What's Happening Now!!

 

"What's Happening Now!! Synopsis:
When the half-hour comedy series ''What's Happening!!'' began its domestic syndicated run in 1980, it proved even more successful than its original airing on network television from 1976-79. Thus was born ''What's Happening Now!!'', in which seven years have elapsed and the cast, headed by Ernest Thomas as Raj, Fred Berry as Rerun, Haywood Nelson Jr. as Dwayne, Shirley Hemphill as Shirley and with the addition of Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine, are now young adults in their old neighborhood. Raj is still the aspiring writer, but he becomes half owner of Rob's Place, the favorite hangout of the old gang. Lovable, assertive waitress Shirley has saved her tips and gone in with Raj as silent partner. Slick-talking Rerun is a TV commercial pitchman, "Swami Stubbs," while his bachelor-apartment roommate, Dwayne, is studying computers. Raj now has a wife, Nadine, who is a college graduate and social worker, the very profile of a modern woman. Now if these three guys could manage to grow up…


"What's Happening Now!!" Episode Guide:

In Production Order (Airdate order is found below)

Season 1

01 - Raj Returns

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Theodore Wilson as Mr. Lee

Roger "Raj" Thomas returns to live in the old neighborhood he grew up in to start his married life accompanied by his bride Nadine, a social worker. When his mother remarried and moved out of the state, she sold them the house. Appointed caretakers to the property when Mrs. Thomas moved away, Dwayne and Shirley drive by the house and assume that someone has broken into the Thomas home when they see lights on inside, completely unaware that Raj has moved in.

After a minor scuffle, the friends are happily reunited. Wanting to surprise Rerun with Raj 's return, Dwayne and Shirley ask him to drop by the house. Instead of being happy, Rerun surprisingly upset at Raj 's return. He envisions Raj as a successful writer and therefore a threat to his claim to fame as a television commercial pitchman. But before long, Dwayne gets the two old pals together and Rerun realizes that his friend is still the same person he has always been and no longer feels threatened.

Excitedly revisiting his old hangouts, Raj finds that everything in the neighborhood has remained the same with the exception of Rob's Place, the former restaurant/hangout the old gang used as their meeting place, which is an abandoned mess. Shirley confesses she has always wanted to buy Rob's Place on her own, but is unable to do so without a partner to share half the expenses. She is pleasantly surprised when Raj discreetly agrees to become that partner and establish himself in the community.

LOG LINE: When Raj returns to live in his old neighborhood with his new wife Nadine, they get a warm welcome from friends Shirley and Dwayne, but the cold shoulder from Rerun.

Directed by: Gary Brown
Written by: Kim Weiskopf & Michael S. Baser

02 - A Horse is Not a Home

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Ray Girardin as Duke
Susan Rattan as Jane
 

Known as used car commercial pitchman "Swami Stubbs," Rerun unexpectedly gets stuck with a horse as a trade in on a used car. He manages to talk a reluctant Raj into keeping the animal until he can sell it.

Rerun places a newspaper ad for the horse, but when the paper comes out, Rerun's ad is erroneously printed "House for Sale," instead of "Horse for Sale." Meanwhile, Raj is on the telephone speaking to his literary agent when a married couple arrives at the door in response to the ad about the house. When the couple kiddingly make Raj an offer of $5,000, he unknowingly thinks the offer is for the horse and quickly grabs the money.

When the mistake is revealed, the "new owners" refuse to leave the house. So an elaborate scheme is planned to scare them out of the deal, but the plan is thwarted when Nadine returns home early. Listening to the plea of Raj and Nadine to reconsider the deal, the new lady of the house overrides her husband's decision and agrees to give the house back to the Thomases. A relieved Raj graciously thanks them and gives them the horse in the deal.

LOG LINE: When a newspaper ad is erroneously printed "House For Sale" instead of "Horse For Sale," Raj and Nadine find that they unknowingly sold their house.

Directed by: Gary Brown
Written by: Jay Moriarty & Mike Milligan

03 - The House Guest

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Yvette Aubry as Joyce

Roommates Dwayne and Rerun get into a heated argument over what color to paint the kitchen of their apartment, which ends in Dwayne's decision to move out of the apartment altogether. Raj and Nadine graciously invite Dwayne to stay at their home until he can locate a place of his own, but are sorry when, after only three days, find him unbearable to live with. Dwayne finds an apartment, but is unable to move into it for several weeks. Learning this news, Raj and Nadine come up with a plan to reunite Dwayne and Rerun together as roommates and get Dwayne to move out of their home.

Dwayne and Rerun are invited to dinner at the Thomas home. While Rerun thinks that Dwayne is going to apologize to him for their misunderstanding, Dwayne thinks the same of Rerun. The evening starts out smoothly but ends with the two once again fighting. This time it is Dwayne who returns to the apartment and Rerun who temporarily moves in with Raj and Nadine. One evening, Rerun inform Raj and Nadine that they can enjoy a quiet evening together as he has been invited to an all-night party. But Rerun unexpectedly returns a while later with a female partygoer, Joyce, whom he rescued from a swimming pool incident.

Anticipating a romantic evening alone, Raj and Nadine Come home early and Raj mistakes Joyce for Nadine in a rather ticklish moment. This allows Rerun to the turn the Thomas' romantic interlude into a party for the four of them. Dwayne stops in the diner the following day and he and Rerun strike up a conversation. They each apologize and agree to reunite as roommates. Raj arrives and is relieved and happy when he is told the news. But a short time later when Shirley jokingly asks to stay with Raj and Nadine for a couple of days, she finds herself running from Raj, who pursues her with a ketchup squirter.

LOG LINE: Dwayne and Rerun part ways as roommates and take turns living with Raj and Nadine, making life unbearable for the Thomases.

Directed by: Tony Singletary
Written by: Kurt Taylor

04 - One Enchanted Evening

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Lillian Lehman as Yvonne Hudson
Theodore Wilson as Mr. Lee
Richard Balin as Maitre d'

On her way to Hawaii, Yvonne Hudson, Raj's well-to-do mother-in-law, decides to stop and pay Nadine and Raj a visit and take the opportunity to eat at their diner. Because she is forever belittling him, Raj makes an all-out effort to make a good impression. He persuades Dwayne and Rerun to confront Mr. Lee, the local derelict, and pay him $20 to stay away from the diner for the night.

No sooner does Mrs. Hudson arrive, than she starts in with her negative comments about Raj to Nadine. She then complains that she is having difficulty finding a man of proper class. At the diner, Shirley has set an elegant table for Raj's mother-in-law and proceeds to flatter the woman. But Mrs. Hudson finds the food mundane and dismisses the dinner claiming she really prefers to have French food at Chez Argent, an expensive area restaurant. As they prepare to leave, Mr. Lee enters the diner wearing a tuxedo. Misunderstanding Raj's reason for the money given him, Mr. Lee hopes to make a good impression on Raj's guest.

Mr. Lee charms and entirely enchants Mrs. Hudson, who believes be is an aristocratic gentleman, and invites him to join them for dinner. Enjoying each other's company, Mr. Lee and Mrs. Hudson slip out for a night on the town, leaving Raj and Nadine to pay for the expensive dinner bill. While waiting up for the missing couple to return, Nadine assures Raj that it is not important what her mother thinks of him, what does matter is that she loves him. Mrs. Hudson and Mr. Lee finally show up and bid each other a fond farewell, then she starts in on Raj once more. Nadine becomes so angry with her mother that she is about to burst her mother's bubble about Mr. Lee, when Raj stops her. It does not matter any more to him that Mrs. Hudson believes he is a fool and Mr. Lee a prince...he is content that he has Nadine to share his life with.

LOG LINE: Dapper derelict Mr. Lee becomes a prince in the eyes of Raj's mother-in-law, who in turn, considers her son-in-law a failure.

Directed by: Tony Singletary
Written by: Diane Pershing & Bob Noonoo

05 - Dueling Menus

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Craig Richard Nelson as Perry

Dwayne interrupts Raj and Nadine's plans for a romantic evening at home with his computer study which indicates that Rob's Place is losing money. At the diner the following day, Raj is sure he has found the reason why the place is losing money when Shirley insults a customer. To make matters worse, Rerun reveals that the customer was restaurant critic Perry "Pigout" Peterson. Shirley, at first, is contrite and tries to be the epitome of sweetness as the guys pretend to be customers. However, Rerun's drawn out inability to decide what to order ends with Shirley reverting to her old self and offering him a "knuckle sandwich."

In the ensuing quarrel, Raj and Shirley divide the diner in half in a contest to see who can make the most money. As the contest begins, each tries everything from t-shirt ads to free fortune telling to a belly-dancing floor show in order to lure the customers inside. Finally, in the ultimate price war, Shirley offers free food to all who will side with her. When Dwayne tallies the receipts at the end of the day; the outcome is that both parties lost money. But because Raj has the lost the least money, he is declared the winner. Raj begins issuing orders to Shirley and she quits, leaving him to run the diner alone, with little help from Nadine. Worse yet, Perry Peterson's review comes out and states that Shirley is the only reason to eat at Rob's Place. He extols her as the last of the old time waitresses: loud, pushy, rude and refreshing.

As the diner fills with customers chanting "We want Shirley, " Nadine makes a valiant stab at taking on Shirley's name and character. Her preppy insults and assertiveness fail, however, and she and Raj retreat to the kitchen. Shirley appears, apparently to pick up her belongings. But Raj apologizes and asks her to stay -- even after she reminds him that she is the same old Shirley and will never change. Heading out the kitchen door to the waiting customers, Shirley comments on what a "great" writer Perry is and Raj knows he has been beaten by one smart woman.

LOG LINE: After Dwayne 's computations tell them that Rob's Place is losing money, Raj and Shirley divide the diner down the middle and go toe-to-toe in a battle to see whose side can bring in the most money.

Directed by: Tony Csiki
Written by: David Braff

06 - Dwayne's Crush

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Mariann Aalda as Theresa
Harold Sylvester as Templeton
Ronalda Douglas as Receptionist

Dwayne accompanies Raj to the dentist and is enamored by Theresa, a young lady in the waiting room. Striking up a conversation, Theresa suggests to Dwayne they go out on a date. Before long, the two become steady companions.

In the meantime, Dwayne unconsciously drives Rerun crazy with his lovesickness. Raj returns for another appointment with the dentist and accidentally overhears someone say that Theresa is married, but is unable to hear whom she is married to. Relaying this news to his friends at Rob's Place, they confront Theresa when she enters the restaurant looking for Dwayne. She admits that she is married and has come to Rob's Place to tell Dwayne that she can no longer go on seeing him.

When she learns that Dwayne is at the dentist, she panics and rushes out, exclaiming that her husband is the dentist and a very jealous man. Aware of the affair between Dwayne and his wife, the dentist is preparing to do major dental work on Dwayne when Theresa, Raj and Rerun break in on the scene. Theresa openly confesses to her husband that she was only trying to get him to notice her and pay her more attention. Fortunately, Theresa and her husband resolve their differences and happily reconcile -- saving Dwayne from any intentionally inflicted dental pain!

LOG LINE: Dwayne's perfect smile is about to be altered when his dentist discovers that Dwayne has been seeing his wife.

Exec. Producers: Kim Weiskopf & Michael Baser
Supervising Producers: Mike Milligan & Jay Moriarty
Producers: Larry Balmagia & Bob Peete
Director: Tony Singletary
Written By: Sam Greenbaum

07 - The New Kid

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Reina King as Carolyn
Judy Pace as Lucy

Raj and Shirley find they've been stuck for a lunch check when a woman known only as Lucy leaves a ten-year-old girl behind in the diner when she hurries out, claiming she must search for her missing purse. Nadine, meanwhile, does some investigating and learns that the girl is an orphanage runaway. Feeling sorry for the child, Nadine talks Raj into allowing the girl to stay with them at their home for the weekend before returning her to the orphanage.

Though the Thomases mean well, the child, Carolyn, isn't happy about spending time with a do-gooder social worker and her husband. So, when Rerun goes into a break dance routine at the behest of diner customers, Carolyn uses the distraction to slip out the back door to the waiting Lucy. Told the news that the Thomases have invited Carolyn to stay with them, Lucy seizes the opportunity and makes plans to use Carolyn to steal from the couple during her visit. Carolyn wants no part of the plan, but Lucy plays on her fears of being alone on the streets and of the orphanage, until Carolyn finally agrees to help.

That night the Thomases and Carolyn get to know and like each other and Carolyn begins to feel what it is like to have a family. However, when Carolyn is left alone in the bedroom, she takes Nadine's heirloom diamond necklace. The following day, Carolyn helps out at the diner. Raj then lets her count the cash receipts and gives her ten dollars as salary for the day. Carolyn is both pleased and upset that Raj trusts her. Later, Lucy gets Carolyn alone but the child says nothing about the necklace. Instead she gives Lucy a bag containing garbage and that evening places the necklace back in its box. While Raj and Nadine are in bed, Nadine continually wakes Raj up with reasons whey they should adopt Carolyn and give her a home. He soon gets caught up in a "fatherly" mood and the couple excitedly agree they will do it. However, Carolyn has come to the bedroom door just in time to hear their plans and rushes to embrace them.

LOG LINE: When Shirley and Raj are left with a runaway orphan as payment for a lunch check, Nadine tries to convince Raj that they should make the girl a permanent member of the Thomas family.

Directed by: Gary Shimokawa
Written by: Larry Balmagia

08 - The Bully

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Reina King as Carolyn
Meshach Taylor as Buddy
Carmen Filpi as Louie
John Pappas as Guard
David Moriarty as Policeman

Dressed as a giant chicken, Raj is arrested and put into a jail cell with a drunk. Nadine and Carolyn rush down to the jail and listen as Raj explains how he ended up in this predicament: It all started with Shirley talking him into dressing in the chicken suit as a promotion for their chicken dinner special. Dwayne and Rerun saw Raj and began to tell every chicken joke imaginable to him. He listened to just so much before he chased the two jokesters out of the diner. Shirley then sent Raj out onto the streets to pass out promotional flyers. Amidst all this, Shirley is tipped off that a City Health Inspector is making an inspection of the diner today and sets out on a cleaning spree.

When the inspector arrives and examines the kitchen, Dwayne recognizes him as Buddy Carlton, the former high school bully and the gang's nemesis. Dwayne and Rerun regale Shirley with takes of bully Buddy, including the time the principal intervened in time to prevent Buddy from making Raj eat a live worm. Buddy cares out of the kitchen and spies his old victims and it is high school all over again. By this time, Raj has returned for more flyers and this gives Buddy an idea -- Raj will eat a worm now or he will close the diner for "health" violations. Everyone is outraged, especially Raj. But, after Buddy leaves, saying he will return in one hour, Shirley learns that the diner would remain closed should they appeal Buddy's decision. This could take months and they might end up bankrupt.

Dwayne and Shirley decide to make a fake worm for Raj to eat. However, when Buddy returns, he spots the fake and insists on a real worm. Raj tries to eat the worm, but rebels at the last minute. He grabs a meringue pie and throws it at Buddy, who ducks, and the pie hits an entering policeman. While Buddy laughs hysterically, Raj gets his revenge by shoving the real worm down Buddy's throat. However, the pie-faced policeman does not join in the joke and drags Raj off to jail. Back in the present, Raj and company are happily surprised when Shirley not only arrives with bail money for Raj, but with the news that she got Buddy to reopen the diner by threatening to tell everyone at City Hall that he ate a worm.

LOG LINE: A chicken special, a Health Department inspection and the return of a high school bully combine to land Raj in jail, dressed as a giant chicken.

Directed by: Gary Shimokawa
Written by: Jurgen Wolff

09 - Dee' s Dilemma

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Reina King as Carolyn
Danielle Spencer as Dee
Wanda Penalver as Charlene

Dee arrives home for semester break from college and everyone is pleased to see what a lovely young woman she has become, with the exception of Raj. He finds it difficult to deal with this adult whom he still thinks of as his baby sister. Regardless, Dee is simply happy to be home for a break from the pressure of college. Working at Rob's Place to earn spending money, Dee encounters an old friend now a sales employee at a cosmetics company. Offered a chance for a similar sales job, Dee compares her friend's expensive clothes, new car and high living style to her own difficult, self-denying and meagerly financed life on campus and decides to drop out of school for a career in sales.

Raj is infuriated with Dee and an argument ensues, resulting in them not speaking to each other. Despite pleas from his friends to talk the problem out, Raj is adamant that he, not "little" Dee, will decide what's best for her. Soon after, Dee convinces Dwayne and Rerun to let her hold her first sales presentation in their apartment. To protect Raj's feelings, Nadine, Shirley and Caroline tell him they are going shopping, but they sneak to Dee 's cosmetics party. Despite their loving support, Dee's sales pitch flounders when her overly frank approach to her clients' need for cosmetics puts them in a hostile mood rather than a buying mood.

When Raj unexpectedly drops by to see Rerun and Dwayne, Rerun prevents him from caning inside claiming that he and Dwayne are entertaining. But Nadine comes out to see what is going on just as Raj hears Dee's voice. Feeling that everyone taking sides against him, Nadine convinces Raj otherwise. Taking everyone by surprise, Raj enters, hailing himself as "Monsieur Raj -- Makeup Artist to the Stars." Though he claims he is there to place a large order for cosmetics, the other women customers see through his charade and depart. This leaves Raj the opportunity to have a heart-to-heart talk with Dee about their differences. Raj promises to accept his "baby sister" as a responsible adult and treat her as such and Dee confesses she's learned there is no easy road in life and that she is determined to give college another try.

LOG LINE: When Dee comes home from college for vacation and then decides to drop out of school in favor of a sales career, older brother Raj starts treating her like a child.

Directed by: Gary Brown
Written by: Ted Bergman

10 - Aunt Shirley

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Reina King as Carolyn
Lee Weaver as Ticket Clerk

Raj and Nadine make plans for their romantic weekend in the mountains, after Shirley readily agrees to stay with Carolyn while they are away. But Nadine begins to have second thoughts about leaving Carolyn when Raj reminds her that they haven't been alone together since Carolyn arrived. Unfortunately, Carolyn only overhears the last part of their conversation and thinks that couple is tired of having her with them and plans to run away.

Above that the diner the following day, Dwayne mentions that his Uncle Wendel used to take buses out of town whenever he felt the urge to get away for a while. Before the ever-watchful Shirley can join them, Carolyn persuades Dwayne and Rerun to take her home. Once there, Carolyn engages the guys in a game of hide-and-seek, and then uses the opportunity to make her getaway and heads for the bus station. Once there, however, the ticket clerk tells her that she doesn't have enough money for any out-of-city buses. While Carolyn tries to decide what to do next, Shirley arrives at the Thomas home and finds that Carolyn is missing.

Shirley, Dwayne and Rerun together try to determine where Carolyn could have gone. It suddenly dawns on Dwayne that Carolyn was particularly interested in the story about his uncle. Shirley is about to leave for the bus station when Raj calls to say he and Nadine were forced to cancel their weekend in the mountains because of an unexpected storm and that he and Nadine will be bane in an hour. Shirley races to the bus station, and thankfully finds Carolyn. After assuring the ticket clerk that the reluctant child is, indeed, in her charge, Shirley and Carolyn sit dawn for a heart-to-heart talk about parental love and the need for young couples to be alone at times, no matter how much they love their children. Carolyn eventually agrees to go back. And though they arrive home after Raj and Nadine, Shirley does some quick talking and prevents the couple from learning that there ever was a problem.

LOG LINE: Shirley volunteers to stay with Carolyn when Raj and Nadine decide to go away for a romantic weekend. But Carolyn gets the idea that they don't love her anymore and she makes plans to run away.

Directed by: Tony Singletary
Written by: Ted Bergman

11 - Raj on the Run

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Reina King as Carolyn
Danielle Spencer as Dee
Harrison Page as Agent Butler
Michael Francis Clark as Agent Cosay
Eugene Jackson as Conventioneer

Leaving Rob's Place, Dwayne is on his way to an important job interview and Rerun to pick up the tuxedo he's to wear as an escort to the models at Nadine's charity show when two FBI agents enter the restaurant. The men ask Shirley and Dee if they know Roger Thomas and if he is the man who authored the novel "The Kremlin Dimension. " Suspicious, Shirley sends Dee to warn Raj while she distracts the men. Raj is in the midst of disciplining Carolyn for telling a lie -- impressing that she must always tell the truth and be honest -- when Dee rushes into the house with the news that the FBI is after him. At first Raj disbelieves the story, but panics when Dee mentions that the agents asked about his novel.

Remembering that when he interviewed a State Department official as part of the book's research, the man asked him to pick up a large package at a Chinese laundry. Raj never knew what was in the package but was stunned to later learn that the same official defected to Russia three months later. Raj panics and just begins to run to phone Nadine and inform her he is going into hiding for a while when the FBI agents knock on the door. Carolyn and Dee stall them while Raj runs upstairs, returning a few minutes later wearing one of Nadine's dresses, a wig, long gloves and high heels. Introducing himself as 's older sister, Louella, Raj bursts into singing "America" at the top of his lungs, while making an exit out the front door.

Unaware that Louella was really Raj, the agents ask Carolyn where Raj is. Torn between lying or being a stool pigeon, Carolyn remembers Raj's discussion with her and tells the men the truth -- Raj is on his way to Nadine's fashion show. Desperately looking for Nadine, Raj finds himself fighting off a drunken conventioneer. He takes refuge in the models' dressing room where, still dressed as a woman, he's mistaken for one of the models and pushed out into the arms of Rerun who tries to "escort" him onstage. Nadine is shocked to see her own dress being modeled by her husband! As the FBI agents locate and begin to descend on Raj, everyone is clamoring at once to know just what is happening. As it turns out, the agents only wanted a character reference for Dwayne who has applied for a security job, leaving Raj speechless. The men asked about the book because they liked it and reveal that the package from the Chinese laundry contained nothing but clean shirts!

LOG LINE: A series of misunderstandings, misadventures and mistaken identities combine to disguise Raj as a woman and sends him fleeing from two FBI agents.

Directed by: Gary Brown
Written by: David Pitlik & Barry Gurstein

12 - That Old Gang of Mine

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Reina King as Carolyn
Le Tari as Cecil
Theo Forsett as Tico

Decorating Rob's Place for a party, Nadine gathers the neighborhood young people together in order to show City Hall that there is enough need for the Neighborhood Youth Center to stay open. While the group puts the finishing touches on the decorations, Raj, Dwayne and Rerun reminisce about their youth at the Center. Raj tries to show everyone how to dance, but Rerun takes over and really shows how it is done. Meanwhile, Shirley hires local handyman, Cecil, to try to fix the aging jukebox in time for the party. Though Cecil's bad leg requires him to lean heavily on a cane, he claims that parts for their machine aren't made any longer; but thinks he knows where he might get what they need.

After he leaves, a young tough, Tico, and his gang enter. Tico announces that he has decided, to bring the good old days back to the neighborhood in the form of his own club, the "Bangers." Shirley claims the Bangers were a street gang that caused a lot of violence and bloodshed, especially their leader, Doctor Blood. When Tico and his boys start harassing the other kids to join them, Raj, Nadine and Shirley try to get them to leave. Tico finally leaves, but says that he will be back later for the party. Raj has a plan to stop the trouble. That evening while the party is in progress and Tico and his gang begin to make trouble, three men in gang dress enter and announce they are Doctor Blood and the Bangers (Raj, Rerun and Dwayne). Doctor Blood tells everyone they have returned because they've heard that some gang is trying to take their name and muscle in on their territory. However, Doctor Blood's hair gets snagged on a decoration and comes off, revealing Raj. Tico gets angry and pulls a knife.

Just then Cecil, who has been watching the whole episode, hits the knife out of Tico's hand with his cane. He then says that he is the real Doctor Blood and is now lame because of gang fights. He also tells the young people that if they want to make something of themselves and not end up like him, that they have to stay away from gangs and people like Tico. Tico leaves and Nadine asks Cecil if he will go with her to the City Council meeting and repeat what he has just said as it may help to keep the Youth Center open. Cecil agrees and everyone starts to party in earnest.
LOG LINE: Raj, Rerun and Dwayne disguise themselves as the long gone but still notorious local street gang, Doctor Blood and the Bangers, in an attempt to stop a young 'tough' from bringing gang warfare back to the neighborhood.

Directed by: Tony Csiki
Written by: Bob Peete

13 - The Challenge

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Reina King as Carolyn
John Hazelwood as Mama's Boy Jones
Belita Moreno as Mrs. Jones
Ripper Savage as Jungle George
Bill Grant as Duke of Earl
Dean Dittman as Ring Announcer

Rob's Place becomes a TV sponsor for World Class Wrestling creating excitement among the group except for Raj, who proclaims that wrestling is a fake and no intelligent person watches it. However, the entire gang watches on including Nadine when Shirley demonstrates a move on Raj. The next day Raj dresses as "Mr. Good Chef" for a commercial he and Dwayne are taping doom at the South Street Gym. Though Dwayne warns Raj not to antagonize the wrestlers, especially Mama's Boy Jones, Raj feels the commercial needs more life and energy and calls Mama's Boy over and insults his mother. Having turned back to the camera, Raj is unaware that the other wrestlers are barely keeping Mama's Boy from attacking him. Raj is further unaware that he has unwittingly accepted a wrestling challenge from Mama's Boy in the process.

After Raj leaves, Mrs. Jones enters and Mama's Boy tells her of the match. She tells him to let "Mr. Good Chef" win as it will boost Mama's Boy's ailing career by making him look human. Later, the gang finally convinces Raj that the match could be dangerous. He returns to the gym where Mama's Boy, now meek and mild, shows him how they are going to make the match look good and let Raj win. But, after Raj leaves again, Mrs. Jones remembers that she got ill in a cafe named Rob's Place and that the owner would not refund her money afterward. She instructs her son to forget being nice and orders him to destroy "Mr. Good Chef." The day of the match, the gang is worried about Raj. However, confident that nothing will happen, Raj leaps into the ring and proceeds to goad and insult Mama's Boy. Mama's Boy, now furious, begins throwing Raj around the ring.

When Mama's Boy has Raj on the ropes next to Mrs. Jones, she takes a good look and tells her son to forget the whole thing. It seems she made a little mistake. The place that made her ill was "Ron's Place" not Rob's Place and Raj looks nothing like the owner. Mama's Boy has a major tantrum because his mother is always embarrassing him this way. This gives Raj not only the opportunity to escape the big man's clutches, but to accidentally win the match on a technicality. Raj now acts the part of the big man, until wrestler Jungle George challenges him. We close as Raj is backing around the ring with Jungle George stalking him while Shirley attempts to get between them as peacemaker.

LOG LINE: While taping a commercial, Raj accidentally accepts a wrestling match with the ferocious Mama's Boy Jones after he insulted the wrestler's mother.

Directed by: Gary Shimokawa
Written by: Larry Balmagia

14 - Rags to Riches

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Rusty Cundieff as J. B. Whitney
Stephanie Faulkner as Diana
Alain St. Alix as Henry
Wazir Salaan as Mr. G
Valerie McIntosh as Rhonda
Debbie Bell as Wanda
Amy Wilkins as Harpist

Rerun hires investment banker J.B. Whitney to handle his money, and in a short time finds that his money is multiplying through the wise investments. Before long, Rerun becomes affected by his newfound wealth and purchases a paging device, six new handmade suits, a mink coat with matching beret, hires a private bodyguard and surrounds himself with swarms of trendy "friends. " The rest of the gang doesn't knew to act around this "new" Rerun, especially Dwayne who sees to be losing a good friend and roommate to the fast life.

Shirley and Dwayne are at the Thomas house for dinner one evening when a news bulletin on television reveals that investment manager J.B. Whitney has fled to Bermuda with all this clients' money. The gang does not know whether to laugh or cry for Rerun, but they do decide that they should go over to his apartment to give him the bad news in person. When they arrive at the newly decorated apartment, they find Rerun surrounded by his newfound friends and admirers. They try to tell Rerun the news, but he accuses them of being jealous and asks them to leave. Rerun later receives a phone call from his broker confirming the fact that the bottom has fallen out of his dream world. To make matters worse, when Rerun's jet-set friends hear that he is broke, they make a fast exit, leaving Rerun alone and desolate.

Fortunately, the gang has been outside watching his "friends" leave and they return inside to offer comfort. Though Rerun is overjoyed to see them, he is still inconsolable that he had everything and lost it all. Then Raj reminds him that he is still ahead of most people because he did have his dream world, if only for a little while, and most people never get that far. Rerun agrees, saying that the best part is that his true friends forgive and love him.

LOG LINE: When Rerun's new investment manager makes him a wealthy man, his old friends find they are losing him to the fast life.

Directed by: Toni Csiki
Written by: Barry Gurstein & David Pitlik

15 - Married or Not

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Reina King as Carolyn
Ola Ray as Paulette
Bernadette Stanis as Marcie

With the "Rob's Place" softball team committed to a Saturday morning game, Raj is unable to attend a special art exhibition with Nadine. To make it up to her, Raj promises to take her out for a romantic dinner after the game. However, Raj's team not only wins the game, but Raj is the hero who scored the winning run. Excited about being a sports hero for the first time in his life, Raj agrees to go to a victory party at Dwayne and Rerun's apartment instead of dinner with Nadine.

Nadine is furious and a huge fight ensues between she and Raj. Raj shows up at the victory party with his suitcase and news that he and Nadine have split up. Everyone is upset to hear the couple is having marital problems, so Shirley volunteers to stay with Carolyn, giving Nadine time to take in a movie with her friend Paulette. After the movie, Paulette persuades a reluctant Nadine to go with her to a local singles' disco. Coincidentally, the guys have dragged an equally reluctant Raj to the same disco. As Nadine sits in one corner enduring the attention of a "Disco Wolf," Raj finds himself in the clutches of an astrologist/palmist, multiple-divorcee named Marcie.

When the Thomases finally spot one another, there ensues an unspoken, yet unmistakable challenge. Nadine suddenly becomes enamoured with the "Disco Wolf," and they whirl out onto the dance floor and execute some very difficult dance steps. Not to be outdone, Raj leads Marcie out on the dance floor and attempts to perform the steps. But their attempt leaves Raj sliding into a wall, hurting his leg. Nadine rushes to Raj's side and the couple reconciles. With the Thomases reunited, Rerun grabs the disc jockey's microphone and announces the title of a special song he's dedicating to the loving couple.

LOG LINE: When Raj opts for a softball game over attending an art show with Nadine, who strongly objects, the couple begins to think each other selfish and split up.

Directed by: Joel Rosenzweig
Written by: Jay Moriarty & Mike Milligan

16 - The Improbable Dream

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Danielle Spencer as Dee
Harold Surratt as Paramedic
Lou Carry as Munchkin #1
Kevin Thompson as Munchkin #2
Buddy Douglas as Munchkin #3

Everyone seems to be burdened with problems: Dwayne can't get a date, Rerun can't sell a car and poor Raj has writer's block. Carolyn's problem is that Nadine won't allow her to keep a homeless puppy, Jojo, because the yard is unfenced and no one is home during the day to care for it. Even though Dee tries to explain that Nadine is only thinking of the puppy's welfare, Carolyn is sure that she is the meanest woman in the world. Carolyn takes the puppy to Rob's Place to get one of the gang to take it, but Rerun is allergic to dogs and Dee's and Shirley's buildings don't allow pets. All is not lost though, Shirley volunteers to put an ad for Jojo in the diner's window.

While looking for some food for the puppy in the diner's kitchen, Carolyn is knocked unconscious by a falling box. She awakens a few moments later and finds herself and Jojo in the middle of her own dream version of The Wizard of Oz. In addition to the native Munchkins, they meet the Good Witch, who is working her way through college; the Wicked Witch, who's intent on taking Jojo away from Carolyn; the Tin Man, who can't get a date; the Lion, who can't sell a car; and the Scarecrow with writer's block. Carolyn, Jojo, the Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow go in search of the Wizard who can solve all their problems. When they arrive at the Wizard's castle, a scary, gigantic wizard's face belches smoke and fire at them. However, Jojo uncovers the real Wizard, complete with kitchen spatula, menu and order pad, behind a curtain.

Though the Wizard solves the problems of the Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow, she is at a loss when it cares to helping Carolyn and Jojo. Suddenly the Wicked Witch and the Good Witch appear and, before the Good Witch can stop her, the Wicked Witch snatches up Jojo and disappears. As Carolyn desperately calls for Jojo to come back, she suddenly awakens and finds herself lying on a stretcher with all the gang and a paramedic around her in the kitchen of the diner. Though she is happy to be home and glad to see everyone, including Nadine, Carolyn is still worried about homeless Jojo. When the paramedic hears that the cute puppy needs a family, he volunteers to take Jojo as a present for his young daughter.

LOG LINE: The entire gang became characters from The Wizard of Oz when Carolyn is accidentally knocked unconscious.

Directed by: Gary Shimokawa
Written by: David Silverman & Stephen Sustarsic

17 - Goodbye Mr. Ripps

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Ted Ross as Leon
Fred Pinkard as Mr. Ripps
Donald Fullilove as Junior

When Raj, Rerun and Dwayne learn that their favorite teacher from high school, Mr. Ripps, is retiring, they plan a farewell party. As Mr. Ripps is famous for his practical jokes, the guys conspire to think up a good joke to play on him at the party. At first Shirley refuses to get involved with the planning, until she and Raj are the victims of one of Mr. Ripps' exploding cakes.

At the party, a tape recorder is found among the gifts containing a message from a hoodlum ex-student of Mr. Ripps who vows to send his own version of a farewell present. Suddenly, an armed, masked intruder enters and announces that he is delivering the hoodlum's present. He draws his gun and fires at Mr. Ripps, who falls to the floor, Raj reveals himself as the gunman, having fired blank cartridges, while everyone laughs at this ultimate practical joke. Everyone, that is, except Mr. Ripps who lies motionless. His doctor brother rushes over to examine him and sadly announces that Mr. Ripps is dead.

Mr. Ripps' body is taken to the local mortuary later where he turns out to be a very lively corpse. Laughing and talking with mortician Leon over how he foiled the gang's practical joke with one of his own, giving credit to his brother and Leon for helping with his scheme. Eagerly awaiting the arrival of the gang to come and pay their last respects, Mr. Ripps looks forward to scaring then by rising out of his coffin. However, when the gang does arrive, Leon's son lets it slip out that Mr. Ripps is alive. Knowing this and that Ripps undoubtedly plans to spring something else on then, the gang huddles to form a counter-plan.

They feign great sadness when Leon appears and heaps guilt on then for causing the death of their beloved teacher. He takes then to the room where Mr. Ripps is in the coffin. As Ripps waits to spring at them, the gang moves close to him, all the while lamenting loudly over his death. Suddenly, they leap at the coffin and the startled Mr. Ripps slams the lid shut. When Leon's son enters looking for the coffin that his father wants shipped out of town, the gang points to the coffin containing Mr. Ripps and then congratulate themselves for besting the "king of practical jokes."

LOG LINE: When the gang hears that their favorite teacher, and renown practical joker, is retiring, they plan the ultimate farewell party.

Directed by: Tony Csiki
Written by: Kim Weiskopf, Michael Baser, Mike Milligan, Jay Moriarty, Bob Peete & Larry Balmagia

18 - Dee and Dwayne

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Danielle Spencer as Dee
Barbara Pariot as Cyndi

After months without a date, Dwayne suddenly has more girlfriends than he knows what to do with. His biggest problem now is choosing a girl to take to the Tina Turner concert. A thought occurs to him to take Dee. She is just a friend so it wouldn't be like a real date. Dee thinks it is a great idea, but Raj, however, is not keen on the idea. He dislikes the fact that one of his friends is dating his "baby" sister, especially one who is known as a ladies man.

Shirley, Rerun and Nadine manage to get Raj to relax; but when it is obvious the next day that Dee is smitten with Dwayne, Raj 's brotherly anxiety returns. As it is, Raj and Dee get into an argument over her dating Dwayne. Dee pays a surprise visit to Dwayne's apartment later with two tickets to a jazz concert and finds Dwayne alone, but obviously expecting a special someone -- and it is not her. When Dwayne 's female friend arrives, Dee is embarrassed and angry. The girl tactfully exits into the kitchen to prepare dinner as Dwayne and Dee sit down for a talk. He admits he has a crush on her, but doesn't want it to go further because it is more important that they stay friends and that he keeps her as the little sister in his life. Dee considers this and agrees.

As Dee is about to leave, her contact lens gives her trouble and she heads far the bathroom to fix it. Suddenly there is a pounding at the door. Raj learned that Dwayne was planning to entertain a mysterious friend and naturally assumed that the girl was Dee, and he has come to rescue his little lamb from the wolf. At first it seems that Dwayne is all alone, but Raj hears someone in the kitchen. Thinking he has discovered Dee, he marches into the kitchen and comes face to face with a stranger. He is in the midst of apologizing to Dwayne when Dee comes out of the bathroom. At first Raj thinks the worst, but everything is finally explained to him and brother and sister leave Dwayne and his date alone -- Raj to take Nadine to the jazz concert courtesy of Dee, and Dee to the local disco to do some dancing.

LOG LINE: When Dwayne takes Dee to a rock concert, a romance seems to flare up between them, much to the displeasure of protective brother Raj.

Directed by: Gary Shimokawa
Written by: Jay Moriarty & Mike Milligan

19 - Nadine's Boss

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Reina King as Carolyn
Carol Swarbrick as Patty
Earl Boen as Byron
Hawthorne James as Hardhat
Eric Fleeks as Customer

With Nadine's fellow social workers in an uproar over the impending visit of an efficiency expert from the home office nicknamed "Pink-Slip Patty," Nadine becomes extremely nervous remembering the cliche "last hired, first fired," and that would mean her! "Pink-Slip Patty's" attitude, while examining the office, does nothing to inspire Nadine's confidence. Later, Nadine is frantically retrieving old case records far Patty's review, when Patty spots a Rob's Place flier for a luncheon special on the bulletin board. Though she is aghast that someone would put up non-authorized information on an office bulletin board, she is intrigued at the thought of saving money for lunch.

The lunch hour brings her into Rob's Place and face to face with a frantic Raj, who is trying to run the diner with Rerun's help while Shirley is on vacation. The mixing of one overbearing efficiency expert and one harassed diner owner ends with Raj insulting Patty, and her walking out in a huff. Later, at the office, Nadine invites Patty home for a nice home-cooked meal and for a chance to meet her husband, thinking this goodwill gesture will work in her favor. However, when Raj gets a look at Patty from the safety of the kitchen door, he knows Nadine's fate is sealed as soon as Patty sees him.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, Dwayne is with Raj in the kitchen, so when Nadine calls Raj out to meet Patty, it's Dwayne who appears as husband Raj. It is a comedy of confusion, especially when a local reporter shows up to interview "up and coming" writer Raj, and Dwayne is forced to answer the questions with Raj coaching him from the kitchen. Patty finally uncovers Raj, and they face off for the second time with Nadine standing silently by watching the loss of her job flash before her eyes. However, Raj and Patty agree that both were wrong and decide on a truce -- at least while dinner is being served.

LOG LINE: An efficiency expert with the nickname "Pink-Slip Patty" gives Nadine and her fellow social workers a case of the jitters -- which eventually affects Raj the same way.

Directed by: Bob Priest
Written by: Bob Bendetson & Carol Olson

20 - Mr. First Nighter

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Bobbie Ferguson as Christina
Jere Fields as Tracy
Kevin Duffis as Nelson Eric
Jan Rabson as Murray
David Moriarty as Roland

Raj has written a play and the gang goes over to his house to act out a reading of it. But because Raj is so exhausted from working at the diner during the day and the play at night, he falls asleep during the reading. When he awakens, they tell him it is wonderful! Raj takes his script to his agent who tells him that without a track record, Raj will have to put on a one night "showcase" of the production in order to get backing from publishers, producers and other important people. The gang loves the idea and agrees to help back the production financially, with Raj directing. When temperamental actors prove to be more than Raj can handle, he finds his production without a cast a few days before the showcase night.

Raj's friends volunteer to step into the parts with Nadine playing the role of the playgirl wife, Dwayne as her lover, and Rerun and Shirley as friends and business partners of the husband. As the part of the husband is very small, Raj takes it on in addition to directing. It doesn't take long for Raj to notice that everyone seems to be taking their parts too seriously. Nadine and Dwayne are off in the corner, and appear to be rehearsing their love scenes a little too earnestly. Shirley has mysterious talks with an insurance agent and Rerun keeps borrowing more and mare money from Raj for gambling. Everyone assures Raj that his imagination is just working overtime, but he is still uneasy.

The night of the dress rehearsal, Raj comes onstage in his role as the husband. Dwayne has a real gun, however, instead of the fake one to be used in the play. They all tell Raj that they would be better off without him. His old pal Shirley is having money problems at the diner, so she has taken out an insurance policy on her partner, Raj. Rerun's gambling debts have gone past the point of being able to repay Raj, and worst of all, Dwayne and Nadine are having an affair. The gang starts backing Raj into a chair on the set. Just as they are about to fire, Raj wakes up in his own living room chair. The gang is around him emphatically stating that his play is wonderful and that he should take it to his agent. If he does that, they will back the production financially and will even take on the acting roles if he would like. Raj is happy that they love the play but is strangely adamant that they never, never be allowed to act out characters from one of his plays.

LOG LINE: Raj writes a theater play, and to help him out in launching the project, his friends agree to take on the production's roles, where it appears they really begin to live out their parts with comical results.

Directed by: Bob Priest
Written by: Ted Bergman

21 - Shirley's Pen Pal

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Felton Perry as Nate

Shirley's pen pal Nate Bailey, a veteran navy cook, is coming to visit after seven increasingly romantic years of letter writing. When he arrives, Nate possesses a good deal of charm and good will, but also possesses a booming voice and a military attitude toward discipline. The gang is fond of Nate and happy for Shirley's "Prince Charming" has finally arrived, but they are not happy with the changes in their lives when Nate takes over the diner's kitchen. He rings a ship's bell when food orders are ready, makes everyone do basic training exercises and orders supplies in quantities sufficient for the entire Navy fleet.

Raj in particular feels threatened by Nate's overwhelming ways and is about to tell Shirley that Nate must go when she makes an announcement of her own -- she and Nate are getting married! All Raj can do is to wish her all the best while wondering if it is the worst for him and the diner. Nadine throws an engagement party and the gang gathers to congratulate the couple and to admire the beautiful engagement ring Nate has given Shirley, when suddenly, in the middle of the toasts, Nate announces that soon there will be only two people running Rob's Place. Though Raj at first thinks Nate is trying to force him out of the diner, he finds that Nate expects Shirley to stop working once they are married. He is an old-fashioned guy and wants an old-fashioned wife.

However, to independent-minded Shirley, his description of the perfect wife sounds more like a description of a perfect pet dog than of her. While the rest of the gang retreats to the kitchen, the couple launch into an argument. It becomes obvious that things will not work out even though Nate and Shirley love one another very much. Nate feels he is too old to change and Shirley feels the same. Finally, Nate decides to leave and perhaps start a restaurant with some old Navy buddies. Then, when Shirley tries to give the engagement ring back to him he asks her to keep it as a friendship ring. Perhaps they aren't destined for marriage, but they will always be close pen pals.
LOG LINE: Romance blossoms for Shirley when the Navy seaman she has been writing to for years comes to town.

Directed by: Bob Priest
Written by: Cassandra Clark & Debbie Pearl

22 - The Wedding

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Fred Berry as Rerun
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Reina King as Carolyn
Adrian Ricard as Lady
Clinton Derricks-Carroll as Reverend
Marc Silver as Messenger

Raj and Nadine aren't married -- at least that's what a telegram from the Connecticut Office of Records indicates. The "preacher" who married them was recently arrested for fraud after assuming several false professions. Now Raj and Nadine find they have to get married all over again. This time, though, their friends want a real wedding instead of an elopement like the first time. After the Thomases agree, Rerun and Dwayne are sure they should be the best man and start putting pressure on Raj to make a decision. Shirley starts organizing a choir to sing at the ceremony in the meantime.

Before long, Nadine begins to feel pressure to invite all their relatives, the neighbors and friends that they each have known in order to avoid hurt feelings. As the preparations get more and more elaborate, Raj begins to feel more and more overwhelmed. Finally, he can stand it no longer and announces that he doesn't want a wedding, be just wants to get married. Nadine misunderstands Raj's meaning and feels that if he does not want a wedding, he must not really love her. A fight ensues and Raj ends up combating insomnia on the living room sofa. After tossing, turning and eventually falling on the floor, he bounds for the bedroom to demand his half of the bed.

Once upstairs, he and Nadine make up and decide to elope again the next day. When they break the news to their friends that they are calling off the elaborate wedding, an argument erupts between Dwayne, Shirley and Rerun. Meanwhile, over in the corner, Raj and Nadine strike a deal with Shirley's pastor, Reverend Perry. Demanding everyone's attention, Raj and Nadine go through with a wedding ceremony performed by the pastor. An impromptu choir is assembled to sing, both Rerun and Dwayne are the best men, and the ceremony goes smoothly, followed by a party with lots of singing, dancing and joyful celebrating.

LOG LINE: When the legality of their first wedding is questioned, Raj and Nadine decide to get married all over again.

Directed by: Tony Singletary
Written by: Jay Moriarty, Mike Milligan, David Silverman & Stephen Sustaric

Season 2

23 - Nadine's Surprise

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Thalmus Rasulala as Bill Thomas
Veronica Redd as Melba

Nadine's friend Melba donates a box of baby clothes to the thrift shop where Nadine volunteers her time. The women discuss having children, and Nadine admits she and Raj are not quite ready for a family -- yet. After Melba has gone, Nadine and Raj discuss parenthood, agreeing that they should wait awhile before taking such a big step.

While Raj is at work, an unexpected visitor arrives at the Thomas hone. Nadine is pleasantly surprised to find Bill Thomas, Raj's long-lost father, at the doorstep. After a warm greeting, Bill explains that since he's been living in Seattle for many years, he has been unable to visit until now. Nadine invites him to dinner that night.
Meanwhile at Rob's Place, Shirley is having problems with the old, temperamental cooking grill. She tells Raj that the repairman will need to see the grill's warranty papers before he starts to repair it, so Raj hurries home to retrieve them. In the interim, Melba returns to the thrift shop with more maternity clothes. She and Nadine discuss Raj's father making a surprise visit. Raj accidentally eavesdrops on their conversation and erroneously thinks he is going to be a father! He rushes back to the diner to tell his friends.

That evening, Raj uncharacteristically brings Nadine flowers. When Nadine realizes that Raj thinks she is pregnant, she begins to explain just as the doorbell rings and Raj's father enters. Raj is very angry at Bill for deserting his family years ago and hastily rushes outside.

Because Bill and Raj have been estranged for many years, Bill knows he must now make the most of a precious moment with his son. Standing in the backyard, the two men talk everything out. Bill explains why he left the family years ago, and apologizes. Raj finally gives in and accepts his father's love by welcoming him into his life with open arms.

LOG LINE: While eavesdropping, Raj mistakenly believes he is soon to became a father, while Nadine has instead planned a different surprise for him -- dinner with his long-lost father who has care to make amends with his estranged son.

Directed by: Tony Singletary
Written by: Bob Peete

24 - Picture Perfect

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Ty Henderson as Sitaris
Donniece Jackson as Teen Girl

As Raj and Shirley work the lunch crowd at Rob's Place, Dwayne enters urgently seeking Raj. Dwayne informs Raj that he has a hot tip on investing in a new artist named Michael Sitaris. He also tells Raj that Sitaris' showing features a nude and that the model looks exactly like Nadine! Dwayne shows Raj a photograph of the painting and Raj confirm that it does look like his wife, but he can't believe that it could actually be her. Later that evening, Raj decides to confront Nadine. She openly states that she knew Sitaris and admits that she posed nude for him when they were art students years before. Raj begins accusing her of doing more than just posing for Sitaris. Nadine insists that he's jumping to conclusions. A quarrel ensues as the two interrogate each other about past relationships.

The next day at he diner, Raj, still angry from the night before, goes "crashing" about the kitchen. Shirley and Dwayne encourage him to discuss the situation. They try to make him understand that the past is over and that he has no reason to suspect that Nadine is keeping something from him. Raj is still not convinced and decides to try to "squeeze" the truth out of Sitaris. Later, Nadine stops by Sitaris' gallery for a visit and her old friend is glad to see her. As they reminisce, Sitaris convinces her, for old times sake, to pose far another portrait -- this time fully clad in a Victorian dress. As Nadine changes her clothes, Raj and Dwayne sneak into the gallery, disguised in western attire. They find Sitaris and attempt to get him to confess that he does more than just paint his models, but they don't get the answer they've come for.

As they begin to leave, they hear Nadine's voice from a dressing room. Sitaris tells Nadine hat she looks "like a vision." Shocked, Raj's worst nightmare has come true. Unable to stand the agony any longer, he bursts through the artist's backdrop and threatens Sitaris with a fist fight. Suddenly Raj turns to Nadine and sees that she is fully clothed. Embarrassed, he apologizes to Sitaris. Later at the diner, Nadine recounts the day's activities to the gang, but admits that it was her fault for playing games and making Raj jealous in the first place. Sitaris stops by to give Nadine the painting that he had promised her. Raj, worried that the gang is about to get a private showing of his wife, throws himself protectively in front of the painting. When the paper covering is removed, Raj sheepishly backs away, realizing that it's silly to hide an artistic portrait of his wife...wearing a red dress!!

LOG LINE: Raj is quickly exposed to modern art when he discovers that a nude painting Nadine posed for years earlier is now part of a prominent art exhibit.

Directed by: Gary Brown
Written by: Steven Kunes

25 - Shirley's Landlord

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Alice Ghostley as Minnie
Harris Laskawy as Sloane

Entering Rob's Place, Dwayne excitedly reports that he is joining the political campaign party for Jerry Schnable -- a contender for the state Senate, and proudly displays the contender's poster. Shirley's nearsighted neighbor Minnie rushes into the restaurant to deliver an important letter. Shirley is surprised to read that the new owners of her apartment building have just doubled her rent! Enraged, Shirley vows to discuss this move with the new landlord.

That night the management representative, R.J. Sloane, visits Shirley to discuss her rent increase. What seems like an impossible situation quickly changes when he makes her an offer she can't refuse -- if she becomes the new building manager, he will lower her rent. Shirley jumps at the offer, but soon finds herself besieged by neighbors with complaints. To worsen matters, Sloane informs Shirley she must evict Minnie. Shirley tries to protest, but is soon quieted when Sloane threatens her with eviction as well.

At the restaurant the following day, Sloane hands Shirley two more eviction notices for other tenants. When he leaves, she and Minnie plan a tenant meeting for that night. Angry tenants fill Shirley's apartment as she describes the intentions of the new management. Sloane sneaks in, armed with three more eviction notices for Shirley to execute. Having had enough, Shirley instead quits her manager's job.

Suddenly, Raj, Nadine and Dwayne burst in. Nadine has discovered that Senator Hickman, currently seeking re-election, is on the apartment building's board of directors. Hickman's campaign could be damaged if the media found out that innocent people were being evicted unjustly. As a supporter of Hickman's opponent, Dwayne threatens to expose him in time for the evening news if some changes aren't made. Sloane quickly sees the light and retrieves all of the eviction notices and declares there will be no rent increases and reinstates Shirley as the building manager. But Shirley turns the tables on Sloane by refusing the job and then proceeds by making some real complaints of her own!

LOG LINE: A new management company is raising rents in her apartment building, so Shirley gathers her friends and fellow tenants together to confront the evil landlord -- who is in for the fight of his life.

Directed by: Tony Singletary
Written by: Larry Balmagia



26 - Raj's Nightmare

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Lillian Lehman as Mrs. Hudson
Maurice Sneed as Customer

When Raj announces that he's taking a weekend fishing trip, Nadine is quick to quell his enthusiasm by reminding him that he had promised to attend a wedding with her. Raj protests and glibly excuses himself from the argument. While he's out of the room, Nadine's mother drops in for a surprise visit. Raj returns to find his worst nightmare, his mother-in-law, in the house. Later, Raj and Nadine argue about his "less than affectionate" attitude about her mother and they strike a deal; if Raj agrees to be nice to her mother during her three-day visit, Nadine will allow him to go on his fishing trip. Lunchtime at the diner finds Raj and Dwayne going over the details of their trip when Nadine and her mother drop by. This presents a perfect opportunity for Mrs. Hudson to get her jabs in at Raj.

Raj's patience wears thin, but he maintains his temper and agrees with everything his mother-in-law says. Two days later, Mrs. Hudson prepares to leave. Raj is relieved and in a last effort to prove how nice he can be, expresses how he wishes she could stay longer. Mrs. Hudson agrees and sets her suitcases down, announcing she will stay another week! Raj is frantic. Nadine reminds him that the deal was made for the duration of her mother's visit and Raj agrees to keep his end of the bargain. As the weekend approaches, Raj is in good spirits as he works at the diner. Meanwhile, Nadine arrives home and notices Raj's fishing gear still laid out. When she asks her mother why Raj's gear was still there, Mrs. Hudson explains that a man claiming to be Dwayne's cousin stopped by to pick up the gear for a trip this weekend.

She told the young man that there must have been some mistake, since Raj agreed with her that fishing is stupid. She also said that Dwayne's cousin had phoned to say that Raj's place on the trip had been filled. Back at home, Raj is furious when Nadine breaks the news to him. He goes to give Mrs. Hudson a piece of his mind, but she's suddenly so sweet to him that he backs down. Nadine is proud of Raj and promises to make it up to him when they have the house to themselves. As they're making plans for the weekend, Dwayne shows up unexpectedly to tell Raj that he knew there had been a mistake. Raj still has a place on the boat, and his long-awaited trip is on!

LOG LINE: Raj's dream of going on a fishing trip with Dwayne becomes a real life nightmare when his mother-in-law sinks her hooks into him.

Directed by: Gary Brown
Written by: Barry Gurstein & David Pitlik

27 - The Movie Deal

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Bernie West as Bernie
Matt Landers as Ross

Nadine Comes home to find Raj preparing a special celebration dinner, complete with flowers, candles and champagne. Raj has sold an article to Reader's Digest for $300 and he's also finished revisions on his screenplay about a jewel thief. Nadine expresses envy of Raj 's writing talent and asks him to help her rewrite a case study on homeless women for a funding project. Flattered, Raj quickly agrees.

On his way to work, Raj stops off to see his agent, Bernie, and gives him his written script. Bernie later shows up at Rob's Place bearing great news -- big-time producer David Ross read Raj 's story and loved it! And he set up a meeting to discuss a possible deal that afternoon at Raj 's house. Bernie feels that Raj could even get a fee in the neighborhood of six figures. As Bernie is on his way out, he mentions that the story on homeless women is brilliant! Realizing that he gave Bernie the wrong manuscript, Raj is in shock, and before he can explain the error, Bernie is gone.

When Bernie and Nadine learn that it is Nadine's story that David Ross wants to buy, Bernie convinces the couple to pretend that Raj wrote the story. Ross arrives and they begin to discuss the plot line -- he sees the story as a female version of "Rambo" -- a group of wayward women who are on special assignment with the U.S. government. When he makes the suggestion that Charo play the lead role, Nadine protests. Raj backs her up, then confesses that it is she who wrote the story. Ross is furious at this deception and storms out, with Bernie following after him, pleading forgiveness. Raj and Nadine agree that Raj should not sell anything he does not believe in. After all, there will always be other "movie deals" in the world!

LOG LINE: Raj is elated when his agent informs him that he may have a movie deal for Raj's latest screenplay -- until it's discovered that it is really Nadine's case study on homeless women that the producer really wants to turn into a blockbuster feature film.

Directed by: Tony Singletary
Written by: Larry Balmagia

28 - Thy Bosses Daughter

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Renee Jones as Saundra
Michael Morris as Rambozo
Gerry Black as Mr. Wiggins

As Raj and Shirley close the diner, Dwayne comes in and proudly introduces Saundra, the new girl he's been dating. As the conversation progresses, Raj and Shirley discover that Saundra's father is Dwayne's boss! As time goes on, Dwayne and Saundra keep steady company. Dwayne confides to Raj and Nadine that although she means well, Saundra is becoming too possessive. She decides where they go, when and with whom. She even tells him what to wear. Raj and Nadine encourage Dwayne to confront Saundra before it gets out of hand. Dwayne agrees and as he begins to tell her, Saundra interrupts him and lets it "slip out" that her father is considering a promotion for him. She also makes it very clear that the promotion is a result of her influence with her father.

Dwayne, with the promotion as an incentive, changes his mind and continues to acquiesce to Saundra. Several nights later, Raj has invited same close friends over for a birthday party for Nadine and Dwayne brings Saundra, who has forced him to wear an embarrassing sweatshirt prominently labeled "I'm Hers." Saundra is aloof and judgmental all evening. Rambozo, an actor hired to entertain at the party, is very well received by the party guests and the birthday girl. Saundra, however, is NOT amused. She thinks Rambozo is distasteful. When she finds out that Dwayne hired the actor, she's furious and insists that they leave.

Dwayne wants to stay to celebrate his friend's birthday and a huge argument ensues, ending with Saundra storming out. The next day, Saundra's father, Mr. Wiggins, comes into Dwayne's office to tell him that he's not being promoted. Dwayne mistakenly thinks he's being fired because of Saundra. But Mr. Wiggins explains that Dwayne is not being promoted, instead, he is being given a raise. Dwayne lets out a sigh of relief and vows to himself never to mix business with pleasure ever again.

LOG LINE: Dwayne finds out that business and pleasure don't mix when he dates the daughter of his boss.

Directed by: Robert Priest
Written by: Sam Greenbaum

29 - Shirley's Little Sister

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Kimberly Bailey as Paula
Duane Boutte as Howard
Reggie Johnson as Eric

As Shirley struggles with the after-school crowd at the diner, Nadine drops by to tell Raj about a new family in the neighborhood she has been working with. Nadine is concerned with the eldest daughter's shyness, so she has enrolled the girl in the Big Buddy program. Unfortunately, there is a waiting list. So Nadine and Raj decide to ask Shirley to be the girl's Big Buddy. Begrudgingly, Shirley agrees.

Over the next several days, Shirley and Paula became good friends. Paula is beginning to overcame her shyness and Shirley is enjoying helping her out. Paula expresses a desire to go to a school dance, but is worried that no one would want to take her. Shirley encourages her to ask a boy herself. To assure that Paula gets a date, Shirley bribes Eric, a regular customer at the diner, by giving him free food for a month if he accepts Paula's invitation. Paula has no idea that this arrangement has been made and is thrilled that the most popular boy at school is taking her to the dance.

Shirley means well, but her plan backfires when Raj discovers the enormous tab that Eric has been running up and he exposes the deal in front of Paula. Feeling betrayed by her best friend, Paula vows never to see Shirley again and runs out of the diner in tears. Later, Shirley and Paula accidentally run into each other at the Thomas' home. They both apologize for the way they behaved and agree that they are still friends. When Paula returns to the diner the next day, she meets a new boy, Howard, who ends up asking her to the dance.

LOG LINE: Shirley realizes that the buddy system works both ways when she volunteers to be a big sister to a teenage girl.

Directed by: Neema Barnette
Written by: Sam Greenbaum

30 - Raj's Big Break

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Gracie Harrison as Delores
Gary Bayer as Dr. Kessel

One morning as Raj and Nadine fantasize about the lifestyle they could have if Raj got a publishing deal for his new book, the mailman arrives with some bad news. Another publisher has turned the book dawn. At the diner later, a woman enters and introduces herself as Dolores Hasset from a prominent publishing company.

She claims she is a big fan of Raj 's work and offers him $50,000 for an advance on publishing rights. The gang is, of course, thrilled with Raj 's success. Dolores leaves behind her card and tells Raj that her boss, Mr. Kessel, will be contacting him soon to finalize the deal.

The following day, Dr. Kessel arrives at the Thomas' home to tell Raj that he is not Dolores' boss, he is really her psychiatrist: Dolores suffers from delusional tendencies. She does work for the publishing company, but in the mailroom. Later as Nadine, Dwayne and Shirley try to cheer Raj up, another publisher calls with a real offer of $2,500, which Raj gratefully accepts.

LOG LINE: Raj is misled by a psychiatric patient posing as a book publisher.

Directed by: Bob Priest
Written by: Stephen Langford

31 - Party Animal

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Pamela G. Kay as Marcia
 

At Rob's Place, Shirley and Raj are cleaning up the afternoon dishes when Dwayne bursts in with exciting news. They are disappointed to learn that it's no more exciting than his being awarded a parking space after one year with the company. Dwayne decides to celebrate and invites his friends to party that night. Shirley ungraciously bows out and Raj confides that he can't make it because Nadine has to stay home and work. Unable to understand Raj's situation, Dwayne tells Raj that he is no longer the "fun" guy that he used to be and that he has become "dull and predictable." Shirley is quick to agree and they continue to prod Raj. Nadine arrives and when she hears Raj's reason for declining the invitation, she calls him a sweet, considerate and responsible man and encourages him to go. Not liking to be called "responsible," Raj relents.

The party is in full swing when Marcia, a beautiful young woman, introduces herself to Dwayne. Suddenly, Raj bursts onto the scene, tossing party hats at the guests who are understandably stunned. Embarrassed, Dwayne leads Raj to the refreshments and offers him some punch. Anxious to prove that he's an unpredictable party animal, Raj spices things up by changing the music and grabbing a surprised guest to dance. As other couples join in, Dwayne clears the room and in doing so, switches the position of two punch bowls. A thirsty Raj unsuspectingly drinks several cups of spiked punch thinking it was the "safe" punch. Raj wakes up in Dwayne's bedroom the following morning with a massive hangover and notices a sleeping figure beside him. He reaches for a clock and realizes he's been out all night. Panicked, he shakes Dwayne and is shocked when Marcia's head emerges from under the covers, and she flashes him a big "good morning" smile.

Raj rushes to find Dwayne in the living room and is confused as Dwayne recounts the details of the previous evening. Marcia comes out of the bedroom, kisses Raj on the cheek and leaves Ray and Dwayne in shock as she exits. Raj tries to explain but he can't remember the night before. He feels guilty and wants to tell Nadine, but Dwayne encourages him not to. Raj returns home to confess to Nadine and tells him that she's glad he had fun and thanks him for being thoughtful enough to call and tell her that he wasn't coming home. Marcia stops by to return the wallet that Raj had left in her car the night before and explains that the night before was perfectly innocent. It had been too late for her to go home so she went to sleep in Dwayne's bedroom and Raj must have come in and passed out. As for the kiss, she explains that he was terrific at being the life of the party.

LOG LINE: Raj makes a spectacle of himself at Dwayne's party when he drinks too much, dances too much and wakes up with a strange woman.

Directed by: Gary Brown
Written by: David Silverman & Stephen Sustarsic

32 - Dwayne's Amiga

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Bever-Leigh Banfield as Marisol
Robert Hirschfeld as Larry

While visiting Dee at college, Dwayne meets and falls in lave with Marisol, a beautiful nurse from El Salvador who is studying in the United States. Dee invites Marisol to spend Thanksgiving at her brother Raj's home. During the time she is there, Dwayne and Marisol keep steady company and fall more and more in love. Dwayne confides in Raj that he has met his match and plans to ask Marisol to marry him.

As Thanksgiving dinner is being prepared, Dwayne pops the question to Marisol and is surprised when she turns him down. She tells him that she loves him but she has received a call from her clinic in El Salvador. Fighting in the country has increased and they need every available nurse. She promises Dwayne that when the war is over she will return and marry him.

Several weeks later, Dwayne is helping Raj and Nadine decorate for Christmas when Raj gets a call from Dee. Dee passes a message that her university has received news of the war in El Salvador. Raj hangs up and informs Dwayne and Nadine that fighting had erupted in Marisol's town and she was killed while evacuating children from the clinic. A senseless war had come home to Dwayne.

LOG LINE: Dwayne falls in love with a nurse from El Salvador who, upon returning to her country, is killed when fighting erupts in her village.

Directed by: Gary Shimokawa
Written by: Migdia Chinea-Narela

33 - Instant Family

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Donna Lynn Leavy as Sylvia
Ochari D'Aiello as James
Khaila Locke as Lucy

Dee fills in as a waitress at the diner while Raj and Shirley are at court fighting a trumped-up lawsuit. When they return, Shirley is surprised when Dee tells her that an old, dear friend, Sylvia Grant, stopped by while Shirley was out and said she would come back later. Shirley panics and tells Raj, that while she and Sylvia were growing up, Sylvia was always better than Shirley at everything. Now as adults, Sylvia has a good job, a lovely home and a great husband and children. Shirley feels like she has nothing in comparison. Raj convinces Shirley that she's doing pretty well too and she shouldn't feel that she won't measure up to her friend. Shirley confesses that in her last letter to Sylvia she lied and said that she had a husband and two children.

When Sylvia shows up later, Shirley begs Raj to pretend to be her husband since Sylvia is only going to stay for 20 minutes. Raj agrees and everything goes smoothly until Sylvia announces that she's decided to stay overnight and she would love to come to Raj and Shirley's home for dinner. In order to accommodate Shirley's lie, Raj goes out and "rents" two children for the evening from some friends.

The plan almost works until Nadine returns home early, after being away on a business trip. Nadine is confused to find her house filled with strange people. Shirley is forced to explain to Sylvia that she lied in her letter so that Sylvia would think she was successful too. Sylvia assures Shirley that they are friends and she would be proud of Shirley no matter what she did. Shirley realizes that success isn't measured by money or power, her friends are what matter the most.

LOG LINE: In an effort to impress an old schoolmate, Shirley pretends to be Raj 's wife and the mother of two children whom they have "rented" to support the lie.

Directed by: Arlando Smith
Written by: Mert Rich & Brian Pollack

34 - Cabin Fever

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine

Danielle Spencer as Dee
Kim Strauss as Ranger

When Raj's sister Dee comes home from college for a three-day weekend, the gang decides to take a trip to Lake Arrowhead. Raj and Dwayne want to stay in town for a Friday night football game, so Dee, Nadine and Shirley decide to head out on their own and join up with the guys the next morning.

Nadine navigates as Shirley drives through the dark, winding roads on the way to the lakes. Nadine realizes that she's had the map upside down for several miles. They turned left when they should have turned right. The paved road becomes a bumpy dirt road that ends abruptly at a tree. Shirley's car dies as they try to turn around. The radio broadcast is interrupted by a bulletin announcing that "Dog Face" Williams, a convicted killer, has escaped from prison and is on the loose in the Lake Arrowhead area. Unable to get the car started, the three begin to walk back to the main road. After they have gone, a dark, hooded figure approaches the abandoned car and makes an attempt to start it. The figure pockets the keys before leaving the car.

As the girls walk, they come across a cabin in the woods. They figure it's deserted because the lights are out. A torrential rain begins as they enter the cabin. They build a fire in a wood stove and as they wait out the storm, they each confess their greatest desire in life. Nadine wants to dance the role of the dying swan in Swan Lake and Shirley wants to sing like Aretha Franklin. Their mood is shattered by Nadine's sudden scream, She has seen a man's face in the window. Convinced that it's "Dog Face," they prepare to jump him as he enters the cabin. They douse the light and pounce on the figure as it cares through the door. When Dee turns the light back on, they discover that they have jumped the forest ranger who had come to deliver Shirley's keys and assist them with a tow truck.

LOG LINE: Nadine, Shirley and Dee are in a tight squeeze when their car breaks down, leaving them stranded in a secluded mountain cabin while an escaped convict prowls outside.

Directed by: Robert Priest
Written by: Larry Balmagia

35 - I'll Be Homeless For Christmas

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
James Dixon as Robert
Leonard Lightfoot as Billy
Dennis Haybert as Policeman
Sylvia Webb White as Woman
 

As Raj goes over the diner's budget, he finds the losses are greater than the profits. Shirley aggravates the situation by inviting Billy, a neighborhood bum, in for a free meal. Raj thinks that Billy is taking advantage of Shirley and he heartlessly kicks Billy back on the street. Later that night, Raj continues his financial analysis but this time on the household budget. Raj accuses Nadine of being too extravagant and questions her about a $200 check that she had recently written. Nadine explains that the money went to benefit a shelter that houses the neighborhood's homeless. When Raj doesn't let up, Nadine hands him a newspaper that features a story on the homeless in Los Angeles. As he reads it, he falls asleep.

The next thing he knows, Raj is in a city park. On the bench next to him is Robert, a disheveled, dirty bum. Raj is startled when he realizes that he too is dressed as a bum. When the police show up to enforce a curfew, Raj insists that he is a published author and not a bum. They don't believe him and throw him out of the park. Raj heads home and is shocked when his own wife thinks he is a street bum. As he insists that he be let in, Billy the bum appears at the door and introduces himself as Nadine's husband. Desperate to find someone who recognizes him, Raj goes to the diner. Dwayne and Shirley don't recognize him and Billy is there running the diner and wearing Raj's clothes. Thinking that Raj is a bum, Shirley offers him a free meal. Billy objects saying that the diner is losing money and they can't afford to give away free meals. Hurt, confused and frustrated, Raj throws himself out of the diner.

Back in the park, his friend Robert suggests that they go to the shelter but remembers that it had been closed from lack of funds. Just as he thinks nothing could be worse, it starts to snow. When Raj wakes up safe in his own home, the tree trimming party is in full swing. He is deeply affected by his dream and is thankful far his home and friends. He announces to everyone that he has decided to open up the diner to homeless people in the neighborhood.

LOG LINE: Raj has a nightmare that he's homeless and awakens to realize that it can happen to anyone.

Directed by: Judi Elterman
Written by: Stephen Langford

36 - Sorority Sisters

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Danielle Spencer as Dee
Sheila Spencer as Karen
Jere Fields as Jackie
Marc Tubert as Z.Z. Hicks
Peter DeAnda as Birdwell
Ketty Lester as Mrs. Willoughby

Raj is busy writing a poem for a poetry competition the following night, when Nadine informs him that Dee and her friends from college are expected for the weekend. Dee is pledging a sorority and the two girls are her big sisters in the sorority. At the diner the next day, Raj excitedly reports that famous Shakespearean actor, Thaddeus Birdwell, is to read the poetry in the competition. Dee enters with big sisters Karen and Jackie. They order salads and tell Dee to stay at the counter to collect them. Shirley is shocked at the way Dee is being treated. Over in the corner, Jackie and Karen speak in hushed tones of their plan to put a roach in Dee's salad. When the salad is served, Dee screams.

The customers are alarmed and they exit as Jackie and Karen laugh. Raj is incensed and chastises them for behaving like children and makes them clean up the entire restaurant to make up for the loss of business they caused. The "big sisters" feel humiliated and make a silent vow of revenge. Later, as Raj is putting the finishing touches on his poetry, Karen and Jackie appear on the stairs with their luggage and laundry. When Nadine asks why they are leaving, they reply that they would be taking advantage of their stay because of the trouble they caused at the diner earlier. Raj accepts their apologies and invites them to his competition. When Raj goes upstairs to get ready, Jackie and Karen take the envelope containing his poetry and substitute one of their own. They tell Dee that they aren't allowed to socialize with pledges, she will have to stay home and do their laundry.

At the competition, Thaddeus Birdwell reads the poem substituted by the girls, as the audience sits in shocked silence. Back at the house, Dee finds the real poetry and rushes to the theatre. She produces the envelope containing Raj's poetry. Karen and Jackie leave and spot Dee standing by the dessert table. As they threaten to bar her from the sorority, Dee grabs two cream pies and pushes there into their faces. Later as Dee and Nadine try to cheer Raj up, Z.Z. Hicks, the poet who won the first place prize, shows up. He tells Raj that his poetry was clearly the best in the competition and wants him to have the first prize ribbon. When Nadine asks if he is going to give Raj the $500 prize money, Mr. Hicks replies that he is a poet, not an idiot!

LOG LINE: Dee brings two of her sorority pledge sisters home for the weekend and one of their pranks costs Raj $500 first prize money in a poetry competition.

Directed by: Art Washington
Written by: Sara Finney & Vida Spears

37 - Mad Money

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Armin Shimerman as Frank
Ron Pinkard as Doctor
P.L. Brown as Doug
Isabel Wolfe as Maid

One evening as Dwayne and Raj are attempting to fix the Thomas' TV set, they search for the TV's warranty and find it under Nadine's diary. Dwayne encourages Raj to take a peek at its contents, but Raj refuses. He is surprised, however, when a passbook for a bank account falls out of the diary. The account, which is in Nadine's name only, contains $1500. Nadine unexpectedly comes home for a file, but must go directly back to the office -- she's working late again. Raj tries to trick her into telling him about the money and when she doesn't, he's convinced that she's hiding something. The next morning, Nadine sneaks off to the diner and tells Shirley that she's planning to take Raj on a surprise cruise and she needs Shirley's help to get him to the boat. Nadine swears her to secrecy and tells her that no one else knows about the trip except Frank, her travel agent. As she's leaving, she runs into Raj and makes a feeble attempt to cover up.

When Raj comes home early that evening and overhears Nadine tell a guy named Frank on the phone that Raj doesn't suspect a thing, he is crushed. She tells Frank that she got the tickets and hid them where Raj will never find them, admitting that she can't wait to stay in bed all day and dance all night. After Nadine rushes out the door telling Raj she's going back to the office, Dwayne comes over and finds Raj frantically searching through Nadine's things. The boat tickets for two fall out of Nadine's diary with the passbook which shows the $1500 has been withdrawn. The next day, Raj confesses to Shirley that Nadine is having an affair and he's going down to the boat to punch Frank out. Shirley tries to stop him but she doesn't want to spoil Nadine's surprise.

On the ship, Nadine is unpacking when Frank comes by apologizing for the mix-up in staterooms. When Frank begins to feel seasick, Nadine calls the ship's doctor. The doctor arrives and is knocked unconscious by an open door. Meanwhile, Raj has gone to the wrong cabin and accuses a stranger of having an affair with Nadine. Raj eventually finds Nadine's room and bursts in. Seeing the doctor lying an the bed, he is enraged. Then a party is beginning to form as a crowd of people mistake the Thomas' cabin for someone else's cabin. The party files out and Raj confronts Nadine. She explains that he misunderstood everything -- she had to work late for two weeks to catch up so she could go on a trip and she saved money in a separate account so she could surprise him. Raj admits that he is surprised and apologizes for being suspicious as they set sail.

LOG LINE: Raj convinces himself Nadine is having an affair when he uncovers secret plans for a cruise she has been saving up for to surprise him.

Directed by: Arlondo Smith
Written by: Noni White & Hob Tzudiker

38 - Old Army Daze

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Wesley Thompson as Randy
Rion Hunter as Phillip
Walt Weiskopf as Pete
Dave Moriarty as Loomis

Raj is working on an article about bodybuilding and interviews two muscle men in the diner. Meanwhile, Dwayne and his friend Randy enter, marching to a military cadence. Dwayne introduces Randy as his best friend from the army -- they did everything together in boot camp. Randy even saved Dwayne's life by pushing him out of a live mine area. Randy has been discharged from the army and plans to live with Dwayne for an undetermined amount of time. A week later, Dwayne and Randy literally burst through the Thomas' front door having just returned from a paramilitary weekend. Typically, Randy comes on strong; flirting with Nadine and making himself at home. The conversation progresses and Randy invites Raj to join a poker game at Dwayne's.

Later that night, Randy shows off his poker skills. Raj wants to put him in his place and realizes a perfect opportunity when he draws four aces, so Raj assigns a "no limit" on the game, allowing the stakes to go as high as the players want. When Randy bets his new car, Raj figures he is bluffing and he bets his car and his half of the diner. Randy lays down a straight flush and takes the pot that includes Raj's business. After the game, Raj returns home and breaks the news to Nadine and Shirley, explaining that a poker game has the same code of honor as a gentleman's handshake and therefore, Randy won the diner fair and square. Dwayne, meanwhile, tries to convince Randy to give the diner back. Randy won't budge and as they argue, the truth comes out -- Randy cheated. Randy says it can't be proven because the game is over so the diner is his. Dwayne kicks him out of his apartment.

The next morning, Dwayne tells the whole story to Raj and Shirley and they devise a plan to trick him into giving back the diner. In a card game, Shirley insists that it be winner takes all. Of course, Randy wins and Shirley signs over her half of the diner to him. As she does that, Raj's bodybuilder friends show up and pretend to be hit men for a loan shark. They have come to collect $20,000 outstanding on a loan for the diner. The owner had better pay up now or else! Raj and Shirley explain that Randy is the owner now and as the two men start to carry him off, Randy tears up the ownership papers and runs out. Raj and Shirley have their diner back...and Shirley gets a date with one of the body-builders.

LOG LINE: Dwayne's old army buddy comes to visit and challenges Raj to a poker game, which almost costs him his car and his half interest in the diner.

Directed by: Phil Olsman
Written by: James Bartruff

39 - Taking the Rap

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Bill Elmer as Jolly Cholly

"Jolly Cholly," a rather rotund fellow, opens a competing restaurant down the street from Rob's Place, much to the chagrin of Raj and Shirley. Since radio advertising is the key to Jolly Cholly's success, Raj decides to record a radio ad for Rob's Place himself.

After Raj, Shirley and Dwayne strike out with their "creative" commercial, Nadine suggests a few kids she knows from work who sing "rap" music. The talented kids record the radio ad, and Rob's Place quickly fills up with customers who can relate to the message of the commercial.

The ad is so good it even draws the attention of a personal manager, who wants to sign the kids up. The group agrees to sing at the fund-raiser for the community center; the benefit is also to promote Rob's Place. After their manager threatens to pull the kids out of the performance unless given a large fee, Raj, Shirley and Dwayne stall the impatient crowd with "comedy rap," until the real stars steal the show with their talent.

LOG LINE: When "Jolly Cholly" opens a restaurant down the street, Rob's Place starts losing customers until Raj and the gang persuade a hot rap group to record a radio commercial for their sinking business.

Directed by: Robert M. Priest
Written by: Bob Peete

40 - Raj On the Double

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Sam Anderson as Ingrahm
Darrow Igus as Cop

As Nadine and Shirley prepare for a big shopping spree, Raj packs his typewriter and gets ready for his writer's weekend getaway. Since Raj has a bad case of writer's block, the time away will help him work on his new crime novel.

After the girls leave, an FBI agent enters the house to inform Raj and Dwayne that Raj's criminal cousin, Willie, has escaped from prison. The FBI agent even thinks that Raj might be Willie, since the two are identical in appearance. Raj quickly convinces him otherwise. After Raj has left, Willie breaks into the Thomas house. Nadine believes it's Raj, dressed as a convict, in an attempt to better his writing by "being" the character.

Willie plays along and Nadine has no idea that he is not her husband. Nadine asks the imposter to go check on the house across the street. The owner is away and had asked the Thomases to keep an eye on things. She hands Willie the keys. Willie "cleans" the house out and as he's stashing the loot in the closet, Raj comes home early from his trip.

LOG LINE: When Raj's criminal cousin, Willie, a dead-ringer for Raj, escapes from prison, the Thomas household becomes a comedy of errors when Nadine, Shirley and Dwayne are victims of the mistaken identity.

Directed by: Tony Singletary
Written by: Scott Rubenstein & Leonard Mlodinow

41 - Opening Day

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Meshach Taylor as "Buddy"
James Keane as Jake

Raj and Shirley agree to sponsor a little league baseball team -- Rob's Rangers. Soon afterward, "Buddy," Raj's bullying high-school enemy, arrives on the scene to announce that he is sponsoring another team that will face the Rangers on opening day. Buddy taunts Raj with the notion of his team beating the Rangers.

Meanwhile, Jake, the coach of the Rangers, resigns his post after learning of Raj's deep desire to win that opening game, at the expense of the kids who just want to have fun. Raj daydreams that his team beats their opponents in their first game, and that he finally gets his sweet revenge against Buddy. After Shirley snaps Raj out of it, he leads his team to a devastating defeat of 27 to 0. Nadine makes Raj and Dwayne realize that winning is not everything; the objective of playing the game is to have fun.

When Buddy arrives at the diner to gloat, Raj, Dwayne and the kids are happy to see him. They don't care that they lost because they had so much fun playing. Buddy is dismayed and leaves quickly. Raj then learns that Buddy's team has been disqualified due to a technicality. The Rangers chalk up a win and Raj gets his long-awaited revenge after all.

LOG LINE: Raj and Shirley sponsor a little league baseball team, and no sooner does Raj became the coach than he learns that the opening game is against the team of his dreaded high school nemesis.

Directed by: Mike Milligan
Written by: Jay Moriarty & Mike Milligan

42 - The Yard Sale

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Reina King as Carolyn
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine

Nadine and Raj plan to hold a big yard sale in an attempt to clear out their garage and earn some money besides. Raj feels that since the old cartons are filled only with obsolete items of another time it would be beneficial to get rid of them all. Nadine and Raj begin to browse through the boxes and they uncover treasures such as Raj's old teddy bear, love letters and special cologne.

Dee unexpectedly arrives home for the weekend and wonders what's going on, especially with her teddy bear! Through a series of flashbacks, Raj and Dee reminisce about their lives growing up. Their stories include funny moments with Mama and Rerun, as well as with Dwayne and Shirley who also join in with their storytelling.

Raj comes to realize that these old possessions trace the history of his life and he decides that they still hold too much sentimental value to part with any of them after all.

LOG LINE: Raj and Nadine plan a yard sale to clear their garage of cartons, but after Dee and Raj browse through several of the old boxes and relive moments from their earlier lives together, they have second thoughts and become sentimental about their old "junk."

Directed by: Tony Singletary
Written by: Michael Baser & Kim Weiskopf

43 - The Housekeeper

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Teresa Ganzel as Nanooka
Peter Isacksen as Eric
Dierk Torsek as Reverend

Nadine brings home Nanooka, a young woman from Tundrasia, a small country near the Arctic Circle, who needs work in Los Angles. Nadine explains to Raj that Nanooka will became their maid and at the same time, will be near her boyfriend Eric, a sardine packer who recently jilted her. In no time at all, Nanooka turns the Thomas house into chaos after she rearranges the furniture, empties the refrigerator, takes apart the television set and burns toast in the VCR.

Raj wants to fire Nanooka, but he learns that, in her country, it is a disgrace to be fired. Nanooka tells Raj that anyone who is fired must sacrifice themselves to the frost god and jump into the ocean. Raj and Nadine need to find a way to get rid of Nanooka and when Nadine finds out that Tundrasian women are not allowed to work, she concocts a plan to get Nanooka and Eric together to marry.

Raj locates Eric and brings him home, where Eric explains that he was supposed to marry Nanooka previously but he literally got "cold feet" and left the ceremony early. Eric and Nanooka touch "thumbs," an act of love in their country, and decide to get married in Raj's living room. The people of Tundrasia gather in the house for the wedding, but Eric chickens out again. Raj talks him into going through with the customary service, which includes Raj, the best man, having to kiss the family seal to confirm the marriage!

LOG LINE: Nadine brings hone Nanooka, a lovesick woman from the Arctic Circle, to work as a maid until Raj can rejoin her with her boyfriend for a bizarre ceremonial wedding in the Thomas living room.

Directed by: Tony Singletary
Written by: Stephen Sustarsic

44 - Dee's Suitor

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Danielle Spencer as Dee
Stewart Wilson Turner as Millard
Tony Maggio as Policeman
Tercia LeRusch as Tricia

Dee makes a surprise visit home to escape the college grind and Millard Jenkins a lovesick pest that she met at a party. After dancing one dance, he now won't leave her alone and follows her everywhere. To get away from him for the weekend she tells Millard that she has to go home for her grandmother's funeral. As Dee tells the Millard saga to Shirley the next day at the diner, a deliveryman arrives with a giant crate. As Shirley signs for the delivery, the crate begins to shake and out pops Millard. Dee, as usual, insults him and sends him away.

Later that night, the Thomas household is awakened by a dreadful noise. Raj and Nadine investigate and find Millard serenading Dee with a ukulele. Furious, Dee storms out to the porch and mashes the ukulele. Millard, unfazed, continues the serenade with a harmonica. Millard shows up the next day at the diner looking for Dee so he can present her with a huge poster of himself. Shirley, in a less than subtle way, tries to get Millard to understand that Dee doesn't want to see him. Raj and Dwayne try to help by having a talk with him, telling him that girls prefer men who are strong, silent and adventurous, and maybe he should try to change his image.

Days later, the phone rings. When Nadine answers, she is shocked to find the police on the line to inform her, Dee and Raj that Millard is preparing to jump from a building. When they arrive at the scene, Millard, who is wearing a parachute, tells Raj that he isn't going to commit suicide. He's trying to impress Dee with his adventurous nature. Dee tells him that she thinks it's dumb and he should come off the ledge. He would like to, he tells her, but he's afraid of heights and can't move. Raj decides to go out on the ledge and help him in. He gets Millard in tow but as he reaches the window, Millard loses his balance and slips off the ledge. The Thomases look down in horror, but are relieved to see Millard's parachute open, landing him safely.

LOG LINE: A lovesick pest follows Dee home from college and drives the Thomases crazy with his obnoxious attempts to win her affection.

Directed by: Arlando Smith
Written by: Stephen Sustarsic

Season 3

45 - Ask Al

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Terry Wills as Mr. Beckmire
Tina Andrews as Linda
Craig Marks as Philip

While having breakfast at the diner, Mr. Beckmire, publisher of a local newspaper, observes Shirley as she works. Watching her interaction with both customers and friends, Beckmire notices that she has a knack for giving advice. After explaining who he is, he offers Shirley the opportunity to write the "Ask Al" advice column in his paper with the condition that she keeps "Al's" identity a secret. When Beckmire names the right price, Shirley accepts.

Several days later, Shirley's first column appears in the paper. She proudly passes out papers to Nadine and other customers in the diner and encourages everyone to read "Ask Al." The topic of the column is a letter from a young girl calling herself "Livid Linda," whose boyfriend teases her incessantly about her belief in astrology. Al's response is "Tell that turkey that your new sign is Do Not Disturb." Shirley is proud of herself until Dwayne comes in and announces that his new girlfriend dumped him and told him that her new sign was "Do Not Disturb!" Nadine hands him the "Ask Al" column and he's furious. He calls Al every name in the book and then tears out of the diner and heads for the newspaper office with the intent of ripping Al's lips off.

Shirley is miserable about breaking Dwayne and Linda up and decides to take a try at straightening things out. She calls Linda at work and tries to explain, but Linda doesn't believe that Shirley is really "Ask Al." What's worse, Linda thinks that Shirley is a friend of Dwayne's and that Dwayne put her up to posing as "Ask Al" as a tactic to win her back. Desperate to get Dwayne and Linda back together, Shirley calls Beckmire and begs him to meet her at Linda's work to explain who "Al" really is, but he refuses. Dwayne and Linda don't believe Shirley either but they think it was a nice gesture on her part to pretend to be the columnist and try to patch things up between them. Dwayne and Linda agree to get back together and everyone is happy -- except Shirley. Beckmire fires her on his way out the door.

LOG LINE: Shirley eats her words when she takes a job as an undercover advice columnist and inadvertently causes Dwayne and his new girlfriend to break up.

Directed by: Tony Singletary
Written by: Stephen Sustarsic

46 - The Boxer

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Michael DeLorenzo as Tiger
Beau Billingslea as Henry
Vincent Gustaferro as Bubs

Dwayne is at the diner with Raj and Shirley when their old friend Henry stops by and introduces the gang to Tiger Sanchez, a new boxer that he's been training. Tiger is planning to go professional and Henry has agreed to work with him once he finds some financial backing. Raj pulls Dwayne aside and asks him if he'd be interested in investing in Tiger. Raj has visions of being a big-time investor -- getting rich and famous as Tiger becomes middleweight champion of the world. When Nadine comes home he casually brings up the subject. She suggests the stock market, but Raj thinks it's too unstable. He picks up a sports magazine on the coffee table that just happens to be laying on the coffee table and just happens to open, to an article about two boxers and their $11 million fight.

Raj shows the article to Nadine and asks her if she thinks it sounds like a good investment. She says she can't understand how people could throw away money on something so barbaric. Disappointed, Raj tells Nadine that he's going to the gym to work out and heads off to break the bad news to Dwayne. At the gym, Dwayne and Raj meets Bubs, a big fight promoter who has come to watch Tiger spar. Bubs says he needs a replacement fighter for a fight he has lined up and if Tiger is ready to turn pro, he can be entered. Raj and Dwayne jump at the chance for a piece of the action -- Raj figures he will just tell Nadine after Tiger has won.

A week later, Shirley and Nadine are going to the movies when Raj claims to be going to the gym to work out. Nadine notices that Raj forgot his gym bag and she and Shirley take it to him at the gym. When they arrive, Nadine is surprised to find the place full of boxers. They run into Henry who introduces himself as Raj's partner and Nadine becomes furious. Raj spots Nadine and finding there's no place to hide, puts on boxing gloves and headgear and disguises himself as Tiger's sparring partner. Nadine recognizes him, however, and yells out a distraction. When Raj turns to see what's going on, Tiger throws a punch that knocks Raj out. Mad at Tiger for hitting her husband, Nadine climbs into the ring and throws a punch, knocking Tiger out! Later while Nadine puts an ice pack on Raj 's head, Dwayne comes by to give Raj a check for his half of the investment. Tiger won't be fighting anymore. He had a "glass" jaw that Nadine broke when she decked him!

LOG LINE: Raj goes down for the count when Nadine discovers that he has invested in a professional boxer.

Directed by: Arlando Smith
Written by: David Pitlik & Barry Gurstein

47 - The New Employee

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Christopher Birt as Willie
Tanya Lee Williams as Michelle
Arian Robinson as Gary

Shirley is working the diner's cash register while several teenagers sit at the counter filling out job applications. Maurice, also a teenager, enters the diner surreptitiously stashing Shirley's "Help Wanted" sign in his coat. He quickly surveys the situation, then approaches a boy at the end of the counter and tips him off that the place down the street is offering $20 an hour and a company car. The kid passes this information dawn the line and all the job applicants pour out of the diner. Maurice then convinces a hesitant Shirley to hire him. As far as Shirley can see, Maurice is working out well. He has only been working for several days, but his buddies, Willie and Daryl, have already adopted the diner as their hangout.

One afternoon as the guys are hanging around, Maurice's heartthrob, Michelle, comes in and orders a take-out lunch for her boyfriend. Maurice makes a play for her, but she is unimpressed. She brags about how perfect her pre-med boyfriend is -- he gets tickets to any concert or gets into any club. Desperate to impress her, Maurice invites Michelle to his club. He explains that by day, "Rob's Place" is an ordinary diner, but by night, it's "Club Maurice." She agrees to stop by that evening. Begrudgingly, Willie and Daryl agree to help Maurice transform the diner into the hottest teen club in the city. They beg, borrow and rent every piece of sound and lighting equipment they can find and convince Nadine and Shirley to leave the diner early. Unaware of Maurice's plans, Shirley thinks he is just trying to be helpful by offering to close up. Pleased by his initiative, she leaves.

That night, "Club Maurice, " is in full swing when Michelle and her boyfriend Gary arrive. Willie "bounces" Gary, and Maurice offers Michelle a private tour of the place. As they dance to a record that D.J. Daryl is playing, Nadine and Shirley, looking for a late-night snack, walk in. Shirley is furious and drags Maurice into the kitchen for a heart-to-heart talk. They explain to him that relationships cannot be based on deception and he should just be himself. Shirley agrees not to fire him if he tells everyone in the club the truth. When he breaks the news to Michelle, she is touched that he would go to all that trouble for her and she dumps Gary and stays at the diner with Maurice.

LOG LINE: Shirley's new employee Maurice turns the diner into a nighttime teen club to impress a girl.

Directed by: Gary Shimokawa
Written by: Larry Balmagia

48 - The Hat Comes Back

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Martin Lawrence as Maurice
Ken Sagoes as Daryl
Lela Rochon as Sharona
Lionel Smith as Grover

The gang makes an inventory of the items they have collected for the charity auction, commenting, with just a trifle of sarcasm, about the modern-art painting Dwayne is donating. Nadine pointedly reminds Shirley and Raj their contributions are yet to be made. They promise Nadine that they'll come through for her. Raj and Shirley desperately ask for suggestions to fulfill their promise to find something extra special for the auction. An excited Daryl informs Maurice that he's lucky enough to have gotten tickets for the two of them to a concert by Sharona -- one of the hottest shows on the circuit! While disappointed that Daryl's big surprise wasn't a date with Marcy Brown, he's nevertheless pleased to be able to go to the event.

Shirley off-handedly mentions that she knows Sharona's manager, having gone to school with him. In a burst of inspiration, Raj and Shirley decide to approach him to obtain one of Sharona's hats for the auction. Pushing their way through the crowd, Raj and Shirley gain entrance when she's recognized by Grover who reminisces about some of the good old days and gives them a hat. Back at the diner, a somewhat awed Maurice offers to take care of the hat while Raj and Shirley leave to pick up her car from the garage. When Marcy Brown comes in to eat and rebuffs Maurice's overtures for a date, he can't resist bragging about his connection with Sharona, offering her a peek at the hat as proof.

The hat is torn in half in the ensuing tug-of-war for its possession. A dismayed Maurice decides that he has to try to replace it before Nadine arrives and Shirley commits bodily harm to him! Rebuffed by the guard at the hotel, the two disguise themselves as a bellboy and maid; announcing 'room service' they gain admittance. Just when success seems in their reach, Shirley arrives. It seems that when she and Raj tussled over who was to show the prized hat to Nadine, it tore and they thought they had caused the damage. Shirley recognizes Maurice and Daryl through their disguises and their story is revealed. Because the auction is for a good cause, Sharona enters and graciously donates not only a replacement, but another four hats as well. Thanks to her generosity, the auction is a smashing success and Maurice and Daryl are paying for their mistake by cleaning the diner

LOG LINE: Shirley uses her friendship with an old school friend to obtain an auction item for charity from a visiting singing star.

Directed by: Gary Shimokawa
Written by: David Pitlik & Barry Gurstein

49 - Dwayne's Big Step

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Carl Ballantine as Higgins
J. Jay Sounders as Mr. Walker
Lee Wilkof as Harry Leggs

Dwayne and Shirley are chatting in the diner when Mr. Higgins, owner of a neighboring magic and novelty shop, drops by to tell them that he's selling his shop and retiring to Hawaii. As he performs a few final magic tricks far Shirley, he and Dwayne reminisce about the days when Dwayne worked in the magic shop. After Mr. Higgins leaves, Dwayne complains to Shirley that his current boss, Mr. Walker, is tough to communicate with, but he nonetheless plans to ask him for a promotion or a raise.

As Nadine enters the diner, Dwayne asks her if she thinks he's too easily intimidated. She responds by imitating a squawking chicken, Nadine and Shirley agree that Dwayne needs to learn has to go after what he wants. They convince him to take an assertiveness training course. That same night, Dwayne begins his assertiveness training. In the manner of a marine sergeant, the instructor uses Dwayne in a role-playing experiment to show the class that success is not earned -- it's demanded. The next day, Dwayne decides to try his training out on his boss. He invites Mr. Walker to the diner where he plans to ask for a promotion. With his newly acquired confidence, however, Dwayne comes on too strong and Walker fires him on the spot.

Devastated by the loss of his job, Dwayne takes a new job as a traveling carpet cleaner salesman. When he tries his sales pitch on Nadine and Shirley, he ruins Nadine's new rug with his faulty carpet cleaning machine. Convinced that he will never hold a job that he enjoys, he gives up the carpet cleaning business. Dwayne is moping around the diner the following day when Mr. Higgins comes in and announces that his deal to sell the magic shop fell through. He's in a real bind because he and his wife are due to move to Hawaii in several days. Nadine and Shirley realize this is the perfect opportunity for Dwayne. Dwayne has always loved the magic shop, and he's always wanted to be his own boss. As they are trying to convince Dwayne to buy the shop, Mr. Walker comes into the diner and offers Dwayne his job back. But Dwayne turns him down and makes the decision to go into business for himself by buying the magic shop.

LOG LINE: After being fired from his job and failing at a series of attempts to try a new line of work, Dwayne decides to become his own boss and buys a magic shop.

Directed by: Gary Shimokawa
Written by: Stephan Sustarsic

50 - Girl's Night Out

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine

Danielle Spencer as Dee
Jesse Aragon as Emcee
Don Pedro Colley as Bouncer
Steve Rally as Dancer #1
Bernerd Garsen as Dancer #2

It's Dee's twenty-first birthday and she wants to do something special. Raj and Dwayne plan to go bowling so it gives the girls the perfect opportunity to go to Nottingham's -- a male strip club. Raj isn't thrilled with the idea, but the more he protests, the more it makes the girls want to go. Raj and Dwayne stop by the diner later to wind down after bowling. The diner is closed but a police officer stops by when he sees the lights on. Raj gives him a cup of coffee and the officer tells them about the raid planned for that night. It seems a lot of underage kids are getting into clubs and they are starting to crack down. Tonight the raid will be at Nottingham's. After the officer leaves, Raj panics. The girls are at Nottingham's but Dee won't be 21 until midnight, so they race for the club to try and warn her.

The girls are enjoying the show at Nottingham's, especially Shirley. When Raj and Dwayne arrive, they are unceremoniously removed from the club by a brawny bouncer who grumbles that the club is for ladies only. The direct approach doesn't work so they decide to sneak in through the dancer's entrance. Before they know it, they are on stage, barely dressed as an Indian and a construction worker. The crowd is screaming for them to take their clothes off. Dwayne starts to get into it when women begin throwing money at him and he starts making a tidy sum of money. Raj strips his costume off feather by feather. They know it is just a matter of time before Nadine, Shirley and Dee spot thin, but it's too late, the police arrive and drag everyone off to jail.

Back at the diner, Dee confesses that it is the best birthday she's ever had. She got arrested for being underage and Raj got arrested for being underdressed! Dee got lucky however, the raid didn't start until after midnight so she was already 21.

LOG LINE: Raj and Dwayne literally get caught with their pants down when they try to rescue Dee from a police raid on a male strip club.

Directed by: Phil Olsman
Written by: Mark Tuttle & Barbara Berkowitz

51 - The Candidate

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Martin Lawrence as Maurice
Ken Sagoes as Daryl
Dayna Winston as Judy Anne
Kristoff St. John as Bob
Carey Scott as Farleigh

While working at the diner after school, Maurice notices gorgeous Judy Anne, a bespectacled intellectual-type who is pouring over her books while he pours on the charm. But she deep-freezes every effort he makes to get her attention. Daryl is not quick with advice. He's too busy bragging about the grade he received for his brilliant essay that he wrote about Maurice. As Daryl gushes about Maurice, Bob Bledsoe comes into the diner. Bob is on the campaign trail. He's running for class president and wants to hang one of his posters up in Rob's Place. Shirley is worried about giving equal space to his opponent, but Bob lets her know in no uncertain terms that he has no opponent. No one will ever run against him because he always wins.

Maurice and Daryl go on about haw conceited Bob is and at this point Judy Anne speaks up. She thinks Maurice would be perfect to run against Bob. She even offers to be his campaign manager, which would mean that they would have to spend a lot of time together. Maurice agrees to run. Daryl is very supportive of his best friend's campaign, but Judy Anne on the other hand has been pushing Maurice. She tells him what to say and when and where to say it. Things are going well but, like every candidate seeking a high office, there are skeletons in Maurice's closet. As it turns out, Judy Anne and Bob used to go steady. She has something to prove and she's going to do whatever it takes to prove it. She has Maurice doing everything she says, including dumping Daryl as his best friend, because he just doesn't fit Maurice's new image.

Judy Anne sets up a debate between Bob and Maurice. She has prepped Maurice to answer predetermined questions. He becomes distracted however when he sees Daryl in the audience wearing a sweatshirt that says "Vote For Maurice." Even though they are not best friends anymore, Daryl still thinks Maurice is the best candidate and continues to support him. As the debate wears on, he realizes that every word he's saying was put in his mouth by Judy Anne. They don't reflect his own views and opinions. As he speaks he sees Daryl's disappointment. He stops using Judy Anne's words and says what he really feels and starts by telling Judy Anne what he thinks of her and her manipulation tactics. Then heads out to go to a baseball game with his best friend Daryl.

LOG LINE: When Maurice runs for class president, he risks his friendship with Daryl by becoming a political puppet to a manipulative campaign manager.

Directed by: Arlando Smith
Written by: Michael S. Baser

52 - Family Life

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Lisle Wilson as Raymond
Jason Ross as Greg
John Witherspoon as Adam
Rick Fitts as Stan

When Nadine asks Shirley how many tickets she'll need for the Junior League banquet, Shirley tells her one, since she recently broke up with her boyfriend. Shirley tells the gang that she's worried about never finding a man. She's looking for a commitment and wants to raise a family. Nadine offers to fix her up with Raymond, a brother of one of her co-workers and Shirley agrees to give it a try. A few nights later at Shirley's apartment, everything seems to be adding up to a perfect date. Raymond is handsome, intelligent and charming. As he's in the bathroom washing up, he tells Shirley that he believes in old-fashioned values. She agrees and is surprised when he comes out of the bathroom wearing little more than a smile and she kicks him out.

Next, Dwayne convinces Shirley to try a computer dating service where she finds Greg. His computer profile shows that he likes good food so she invites him over for dinner. They start a conversation about how much they love children. Shirley wants two or three kids -- Greg wants ten or fifteen. She kicks him out. Now it's Dee's turn. She says the supermarket is the place to meet men and sends Shirley shopping where she meets Stan. Stan has all the outward signs of being a perfect man, but he's divorced. Everything Shirley does seems to remind him of his wife and the memories cause him to burst into tears. She kicks him out too. As he's leaving, her new neighbor, Adam, stops by to introduce himself. Shirley gives him the cold shoulder and sends him away then heads for the couch and falls asleep.

While she's asleep, Shirley has a nightmare about her life 30 years later. She is still unmarried with no family. Nadine's son, Raj Jr., is a Harvard graduate, Dee is a U.S. Senator and the mother of twins and Dwayne gets married once every year. She is visited by a beautiful little girl who tells Shirley that she is one of the 2.3 little Shirleys that she never had. She shows her photos of the things they never did together, the husband she never had and the house he didn't buy her. She wakes up screaming. As she awakens, there is a knock at the door. Adam heard her screaming and came over to see if she was alright. They begin talking and she offers to show him around town…setting a date to go out the next evening.

LOG LINE: With her biological clock ticking, Shirley is desperate to find the perfect man and tries everything to find him.

Directed by: Gary Shimokawa
Written by: Shirley Brown

53 - Runnin' Scared

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Duane Davis as Chuck
Wayne King, Jr. as Biff
Karen Newman as Samantha

Raj and Dwayne enter a 10K race for charity. Raising money to save a neighborhood park is not their only goal. They entered to compete against each other to prove who is the better athlete. In the days preceding the race, Raj and Dwayne each knock themselves out trying to get in shape, but neither let on to the other that they need any training at all. Even with all of his training, Raj is a little nervous that Dwayne is going to win so he buys a little insurance in the form of a gorgeous girl named Samantha.

Raj's plan is to place Samantha, wearing a sexy running outfit, in a strategic spot on the race route. When she sees Dwayne, she will pretend to drop a contact lens. Dwayne, who can't resist a beautiful damsel in distress, will naturally stop to help her out. When he does, Raj will zip past him and gain a strong lead. Meanwhile, Dwayne has a plan of his own. He pays a couple of huge guys named Chuck and Biff to run side by side at a slow pace and literally block Raj from gaining any ground. On the day of the race, Dwayne's plan is working. Raj is hopelessly stuck behind Chuck and Biff. Dwayne has a nice lead until he encounters Samantha.

Raj is able to trick the big guys into taking a detour and zips past Dwayne. Moments later, Dwayne finds Raj on the side of the race route with a sprained ankle. Raj tells him to go ahead and finish the race since beating each other was the only reason for running the race. Dwayne feels terrible that Raj is hurt and confesses to hiring Chuck and Biff to block him. Raj confesses that he hired Samantha and they both admit that it was pretty dumb to test their friendship that way. Dwayne offers to help Raj walk to the finish line but when he stops to pick up Raj's glasses, Raj takes off running toward the finish line without him.

LOG LINE: A little friendly competition becomes survival of the fittest when Raj and Dwayne enter a 10K run for charity.

Directed by: Arlando Smith
Written by: Jay Wolf

54 - Nadine's Wood-Be Father

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Lillian Lehman as Yvonne
Willie Tyler as Lynn
Lester as Chip

Nadine is nervous about her mother's impending visit of a week and wants everything about the visit to be perfect. Ever since Nadine's father died, her mother has been very depressed and withdrawn. It's hard far Nadine to make her happy. Shirley assures her that everything will be fine. When her mother arrives, she looks extremely happy and invigorated. She tells Nadine that she has brought her friend Lynn to join them for the week. Nadine is happy that her mother has a close friend to travel with until she sees that Lynn is a man. When her mother announces their plans to get married, Nadine, in a private conversation, tells her mother that she is crazy to marry a man she barely knows and they are not welcome to stay in her home.

Meanwhile, Shirley thinks Lynn, a ventriloquist, is a great guy and invites him to perform at a party that she is having at the diner for underprivileged kids, to which he accepts. Shirley then tries to get Nadine to come around and to let her mother and Lynn stay with her. But Nadine is adamant. She thinks her mother is betraying her father by marrying again even though her father has been dead more than five years. She further tells Shirley that it is none of her business and kicks her out too.

At the diner later, the party is in full swing. Dwayne has finished performing a string of lousy magic tricks and Lynn and Chip are doing their routine. Nadine enters and takes a seat in the back of the room. When Lynn starts taking questions from the audience, Nadine stands up and asks him if he's ever opened his mouth and had the wrong words come out -- because lately some really stupid things had been coming out of her mouth. He tells her that is the life of a dummy and urges her to apologize to her mother, which she does...welcoming Lynn into the family.

LOG LINE: Nadine feels like a real dummy when her mother brings home her ventriloquist fiancée and she kicks them out of her house.

Directed by: Gary Shimokawa
Written by: Deborah Jones

55 - The Pad

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Martin Lawrence as Maurice
Ken Sagoes as Daryl
Francee Greer as Celia
Nadia Deleye as Wendy
Andre "Rosey" Brown as Lou

Raj's friend Lou stops by the diner to take Raj to bowling practice. Lou is HUGE. With the "Rob's Place" logo embroidered on his bowling shirt, he looks like a walking billboard. He towers over Raj, dwarfs Dwayne and is able to lift a bowling ball in one hand without using the holes. Daryl sits at a table reading "How To Be A Love God in Ten Easy Lessons." Maurice thinks that nothing, especially a book, can help Daryl's sex appeal. Daryl offers to demonstrate the technique and approaches two girls who, in spite of Daryl's blundered line, invites him to sit down. The girls are sisters and they are freshmen at UCLA.

Maurice edges his way into the conversation and before he knows it, he's told the girls that he and Daryl are sophomores studying pre-med at UCLA. By the end of the conversation, he has told them that he and Daryl have their own apartment and the girls have invited themselves over. Now the guys are in trouble. The problem is easily solved when Dwayne comes in. They convince him to let them use his apartment for "studying" while he is bowling with Raj and Lou. The girls shows up later and Maurice and Daryl are the perfect hosts. When they all decide they want Chinese food for dinner, the guys leave to get it. While they are gone, Dwayne and Raj show up -- coming home early from bowling. It's not long before they all realize that they've been lied to, and put their heads together to come up with a plan for revenge.

When Maurice and Daryl return, the lights are out and the apartment appears to be empty. They figure that the girls gave up and went home. However, when the girls emerge from the bedroom barely wearing a couple of men's shirts, the guys realize that they are in over their heads when their guests announce their plans to spend the night. As the guys sputter out some lame attempts to get out of the situation, the doorbell rings. It's Lou pretending to be the girls' father. The girls tell their "dad" not to worry, the boys aren't doing anything indecent. In fact, they say Maurice and Daryl plan to marry them. This makes dad very happy since he just happens to be a minister and can perform the marriage ceremony. As Maurice and Daryl drop to their knees and beg for forgiveness, Raj and Dwayne come out from where they were hiding. The game is over and the boys have learned a lesson about lying.

LOG LINE: Maurice and Daryl enjoy an evening in a swinging bachelor pad with two sisters from UCLA...until the girls' father shows up.

Directed by: Arlando Smith
Written by: Marley Clark & Stephen Sustarsic

56 - Teacher's Threat

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Martin Lawrence as Maurice
Ken Sagoes as Daryl
Ed Bernard as Mr. Ratliff
LaRita Shelby as Diana

Raj tells the gang that he got a call from Mr. Ratliff, their old teacher. He was the toughest teacher they ever had. Maurice tells them that he still is tough. In fact, Maurice has a math test in his class the following day. Mr. Ratliff's daughter is visiting for a week and he wants her to make some new friends while she is in town. Maurice figures that if he is nice to Mr. Ratliff's daughter, the teacher might be grateful when it comes time to grade his test. Mr. Ratliff comes to the diner with his daughter Diana, who is a shy, frumpy girl with glasses. Maurice tells him that he would like to show her around, but he has got to study for the test. But Mr. Ratliff has the perfect solution -- Maurice and Diana can study together.

Diana excuses herself to go to the restroom and emerges as a completely different person once her father is gone. In fact, she is stunning and she certainly has no interest in studying -- all she wants to do is party! Maurice shows up at the diner the next day dead tired. He tells Raj that he was out dancing until three o'clock in the morning, which explains why he slept through his math test. Mr. Ratliff enters and tells him that he got an "A" on the test. As it turns out, he let Diana grade the test papers. When Maurice tells Diana that he's too tired to take her out dancing, she threatens to tell her father the truth. Diana soon has Maurice running ragged and sleeping on the job.

Diana blackmails Maurice into having dinner with her at her father's house. When he shows up, he finds her in a revealing dress. She tells him not to worry, her father is at a faculty meeting and won't be hone for hours. Suddenly, there is a knock at the door and Maurice quickly hides in the closet. It's Diana's father who explains that the meeting was cancelled. He crosses to the closet to hang up his coat and finds Maurice. Mr. Ratliff is furious and tells Maurice that he will deal with him at school. Mr. Ratliff and Diana come to the diner the next day and he tells Maurice that he knows the truth. He and his daughter had a long talk and have come to know each other a little better. He's going to let Maurice take a make-up test and Diana is going to tutor him.

LOG LINE: Maurice gets more than he bargained for when he takes his teacher's daughter out dancing.

Directed by: Ginger Grigg
Written by: Sam Greenbaum

57 - Daddy's Back

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Al Fann as Duck Wilson

Shirley is surprised when she is named "Business Woman of the Year" by her community. As she describes the plans for the pending award banquet to Nadine, her father, "Duck" Wilson, walks through the door of the diner. He is a truck driver and his route has brought him through town for the first time in years. After the usual catching up, Shirley invites him to the banquet. He accepts and then takes Dwayne, who he took an immediate liking to, for a ride in his truck. While they are gone, Shirley fills Nadine in on her relationship with her father. Duck always wanted a son and never quite got over the disappointment Shirley turned out to be a girl. When Duck and Dwayne return. Shirley invites her father and the gang over for dinner.

Shirley is thrilled that her father is coming over and she and Nadine prepare his favorite meal. When Dwayne shows up with a C.B. radio that he and Duck bought, a message comes over the radio for Shirley from Duck. Unfortunately, he won't be able to make it over for dinner because he is going to a basketball game instead, leaving Shirley crushed. At the diner the following day, Shirley is rehearsing her acceptance speech when Duck comes by. He tells her that he won't be able to attend the banquet because he has to drive to Buffalo and needs to leave right away. Shirley is miserable and Dwayne wants Duck to know how bad she feels and he secretly rigs his C.B. radio to transmit their conversation so that Duck can will overhear it.

With encouragement from Nadine and Dwayne, Shirley discusses her feelings -- going on to admit that she feels like a stepchild and how much she wants her father's approval. All the while, she has no idea that Duck is hearing what she is saying. Later that night as she is getting ready to go to the banquet, Duck drops by to see Shirley. He admits that when he heard her "broadcast," he turned around and came back to escort his daughter to her award banquet.

LOG LINE: Shirley's truck driving father comes to town but is too busy to attend the banquet when Shirley is named "Business Woman of the Year."

Directed by: Pat Fischer
Written by: Sara V. Finney & Vila Spears

58 - I Gotta Be Raj

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Diane Almeida as Debbie
Mike Muscat as Dan

For Raj's birthday, Dwayne has painstakingly assembled an album of photos that chronicle Raj's life. After stopping by the diner to show the book to Shirley, he heads for the airport to pick up his girlfriend Debbie. On the sidewalk outside of the diner, a kid on a skateboard runs into him and knocks him unconscious. When he wakes up, he thinks he's Raj! Later, Nadine is readying the house for a surprise birthday party for Raj. As Shirley tries to explain to Nadine what happened, Dwayne shows up.

Still thinking he's Raj, he opens all of Raj's presents and then chases Nadine around the house trying to show his gratitude to his "beautiful wife." In the diner that afternoon, Dwayne is still out of his mind and is making Nadine, Shirley and Dee lose theirs. Nothing is helping him to came out of it. Not even Debbie who has just arrived from the airport where she has been waiting for Dwayne to pick her up. When Dwayne doesn't recognize her, it of course makes her angry but it gets worse when he introduces her to his wife. He pulls Nadine over to him and gives her a big kiss. Nadine hauls off and hits him, which causes him to snap out of it.

He recognizes Debbie but when he introduces her as his girlfriend, she corrects him with ex-girlfriend and then slaps him, sending him reeling back into his "Raj" mode. He sees Nadine and goes for a kiss again and she gives him a real slap, which jars him back to being Dwayne again. He moves for Debbie who, calling him a two-timing louse, slaps him again and he turns back onto Raj. He starts for Nadine again but Shirley, determined to unscramble Dwayne's brains, decks him. It works and returns him to being just plain Dwayne, forever.

LOG LINE: When a bump on the head causes Dwayne to lose his memory, Nadine loses her mind because Dwayne now thinks he's her husband!

Directed by: Arlando Smith
Written by: Carolyn Krebs & Charlotte Thomson

59 - Run, Shirley, Run

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Danielle Spencer as Dee
Rodney Saulsberry as Briggs
John Dewey-Carter as Bell
Mark Helm as Thurston.

Election Day is coming around again, so Councilman Bell decides to place a visit to Raj's diner. His reception is anything but civil especially as far as Shirley is concerned. She accuses him of not keeping all his campaign promises from the last election. He also happened to catch her on the day she bent her fender on a pothole that his road department neglected to repair. Bell's assistant, Thurston, tries to calm her down to no avail. After the Councilman and Thurston leave, one of the customers, Briggs, suggests that Shirley run against Bell. Raj tells her that maybe one day she will even become president. This causes Shirley to begin daydreaming.

In Shirley's dream, Nadine, her chief of staff, tells her that her popularity rating is higher than ever. Shirley attributes it to the fact that she was able to get rid of income tax and unemployment. But Shirley isn't as concerned with her popularity as she is with what time she gets to review the troops. When Raj is announced as her vice president, he complains that he doesn't have anything to do. Then he makes references to the fact that he wants to get rid of her. Except for Raj, Shirley's presidency seems too good to be true.

Coming out of her daydream, Shirley announces her intention to run in the election. They are all surprised when Councilman Bell arrives to apologize to everyone. He realized that he somehow forgot all the reasons he wanted to be elected in the first place. He tells them he is going to fix all the potholes and then admits that Thurston talked him into it when he fell into one of them and broke his leg. Bell tries to get Shirley to campaign with him, but she's decided that politics aren't for her. After the Councilman leaves, Raj tells Shirley that he wished she had not changed her mind about-running. Shirley remembers how Raj was in her dream and to everyone's surprise she accuses him of using her and trying to get rid of her.

LOG LINE: Thanks to Shirley, a councilman straightens up his act when he realizes that he had forgotten why he was elected to office in the first place.

Directed by: Ginger Grigg
Written by: Shirley Brown

60 - The Older Woman

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Martin Lawrence as Maurice
Ken Sagoes as Daryl
Montrose Hagins as Grandmother
Tanya Boyd as Helen
Richard Molinare as Waiter
Colleen Moriarty as Hostess

Dwayne has met the perfect woman. Her name is Helen and she's a terrific dancer, has a great sense of humor, and a wonderful smile. There is just one slight problem...she's an older woman. For that reason, Dwayne has decided to stop seeing her. Raj tells him that age doesn't matter. Some of the best things in life improve with age, such as wine and cheese. He tells Dwayne that if he really loves Helen, he won't break up with her. Dwayne thanks Raj for the advice.

That night, Nadine comes by the diner and Shirley tells her all about Dwayne and Helen. When Dwayne stops by to thank Raj for setting him straight, he mentions that he's taking Helen to dinner at Dicato's. Nadine, curious to catch a glimpse of Helen, talks Raj into taking her to Dicato's for dinner. Raj and Nadine enter the restaurant and see Dwayne sitting with an elderly woman. They can't bear to watch another minute and leave before being seated. The moment they exit, Helen, who is two years older than Dwayne, joins him and her grandmother at the table. Raj blames himself and decides to tell Dwayne he was wrong about Helen. He and Nadine try to talk to him, but he tells them he's in love with her.

In fact, Dwayne wants them all to meet her and has stopped by to invite them over for dinner. When they arrive at Dwayne's house, he informs then that Helen will be a little late. He suddenly remembers that he was supposed to get ice cream and rushes off to the store. As soon as he leaves, Helen's grandmother arrives. She tells them that she's been married four times and is looking forward to getting married again soon. Raj and Nadine are now more determined than ever to stop Dwayne from making a terrible mistake. Just then, much to their relief, Dwayne and Helen enter together. Raj and Nadine can't tell her how glad they are to meet her!

LOG LINE: Raj tells Dwayne that age is irrelevant until he sees him at a restaurant with his girlfriend's grandmother and jumps to the wrong conclusion.

Directed by: Art Washington
Written by: Pam Veasey

61 - Happy Face

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Martin Lawrence as Maurice
Ken Sagoes as Daryl
David Allyn as Dr. Yess
Harry Waters, Jr. as Jerry
Damita Jo Freeman as Cynthia
Kathleen Connell as Vivian
Allison Perley as Robin
Oscar DeGruy, Jr. as Grady

A surly Shirley insults everyone within earshot at the diner while an amused bystander looks on. He approaches Raj and reveals himself to be Barry Smith, host of a local news show. He informs Raj he would like to do a spot featuring Shirley's unique way of dealing with customers. Asked about what preparations need to be made, Raj is told to make sure Shirley is rude and acidic -- her usual personality. Shirley tells Raj the real reason for her unhappiness at the moment is the picture of Cynthia Daville on the society page of the paper -- the two had been bitter enemies in school. Dwayne suggests Shirley should accompany him to a seminar on positive thinking. She sits and listens in growing disgust at the gushing testimonies of others in the group.

As she rises to leave, Dr. Yess thinks she wants to make a statement and calls on her for comments. When the doctor promises relief from feeling that one's social life is a zero, Shirley reluctantly resumes her seat, joining in with the group. A newly reformed Shirley is driving everyone crazy with her positive routine. When Raj tells her to make a choice between the new guru and the diner, he is shocked at her decision -- she hands him the apron and sets off to find Dr. Yess and turn over her half of the diner. Thinking to head her off, Raj and Nadine invite Cynthia over, sure that the old enmity will be rekindled when Shirley faces her. To their mutual surprise, Shirley remains cool under all their goading and actually apologizes to her old enemy. The gesture breaks down Cynthia's resolve and she confesses that everything's wrong in her life and she's totally miserable.

The scheduled taping of the segment at the diner had slipped Raj's mind until the arrival of the camera crew. While Barry tries to get Shirley's sharp tongue wagging, she refuses to be baited and reacts kindly to every request, totally undermining his billing of her as the town's rudest waitress. Dr. Yess arrives and is introduced to the TV host who thinks they may have met before. While Shirley excuses herself to sign the contract with Dr. Yess, Barry remembers where he had run into the con man before -- he had done a piece on another scam operated by the good doctor in another city. The two force a showdown and Shirley learns the truth just in time. Feeling very sheepish, she goes back to her old insulting ways -- but not before accepting a date with the broadcaster.

LOG LINE: The diner is threatened when Shirley decides to deed over her half to a con man.

Directed by: Gail L. Bergmann
Written by: Kitty Felde

62 - The Fabulous Fortunes

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
George Kirby as Dewey
Bebe Drake-Massey as Freda
Caryn Ward as Joyce
Darius McCrary as Brian

Freda Fortune, an old friend of Shirley's, is catering a big affair in Malibu and her client wants her to serve gumbo. It just so happens that gumbo is Shirley's specialty and Freda stops by to ask her to come by the house and help her whip up a big batch. Freda and her husband Dewey are raising their two grandchildren Joyce and Brian after their parents were killed. Shirley arrives at the house just in time to learn that Brian has a small problem. Joyce tells her that he is not going to attend his eighth grade dance because he doesn't know how to slow dance with a girl, so Shirley volunteers to teach Brian herself.

Brian's dance lesson is a complete disaster -- and Shirley has the bruised toes to prove it! Brian is so discouraged that he runs away from home, taking nothing but his basketball. Because of the fact that Dewey and Freda had an act where they sang and danced, Brian is convinced that they are disappointed in him. Dewey stops by the diner to tell Shirley that Brian is gone and she insists on helping him to locate the missing youngster. When they return to the house, Freda and Dewey blame each other for not paying enough attention to Brian. But Shirley tells them that it is no one's fault...kids do silly things and Brian is just a kid.

Shortly after Freda and Dewey kiss and make up, Brian comes home. He had been off shooting baskets all night. He tells Dewey and Shirley that he is not going to the dance. Shirley convinces him that dancing is just like playing basketball and Dewey encourages him to simply pretend that he is playing against him. In no time at all, they are moving together perfectly. On the way to pick up Brian's date for the dance, Brian stops by the diner. He has come to give Shirley a rose and to thank her for all her help.

LOG LINE: Shirley teaches a young boy with "two left feet" how to dance.

Directed by: Mike Milligan
Written by: Bob Peete

63 - Shirley's Debt

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Ray Girardin as Ring Master
Diana Bellamy as Ms. DeWitt
Bill Shick as Strongman
Jimmy Briscoe as Bobo
Montgomery Roberts as Timid Man
Mark Miyoaka as Acrobat

While watching TV one night, Raj and Nadine happen to see a commercial for Circus City stores. The announcer states that anyone who gets a gold star on their receipt will win a trip to Hawaii. Nadine tells Raj that she's in desperate need of a vacation. Things have been going pretty well at the diner, that Raj is convinced he will be getting a big bonus. With that money, he promises to take her to Hawaii. When it comes time to hand out the bonuses, Dwayne tells Raj that Shirley has borrowed so much from the cash register that she's spent both of their bonuses. If he wants his money, Raj will have to get it from Shirley. She tells Raj to go ahead and book his trip, she will get him the money.

Shirley goes to an employment agency and gets a job as a salesperson at Circus City. She is dressed as a clown and given the name Twinkle Toes. There she learns that a midget clown made a thousand dollars in commission last week. Unfortunately, the other clowns are so aggressive that Shirley has a tough time making a single sale. When Shirley is about to give up, in walks a timid man who's just won the lottery. As it turns out, he is a compulsive spender. After listing off all the items he wants, the midget clown steps up and asks him how much Shirley is charging to help him.

The midget clown tells the compulsive spender that he will charge a hundred dollars to wait on him. Naturally, the man can't resist the offer. Raj and Nadine enter the store to buy new luggage for their trip and find Shirley dressed as a clown. She confesses that she has been working there in order to pay Raj the money for his vacation. Raj and Nadine tell her to forget about the money. Shirley is so glad to hear this that she quits her job. Her boss tells her that is fine, but she will have to pay for the clown nose. She pays the money and gets a gold star on her receipt!

LOG LINE: Shirley moonlights as a salesperson dressed as a clown in order to pay Raj the money she owes him and ends up winning a trip to Hawaii.

Directed by: Phil Olsman
Written by: Daryl G. Nickens & Mike Scott

64 - Man in Motion

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Danielle Spencer as Dee
Martin Lawrence as Maurice
Ken Sagoes as Daryl
Redge Green as Reggie

Dee grumbles about school being more fun than working in her brother's diner during a break while Shirley refuses to let Maurice punch out early to see his cousin's comedy act at the Laff Riot. A man in a wheelchair enters and the gang soon realizes that it's Maurice comedic cousin Reggie. It's an awkward moment for everyone but Reggie as the others don't quite know how to react or respond to his acidic jokes about his handicap. Just as Dee is coming out of the kitchen with a loaded tray of dishes, Reggie does a racing spin and scatters dishes everywhere. But she succumbs to his charm and makes a date for that evening following his act.

Four evenings later, Dee and Reggie have a quiet moment to reflect on how much they are enjoy each other when Reggie sadly reminds her that he spends so little time in one place, making it difficult to establish any kind of relationship. At the diner later, Dee's romance is discussed and Shirley expresses her displeasure at Dee's continuing morning tardiness. When the culprit arrives, late again, she surprises them all by asking for her paycheck in advance, informing them that she is leaving with Reggie after his final performance that night! Raj's attempts to talk some sense into his sister ends in failure. Sensing that Reggie's mobility is the reason for his disapproval, Raj insists that he thinks Dee should finish her schooling, she's so close to being through.

Determined to find out how Reggie feels, Raj arrives at his dressing room and is startled to learn that leaving had been all Dee's idea, Reggie feels that it isn't wise just as his own career is beginning to take off. He tells Raj that he will tell her the truth in the morning -- Maurice arrives with the news that the bags are in the car ready to leave immediately after the show. The reality of his intentions stuns Raj and he says Reggie's real handicap is his cowardice if he won't face the moment. Dee is oblivious to Raj's attempts to warn her as they watch the show until Reggie throws in some new material that really hits home. She heads back to the dressing room, catching Reggie as he frantically tries to get out before her arrival. For once his timing is off and he has to say something which he knows will hurt. When he insists that Dee only wants to be with him because she likes being needed, she counters with the fact that she likes him for himself. Finally, they reconcile to being friends.

LOG LINE: Dee falls in love with a stand-up comic in a wheelchair and plans to quit school and go on the road with him.

Directed by: Gary Shimokawa
Written by: David Braff

65 - Members Only

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Danielle Spencer as Dee
Martin Lawrence as Maurice
Ken Sagoes as Daryl
Troy Evans as Craig
Rene Levant as Bob
Fred Slyter as Manager

When Raj expresses his intent to join the Livingston Club in order to further his writing career, Nadine gets upset because of the club's discriminatory policy of being a men-only club. Raj is unable to understand her views and he is unable to find anything in the brochure about membership policy so he smugly informs Nadine that of course they admit women. Still disbelieving, Nadine agrees to put it to the test -- they will both fill out membership applications. A few days later at the diner while Dee is speculating about a career change into the field of philosophy, Raj breezes in and airily announces that he has been accepted for membership in the snooty Livingston Club.

Nadine glumly adds that her application had been rejected and once again insists that her sex is the only reason since her qualifications are just as impeccable as her husbands. An acrimonious debate follows with the guys insisting that men and women should have their separate outlets and the women countering with their disbelief at hearing such sexist opinions. After Raj swears that he would never join a discriminating club, Nadine decides to gather the proof her husband needs. In the disguise of a man, Nadine lets Shirley in on a secret -- she had submitted another application identical to the first one with one major difference and now she's on her way to the acceptance luncheon at the club.

As she enters, Nadine, ala Biff Ricker, is handed a strong drink and cigar along with an introduction to Raj. As the newcomers are getting acquainted they are treated to an extremely blatant sexist men-only conversation and with growing dismay Raj learns that the club is indeed a playground for men using the pretext of business dealings as an excuse for getting away from their wives at hue. Nadine is elated when she hears Raj express doubts about joining such an organization and she plants a big kiss on her surprised spouse, behavior that earns her immediate dismissal as a prospective member. She pulls off the mustache disguise and contentedly leaves, knowing Raj indeed meant what he said when he stated his principles.

LOG LINE: Nadine sets out to prove her suspicions that the exclusive club Raj is attempting to join discriminates against women, submitting her application and winning acceptance as a "man" after being rejected as herself.

Directed by: Pat Fischer
Written by: Maiya William

66 - Kangaroo Kincaide

Ernest Thomas as Raj
Shirley Hemphill as Shirley
Haywood Nelson as Dwayne
Anne-Marie Johnson as Nadine
Vernon G. Wells as Kincaide
Cindy Brooks as Bunny
J.P. Romano as Bear
Audrey Louise Dupree as Rose

As Nadine looks on, Raj completes packing the assembled camping gear as he tries to explain that his assignment is to write about how a city couple copes with life in the wild. Besides, Shirley and Dwayne will also be along. Their preparations are interrupted by the arrival of Raj's outback guide fresh from Australia, Kangaroo Kincaide, who earned his name as a professional kangaroo boxer. Announcing that he's hung up his gloves, the visitor states his intentions of seeing something of the city. At the diner to meet Shirley and Dwayne, Kincaide intimidates a surly customer by stabbing his rib order with an outsize hunting knife. Raj and Nadine worry when they return home that evening to find their home full of strangers, guests of the Aussie who's picked then up off the street, the two girls promising him a good time. Of course, the overture is misunderstood.

Dismayed, Nadine asks what they can possibly do to save their house as well as face since Kincaide feels he has a debt to pay for Raj's saving his life while on an outing in his homeland. In a moment of inspiration, Raj includes his guest along on the camping trip. Everyone is assigned a chore and after the group disperses, Raj and Dwayne go over their plan -- Dwayne is to don a bear costume and threaten Raj. Once Kincaide thwarts the attack, the debt will be satisfied and Kincaide will be on his way. As Dwayne takes a break, a real bear shows up and Dwayne scampers away. Before he can issue a warning, Raj proceeds blithely to orchestrate the routine. When the girls return he proudly demonstrates how well Dwayne did his role.

When Dwayne stumbles into the campground, they ask him to take a picture of them all. Realization dawns and at the sound of their combined shouts, the bear scampers off into the woods just as Kincaide returns. The plan once again goes awry when the real bear once again usurps Dwayne. Faced with the prospect of a real threat, Raj suggests that Kincaide try his boxing prowess. After the bear sends him sprawling, he asks for another quick idea. In a burst of inspiration, Raj suggests that he try his never-fail singing routine, after all, Raj adds, he had even seen a platypus fall under the spell. The plan works and everyone breathes a sigh of relief as both Raj and the bear collapse in a slumbering heap.

LOG LINE: A plan to fake a bear attack on Raj while on a camping trip backfires when a real life bear invades the campsite.

Directed by: Phil Olsman
Written by: Marley Clark & Stephen Sustarsic

 

 

 

 

"What's Happening Now!!" BRIEF Episode Guide:

(Airdate Order)

Season 1

Raj Returns (episode 1)
Raj and Nadine return to Raj's old house.

A Horse Is Not a Home (episode 2)
An ad offers a house instead of a horse.

Dwayne's Crush (episode 3)
Dwayne falls for his dentist's wife.

The House Guest (episode 4)
The Thomases take in feuding roommates.

Some Enchanted Evening (episode 5)
Raj tries to impress his mother-in-law.

Aunt Shirley (episode 6)
Carolyn feels unloved and tries to leave.

The New Kid (episode 7)
A 10-year-old orphan is left at the diner.

The Bully (episode 8)
Raj explains how he landed in jail.

That Old Gang of Mine (episode 9)
A tough gang menaces a party at the diner.

Dueling Menus (episode 10)
Raj and Shirley compete for diner profits.

Dee's Dilemma (episode 11)
Dee wants to quit school to sell cosmetics.

Raj on the Run (episode 12)
Raj thinks that the FBI is after him.

The Challenge (episode 13)
Unwitting Raj takes a wrestler's challenge.

Married or Not (episode 14)
Raj and Nadine split after a fight.

The Improbable Dream (episode 15)
Carolyn imagines she is in the land of Oz.

Rags to Riches (episode 16)
Rerun's new-found wealth goes to his head.

Goodbye, Mr. Ripps (episode 17)
The gang wars with a practical joker.

Dee and Dwayne (episode 18)
Romance results when Dwayne dates Dee.

Mr. First Nighter (episode 19)
The gang performs in Raj's new play.

Shirley's Pen Pal (episode 20)
Shirley's Navy pen pal comes for a visit.

Nadine's Boss (episode 21)
An efficiency expert unsettles Nadine.

The Wedding (episode 22)
Raj and Nadine learn they aren't married.

Season 2

Nadine's Surprise (episode 23)
Raj believes Nadine is expecting a baby.

Shirley's Landlord (episode 24)
A new owner wants to raise Shirley's rent.

The Movie Deal (episode 25)
Raj's first film deal is for Nadine's story.

Picture Perfect (episode 26)
Raj learns that Nadine once posed nude.

Raj's Nightmare (episode 27)
Raj's mother-in-law arrives for a visit.

Party Animal (episode 28)
Raj overindulges in punch at Dwayne's bash.

Shirley's Little Sister (episode 29)
Shirley becomes a girl's ``Big Buddy.''

Raj's Big Break (episode 30)
Raj's big publishing deal turns sour.

Thy Boss's Daughter (episode 31)
Dwayne dates his boss's demanding daughter.

Cabin Fever (episode 32)
The stranded women hear a killer is loose.

Instant Family (episode 33)
Shirley lies to impress an old friend.

Old Army Daze (episode 34)
Dwayne's old Army buddy beats Raj at poker.

The Yard Sale (episode 35)
Sorting for a yard sale stirs memories.

Dwayne's Amiga (episode 36)
Dwayne falls for a nurse from El Salvador.

Sorority Sisters (episode 37)
Dee and two sorority pledge sisters visit.

Mad Money (episode 38)
Raj thinks Nadine is having an affair.

Dee's Suitor (episode 39)

I'll Be Homeless for Christmas (episode 40)
Raj dreams he is homeless at Christmas.

Taking the Rap (episode 41)
A rap group records an ad for the diner.

Opening Day (episode 42)
Raj's nemesis heads a rival baseball team.

Raj on the Double (episode 43)
Raj's look-alike convict cousin moves in.

The Housekeeper (episode 44)
Nadine hires a jilted Arctic girl as a maid.
 

Season 3
Ask Al (episode 45)
Advice columnist Shirley ruins Dwayne's romance.

The Boxer (episode 46)
Raj backs a professional boxer.

The New Employee (episode 47)
Maurice transforms the diner to win a girl.

The Hat Comes Back (episode 48)
A singer donates a hat to a charity auction.

Dwayne's Big Step (episode 49)
Fired Dwayne decides to go into business.

Girls' Night Out (episode 50)
Raj tries to rescue Dee from a male strip-joint.

The Candidate (episode 51)
Candidate Maurice is a political puppet.

Family Life (episode 52)
Shirley worries about finding a man.

Runnin' Scared (episode 53)
Raj and Dwayne run in a 10K charity race.

Nadine's Wood-Be Father (episode 54)
Nadine's widowed mother becomes engaged.

The Pad (episode 55)
Maurice and Daryl pretend to have a bachelor pad.

Teacher's Threat (episode 56)
Maurice woos a teacher's daughter to improve a grade.

Daddy's Back (episode 57)
Shirley's father is too busy to be with her.

I Gotta Be Raj (episode 58)
A bump on the head turns Dwayne into Raj.

Run, Shirley, Run (episode 59)
Shirley considers running for city council.

The Older Woman (episode 60)
Raj thinks he has seen Dwayne's older woman.

Happy Face (episode 61)
A con man seeks Shirley's half of the diner.

The Fabulous Fortunes (episode 62)
Shirley helps the grandson of friends.

Shirley's Debt (episode 63)
Shirley moonlights to pay a debt.

Man in Motion (episode 64)
Dee wants to travel with her comedian beau.

Members Only (episode 65)
Nadine probes a men-only club Raj wants to join.

Adventures of Kangaroo Kincaide (episode 66)
Raj's Australian friend comes for a visit.

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