I’m sure I mentioned this in My Favorite post but I’ll say it again, Dwayne Wayne and Whitley Gilbert are my favorite TV show couple EVER. Fight me! I hear you. What about Cliff and Claire? What issues did Cliff and Claire have besides issues with the kids, which in reality whatever Claire said went? Let me get on my soapbox for a minute and tell you why they were the best couple ever and yes, over Martin and Gina.
For one, Dwayne and Whitley were in college when they met. I always had this image of me finding the love of my life in college. Didn’t happen but I had this show so I was alright. That appealed to me. Second, they didn’t even remotely start out liking each other in the first season, which no one counts as the real first season. Again, fight me. I’m a super fan so I can say what I want about the show. Third, we got to see the genuine development of the couple, and to me, it didn’t feel forced. And last, they were not perfect. Dwayne broke off the engagement, Whitley was about to get married to a whole senator and then there was Kinu. I hated Kinu! They were a bit of a mess but they worked in the end. Martin, Gina, and their friends, couldn’t even agree on the story of how they met. Which story was even right?
Another MAJOR selling point for this couple is the personal development of the two individuals. Whitney and Dwayne started out as completely different people than they ended up being in the end. The melding of those two was magical to me because Whitley started as a bougie Virginian princess (they didn’t have to do women from my state like that though) who’s value came from the man she was with and her wealth. That’s what she was taught. That’s what she saw. Dwayne was a smart, hardworking New Yorker who seemed to fall over anyone that appealed to his eye. Throughout the show, they began an introspection of themselves and found what they needed in each other. Magic!
Now, I didn’t have a strong example of what a couple looked around me so I looked to TV for the perfect couple. It’s almost like walking on a car lot and being like, “That’s the car I want.” That’s what this TV couple was for me and I imagine that is what a TV couple does for a lot of people like me. It could also be for the worse. You could see a TV couple that mirrors a bad relationship in your life. The goal of TV shows, sitcoms in general really, is to make you laugh but we got so much more from these classic shows–a personification of a life we had or an example of a life we wanted. Whitley wanted an educated, enterprising and ambitious man and yes, that kind of man is never poor in any sense of the word. Topanga and Cory, Laura and Steve, Martin and Gina and even Fran and Maxwell all exhibited different relationships that we deemed as “goals.” Even Will from “The Fresh Prince” showed us how a single teenager dates. We learn from these relationships and often, subconsciously, want our relationships to be similar or even the same because they look so fun on TV.
There are a few scenes from “A Different World” that I love, and yes, most of them involve Dwayne and Whitley. The first is when we really start to get the inclination that Dwayne has a thing for Whitley, which was hard to believe in the early stages because although she was beautiful, she was annoying.
My favorite scene in all of my television history is this scene below. In watching “Unsung Hollywood” with the full cast, it was revealed that that iconic line of “Baby please, PLEASE” was a complete ADLIB. Kadeem Hardison (my fave) forgot his line in the moment and just shouted what the character would feel at that moment. BRAVO!
This last scene epitomizes what I would need in my man because, ladies and gentlemen, I am a MESS and every once in awhile, I need a stern talking to. Not a constant thing, but like Whitley, sometimes I am doing a little too much. Check out this argument between Dwayne and Whitley when Dwayne had had enough of her mess!
Let’s talk. What’s your favorite TV couple? Why? Do they mirror what you saw from your own parents, friends or family? What was it about the man or woman in those relationships did you admire?