Say What? ‘Smart Guy’ Is Celebrating Its 20th Birthday

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It’s that time again. The fateful occasion where we as ’90s children hear our favorite throwback sitcoms are now twenty plus years in age. First it was Boy Meets World, Kenan and Kel, Hey Arnold!, Full House, and now, it’s Smart Guy‘s turn at retrospect celebration.

Geez, can we pause the clock?

It feels like only yesterday I was sitting in my pajamas, waiting for the WB comedy to come on before bedtime swung my way. Watching the sitcom was a must for so many reasons. Not only did it contain the fineness of Jason Weaver circa 1997, it also highlighted black excellence with its characters. Tahj Mowry played a child genius, T.J. Henderson, who moved through life adjusting to his skip from fourth grade to tenth. His intelligence leads him to attend high school life alongside his brother, Marcus (Jason Weaver) and sister, Yvette (Essence Atkins). While Marcus was an academically average schemer, Yvette was a soldier for truth and women’s rights– two issues she often took to her school paper with. Then there’s Mo Tibbs–the best friend of Marcus and resident dim-wit who spent majority of his time at the Hendersons raiding their fridge and breathing up their air–played by Omar Gooding Jr. At the center of this television show’s family stood the patriarch Floyd Henderson (John Marshall Jones). Widower and self made businessman, Floyd kept all of his kids, Mo included, grounded with a safe and strong home and sound advice.


Never Forget: When a young Destiny’s Child performed on ‘Smart guy’ decked in FUBU’s best. The ’90s, man…

Since the show’s end, its rotated in syndication on various channels. And thank goodness, because cutting it cold turkey would’ve been agony. Although underrated, it holds a cemented place in the history of television as a show based on positivity, black boy joy and black girl magic. No systemic tragedy and dismay–just another aspect of the black experience, something children and adults can see themselves in and smile instead of stress and cry.

So, we salute Smart Guy and all of its players and creators. You grabbed hold of the baton from those who paved the road before you, and you ran victoriously before passing it off to the next generation. Thank you for the lessons, warmth, laughs and doses of faith. We miss you, and are rooting for a re-boot. Happy 20th!

And readers, if you’re feeling sentimental and longing for pure good vibes, we’ve got an old episode for you below. Enjoy!


When she's not getting lost in fantastical worlds with the fictional characters she writes, Tia tends to lead something of a normal life. She enjoys the hours of her day by sifting through comics at her local comic book shop, blogging as a pop culture analyst, writing multicultural fantasy, watching "Tangled" and One Direction videos on repeat with her toddler, playing air guitar to Thin Lizzy, connecting life with '90s film quotes and finding new ways to sneak a bite of pizza when she knows she shouldn't. You can find her tweeting here and there, @tatixtia.

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