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The Big House aired from April 2-30, 2004 on ABC.



The Big House was The Fresh Prince of Bel Air in reverse. A spoiled upper-class black kid from Malibu whose father had gone to prison for embezzlement was sent to live with his inner-city relatives in Philadelphia and enroll in a cheaper college, Drexel. Happy, jokey Kevin ( Kevin Hart) liked to chase girls ( preferably in a Beemer), but he made the best of the situation , even though he had to trade living in a mansion for a basement room shared with cousin Warren , a security guard. Plus sized Aunt Tina ( Arnetia Walker), who worked for a cable company , ran the house, with an iron hand, always slapping people upside the head, while Uncle Clarence ( Keith David)was her tall, dominated husband.Their 3 kids were hefty Warren ( Faizon Love); plump, pushy Eartha ( Yvette Nicole Brown); and young teenager CJ ( Aaron Grady). Kevin joked about his new tough neighborhood( Clarence told him he could watch The Real World and Cops-"right outside the door!"), sparred with the overweight adults, and got surprisingly good advice from big Warren, who was not as dense as he appeared.





Here's how ABC described The Big House



Standup comic Kevin Hart stars in The Big House, an all-new half-hour comedy loosely based on his own family in his hometown of Philadelphia.



Hart plays Kevin, a spoiled rich kid from Malibu who has it all until his wealthy money-manager dad is arrested for embezzling millions of his clients' dollars. His family's house is put on the block and his dreams of attending an expensive college are dashed. Where's a guy with no money and even fewer prospects to go? To The Big House, aka the privacy-challenged Philadelphia home of the Clevelands, an aunt, uncle and three cousins whom Kevin hasn't seen since he was a kid. Kevin is forced to start life again at the bottom, literally, when he moves into their basement.



Only-child Kevin doesn't know what to think when his overbearing Aunt Tina and Uncle Clarence tell him the rules of the house, the three Bs, Be Honest, Be Humble and Behave, values that Kevin hasn't exactly lived by day-to-day. The Clevelands don't even have cable. Uncle Clarence tells Kevin that, if he wants to watch The Real World, to look out the window.



Tina and Clarence want to know where he goes, what he's doing and who he's doing it with, and to make matters worse, they expect the whole family to be home at 6:00 p.m. every night for dinner together, no matter what. Then there are his cousins super-sized Warren, who still lives at home and takes his job as a security guard a little too seriously; smug and smart Eartha, who is overjoyed every time Kevin clashes with her folks; and little CJ, his mama's angel, who secretly torments Kevin at every turn.



As Kevin enrolls in Drexel University and adjusts to his new home in the City of Brotherly Love, will his new family stay out of his way long enough for him to get a life? Fat chance.





Here's an episode guide of The Big House



Season 1: Episode 1 - "Hart Transplant"
Air Date: 04/02/2004



In the premiere episode, Kevin, wanting to impress the beautiful girl (Robinne Lee) he met at Drexel University, lies about where he lives, not realizing that cousin Eartha is his would-be date's tutor. Things go from bad to worse when Bianca turns up at the Cleveland house, and not even Kevin can fast-talk his way out of this difficult situation.



Season 1: Episode 2 - "Almost Touched By an Angel"
Air Date: 04/09/2004



Non-believer Kevin is so smitten with Angel (guest star Bianca Lawson), a beautiful girl he's met at the family's church, he agrees to get baptized just to win her over. Aunt Tina, unaware of the real reasons, decides to capitalize on Kevin's seemingly miraculous change of heart to win the church board election. Meanwhile Kevin begins to feel mighty guilty about his true motives.





Season 1: Episode 3 - "A Friend in Need"
Air Date: 04/14/2004



The family is overjoyed when Eartha brings home a boyfriend, Martin (guest star Malcolm Barrett), who unexpectedly hits it off with friendless, new-in-town Kevin. Eartha and Kevin soon begin competing to spend time with Martin, with comical results.



Season 1: Episode 4 - "The Kidney Stays in the Picture"
Air Date: 04/16/2004



Kevin tries to get Warren to go to a Lil' Kim concert, despite Aunt Tina's edict that they have to stay home. When his cousin reveals that Aunt Tina gave him one of her kidneys during a childhood illness, Kevin begins to understand Warren's attachment to his mom until a little digging on his part reveals the truth about his aunt's tall tale.



Season 1: Episode 5 - "The Anniversary Party"
Air Date: 04/23/2004



Kevin, trying to show some love for Aunt Tina and Uncle Clarence, cajoles his cousins into throwing their parents an anniversary party. But his plan goes horribly wrong when he stumbles upon a deep, dark family secret Tina and Clarence were married two years after Warren was born, a little fact they've neglected to tell their children.



Season 1: Episode 6 - "Kevin's Birthday"
Air Date: 04/30/2004



Kevin faces a birthday crisis when Warren spills the beans that the family has gone to great effort to plan a surprise bash for him - at the same time that Kevin's best friend from Malibu (guest star Mike Damus) descends on Philly, determined to treat his buddy to a lavish night on the town.





A Review from The New York Times



TELEVISION REVIEW; Deafening Hoots, Deafening Silences: Must Be a Sitcom


By VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN
Published: April 2, 2004



Why are most sitcoms so loud? Clicking through the channels, you almost never mistake one for a documentary, a drama or even a retro opera buffa broadcast on PBS. Driving up the volume on Hollywood sitcoms are the studio acoustics, the waves of fake laughter and those trademark voices: chronically tinselly, hyper and overemphatic.



But it's truly disgraceful how often a sitcom finds occasion to justify flat-out yelling. Staircases are established for characters to bellow up and down. Part-deaf or foreign characters are introduced so someone can howl at them. And ceremonies are staged at which speechifying and shouting are justified.



Since the subdued stutter of ''Seinfeld,'' ''Curb Your Enthusiasm'' and ''The Office'' have demonstrated so plainly to the contrary, why is loud still considered funny?



On the first episode of ''The Big House'' tonight on ABC, Kevin, a formerly rich college student from Malibu, Calif. (the standup comic Kevin Hart), moves in with his aunt, uncle and cousins in Philadelphia after his father is sent to prison for embezzlement. When the family first appears to Kevin, everyone is talking at once; this cacophony is among the show's first jokes. Clarence (Keith David), the uncle, introduces himself this way: ''I'll yell if I want to yell!''



As the only child of a widower, Kevin, we learn, likes quiet and solitude. The gag here is that he's never going to get it. As the premise of many sitcoms, this fix mirrors the bummer faced by the viewer, who is deafened early in prime time, just as she or he is sitting down to relax. Hilarious.



Cousin Eartha (Yvette Nicole Brown) is perpetually offended; several of her laugh lines are shrieks. Aunt Tina (Arnetia Walker) disciplines her kids with arias of anger. And even Cousin Warren (Faizon Love), who has the funniest lines and delivers them elegantly, speaks in a big bass that he tries in vain to keep low.



The racket of voices is made worse by the scary silence in the rest of the sound mix. Footfalls sound now and then, but almost nothing else. When, in the second episode, Kevin chats up a girl before a church service, there's no ambient sound from the congregation.



This silence is unconscionable. As Ricky Gervais made especially clear with ''The Office,'' mundane modern sounds -- like the blower in a copy machine, the clunking ice machine of a fridge, or the classic scream of a car alarm -- lend useful absurdism to humor that is inevitably too mannered. A complex sound mix reveals that a show has some distance on its own punch lines, which are perforce mostly cliches, and is willing to present auditory challenges to them.



When the mix is too quiet and the jokes are too loud, a sitcom seems desperate. And nobody likes to laugh at that.



THE BIG HOUSE
Hart Transplant



ABC, tonight at 8:30, Eastern and Pacific times; 7:30, Central time



Directed by Barnet Kellman; Kevin Slattery, producer; Stephen Engel, Brian Grazer and David Nevins, executive producers; Kevin Hart, Mark Reisman, Rob Lotterstein and Bill Kunstler, co-executive producers; written by Mr. Engel. From Imagine Television in association with 20th Century Fox Television.



WITH: Kevin Hart (Kevin), Faizon Love (Warren), Keith David (Uncle Clarence), Arnetia Walker (Aunt Tina), Yvette Nicole Brown (Eartha) and Aaron Grady (C J).


A Review from the LA Times


Enjoying life in 'The Big House'
Kevin Hart plays a rich kid sent to live with poorer relatives.
April 02, 2004|Robert Lloyd | Times Staff Writer


Through the doors of "The Big House" (ABC, premiering at 8:30 tonight) walks Kevin Hart, a rich kid from Malibu who moves in with poorer relations in Philadelphia after his father is jailed for embezzlement. He must learn to get along with less, in the company of more. From this inauspicious premise -- no more original for being, as Hart has described it, "kinda autobiographical" -- something not bad emerges, in large part because the talented players seem to be enjoying themselves immensely.


It's not every day an actor gets a chance at steady work, after all, and these are asked to embarrass themselves only occasionally; most of the time they have enough to work with, and where the writing is thin, they patch it with performance. On the whole, this is a good-natured, fairly well-behaved, determinedly old-fashioned sitcom -- almost too much so at times -- one that you would not hesitate to take home to meet your parents, if they can tolerate the odd sex joke.


Though it is papa who has gone up the river -- having "disgraced his family and black people in general," in the words of Aunt Tina Cleveland (Arnetia Walker) -- the joke implicit in the title is that Hart must serve time of his own (" 'Cept the warden here is a lot tougher than my father's").


Television & Radio | TELEVISION REVIEW
Enjoying life in 'The Big House'
Kevin Hart plays a rich kid sent to live with poorer relatives.
April 02, 2004|Robert Lloyd | Times Staff Writer


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Through the doors of "The Big House" (ABC, premiering at 8:30 tonight) walks Kevin Hart, a rich kid from Malibu who moves in with poorer relations in Philadelphia after his father is jailed for embezzlement. He must learn to get along with less, in the company of more. From this inauspicious premise -- no more original for being, as Hart has described it, "kinda autobiographical" -- something not bad emerges, in large part because the talented players seem to be enjoying themselves immensely.


It's not every day an actor gets a chance at steady work, after all, and these are asked to embarrass themselves only occasionally; most of the time they have enough to work with, and where the writing is thin, they patch it with performance. On the whole, this is a good-natured, fairly well-behaved, determinedly old-fashioned sitcom -- almost too much so at times -- one that you would not hesitate to take home to meet your parents, if they can tolerate the odd sex joke.


Though it is papa who has gone up the river -- having "disgraced his family and black people in general," in the words of Aunt Tina Cleveland (Arnetia Walker) -- the joke implicit in the title is that Hart must serve time of his own (" 'Cept the warden here is a lot tougher than my father's").


The household, Kevin is told, is run on the "three Bs -- be honest, be humble and be-have ... or be-ware of the b-e-l-t." And they have no cable TV (because "it's a rip-off" -- thus does the broadcast network subtly editorialize). "If you want to watch 'The Real World,' you're going to have to look out the window, boy,' " says Uncle Clarence (Keith David, of "Barbershop" and Broadway's "Jelly's Last Jam").


Hart, who played Vic in "Along Came Polly" and is a stand-up comic, is an engaging presence who uses his 5-foot-4 stature to his advantage: He is cute no matter what he does. It is possibly not accidental that he has been surrounded by actors who dwarf and dominate him. The sharpest edges belong to cousins Eartha (Yvette Nicole Brown), who reflexively resents Kevin's presence, and CJ (Aaron Grady), who is just happy to have someone shorter than himself to pick on.


Enormous cousin Warren (played by Faizon Love of "Elf" and TV's "The Parent Hood") is, by contrast, an instant conspirator, with whom Kevin shares a basement room -- albeit one with 20-foot ceilings -- furnished with a lava lamp and that picture of the poker-playing dogs. "If that window gets shut, the carbon monoxide from the water heater will kill us," says Warren, "so I like to leave it open."


Apart from the fact that he uses a luffa and wears a diamond-studded watch, would rather go to a basketball game than church and wishes for a little of his old privacy back, Kevin is not as spoiled or self-centered as all that. One wishes he were a little worse, in fact, given the Ward-to-Beaver life-lesson lectures that will hopefully not become a staple of the series. This is not a comedy of extremes, but one of grumpy love, set in a world in which a woman not yet 50 refers to her children's dates as "lady and gentleman callers."


And though Philadelphia is no Malibu, once Kevin realizes that the rules of the sitcom form guarantee him a steady string of good-looking young actresses to pant after, the sting will perhaps ease a little. (And there are of course the cheese steaks.)


Women seem to be his weak spot. In the first episode, he allows one girl to believe he lives in a fancy hotel (the classic farcical possibilities are never explored), and in the next, he fakes religious inspiration to impress another. This allows for some jokes about eternal damnation and ethics versus grace, an extended Linda Blair imitation and cousin Warren's observation that in getting baptized, "you're making a lifelong commitment to God -- it's harder to get out of than a Suge Knight contract."


'The Big House'


Where: ABC


When: Premieres 8:30-9 tonight.


Rating: The network has rated the series TV-PGD (may not be suitable for young children, with an advisory for suggestive dialogue).


Kevin Hart...Kevin


Arnetia Walker...Aunt Tina


Keith David...Uncle Clarence


Faizon Love...Warren


Yvette Nicole Brown...Eartha


Aaron Grady...CJ


Creators, Stephen Engel and David Zuckerman. Executive producers, Engel, Brian Grazer, David Nevins. Director (tonight's premiere) Barnet Kellman. Writer (tonight's premiere), Engel.


To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2hAggCpIQs
Date: Sat May 4, 2013 � Filesize: 173.5kb � Dimensions: 720 x 540 �
Keywords: The Big House

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