TITLE: EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS - UPN 2005
Premiere Date: Thursday, September 22, 2005 (Paramount Television)
Time: Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. E/P
Cast: (in Alphabetical Order)
Tichina Arnold, Terry Crews, Imani Hakim, Vincent
Martella, Tequan Richmond, Chris Rock (VOICE ONLY),
and Tyler Williams
EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS (Thursday, 8:00-8:30 PM on UPN)
is inspired by the childhood experiences of comedian
Chris Rock, who narrates the hilarious, touching story
of a teenager growing up as the eldest of three
children in Brooklyn, New York during the early
1980's. Uprooted to a new neighborhood and bused to
predominantly white middle school two-hours away by
his strict, hard-working parents, Chris struggles to
find his place while keeping his siblings in line at
home and surmounting the challenges of junior high.
This responsible, resilient adolescent brings a
distinct, funny spin to his everyday trials and
This series is part of UPN’s new Thursday night block
of sitcoms for the last six years, WWE wrestling has
aired on Thursday nights. For whatever reason, UPN
decided to move Smackdown, one of their highest rated
programs, to Friday night - a night UPN has long
struggled at. This move left a two hour hole that
needed to be filled, and UPN seeing the sitcom void
on Thursdays shifted parts of it’s past Tuesday
night sitcom block to Thursday, and brought in a
couple newcomers including Everybody Hates Chris, a
show for which UPN has received a remarkable amount of
The series stars Tichina Arnold ("Big Momma's House")
as Rochelle, Terry Crews ("White Chicks") as Julius,
Tyler Williams as Chris, Tequan Richmond ("Ray") as
Drew, Imani Hakim as Tonya, and Vincent Martella
("Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo") as Greg. Chris
Rock (please, don’t tell me I have to explain who *HE*
is) serves as narrator, and is thus a part of the
cast, without actually being part of the cast.
The series, inspired by Chris Rock’s experiences in
childhood, starts out with the family moving out of
The Projects, and into Brooklyn. One character that
stands out immediately is Julius, the father. On the
van on the way to Brooklyn, they ask to stop at
McDonalds. The dad tells them “there’s some bologna”
in the back…eventually they agree to stop, on the
condition that the family gets 1 combo meal Drew
gets the Burger, Tanya gets the fries, and Chris gets
the drink (leading Narrator Chris to comment that “one
time I just got the ice!”). They get to Brooklyn
in a section of town that looks amazingly like where
Tony and Sam moved out of in Who’s the Boss.
The entire first few minutes show you just how bad the
family is at least from Chris’ perspective.
Chris talks about how he has to go to the Jr. High in
the Italian part of town the mother refers to the
Jr. High in their part of town as a “hoodlum factory”
leading Narrator Chris to chime first that he’s the
only black kid in his school, and a bit earlier, says
that the school in the Italian part of town was just
like the school in his part of town, just take away
the gangs, and add the mafia.
The remainder of this episode, including Chris’ sixth
day at school, Julius and Rochelle at home, etc.
follow this same tone. There’s a fight at school, a
battle over “the big piece of chicken”, and what goes
on in the house that night. Rochelle’s little rant
about how the family “runs like the government, on a
deficit” is amazingly complex, and amazingly funny.
This is the 2nd best sitcom pilot I’ve seen in the
last five years second only to Crumbs, due at
midseason on ABC and it’s a close second. I can’t
find a single negative thing to say about this series.
The actors, particularly the ones playing Julius and
Chris, seemed like they were still adjusting to the
roles a little bit, but it’s overall a nice show.
The show was easily better than I originally expected.
Chris Rock provides narration that, while occurring
at fairly frequently intervals, never overruns the
action going on in the episode. The clothes and
styles of the people look more like 2005 than 1982 a
lot of the time not that there’s much of a
difference (see: everything old is new again).
Amazingly well-done pilot and this show could very
easily serve to be THE show for UPN. Anyone reading
this review that’s near a television next Thursday:
WATCH. THIS. SERIES. It’s one of the best sitcoms
to debut on television in a long time. I’m not
necessarily crazy about the two sitcoms that are
carryovers from last season, and I haven’t seen UPN’s
other new sitcom yet. This series is easily the best
thing airing at 8 PM on Thursday.
Final Numbers (out of 5 stars):
-- Reviewed by Seth Thrasher on 09/14/2005.
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