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227 is an Americanmarker situation comedy that originally aired on NBC from September 14, 1985 until May 6, 1990. The series starred Marla Gibbs and was produced by Embassy Television from 1985 until 1988, then ELP Communications produced the series in its final two seasons (1988-1990).

Origins

The series was adapted from a play written in 1978 by Christine Houston about the lives of women in a predominantly black apartment building in 1950s Chicagomarker. The setting of the series, however, was changed to present-day Washington, D.C.marker. The show was created as a starring vehicle for Marla Gibbs, who had become famous as the sassy maid, Florence Johnston, on The Jeffersons and had starred in Houston's play in Los Angelesmarker. This role was similar in nature to that of tart-tongued Florence; Gibbs' character, housewife Mary Jenkins, loved a good gossip and often spoke what she thought, with sometimes not-so-favorable results.

Synopsis

227 followed the lives of people in a middle-class apartment building in Washington, D.C. At the center was Marla Gibbs, who portrayed Mary Jenkins, a nosy, tart-tongued housewife. Hal Williams played her husband, Lester, a construction worker, and Regina King played their studious 14-year-old daughter, Brenda; it was King's first significant acting role.

Also cast in 227 was Jackée Harry as the building's sexy vamp, Sandra Clark, who constantly bickered back and forth with Mary about their respective views on life. Helen Martin arrived to play Pearl Shay, a crotchety-but-kind busybody neighbor, who was always known for snooping. Pearl had a grandson named Calvin Dobbs, played by Curtis Baldwin, whom Brenda had a crush on and would finally date later in the series' run.

Alaina Reed Hall played kindhearted best friend to all, Rose Lee Holloway. She had a daughter named Tiffany, played by Kia Goodwin, who disappeared after the first season. Halfway through the first season, Rose became the unexpected landlord of the building after the building's stingy slumlord Mr. Calloway (who was constantly mentioned but never seen onscreen) died out of the blue. Rose stayed on as landlady until the fourth season.

In the first season, both Helen Martin and Curtis Baldwin, who had only been recurring stars, appeared in nearly every episode. In the second season's opening credits, Helen Martin and Curtis Baldwin share a title card, thus making them official full-time cast members. Martin has her own title for the third and fifth seasons, while Regina King and Curtis Baldwin share a title card together in those years.

By the time taping started on the third season in 1987, Jackée Harry, who had just won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress changed her stage name to simply Jackée, which she used until 1994. In the fourth season, Countess Vaughn joined the cast as Alexandria DeWitt, an 11-year-old child prodigy who becomes the Jenkins' houseguest. The following year, however, Alexandria went the way of Tiffany Holloway and disappeared from the show without an explanation.

By the time production on the fourth season commenced in 1988, tension between stars Gibbs and Jackée were mounting due to the show's increasing focus on the Sandra character. To keep the stars happy, Jackee was given the chance to spin off Sandra into her own show. Jackée's television pilot, entitled Jackée, found Sandra moving to New York Citymarker and finding work at a spa. NBC aired the episode in primetime on May 11, 1989. The pilot was rejected, and Jackée returned to 227 appearing only sporadically.

The show's final season saw Toukie Smith, Barry Sobel, Stoney Jackson, Kevin Peter Hall and Paul Winfield join the cast in an effort to rejuvenate the show's sagging ratings. In the end, the cast additions proved fruitless, and 227 ended its run in the spring of 1990.

Series syndication

The show went into syndication in the fall of 1990. It has previously aired on cable's BET, TV One and TV Land. The show is currently distributed by The Program Exchange. Selected Minisodes from the first season are available to view for free on Crackle.

Theme Song

The theme song for 227 was written by Ray Colcord and sung by Marla Gibbs entitled "There's No Place Like Home", however after the first season, in the series final four seasons, the theme song's ending changed to "Ooh!", also in the entire first season (1985-1986) of the series, the first had no "Ooh!" at the end of the song, and its tremble was non-existent, in the final four seasons, with the "Ooh!", it had the tremble. Early promos for the show featured an early instance of rap on network TV, with the current NBC announcer "rapping" "227 is a comedy/With Marla Gibbs and her family..."

Opening sequences

227 never had changed its theme song, except for the new set of the Jenkins' apartment, the cast members have different title cards: Marla Gibbs (the series' lead), title card changes after Season 2, and Season 3 from 5, her intro is still the same. Hal Williams changes after Season 2 as well, including Alaina Reed Hall. supporting cast members such as: Jackée Harry, who changes her name to "Jackée", with a new look and different intro for Season 3 (still remains the same as Season 4). Helen Martin, who is introduced as a full-time cast member in Season 2, whose changes every three times after Season 2, except for Season 3 and Season 5,'moving on up' whose title card remains the same. Season 4 introduced Countess Vaughn sharing a title card with Regina King. Regina King however title card changes sharing her intro with: Kia Goodwin (Season 1), Curtis Baldwin (Season 2, 3 and 5), and Countess Vaughn (Season 4).

Opening credits

  • Season 1 shows separate cast members with title cards except with Helen Martin and Curtis Baldwin who appear in many episodes.
  • Season 2 remains the same, except with the scene shows the pilot episode when Tiffany and Brenda tried to walk through Mary is deleted with Helen Martin's own title card and Regina King's title card with Kia Goodwin is deleted with a new one, sharing it with Curtis Baldwin, and the theme song ("There's No Place Like Home") is used with a twist with the theme song being a little speed up and at the end of the song it contains Marla Gibbs, who sings the theme song and with background singers saying, "Ooh!"
  • Season 3 starts with clips shown from Season 2, and new clips shown in Season 3 and it is changed with Jackée Harry now credited as "Jackée", which she goes by until 1994.
  • Season 4 same as Season 3, except Regina King shares a title card with Countess Vaughn, and Curtis Baldwin shares a title card with Helen Martin.
  • Season 5 changes with Toukie Smith, Stoney Jackson, Barry Sobel, and Paul Winfield, and Alaina Reed is now credited as "Alaina Reed Hall", due to the marriage to Kevin Peter Hall, who appears in some episodes for the final season, but not credited though, and in some episodes Jackée (prior to leaving after the fourth season, due to having her own spinoff, Jackée, which never happened and was rejected by NBC) is credited "Special Guest Star: Jackée as Sandra Clark".


Ratings

227 had higher ratings than all other sitcoms (with the exception of The Cosby Show, as it was #1 from 1985-1990) airing at the time with a predominately Black cast during its original run on NBC, (1985-1990). [60639]
  • 1985-1986: #20
  • 1986-1987: #14
  • 1987-1988: #27


Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1987 BMI Film & TV Awards Won BMI TV Music Award Ray Colcord
1987 Emmy Awards Won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Jackée Harry
1988 Nominated Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Jackée Harry
1989 Golden Globe Award Nominated Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV Jackée Harry
1986 Young Artist Awards Nominated Best Young Actress Starring in a New Television Series Regina King
1987 Exceptional Performance by a Young Actress in a Long Running Series Comedy or Drama Regina King
Exceptional Performance by a Young Actor, Guest Starring in a Television, Comedy or Drama Series Curtis Baldwin
1989 Best Young Actress Featured, Co-starring, Supporting, Recurring Role in a Comedy or Drama Series or Special Countess Vaughn


DVD release

On September 28, 2004, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released the complete first season of 227 on DVD in Region 1. Due to poor sales, it is unknown if the remaining four seasons will ever be released.

Season #Ep Release Date
Season 1 22 September 28, 2004


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