Tuesday, November 6, 2007

My Ginormous Plan to Get Past the Dregs of October

During my years as a college student, I’ve always lived by this mantra to squeeze by the horrible Fall Semester.
“If you can get by unscathed during the month of October, you can handle the rest of Fall Semester.”- TTK

Okay, maybe it’s not exactly the inspirational quote that you were expecting. However, with Election Day (for the High Schoolers, yeah I’m still bitter about the Facebook high school thing. It SHOULD be a right of passage), Veterans Day, and Thanksgiving we’ve only got two full weeks of school in the month of November. Once Thanksgiving break is over, most schools only have one week of school before finals, and then Christmas Break starts up!

October has got to be the worst month of the school year. Here at the Real HU, almost every instructor gives their 1st class exams during the first week of the month. Everyone suddenly gets locked in after summer break (finally), and professors start separating the phonies from the realistic. Most clubs, organizations, and other campus groups jampack events into this month before and after Homecoming week, an idea that would be perfect…if all of the professors didn’t decide to save their 2nd exams for the week AFTER homecoming for fear that their students won’t study.

Also, after experiencing three Homecomings at Howard, I have only one word to describe the hype = overrated. My reasons behind this judgment are threefold:

1. Once you’ve participated in all of the events one time around (Freshman Year), nothing really changes. It’s like watching a rerun of a game when you already know who’s going to get the W.

2. I don’t know, but it’s hard to get excited about second-tier performers and the idea that supermanning a hoe is actually a good thing. As fellow blogger MJD said, “Once white people realize the meaning behind the song, they are not going to be happy. How do people have the time to come up with these things?”

3. The geniuses that run Howard University always find innovative ways to ruin an completely carefree week. Remember earlier when I said that most cool teachers hold off on exam until the week after Homecoming? Well, now that the brainiacs that run our school decided to place our midterms during the same exact week as Homecoming, and the jerks teachers that still give tests during that week, I have to sidestep drunk college students, blast Kenny G in my room to outblast the douchebags who plays Rich Boy’s Throw Some D’s on repeat, and give directions to folks that are coming to have the good time at Howard that I won’t.

I’m also emotionally tapped out, especially after Darius’ death and the subsequent funeral and thoughts I’ve had since that day. (I’m thinking about writing a story about the entire experience) Greyhound even jaded me this weekend, failing to have enough buses on schedule to support its’ travelers, leaving me – and another 40+ folks – sleeping on the floor of a New York terminal until 6:30am the next morning. It’s been a terrible October.

That’s why I’ve always looked forward to November. It signifies thanks, the beginning of good tidings, a time where everyone is warm and people are generally more appreciative of each other. I’ve had a LOT to be thankful to God for this year.

But more importantly…it’s the start of the NBA season!!!!

I had a ginormous plan to give you Facebookers and readers of my blog to do an awesome preview of each NBA Team before the start of the ’07 Season. Unfortunately I left out one tiny detail...I’d have to write it in October.

So I’m going to give a quick breakdown of the finishes of each division. However, since I love old TV and Cartoon shows, I’m also gonna write a quick synopsis of each of my favorite throwbacks. Since I’ve already been talking about Homecoming at my black colleges and life at the Real HU, let’s just drive further down I-95 and check out Bill Cosby’s Debbie Allen’s hit TV spinoff – “A Different World!”

“A Different World”: September 23, 1987 – July 9, 1993 (6 Seasons)

My Introduction: The family comedy that combined the talents of an annoying, rich light-skinned Cinderella (Whitley Gilbert), an “older” college student (Jalessa Vincent), the overconfident fratboy from School Daze (Ron Johnson), a spunky rebel turned law student (Freddie Brooks), and a confident, young engineer with the “flip-up” shades from Brooklyn who definitely “was somebody” according to the poster on his wall (Dwayne Wayne). By the end of this show’s end, Kadeem Hardison – as well the cast of this hip show – were definitely somebodies in the hearts of black students and America.

The Main Characters Who Held The Show Together and Gave Debbie Allen a Job: (A-) Sorry Lisa Bonet, but your pregnancy from Lenny Kravitz paved the way for Debbie Allen to work her magic on this show. Relative unknowns like Hardison and Jasmine Guy evolved as the anchors of this show, while supporting cast talent like Darryl Bell (Ron), Dawnn Lewis (Jalessa), and Cree Summer (Freddie) rounded out the show. While this show couldn’t have lasted without Dwayne or Whitney, the producers did a good job of making sure that no cast member completely dominated the show, allowing the principle cast to hang around for 4 straight seasons.

Rising Stars: (C+) Unfortunately due to the Cosby curse, none of the characters from “A Different World” went on to have spectacular careers. Jada Pinkett dominated Season 6 but was seen as a person that was using the show completely as a warm-up round before her stint in the limelight. Cree Summer has become one of the greatest voice talents of the “great cartoon era” lending her voice to project such as Tiny Toon Adventures (Elmira), Rugrats (Susie), Code Name: Kids Next Door (Number 5), Danny Phantom (Valerie), that random black girl from As Told By Ginger, Drawn Together (Foxxy Love), etc, etc, etc. Yeah, her voice is pretty famous.

Moment that Show “Jumped the Shark”: I think that Debbie Allen saw the writing on the wall when the screenwriters had the perfect marriage in place between Dwayne and Whitley at the end of Season 4. Marrying these two would’ve left too many potential episodes ideas on the table, as well as instantly promote these two characters to “alpha dog” status on the show. Hardison and Guy would have actively pursued pay raises and superiority on the set, and Ron, Jalessa, and Freddie would’ve been left out in the cold. When the producers finally relent to their wacky marriage at the end of Season 5…it marked the end of an era. Jalessa saw the writing on the wall and left the show, hurting its plotline (her marriage to Col. Taylor) and the youth movement that ensued crippled the ratings.

Eye Candy: (A-) Yeah, because this show was in a college atmosphere, the episodes were loaded with babes. From the removal of Denise (Lisa Bonet) for Jasmine Guy in Season 2, the revamped Freddie in Season 6, Jada Pinkett being…well…Jada Pinkett, the severely underrated Kim Reese, and the youth movement that destroyed the show, added great “talent” to the viewing public. Hey, even Millie and Maggie from Season 1 weren’t half-bad. Plus with nerds like Dwayne and Ron dominating the show gave normal guys hope that they had a fighting chance, which in reality is totally unrealistic…unless you’ve got bank.

Theme Song: (D+…until Season 6: A-) Even though Dawnn Lewis is a talented actor on the show, there is no way a show created for the young, college-age audience should have had a song with such a slow tempo. I love Phoebe Show and Aretha Franklin…but once Boys II Men sang the theme in Season 6, it took the show to a WHOLE NEW LEVEL. I’m even humming the tune as I write this sentence. (Unfortunately, even these Grammy winners couldn’t save this show from gagging during this season…nice song though.)

Best Season: Season 4. Sinbad and Mr. Gaines come into their own as role players, Dwayne and Whitney become synonymous with college love, Ron/Kim/Freddie begin their love triangle, Matthew was the “token” but hilarious white guy that dated Kim (never would’ve happen in real life with Kim’s personality), Dwayne turns down the Kinishiwa job in Tokyo to teach at Hillman, and Jalessa and Col. Taylor start their trip down an interesting (and totally revolting) relationship culminating in marriage. (Plus there were no annoying RA’s like Stevie or Lettie from the earlier seasons to ruin the fun…)

Worst Season: Season 1. I’m so glad that Cosby and Allen understood that Denise had NO chance of carrying the show on her back, given her limited acting experience. The producers realized that the trio of true stars (Dwayne/Whitley/Ron) were getting outshined by the melodrama that ensued with Denise. (Definitely proven true by the amount of “guest” appearances made by the Cosby Show’s characters over the course of Season 1) I loved Maggie, but since she depended heavily on Denise she too had to go. This was an extremely gutsy move by Allen because it completely severed the ties from the Cosby Show, making “A Different World” an entirely separate undertaking.

Overall Rating: (A) Because of its’ rewatchability and the comparisons that can be made to my life at this point, I’d give it the A. (Nick at Nite and Oxygen are slacking on the reruns right now) We’ll see where I stand in 5-10 years.

Now, here’s your NBA Season Preview of the Southeast Division:
(from best to worst)

1. Miami Heat: Even though D-Wade’s down for the first month, I don’t think any team in this division’s got the cojones to grab the reins from the 2006 World Champs yet. Yes, I’m saying this even though Shaq’s going to use the entire regular season to get in shape for the playoffs.

2. Orlando Magic: People are already criticizing the Magic brass for signing All-Star Rashard Lewis to a mega-deal. However, by going with Stan Van Gundy over the fan favorite Billy Dee (who left anyway to go coach Florida again); Orlando’s going to make huge strides this season. I’ve already predicted Dwight Howard to be the MVP this season and if they can add a solid two-guard to replace J.J. Redick the Magic will be a force in the East.

3. Atlanta Hawks: As my boy Obi said to me a week ago, “All those years of drafting forwards is finally going to pay off. Playoffs, Playoffs, PLAYOFFS!!!” Well, maybe they won’t make the postseason, but with Acie Law and Al Horford joining a more mature Josh Smith, Joe Johnson and Co. in the A, they’ll get close.

4. Washington Wizards: I can’t believe a team that made the playoffs allowed 104.9 PPG (28th in the league)! I don’t care if Gilbert puts up career numbers in his contract year, or that Caron was injured for the last month of the year, a team with a coach more interested in his acting career (okay, I’ve abused that joke) than his squad leaves the 2007-08 Wiz as my disappointment franchise of the year.

5. Charlotte Bobcats: They’re here only because I can’t bring myself to pull the Wizards as the last team in this conference when they had the BEST record in the East at the All-Star break last year. However, don’t be fooled…these guys are good. If only Jordan wasn’t such an atrocious GM.

Thanks for reading this long post everybody, and I’ll see you later with my next division (and show) breakdown!



  1. So I just discovered your blog, wow! good one, and I love this article!

  2. Hmmm...might want to reconsider that #1 slot for the Miami 'Cold', TTK.

    But that's alright....hindsight is always 20/20.

    And, replace JJ Redick?! Are you implying that a 6'4'' guard who made a living coming off multiple screens in the ACC taking shots he practiced in his backyard since the age of 5...meanwhile defensively, couldn't guard a ham sandwich... should be benched?

    The audacity of TTK..