Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Put together by the same team responsible for the long-running Full House--producers William Bickley and Michael Warren, creator Jeff Franklin--the ABC sitcom Hangin' with Mr. Cooper has sometimes been described as an African-American version of Three's Company, though there was certainly more to it than that. Standup comedian Mark Curry starred as former NBA player Mark Cooper, who was hired as a substitute teacher and assistant coach at his alma mater, Oakbridge High School. For economic reasons, Mark shared a house in Oakland, California with two attractive single women: His childhood friend Robin Dumas (Dawnn Lewis), a music teacher at Oakbridge, and Vanessa Russell (Holly Robinson Peete), a stockbroker with an eye for wealthy and attractive men (or at least wealthy men). This was a strictly platonic relationship, so the three roomies dated other people throughout the series' first season. When Robin moved out at the beginning of Season Two, Mark and Vanessa bought the house outright from the entrepreneurial father of wisecracking neighborhood kid Tyler Foster (Marquise Wilson). At this juncture, a new "roomie" moved in: Mark's boss, Principal Pamela Jane (P.J.) Moore (Nell Carter), whose no-nonsense attitude provided amusing contrast to Mark's prankishness. Also joining the household was Vanessa's cousin Geneva Lee (Saundra Quarterman), who had taken over Robin's classes at Oakbridge. Geneva brought along her outspoken 7-year-old daughter Nicole (Raven-Symone), on whom Tyler developed a crushed. Eventually Geneva was promoted to principal when P.J. went off to get married. By the time the fifth season rolled around, the relationship between Mark and Vanessa had clearly gone beyond the friendship stage, and Mark had fallen in love with his roommate; she reciprocated his affections, but balked at accepting his many proposals of marriage. The series was apparently cancelled before viewers could find out what happened to the couple, but a short spate of hitherto unseen episodes, telecast in the summer of 1997, revealed that Mark and Warren were engaged--though the series again left the air, this time permanently, just before they were married! Each of the series' 100 episodes ended with Mark Curry and his costars dropping character and kidding around with the studio audience. Debuting September 22, 1992, Hangin' with Mr. Cooper was last networkcast on August 30, 1997.