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Poster: Mr. Television
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THEA - 9/3/93, Thea Vidale (top left) starred as Thea Turnell, a widowed mother of four who works two jobs. Brandy Norwood (top right, as Danesha), Adam Jeffries (bottom left, as Jarvis), Brenden Jefferson (as James) and Jason Weaver (as Jerome) starred as Thea's children.,
Thea aired from September 1993 until February 1994 on ABC.
Thea ( played by Thea Vidale) was one TV mom whose kids did not get away with murder. Large, loud and loving, she ruled her brood with a kind of "tough love" that left no doubt who was in charge. As a recent widow, she had many roles to juggle; a supermarket job during the day, courses in store management at night, part0time hairdresser, and full-time single parent.
Her four kids were serious Jarvis ( Adam Jeffries), schemer Jerome ( Jason Weaver), shy Danesha ( Brandy Norwood), and cute little James ( Brenden Jefferson). Basically good kids, they were sometimes rambunctious, but little escaped mom's knowing gaze: "Thea knows all, Thea sees all." Lynette ( Yvette Wilson) was Thea's sister and Charles ( Cleavant Derricks) her brother-in-law.
Thea aired from September 1993 until February 1994 on ABC.
A Review from Variety
((Wed. (8), 8-8:30 p.m., ABC-TV))
By TONY SCOTT
Taped at Universal City Studios by Castle Rock Entertainment. Exec producers, Bernie Kukoff, Andrew Susskind; co-exec producer, Bill Bryan; supervising producer, Tom Devanney; producer, Mary Ellen Jones; director, Jay Sandrich; writer-creator, Kukoff; production designer, Tom Azzari.
Cast: Thea Vidale, Adam Jeffries, Jason Weaver, Brandy Norwood, Brenden Jefferson, Cleavant Derricks, Kenny Ford Jr., Charmin Lee Talbert, Peggy Blow.
A cast of likable characters gather around Thea Turrell (played by Thea Vidale), who's a wise, direct, widowed mother of four in a well-written, appealing script by Bernie Kukoff. Directed sharply by Jay Sandrich, "Thea" has heart as well as old-fashioned good humor; program has good commercial possibilities.
Thea works hard to support her brood: responsible Jarvis Jr. (Adam Jeffries), 16; sharpie Jerome (Jason Weaver), 14; sensible Danesha (Brandy Norwood); and wee James (Brenden Jefferson).
Thea puts Jarvis in charge while she's out of the house one night. Danesha's going to study at the library with a new boyfriend, and she's told to be home on time. Jerome, getting around Jarvis -- and Mom's instructions -- goes to the video arcade for a tourney, and Thea comes home early.
Casting is terrif, with Vidale serving up a strong character who knows how to express herself. Briefly but forthrightly drilling Danesha's friend (Kenny Ford Jr.), describing a man making a pass at her, and pouring love over small James, Vidale's Thea Turrell is a prize.
The youngsters are winners, too. Weaver's Jerome is a pleasure, and Jeffries' Jarvis yells dependability. Norwood hasn't enough to do in the first outing; young Jefferson's James is amusing. Sitcom, blessedly free of coarse lingo or innuendo, could become a standard.
A second episode airs Sept. 15 at 8:30 p.m., before series bows Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. Looks like Thea and her family will be around for a while; they're worth a visit.
A Review from Entertainment Weekly
TV Show Review: 'Thea'
October 22, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT
Were it not for the presence of Thea Vidale and the four talented young actors who play her children, Thea (ABC, Wednesdays, 8-8:30 p.m.) would be a worthless single-mom sitcom in a season rotten with them. Vidale, a stand-up comic with a huge, booming voice and eyes that radiate bright sarcasm, plays Thea Turrell, who rules her brood with a tough-love roar: There’s more discipline in an episode of Thea than in your average Madonna video. It’s nice (and unusual) to see wiseacre TV children brought to heel. Too bad the rest of Thea is so trite. We’ve already seen the exhausted kids-do-something- naughty-while-Mom-is-out plot; in this case, middle son Jerome (Jason Weaver) invited pals over for a pay-per-view prizefight, referring to himself as ”Don King with a sensible haircut.” The message of Thea is self-improvement. Thea is taking a night class in supermarket management: ”I’m not planning on punching a cash register for the rest of my life.” She works hard and makes her children (Weaver, Adam Jeffries, Brandy Norwood, and Brenden Jefferson) work hard too. But viewers have to work too hard to find laughs. C+
An Article from the Deseret News
THEA RAILS AGAINST HOLLYWOOD
By Roberto Santiago, Newhouse News Service
Published: March 29, 1994 12:00 am
Two years ago, Thea Vidale was an angry and struggling nightclub comedian. Now she's the star of the ABC sitcom "Thea," making money, working in Hollywood, but still angry.
Vidale is angry about a lot of things: John Wayne Bobbitt making a career for himself for being castrated; the Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding incident; and she's especially angry that she still can't control the comedic integrity of her television show the way Roseanne Arnold and Jerry Seinfeld control theirs."That's why I'm doing comedy on stage again," Vidale says. "I'm getting to do things the way they should be done. Hollywood has a hard time believing that the comedian who is the star of the (expletive) show knows more about humor than the staff."
Vidale says a TV comedy show should be a translation of the comedian's night club act, sans the dirty language.
"I'm always fighting to keep the edge," she says. "Sometimes I'm given a script that doesn't work and I just change the lines. You have to. (Hollywood) is crazy."
Vidale's show reflects her personal life. Her TV character works in a supermarket in Houston; in real life she worked a restaurant in Houston. Her character is the widowed mother of four children; Vidale is the divorced mother of four children. While the TV Thea raises her kids; Vidale gave up custody of her kids to pursue her career.
Vidale says that the way she raises her kids on the show is the way she would have raised them if she had decided to become a 9-to-5 working mother, which is why she doesn't follow the sitcom formula in which parents rear precocious brats who snap back at them.
"Are you kidding? No black family in America would believe a show where a black mother lets her children talk to her nasty!" she says. "If that happened on `Thea' I'd start the show with spanking, end it with spanking and when you tuned in next week I'd still be spanking!"
The nightclub stage gives Vidale the freedom to do whatever she wants, which is why it's called "Thea Vidale Down and Dirty." It's a risque, R-rated extravaganza not for the prudish.
"Don't bring your kids to the show unless you want them to grow up real quick!" she warns. "Don't bring your father if he's a preacher.
"Don't come if you can't laugh at yourself."
An Article from The Entertainment Newswire
THEA VIDALE: Choice Words for Brandy
Posted Mar 2nd 2007
by Karu F. Daniels
Filed under: Entertainment Newswire
Comic actress Thea Vidale sure is a big woman.
And not just literally -- but in the figurative sense.
The brazen funnywoman sent out "An Open Letter" to Brandy Norwood in the March 5 edition of the 'National Enquirer' newspaper as a form of comfort during her tumultuous time.
As widely reported in the media, the former pop superstar is embroiled in a career ending tragedy stemming from the Los Angeles highway car crash that claimed the life of a 38-year-old mother after Norwood slammed her Land Rover into the woman's Toyota in December.
Vidale, who shares in some of the responsibility for Norwood's big break -- her first acting gig was on the groundbreaking ABC sitcom 'Thea' in 1993, experienced a similar situation when one of her four children was in a car accident that killed another motorist.
"A few years ago, all four of my kids were together in a car with one of my sons -- who was only 16 -- at the wheel," she wrote. "Sadly, they had an accident that killed the other driver."
"We were all scared and devastated," she continued.
Elsewhere in the correspondence, Vidale stated: "Brandy, America loves a comeback story. I know you're a survivor and that with the support of your family and friends -- and your faith -- you will overcome this awful tragedy and learn from it."
When The BV Newswire caught up to Vidale last night, she said she had yet to hear back from the 'I Wanna Be Down' singer or her camp, but continues to operate in good faith.
"I don't know how they must've taken it," she said, adding, "I hope that they took it in the spirit that it was sent in. But if they didn't, that's not on me, that's on them. I'm not an alleged Christian and I am a Christian!"
It has been long rumored that Norwood and Vidale didn't get along during the tapings of the sitcom -- and there is bad blood between them.
About letting bygones be bygones, the 50-year-old Washington DC native commented, "Well, if I held on to all of that other bull----, I would be crazy ... I'm still doing what I like to do and I'm cool with me."
"I don't know if you know this," she continued, "but with me what you see is what you got. I don't have a facade. There is no pretense. If I like you, I like you, if I don't f--- you."
"However, there are some people who aren't real," she added. "And just because you ain't real and just because you ain't nice, that don't mean that I have to be like you are."
Vidale also revealed that she heard yesterday that Norwood hasn't even reached out to the family of the deceased as of yet. About that, she wanted to use this forum to address her about that directly:
"You got to tell those people that you're sorry. You can't just sit here and go around shopping and drinking and having a ball in the media and having a good time with your brother. I don't expect you to live your life in a shell but I damn sure expect you to have the grace and the class to say 'I'm sorry.' And not in the media. Say it to the people that you did it to. And don't have your lawyers say it. You go say it. Be a woman about yourself and go and say it. If you don't then ain't much changed!"
To watch clips of Thea go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=thea+tv+show
For more on Thea go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thea_(TV_series)
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umM7f3IAIBs
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Keywords: The Cast of Thea