upsets the dog, which bites Janelle. Meanwhile, Andre still can't get Nicole to give him the time of day. The co-op has a "black dollar day." May 31, 1994
10 10 1S09 "Date" In the hopes of having the house to herself for a date, Joan sends Deion to Disneyland with Sweets. She also pushes Tasha to go to a teen social night with Andre. Andre ignores Tasha when he and Rashad hook up with two older women, but she quickly makes friends at the gathering. Andre is stunned when he returns to the party to see Tasha performing onstage with the musical guest. June 7, 1994

Syndication[edit]

Episodes of South Central aired in the United States on TV One.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1994 Viewers For Quality Television Awards Won Founder's Award
-

References[edit]

  1. ^ Meisler, Andy (1996-01-30). "On TV, Showing Life as Lived". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Zook, Kristal Brent (1999). Color by Fox: The Fox Network and the Revolution in Black Television. Oxford University Press US. p. 11. ISBN 0-19-510612-1. 
  3. ^ Rosenberg, Howard (1994-10-19). "Did Jackson Save FOX Series With Boycott Threat?". community.seattletimes.nwsource.com. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 
  4. ^ Dines, Gail; McMahon Humez, Jean (2002). Gender, Race, and Class in Media. SAGE. p. 590. ISBN 0-7619-2261-X. 

External links[edit]