This article is about the sitcom starring Shawn and Marlon Wayans. For information about their entire family, see Wayans family.
The Wayans Bros. is a situation comedy that aired from January 1995 to May 1999 on The WB. The series starred real-life brothers Shawn and Marlon Wayans. Both brothers were already well-known from the sketch comedy show In Living Color that was aired from 1990 to 1994 on Fox. The series also starred John Witherspoon and Anna Maria Horsford (season 2 onward).
Shawn and Marlon Williams (Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans) are two brothers who live in an apartment on 126th street in Harlem. Shawn owns a newsstand in the fictional Neidermeyer Building where he and his brother Marlon work on a daily basis. In the same building, their father John "Pops" Williams (John Witherspoon) owns a diner and Dee Baxter (Anna Maria Horsford, season 2 onward) works as a security guard. During the first season, Shawn and Marlon lived at a different part of New York, in a small apartment. In the 2nd season, Shawn and Marlon moved to Rockefeller Center with Pops.
During the transition of season 2,Shawn's former girlfriend, Lisa Saunders, did not return for the rest of the series. Monique, a local shopkeeper and Marlon's love interest, did not return after the 11th episode. Lou, the former security guard, left after the 7th episode and was replaced by Dee Baxter. Mitch Mullany, who played White Mike , Shawn and Marlon's white neighbor who acts ghetto, appeared for 6 episodes of season 2. Shawn formally worked for UPS, yet season 2, he works at the newsstand. Marlon was working with Pops at the diner, but in season 2, he worked at the newsstand with Shawn. Pops' diner was a single restaurant, and hired Marlon and Benny , the cook, during season 1. However, the diner was moved to the Neidermeyer building. It also revealed that Pops' diner was a historical landmark for the nation's greatest civil rights leaders and activists.
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),
First air date
Last air date
January 11, 1995
May 24, 1995
September 6, 1995
May 15, 1996
September 4, 1996
May 14, 1997
September 17, 1997
May 20, 1998
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.
Theme music and opening sequence:
The show's official opening title always begins 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 got 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.
Unfilmed final episode:
Although the show ended abruptly, there was a script done for the final episode.
Pops Williams was offered 6.5 million dollars for his chili recipe (despite the fact that dog food was accidentally mixed into the original batch) by a major food company. Pops happily takes the money and retires, selling his diner to T.C. He and the boys mother, who finally appears on the show (in the form of Marsha Warfield) promptly move to Florida.
Marlon finally makes it big when the homeless man he helped get an acting job long ago (played again by Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs) returns, now an accomplished stage actor, and offers Marlon a starring role in TV's first black soap opera "The Young and the Ghetto". The only stipulation is that Marlon would have to move to LA where the show is filmed. He and Shawn have a huge fallout about this, but in the end Shawn gives Marlon his blessing.
Dee lands her dream job when the owner of Madison Square Garden calls and offers her a job as head of security. She only has one provision, that she "personally" oversees the Knicks' locker room.
Alone at his newsstand, Shawn stares at his father's diner, now renamed TC's Place, and flashbacks to happier times. He's jarred out of his reverie by Tyra Banks (as herself), who wants to buy a Jet magazine. Thrilled, Shawn tries to charm her into a date with him. Tyra declines but is impressed by Shawn's bravado and offers him a chance to be the first male on her show, America's Next Top Model. Shawn declines at first, but quickly changes his mind when Tyra tells him he'd be staying in the same house with the female models. As Shawn closes his newsstand for the last time, he glances around and shuts off the lights, heading out to Tyra's waiting limo.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license