The Wayans Bros.
|The Wayans Bros.|
Season 3 intertitle
|Created by||Shawn Wayans
David Steven Simon
Anna Maria Horsford
Paula Jai Parker
|Theme music composer||Tom Rizzo (season 3)
Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, Omar Epps and Alan Cohn (seasons 4-5)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||101 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Billy Van Zandt &
Jane Milmore (season 1)
Rick Hawkins (season 2)
Phil Kellard & Tom Moore (seasons 3–5)
|Location(s)||Warner Bros. Studios, Burbank, California (taping location)|
|Camera setup||Videotape; Multi-camera|
|Running time||Approx. 21 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Baby Way Productions
Next to Last Productions
Warner Bros. Television
|Distributor||Warner Bros. Television Distribution|
|Original network||The WB|
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)|
|Original release||January 11, 1995– May 20, 1999|
The Wayans Bros. is a sitcom that aired from January 1995 to May 1999 on The WB. The series starred real-life brothers Shawn and Marlon Wayans. The series also starred John Witherspoon and Anna Maria Horsford (season 2 onward).
Shawn and Marlon Williams (Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans) are brothers who live in an apartment on 126th street in Harlem. Shawn owns a local newsstand, where he and his brother Marlon work on a daily basis. In the show's second season (in 1995), the newsstand and Pops' Joint (the restaurant owned by their father, John "Pops" Williams (John Witherspoon) were moved downtown into the fictional Neidermeyer Building, in Rockefeller Center, where Dee Baxter (Anna Maria Horsford (season 2 onward) works as a security guard.
Season 2 Transitions
Many transitions were made in season 2:
- Shawn's former girlfriend, Lisa Saunders (Lela Rochon), did not return for the rest of the series.
- Monique (Paula Jai Parker), a local shopkeeper and Marlon's love interest, did not return after the 11th episode.
- Lou (Jill Tasker), the former security guard, left after the 7th episode and was replaced by Dee Baxter (Anna Maria Horsford).
- White Mike (Mitch Mullany), Shawn and Marlon's ghetto white neighbor, appeared for six episodes of season 2.
- Shawn formally worked for IPS, yet in season 2, he works at his newsstand.
- Marlon was working with Pops at the diner, but in season 2, he worked at the newsstand with Shawn.
- Pops' Joint was a standalone restaurant, and he hired Marlon and Benny, the cook, during season 1. However, in season 2 the eatery was moved into the Neidermeyer Building, in Rockefeller Center. It also revealed that Pops' Joint was an historical landmark for the nation's greatest civil rights leaders and activists.
- Sarah Caprice - Olivia Baxter
- Merrisa Darkoh - Maria Baxter
- Shawn Wayans - Shawn Williams
- Marlon Wayans - Marlon Williams
- John Witherspoon - John "Pops" Williams
- Anna Maria Horsford - Deirdre "Dee" Baxter (season 2 onward)
- Lela Rochon - Lisa Saunders (season 1)
- Paula Jai Parker - Monique (season 2, episodes 1–11)
- Jill Tasker - Lou Malino (season 2, episodes 1–7)
- Phill Lewis - Thelonious "T.C." Capricornio (season 2 onward)
- Ja'net Dubois - Grandma Ellington (1996–1998)
- Jermaine 'Huggy' Hopkins - Dupree (1996–1998)
- Jeremy Hittel - Carwash (1996–1999)
- Lance Amols - Doc (1997–1999)
- Mitch Mullany - White Mike (6 episodes)
|Season||Episodes||First air date||Last air date|
|Season 1||13||January 11, 1995||May 24, 1995|
|Season 2||22||September 6, 1995||May 15, 1996|
|Season 3||22||September 4, 1996||May 14, 1997|
|Season 4||22||September 17, 1997||May 20, 1998|
|Season 5||22||September 17, 1998||May 20, 1999|
The Wayans Bros. was the first of the four sitcoms that aired as part of the original Wednesday night two-hour lineup that helped launch the network (along with Unhappily Ever After, The Parent 'Hood and the short-lived Muscle). While in development, the series' working title was initially supposed to have been Brother to Brother, before the name of the series changed to The Wayans Bros.
In the show's second season, in 1995 Pops' Joint (the restaurant owned by Shawn and Marlon's father, John "Pops" Williams) was moved into the Neidermeyer Building, where the location was changed from Harlem to Rockefeller Center, Manhattan. The series was cancelled due to declining ratings and was not given a proper finale. While the series did not end on a cliffhanger, it was noted in Scary Movie in 2000, Shawn Wayans' character was attacking a monster and in the fight he mentioned 'And the Wayans Brothers was cancelled, we ran for 5 seasons and didn't get a final episode.'
Theme music and opening sequence
The show's official opening title began with Shawn and Marlon on the steps of a brownstone apartment building, donning afros and wearing 1970s preppy attire, moving in rhythm to an accompanying satirical music piece that's supposed to have a 1970s-style "urban" sitcom theme song feel. Marlon forcefully smacks the camera, and then segues into "the real opening" of The Wayans Bros. The scene then cuts to them with their normal clothes and trying to help an old woman who gets hit by a bus. The camera then shows the brothers inside the bus with the title of the show underneath them.
The "second-half" part of The Wayans Bros. theme song was changed twice throughout its four-year run (1995–1999). In the first two seasons, from early 1995, until 1996, the show's theme song was A Tribe Called Quest's "Electric Relaxation" (used both in the 1994-95, and the 1995–96 seasons). In the third season (1996–97), the theme song changed to a 4-second Hip-Hop beat. In the final two seasons (1997–1998 & 1998-1999), the show's theme song was changed again to a regular hip hop instrumental beat (which was produced by the Wayans Bros. & Omar Epps).
Warner Bros. Television Distribution handles syndication distribution of the series. In September 1999, after the series was cancelled by The WB, the series began airing in off-network syndication to Fox, WB and UPN affiliates nationwide.
At that same time, Chicago-based national cable superstation WGN began airing reruns of the series, airing the series until 2002 (when its broadcast syndication run also ended); ironically, WGN (both the local Chicago feed and the national superstation feed) aired The Wayans Bros. in first-run form from 1995 to 1999, when WGN (whose local Chicago feed was an affiliate of the network) carried WB programming nationally to make The WB available to markets where a local affiliate did not exist (The Wayans Bros. is one of three WB series to have aired on WGN in both first-run and syndication form; The Parent 'Hood, 7th Heaven and Sister, Sister being the others).
In 2006, reruns began airing on BET, after a 4-year absence where it ran until 2007. In 2007, reruns of the series aired on Ion Television, where it ran until 2008. As of 2011, reruns currently air on MTV2. On October 3, 2011, the series also began airing on Centric.