True Colors (TV series)

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True Colors
Genre Sitcom
Created by Michael J. Weithorn
Written by Peter Freedman
Gregory Allen Howard
Jeffrey Joseph
Michael J. Weithorn
Directed by Peter Bonerz
Stan Lathan
Arlene Sanford
Rob Schiller
Carol Scott
John Sgueglia
Starring Frankie Faison
(Season 1)
Cleavon Little
(Season 2)
Stephanie Faracy
Claude Brooks
Brigid Conley Walsh
Adam Jeffries
Nancy Walker
Theme music composer Lennie Niehaus
Composer(s) Gordon Lustig
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 45
Executive producer(s) Michael J. Weithorn
Producer(s) Faye Oshima Belyeu
Running time 22–24 minutes
Production company(s) Hanley Productions
20th Century-Fox Television
Original network Fox
Original release September 2, 1990 (1990-09-02) – April 12, 1992 (1992-04-12)

True Colors is an American sitcom that aired on Fox from September 2, 1990 to April 12, 1992 for a total of 45 episodes.[1] The series was created by Michael J. Weithorn, and featured an interracial marriage and a subsequent blended family.


Premise and first season[edit]

Set in Baltimore, Ronald Freeman (Frankie Faison) is a widowed African-American dentist who marries Ellen Davis (Stephanie Faracy), a divorced white kindergarten teacher who was one of his patients. Ron has two sons from his first marriage, 17-year-old earnest conservative Terry (Claude Brooks) and daydreaming 14-year-old troublemaker Lester (Adam Jeffries), while Ellen has a teenage daughter, studious, cause-driven Katie (Brigid Conley Walsh). Ellen's ex-husband, Leonard (played in guest appearances by Paul Sand), who is accepting of her second marriage, would occasionally visit her while attempting to get his life back on track. Although the series did focus on race issues, most episodes focused on the family adjusting to their new living situation and the three children going through adolescence.

Another source of contention for the family was Ellen's divorced mother, Sara Bower (Nancy Walker), who also had moved into the household. Sara disapproved of her daughter's marriage, although in a more subdued manner than previous bigoted TV characters confronted with race relations (Archie Bunker, et al.), nor was it ever explicitly stated that she disapproved of her new son-in-law on account of race. Despite her wry jokes centering on the occasional pains she had in her life, Sara possessed spunk, had an active dating life, and even in time, formed a good relationship with Lester, who thought that his step-grandmother was quite hip. One hint towards her outlook was when Ron removed an abscess tooth of hers, to which her attitude changes at being relieved of so much pain. Sara then praises Ron as a genius and becomes generous towards her grandchildren.

Originally, the basement of the Freeman home was a dentist's office, where Ron operated a private practice, but it later became Terry's bedroom after Ron rented space in an office building for his practice.

One instance in which the series directly tackled the issue of race was the first season episode "A Matter of Principal" (April 14, 1991). It was career week for Ellen's kindergarten class, and time for the students to choose what kind of profession to visit for a field trip. Ellen successfully coaxed the kids into visiting Ron's dental office. The plans coincided with a $250,000 donation that the family of one of Ellen's students was making to the school, in order for a new library to be built. When the mother of Ellen's student found out that her daughter's teacher was in an interracial marriage, she threatened to revoke her generous donation—unless Ellen agreed to cancel the field trip. This spurred an in-depth debate amongst Ellen, Ron and the entire family, which, after a showdown between Ellen, the mother and the school principal, culminated in her quitting the position at the school.

Second season[edit]

In the second season of the series, Faison was replaced by Cleavon Little as Ron Freeman. Walker, who was suffering from lung cancer, continued to star on the series, but ultimately only appeared in half the season's episodes due to her treatments and compromised health. Before long, due to the sudden loss of her physical mobility, Walker went on to appear in a motorized wheelchair for the majority of her second season episodes. Terry went off to Marshall State University that fall, not far from home. Ellen accepted a new teaching job at Cortez Junior High, and during the season, she finally realized her long-time talent as a painter. She began to showcase some of her work at local art exhibits, in hopes of launching a new side career. Early in 1992, perhaps to compensate for Walker's absences in certain episodes and most likely because of falling ratings, a new regular character, Robert (Norman D. Golden II), was introduced. Robert, who went by the nickname "Twist", was a young neighbor boy who attached himself to the Freemans, stealing scenes and causing an uproar, usually involving Lester and Terry along the way. Meanwhile, Little's physical appearance began to look more gaunt during the course of the season, as the actor disclosed he was battling colorectal cancer.

The second season premiere was also notable for tackling racial issues. The episode dealt with Lester facing problems and being given The Autobiography of Malcolm X. When Lester takes the book to heart and starts dressing and acting like Malcolm Little, he reconsiders when he sees his friends and family interacting with people of different cultures.

Cancellation and cast deaths[edit]

Despite the new plotlines, Fox shortened the season order for True Colors by February sweeps, and kept the episode total at 21. The new episode aired on April 12, 1992 wound up being the series' last, as Fox cancelled True Colors one month later. However, Nancy Walker, who had continued working into the winter months until she could no longer do so, died on March 25, 1992, after the series had produced what would be its last episode, but less than a month before the last original episode aired. Soon after its cancellation the series would lose another of its stars. On October 22, 1992, two months after True Colors reruns had left the Fox primetime schedule, Cleavon Little lost his battle with cancer.[citation needed]


Episode list[edit]

Season 1[edit]

Series # Title Notes Original air date
1 Pilot No synopsis available. September 2, 1990
2 "A Pair of Cranks" Lester is caught shoplifting a pair of expensive athletic shoes and Sara must bail him out by buying the shoes to avoid police involvement. September 9, 1990
3 "One of the Girls" No synopsis available. September 16, 1990
4 "A Dog's Life" No synopsis available. September 23, 1990
5 "Step Lightly" No synopsis available. September 30, 1990
6 "Life with Fathers" No synopsis available. October 7, 1990
7 "What's Wrong with that Boy?" No synopsis available. October 21, 1990
8 "Tooth and Consequences" No synopsis available. October 28, 1990
9 "Soft Shell" No synopsis available. November 4, 1990
10 "Young at Heart" No synopsis available. November 11, 1990
11 "Occasional Wife" No synopsis available. November 18, 1990
12 "High Anxiety" Terry harbors a fear of flying due to his acrophobia. Katie tries to use a psychological method to get Terry to overcome his fear of heights on the roof, but a gust of wind causes everyone to get locked out of the building. November 25, 1990
13 "Puppet Regime" No synopsis available. December 16, 1990
14 "Christmas Show '90" No synopsis available. December 23, 1990
15 "Moment of Ruth" No synopsis available. January 13, 1991
16 "A Real Pain" No synopsis available. February 3, 1991
17 "The Tender Trap" No synopsis available. February 10, 1991
18 "Opposites Attract" No synopsis available. February 17, 1991
19 "Homies Alone" No synopsis available. March 3, 1991
20 "Daughter Dearest" Katie dates a fellow activist, but Terry has an intuition the man is trying to bed her, causing Ron to show concern and protection for his stepdaughter. March 24, 1991
21 "A Matter of Principal" No synopsis available. April 14, 1991
22 "Superman, Superego" No synopsis available. April 21, 1991
23 "Prisoners of Love" No synopsis available. April 28, 1991
24 "Favorite Son" No synopsis available. May 12, 1991

Season 2[edit]

Series # Title Notes Original air date
25 "Lester X" No synopsis available. August 22, 1991
26 "Strange Bedfellows" No synopsis available. September 12, 1991
27 "Splendor in the Basement" No synopsis available. September 15, 1991
28 "Yo' House Mama (Part 1)" No synopsis available. September 22, 1991
29 "Yo' House Mama (Part 2)" No synopsis available. September 29, 1991
30 "Presumed Guilty" No synopsis available. October 6, 1991
31 "Not My Sister, Brother" No synopsis available. October 20, 1991
32 "Shades of a Difference (a.k.a. White Lies)" No synopsis available. October 15, 1991
33 "Three for All" No synopsis available. October 23, 1991
34 "Brotherly Love?" No synopsis available. November 3, 1991
35 "Three For All" No synopsis available. November 10, 1991
36 "Seems Like Old Times" No synopsis available. December 8, 1991
37 "Broken Home (Part 1)" No synopsis available. December 15, 1991
38 "Broken Home (Part 2)" No synopsis available. December 22, 1991
39 "Readin', Ritin' and Runnin'" No synopsis available. December 29, 1991
40 "Photo Opportunity" No synopsis available. January 5, 1992
41 "Art Attack" No synopsis available. January 12, 1992
42 "The Beat Goes On" No synopsis available. February 2, 1992
43 "Half a Man" No synopsis available. February 9, 1992
44 "Word to the Mother" No synopsis available. January 31, 1992
45 "Feeling Up!" No synopsis available. February 27, 1992


External links[edit]