The Downfalls of Moesha

Image for post

Disclaimer: This post was originally made on TREMG’s platform in 2020 between late summer and early fall.

Moesha was a popular black sitcom that debuted in early 1996 and ended in 2001, captivating teens and anyone that resonated with its characters. The show starred singing sensation Brandy as Moesha Mitchell. Other stars throughout the seasons of the show included Lamont Bentley as Hakeem Campbell, William Allen Young as Frank Mitchell, Sheryl Lee Ralph as Dee Mitchell, Marcus T. Paulk as Myles Mitchell, Countess Vaughn as Kimberly Ann Parker, Shar Jackson as Niecy Jackson, Yvette Wilson as Andell Wilkerson, Fredro Starr as Quinton “Q” Brooks, and Ray J as Dorian Long. It was a favorite of many due to its positive representation of a black family unit. The show was centered around the life of teenager Moesha Mitchell, who was driven, goal oriented, and well grounded. She would always take a stance on what she believed in and was a very passionate girl, committed to writing and loved and cherished those closest to her. Her friends often made jokes about how drama filled her life, and oftentimes, her love life was. Moesha covered various topics: death of a parent, absence of a father, teen pregnancy, sex, race issues, mental health awareness/suicide, youthful romance, marriage, traditional and modern gender roles, and family secrets. Moesha remains one of my favorite shows of all time, so I was excited when I learned that Netflix would be adding it to its library along with six other famous black sitcoms. Prior to the show being added to Netflix, I would reminisce about memorable episodes and the characters’ highlighted moments and traits. As many fans would agree, seasons one through four were particularly the best. Seasons five and six, in my opinion, were downright confusing and the major turns of events were unforgettable. Now, I can admit that certain points of the final two seasons were interesting. However, many of those final moments appeared forced, unnecessary, and unconvincing. Here are some of the biggest mistakes I feel were made in Moesha.

  1. Dorian– What was the point of adding this character? Dorian is the “nephew” of Frank, and the “son” of Frank’s sister, Sandy. He is a troubled teenager whose father was absent in his life, so he desperately needed a father figure to help guide him down the right path and to teach him about manhood. He ran away from home in Oakland to go to Los Angeles to the Mitchell house. It was going to be temporary, but he stayed. Throughout his journey, Dorian continued his old troublesome habits by linking up with criminal Patience, to rob college dorms, running with the wrong crowds, cutting school, and misguiding young Myles. The stay should have been for a week, then he should have gone back home. Frank could have made trips to visit him throughout the show, but Dorian’s actions were disastrous. Boot Camp couldn’t even help this kid. In the end, he made no progress, playing a major role in Myles’ kidnapping. Dorian was pointless. 

Image for post

2. Uncle Frank is Daddy Frank– This was the biggest mistake in the show’s history. It was revealed in season five that while Frank was separated from his first wife and mother of his children, he had an affair that produced Dorian. His first wife was going to leave him, so Frank’s sister Sandy stepped in and decided to adopt Dorian as her son. This was a shocker and diminished Frank’s character as the honest, direct, loving, and caring father. Viewers admired Frank and believed he was a very standup individual. My father has always been present in my life and I still look at TV dads for life lessons and inspiration from a male’s perspective. Frank was a favorite, so the lies and deceit was not only confusing, but heartbreaking and I didn’t know what to make of him. Even looking back at certain parenting choices he would make makes me question some of his behavior. I feel that the show may have been desperate for a good storyline; this wasn’t it. 

Image for post

3. Moesha and Kim’s Friendship– Kimberly Parker was Moesha’s best friend. Although Kim was popular in high school along with Moesha, Moesha managed to outshine Kim most of the time. If the tables were turned, Moesha had an issue. For instance, Kim decided to audition for their high school’s cheerleading squad and wanted Moesha to audition with her, despite Moesha’s lack of interest in the activity. The captain also wanted Moesha to join, primarily due to her looks and popularity. Moesha only auditioned to help Kim with no intentions of earning a spot on the team. Kim was nervous but she proceeded to audition. Moesha’s routine was basic, yet the team thought it was good. In the middle of her routine, Kim accidentally fail to the floor and the team laughed at her, causing her to run out of the gym in a state of embarrassment. Kim was sure she didn’t make the team because of the mishap. To her surprise, she made it! While Moesha should’ve been happy for Kim, she developed a nasty attitude toward her; this confused Kim. Hakeem called Moesha out on her attitude and he (along with the audience) felt that Moesha had a problem with Kim being in the “spotlight” and that she needed to check herself. Eventually, Moesha apologized to Kim and Kim forgave her. The fat shaming wasn’t cool either. In a Halloween episode, Kim overheard Niecy and Moesha talking about Kim’s body size; it was a three-way phone call, but Kim couldn’t pick up the phone while preparing for the party so her answering machine picked up the call. The three planned on being “The Diva’s of Soul” at a costume party being held at The Den. Kim was going to be Diana Ross. “Do they make a Diana Ross costume in Kim’s size”, Niecy asked Moesha. “If they do, lets hope it’s in spandex”, Moesha replied. Kim instead showed up in a She-Devil costume, shocking everyone by how amazing she looked. Kim was distant from her friends the entire night and they grew tired of it. Kim’s boyfriend Michael explained to them why Kim was upset and her friend’s decided to apologize; when Kim spoke her mind, they all realized that they each talked bad about the other behind their backs and decided to stop it. Direct shots and subliminals were always thrown at Kim’s level of intelligence. During their senior year of high school, everyone was preparing to head off to college. One evening while Kim was over at Moesha’s house, Kim spotted a brochure for a college on Moesha’s desk. Kim thought it would be a good idea to attend the school with her best friend, but Moesha made a joke about Kim’s poor grades. Throughout the years, Kim would just take the dumb jokes and either not say anything, or would rebuttal with something hilarious. On this day, she had enough and exploded. Kim expressed to Moesha that she was tired of her constantly making fun of her intellectual abilities, being the only one that could achieve great things, and so on. They didn’t speak to each other for about a week. Moesha sent a letter to the TV show, Fanatic, months prior to the fallout and requested that producers help her fulfill Kim’s dreams of meeting LeAnn Rimes. The show ended with wishes being granted. I’m shocked Kim and Moesha’s friendship lasted so long.

Moesha - Life Imitating Art - TheTVDB.com

4. Moesha and Antonio’s Issue– Moesha’s high school friend, Antonio, decided to pay homage to his hero, Cesar Chavez, by painting a mural in his honor. Moesha, along with the other African American students didn’t want their history to be forgotten and felt that their heroes should’ve been depicted as well. The Latino students didn’t feel that they had enough representation, hence why Antonio painted the mural. This caused a racial divide between the African Americans and the Latinos, especially Moesha and Antonio. Moesha made it clear that she didn’t want the mural to be removed. However, someone smeared paint over the masterpiece. Although it was challenging, the students were able to share there opinions. It caused a debate. Eventually, everyone put differences aside. A main point of the debate was to show that it didn’t matter what color Cesar Chavez was, he could still serve as an inspiration to people of all kind due to his outstanding activism work.

Image for post

5. Moesha and Hakeem’s Romantic Relationship– Some may have wanted the two best friends to become an item for a long time. Friendship is the best place to start all relationships, right? Wrong, but only to a certain degree. Some friendships are meant to remain friendships and not all male and female friends are destined to be a couple. Hakeem and Moesha are proof of that. They were together for weeks (approximately equivalent to two episodes) and experienced issues in the relationship about how time was spent. Q, Moesha’s first love, came back into town. The two missed each other and talked about what happened in their lives since departing. Q propositions Moesha about becoming a  manager. Moesha would have had to leave California and school temporarily to do this and she took the offer after she caught Niecy and Hakeem kissing. Moesha and Hakeem break up, Moesha and Q get back together, then get engaged. There was a confrontation between Hakeem and Q on Thanksgiving and Moesha and Q broke up. Hakeem fought to get Moesha back and it paid off. The entire relationship didn’t feel very genuine and was short lived. Hakeem started out attending community college and was unsure about a career path. He could have dated someone that inspired him to find his passion. Moesha was the only one that benefited from the relationship academically because he was her “muse” for the philosophy paper. The two didn’t compliment each other very well and Moesha didn’t seem to be into Hakeem as much as he was into her. The relationship didn’t have a chance; it was forced. In other episodes, such as the episode where Hakeem buys Moesha that beautiful necklace, fans did wonder, “what if they actually were together”? Once the opportunity presented itself, it was very rushed. The bond was stronger when they were friends and both would have been better off in long term relationships with other people.  

Image for post

6. Myles STILL Never Received Much Attention– Throughout the show, young Myles was depicted as the typical annoying younger brother to his older sister. Myles overall was sweet, but got a kick out of seeing Moesha get in trouble and loved ruining her fun. He shined through his abilities to dance well and was peaceful in the midst of family drama that didn’t involve him: when Moesha moved out in season three, Myles wanted her back home. So, for Frank’s birthday, he decided to continue plans for a birthday party by inviting Moesha. She and Frank talk and Moesha moves back home. When it was revealed in season five that Dorian was Frank’s son, Myles was the only family member that didn’t lash out at his father and reassured Frank that he loved him. In season four, marijuana was found in the house and was suspected to be Moesha’s; it turned out to be for Myles. The Mitchell’s attended therapy sessions to get down to the bottom of Myles’ behavior as well as other family issues. Myles felt as though Moesha didn’t care about him and only wanted to spend time with her friends. He felt that Frank and Dee were more concerned about Moesha and not him. Even after therapy, Myles didn’t get the attention he needed. The focus that was placed on Dorian should’ve been placed on Myles. Fans should’ve seen how far Myles’ interest in dancing went; Moesha’s passion was writing and we saw her hone those skills, so it should’ve been the same way with Myles’ dancing. We also should’ve seen more growth in his character: a possible romance, Myles developing a more stable group of friends that he could count on, the family taking more time out to listen to him, etc. Myles became Dorian’s follower and Dorian had a negative impact on Myles. He had potential to be more than what he was had he not been kidnapped or followed Dorian. 

Image for post

7. That Last Episode– If you’re a fan of the show, there really isn’t much that needs to be said about how the show officially ended. Not everything is meant to end on a happy note, but so many things were unclear. Someone was pregnant, Hakeem wanted Moesha to live with him over the summer, and thanks to Dorian, Myles was kidnapped by criminal Lamont. Dorian was focusing on becoming a rapper and had a rap group with his friends (they sucked); he refused to give up a percentage of the group to Lamont, so his revenge on Dorian was kidnapping Myles. 

There were so many directions, creatively, that Moesha could’ve gone in, but it failed to do so. Fans were left with their own suspicions of what happened to Myles and which girl was pregnant. Due to Hakeem’s appearances on The Parkers, I don’t think he and Moesha stayed together. He dated Stevie for a short period of time, started attending a university, and appeared to be in great spirits. Also, there was no mention of Hakeem being a father when he appeared on The Parkers for the road trip, so Moesha wasn’t the pregnant girl from my observation. Hakeem would be doing well despite not having his father around. He probably would be a hip-hop mogul today. Maybe they did get Myles back, but he definitely needed more therapy. Today, I think Myles may be in rehab because he was the least developed character and needed more attention; no attention possibly drove him to heavier drug use. Frank and Dee would still be together. Moesha may be a well-established author in another country. Niecy probably owns a dance company, is financially stable, and holds big family dinners at her house with her big family. Who knows what the characters would be like today? There’s always hope that they turned out great. We’ll never know for sure. It will go down in history as one of the greatest sitcoms of all time.

Rest in Peace to some of Moesha’s brightest fallen stars that faded way too soon (Regulars and some notable guests)…

Lamont Bentley as Hakeem Campbell– October 25, 1973-January 19, 2005 (Car accident)

Yvette Wilson as Andell Wilkerson– March 6, 1964-June 14, 2012 (Cervical cancer)

Bernie Mac as Uncle Bernie– October 5, 1957-August 9, 2008 (Sarcoidosis)

Kobe Bryant as Terry– August 23, 1978-January 26, 2020 (Helicopter accident)

Merlin Santana as Ohaji– March 14, 1976-November 9, 2002 (Shooting; murder)

Ricky Harris as Javon Aramis– 1962-December 26, 2016 (Heart attack)

You may be gone, but you will never be forgotten. 

Images:

1. Imdb.com

2. Angelfire.com

3. Popsugar.com

4. Cheatsheet.com

5. Simplyoloni.com

6. Netflix.com

7. Nypost.com

8. Twitter.com

9. Thetvdb.com

TREMG news

Dajonik L. Bickham View All →

I’m a New Orleans, Louisiana native (age 22: Born May 15, 1999) and I highly appreciate the arts of writing and self expression. I never like to limit myself, so my content may vary by topic even though you may see a series of articles with some similar themes. I hope you enjoy my writings just as much as I enjoy creating the work!

2 Comments Leave a comment

Leave a Reply to Nyasha Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: