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Hangin' with Mr. Cooper aired from September 1992 until August 1997 on ABC.
Tall, gangly Mark Curry starred in this black, nineties variation on Three's Company. Mark Cooper ( Curry) was a former NBA player who, when his career faltered, moved back to his old high school in Oakland, California, to become a coach. Sharing his house ( and the rent) were two beautiful women , old friend Robin ( Dawnn Lewis), a music teacher , and sexy Vanessa ( Holly Robinson), who worked for a brokerage firm. Their relationship was platonic , so stories revolved around their dating misadventures as well as Mark's experiences in his new career as a teacher. A loose ,easygoing prankster, he created trouble everywhere. A suitable foil arrived in the second season in the person of formidible principal P.J. Moore ( Nell Carter). Adding to the fun at the house ( which Mark and Vanessa had just bought) was cousin Geneva ( Saundra Quarterman) who moved in ( replacing Robin) with her forthright little daughter, Nicole ( Raven- Symone).
Others who moved through the light, bright little stories included fun-loving neighborhood kid Tyler ( Marquise Wilson), rival coaches Rickett and Corley ( Roger E. Mosley, Ron Canada), college buddy Steve ( Steve White), and assorted students of whom Earvin ( Omar Gooding) was the most frequently seen.
In the fall of 1995, Geneva became principal at Oakbridge High School, making her Mark's boss as well as his housemate. Mark was increasingly attracted to Vanessa ( as were most of the rest of Oakland's eligible males) and proposed more than once, but it took her a while to warm up to him. When the series did not return in the fall of 1996, it appeared that viewers would never find out if they got together, but in an unusual series of original episodes run during the summer of 1997 they were engaged. The last episode, on August 30, 1997, was supposed to be their wedding day-but at the end they mearly waved goodbye to viewers, without having taken their vows.
An interesting bit of trivia is that the house in which Mr. Cooper "hung" was originally that of the East Coast Seavers on Growing Pains; in the first episode , Jason Seaver ( Alan Thicke) himself showed up to wish them well. Subsequently, the set was changed without explanation.
A Review from Entertainment Weekly
Hangin' with Mr. Cooper (Hangin' with Mr. Cooper
C By Ken Tucker
This variation on Three's Company guy and two gals share an apartment is lifted into the category of Just Barely Watchable due to the skills of its stars. As the guy, stand-up comic Mark Curry isn't the silly satyr that John Ritter was on Company; he's a clever verbal cutup, a solid, naturalistic actor, and, with his soft pudding face and long, spider-limbed body, he goes against the grain of conventional sitcom leading men. As for his costars, A Different World's Dawnn Lewis is the no-nonsense member of this trio, delivering her straight lines with dry humor, while Holly Robinson (21 Jump Street) is required to compete with her own body, showcased in a succession of tiny, slinky outfits designed to provoke Curry's comic lust. Robinson responds to him with the amusing drop-dead sarcasm he deserves.
Curry plays Mr. Cooper, a substitute teacher plagued by wisecracking students (they're all bland brats). It's only when the three stars bounce off each other flirting, jiving, and putting each other on that Hangin' With Mr. Cooper is worth hanging around for. C
An Article from Entertainment Weekly
Published on September 11, 1992
Pop Culture News
FACE TO WATCH: HOLLY ROBINSON
HANGIN' WITH MR. COOPER
By Alan Carter
So what if everyone says Hangin' With Mr. Cooper is a rip-off of Three's Company? ''If we're going to be as successful as that show,'' says the voluble Holly Robinson, ''they can make fun of us all they want.'' Making fun herself of comments that she is simply taking over where Suzanne Somers left off, she quips, ''I do plan on marketing the black version of the Thighmaster.'' Actually, she may not have time. On top of a budding musical career (she and costar Dawnn Lewis recorded Cooper's theme), she'll play Diana Ross in the fall ABC miniseries The Jacksons: An American Dream-doing her own vocals. And she'll need hours to squirm into the snug frocks she'll wear as Cooper's upwardly mobile secretary Vanessa. ''I don't have a problem being the show's T& A,'' she says, ''because black women are rarely shown this way.'' A child of the biz (her mom, Delores, is a talent manager, and her dad, Matthew, played Sesame Street's Gordon and was a Cosby Show producer), Robinson has studied at the Sorbonne and is fluent in French, Italian, and Spanish. On the romantic front, she is no longer engaged to actor Brian Robbins (Head of the Class) and is, for the record, dating again. Robinson is best known for starring as a gun-toting undercover officer on Fox's hit 21 Jump Street. But since the show revolved around Johnny Depp, some people have forgotten her. On one audition, she says, she was told, '''Sorry, but we just don't see you holding a gun.' I thought, 'What? Excuse me?''' She got the same doubtful reaction when she asked to try comedy: ''We know you can break up female gangs and fire a gun. But can you be funny?'' Robinson plans to have them eating their words-while they laugh.
A Review from The LA Times
TV REVIEW : 'Mr. Cooper': A Comedy That Seems Familiar
September 22, 1992|HOWARD ROSENBERG | TIMES TELEVISION CRITIC
To clear up any confusion, ABC's new "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper" is unrelated to "Hang 'em High," "The Hanging Tree" and "Hangmen Also Die," although it is about as funny.
Tall, loosey-goosey protagonist Mark Cooper (Mark Curry) occupies two fields of battle in this comedy series, which premieres at 8:30 tonight on Channels 7, 3, 10 and 42. One is the Oakland house he shares with two swell-looking young women: his childhood pal, Robin (Dawnn Lewis), and sassy Vanessa (Holly Robinson), who does "what I want when I want witever who I want," which doesn't include Cooper. The second is his old school where the ex-jock/aspiring coach Cooper is hired as a substitute--teaching science.
Proving that comedy writing is no science, the problems that Cooper encounters at school--a la "Welcome Back, Kotter"--include getting glued to his chair by students and getting pestered by strait-laced Principal Rambis (Al Fann), who has a snit upon discovering his new teacher dancing in class to music played by two girls: "This is not a disco. This is a science class."
If Cooper is Gabe Kotter at school, he surely is Jack Tripper on the home front, odd person out in this platonic, three's-a-crowdsome in which Robin tries to keep peace between Vanessa and the good-natured, wisecracking Cooper.
Curry is a stand-up comic whom ABC is said to be high on. His goofiness wears thin tonight, however, and it's Lewis and Robinson who are the most appealing components of the premiere of a series that should be retitled "Welcome Back, John Ritter."
An Article from The New York Times on Cast Changes on certain TV shows during the fall of 1993 including Hangin' with Mr. Cooper.
TELEVISION; New Season, Old Cast, Room for One
By ANITA GATES
Published: October 31, 1993
Nobody in the "Murphy Brown" cast died this year or walked out after a contract dispute. Still, when the season premiere rolled around, there was a brand-new face on the team. In television seasons past, series usually acquired new characters as replacements, especially when the youngest child in the cast was aging dangerously out of cuteness range. But series have other needs, and sometimes they can be met only by new blood, as at least four shows have recently decided. ANITA GATES "Murphy Brown"
He's boyishly handsome. He wears denim jackets and camouflage pants and sometimes a touch of Don Johnson stubble. He's Scott Bakula, portraying a veteran foreign correspondent named Peter Hunt, and just weeks ago a Serbian guard was holding a gun to his head while the world watched via satellite. Now he's part of the "F.Y.I." television team, where Murphy (Candice Bergen) and her colleagues admit to feeling a little threatened.
Why is Peter Hunt here? Maybe Murphy needed a little sexual tension in her life. If so, she's getting it from someone who may have as over developed a sense of entitlement as she does. When viewers first saw Peter, he was at Murphy's desk using her phone, without even having been introduced.
This character is also someone she can spar with. "I barely touched you," says Murphy, after a collision in the parking lot. Peter answers, "Then why did my air bag inflate?" "L.A. Law"
She's blond, beautiful, smart, impeccably dressed, ice-princess cool and very direct, a combination of Grace Kelly, Faye Dunaway and . . . oh . . . Tammy Faye Bakker. Yes, "L.A. Law" has just introduced prime time's first fundamentalist Christian sex symbol, Jane Halliday (played by Alexandra Powers).
Why is she here, this stranger from Harvard Law School and Bob Jones University, joining McKenzie, Brackman as its newest associate? See "sexual tension," above. Arnie Becker (Corbin Bernsen), the firm's resident satyr, hasn't had a real romantic challenge in ages. Viewers can tell he's interested because, during her job interview, he begins reciting the 23d Psalm. Later, when Jane tells him over a business lunch that she's a virgin and plans to stay that way until her wedding night, he maintains control until she leaves, then breathes the word virgin to himself and visibly shudders. "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper"
She's big, black and beautiful. She's Nell Carter, playing Peaches, or P. J., Moore, the new principal at the Oakland high school where Mark Cooper (Mark Curry) is the gym teacher, perennial substitute and leading iconoclast.
The two were friends long ago, but that may not help him now. Within five minutes of her entrance, Mr. Cooper has insulted her several times ("What brings you to the 'hood? Is Jenny Craig doing a commercial?" Then, insisting that he hadn't meant to criticize her beehive hairdo: "No, the black Doris Day look is you.").
According to network press materials, the new character is here "to increase the pressure" in Mr. Cooper's already complicated life. He shares a home with two beautiful women and a 9-year-old child. In Ms. Carter's first episode, she sang "Twist and Shout" at a local hangout while Mr. Curry danced, in drag, with Sherman Hemsley. "Barney and Friends"
He's a bright orangey yellow with huge freckles and a green stomach. He wears high-top sneakers and a baseball cap. He's BJ, the third and newest dinosaur on "Barney and Friends," which has a target audience age of 2 to 6.
BJ is Baby Bop's big brother. BJ is being introduced because the show's creators wanted a sibling relationship to work with (Barney and Baby Bop are just good friends). The new character is described by a series spokeswoman as "your very stereotypical boy."
That he is. He has his first starring role in an episode called "An Adventure in Make-Believe." The plot: "A beautiful princess awaits a hero to show her out of the make-believe jungle." BJ becomes that hero.
An Interview with Mark Curry from The LA Times
Q & A with MARK CURRY
July 12, 1996|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER
"I think we have a positive show with a positive message for kids," says Mark Curry, the star of the ABC family comedy series "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper," which airs Fridays as part of the network's popular "TGIF" sitcom lineup. But viewers won't be hanging with "Mr. Cooper" this fall. After four seasons, the comedy has been relegated to midseason replacement status with an order of 13 episodes.
In "Mr. Cooper," the 6-foot-6-inch Curry plays a fun-loving former basketball star turned high school teacher.
As did so many other sitcom stars, Curry, 32, began his career as a stand-up comic. Born and raised in a tough Oakland neighborhood, Curry became interested in comedy while managing a local drugstore. In 1987, he made his debut at an Oakland comedy club and within two years was successful enough to quit his day job. Curry got his big break touring as comedian Damon Wayans' opening act and as Whitney Houston's opener at the 1991 Super Bowl pregame concert. Curry's latest HBO stand-up comedy special airs Aug. 17.
Curry talked about his series, his comedy and his future in his production office at Warner Bros.
Question: Are you disappointed that you didn't make the fall schedule?
Answer: I look at everything as a positive. I look at it as, "OK. The network doesn't think I belong on network TV."
Q: You really feel that way?
A: Yeah. We are not on the schedule. Obviously, they feel that we do not belong. We are not good enough to be on prime-time television after four years of good service. So that's a challenge for me. Instead of being sad about it, I said, "OK. Let's turn this around."
I look at it as we got 13 [episodes]. And with 13, we will hit 100 [episodes in total]. So there is no reason for me to be sad because I will hit syndication in 13. I am happy to be working for that 13. They didn't have to give me that 13. I look at it as my last 13 shows on TV because I may never do TV again.
A: I would love to [do more TV], but you never know. That's the way I have to look at it. I think about all the years [on the show]. It was a steppingstone. I learned a lot. I learned a lot about Los Angeles and the business.
Q: What did you learn?
A: The first years were a learning experience because [the producers] didn't want to trust my comedy. It was a trip. I almost didn't make it for the first couple of years. Then we got better producers who learned to take my word. I am a comedian. I think I know what's funny and the show's about me.
So it was smoothed out. The first couple of years were very rough in terms of personnel. Once we weeded those people out, you can see in the stories and my attitude, I was a little more comfortable and happier.
Q: "Mr. Cooper" has a multiracial cast. But most sitcoms seem to have either all-white or all-black casts. Why do you think comedy series have become so segregated?
A: It's gone on since the '70s. That's the networks. They feel on "Friends" or "Ellen" they don't need black people. They have the ratings. They don't need a black person to go in there and do anything.
I would love to see a black dude walk on "Friends." I think they wouldn't know what to say. [The shows] are making ratings and making money. In this business, they think black shows should go to black people. They are black, so they think, "Let's gear it toward black," instead of [toward] being funny. That's what they should concentrate on--being funny.
Q: Unlike the series, your stand-up act is definitely not for kids.
A: I tell people not to bring their kids to the show. Because it's nightclub, the kids shouldn't be there anyway. Some people bring their kids, but I don't change. It's the parents' fault for bringing the kids.
Q: Has your comedy changed since you started out in small clubs in Oakland?
A: Yeah. I am a little bit more on the edge. When I started, I was a little bit more observational. But now I think I am definitely more on the edge. I think when you get older, you get a little wiser. You look at the world differently.
I talk about relationships. I talk about crack. I talk a little about everything. People are scared of those issues like crack and O.J. You have to be on the edge to be memorable in comedy. I would rather be memorable than just laughed at.
Q: Will Smith and Martin Lawrence parlayed their success on TV sitcoms into big-screen careers. But you haven't made the leap to the feature world. Have you just decided to concentrate more on your TV and stand-up careers?
A: We are trying to get movies. I want to do movies, but Hollywood thinks, I guess, that I am Mr. Cooper or something. We are trying to break that mold now. I have an HBO special coming out. Hopefully, it will show another side of me other than the TV side.
I don't see myself out there with Denzel [Washington]. I would love to play a comedy role. I look at the comedians out there on the silver screen and I think I can be very unique with my talent. I have a lot of inner confidence. I know I can do it. I know I can do well in movies. That's why I am keeping my body tight. I am trying to stay healthy. I am keeping my mind together, keeping my head together just doing stand-up. I have a good fan base. I want to do a movie like a "Bad News Bears."
I look at movies, and they are so violent and I say, "Oh, God." Coming from the 'hood and seeing boys shot, I can't watch [the films] sometimes. It takes me to a place I don't want to go. I can't go there once you had seen it and known a lot of people who have been shot.
Q: You've had a lot of friends and relatives who were killed?
A: A lot of guys from the block. My little nephew, he was 18, he got shot by the police.
Q: Do you return to your neighborhood and talk to the kids?
A: Yeah. We have a youth center up there--East Oakland Youth Development Center. It's my center. I adopted it. I give the center money. We have a lot of programs. You see little kids who come in. You see some bad ones and you rap with them. I think me being there just lets them know that I care. So I go in there and play ball with them and I tell them they can talk with me if they want. I tell them to read, and sometimes I see them with a book. I feel like God gave me a talent, and it would be a waste not to do something to help the kids.
* "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper" airs Fridays at 9:30 p.m. on ABC.
A 2007 Article about Mark Curry from USA TODAY
Mark Curry: Laughs kept him from suicide
Published February 14, 2007
NEW YORK (AP) Comedian Mark Curry, who starred in the 1990s sitcom Hangin' with Mr. Cooper, says that if it wasn't for some of his comic friends he probably would have committed suicide last spring after a freak accident landed him in the hospital with second-degree burns.
Appearing on The Montel Williams Show set to air Thursday, Curry, 42, said he suffered burns over 18% of his body after a falling can of spray starch ruptured and sparked a fire in his California home.
"It was so bad ... that pain was so excruciating that I just threw it out," said Curry, recalling the moment when he woke up from a three-day, medically induced coma.
"I wanted to kill myself and, by the fourth day, I said, 'I can't do this.' I felt less than a man. I couldn't even look at my own body. I saw my hand with the peeling skin and threw up, and I didn't look at myself again."
He then decided to hoard his pain medication and commit suicide by overdosing on it, he said. But Curry, who also appeared on TV's Fat Actress and The Drew Carey Show, said he changed his mind after talking to some funny friends, like Sinbad and Bill Cosby.
"They made me laugh, and that helped a lot," he said.
Here's an Article about a Reunion between Raven Symone and Holly Robinson-Pete on The Talk in 2011.
Raven-Symone and Holly Robinson Peete Reminisce About "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper"
posted Jul 6th 2011
After "The Cosby Show" made her a star, Raven-Symone worked for six seasons on the Mark Curry sitcom "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper".
Wednesday on "The Talk", there was a mini-"Cooper" reunion between Raven-Symone and her former co-star, Holly Robinson Peete. Raven-Symone reminisced about life as a child star, and said her most vivid memory from working with Peete on "Cooper" was watching her eat chicken and waffles at Roscoe's.
Now Raven you were really young when you started out in the business, what did your parents do to keep you grounded?
They gave me chores, I went to public school where I failed algebra twice and had to go to summer school...
but at the same time on the weekends I would go on tour with N'SYNC even when I was on "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper". I would leave on Saturday and come back and have chores to do when I had to learn my lines and go to school.
So it was just a hot mess.
So what was it like working with Holly on "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper"?
She was amazing and I will never forget how she eats her waffles and chicken during Roscoe's. I would remember this forever, you would take the waffle and cut it in half and dip it like a taco in the thing. Then you would put your chicken inside of it.
It was so weird to me but I enjoyed watching it.
To watch some clips from Hangin' with Mr. Cooper go to http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=hangin%27+with+mr.+cooper+tv+show
For Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20011225103713/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/hangin.html
For a Website dedicated to Hangin' with Mr. Cooper go to http://web.archive.org/web/20060109031104/www.geocities.com/Hollywood/2984/cooper.html
For a look at a crossover between Hangin' with Mr. Cooper & Full House go to http://www.poobala.com/fullandhangin.html
To read about The Societal Importance of “Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper” go to https://seattlesportsnet.com/2012/11/29/the-societal-importance-of-hangin-with-mr-cooper/
For a website dedicated to Raven-Symone go to http://www.raven-symone.org/
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTt05xDgzXs and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ao917vphCo and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxeBAkrj2TI
� Date: Fri June 20, 2014 � Filesize: 51.2kb, 333.9kb � Dimensions: 1190 x 1600 �
Keywords: The Cast of Hangin' with Mr. Cooper (Links Updated 7/29/18)