41. The Wayans Bros.
Network: The WB
Air Dates: January 11, 1995-May 20, 1999
Stars: Shawn Wayans, Marlon Wayans, John Witherspoon, Anna Maria Horsford
Doing it on your own terms is a Wayans family trait, so from the moment Shawn and Marlon ditched the average sitcom setting and Tribe's "Electric Relaxation" kicked off the shows' opening sequence, it's clear what The Wayans Bros. was about.
Viewers tuned in week after week to watch the two youngest brothers wade through life's bullshit while living in Harlem. Shawn, the elder sibling, owned a newsstand in Manhattan's Neidermeyer Building, where Marlon also worked. Just a few feet away, their father had a diner called Pops' Diner. Over the course of the series, Dee, a security guard who worked in the building, acted as an older sister to the pair. In between, they were occasionally annoyed by White Mike (R.I.P Mitch Mullany), and hung out with T.C. and Dupree.
The show was criticized for alleged "buffoonery," but that's far from accurate. A significant part of the show's early comedy came from Marlon, but he demonstrated his serious acting chops, by surprise, leaving the newsstand to chase his dream of being an actor. As for Shawn, he was the entrepreneur, taking after his father.
The Wayans Bros. enjoyed a five season run on The WB before being unceremoniously cancelled in 1999. As mentioned in Scary Movie, it didn't even get the respect of a proper final episode. Still, it's remained popular over a decade after its cancellation, and fans will stop whatever they're doing when the show comes on television, hoping to catch the episode where Pops and his old singing group, The Temptones, get back together. —JK