What's Happening was a 70s urban sitcom about Roger "Raj" Thomas, a lower middle class African American teenager growing up in Los Angeles.
In addition to Roger Thomas, regular characters included Roger's sidekicks Dwayne Nelson and Freddie "Rerun" Stubbs, Roger's divorced mother Mabel "Mama" Thomas, his bratty little sister Dee, and Shirley Wilson, a wisecracking waitress at a burger joint called Rob's Place.
Semi-regular characters included Rob, owner of Rob's Place and Bill Thomas, father of Roger and Dee. In the third season, Detective Earl Barnett, Sr. and his 10 year old son Earl Barnett, Jr. joined the semi-regular cast as Roger's neighbors.
The first and second seasons saw Raj scheming to earn money, attempting to impress the fair sex, and coping with his mother and his sister. The third and final season saw Raj enjoying college life and sharing an apartment with his pal Rerun. Shirley the waitress moved into the Thomas house in the third season and Mabel King "Mama" was written out of the show after a real life behind-the-scenes dispute about the show's concept.
The show premiered on ABC August 5, 1976 and aired its last episode on April 28, 1979. Seventies boob tube triumvirate Saul Turteltaub, Bernie Orenstein, Bud Yorkin produced, wrote, and directed many episodes. The bouncy instrumental theme was written by music great Henry Mancini. The series returned in syndication (1985-1988) as What's Happening Now
What\'s Happening!! was a good-natured show about a young African American male on the road to adulthood. Though often compared to other 70s urban sitcoms like Good Times and The Jeffersons, What's Happening!! had little of the borderline bigotry and acidic social commentary that marred those shows. What's Happening can be seen in reruns and is available complete on DVD. Photos and other souvenirs may be found at ebay, bookstores, and entertainment shops.
Photo above: Haywood Nelson as Dwayne Nelson, Fred Berry as Freddie "Rerun" Stubbs, and Ernest Thomas as Roger "Raj" Thomas.
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The Benefit Show 03x22
A benefit variety show is staged to save the community teen center.
Dwayne's Debate 03x21
Dwayne runs for class president.
First Class Coach 03x20
Dwayne acts as substitute coach for a basketball team.
The Last Page 03x19
Rerun imagines what it would be like to be the star of his own show.
The Thomas Treasure 03x18
Raj believes robbers stashed their loot in his mother's house.
The Eviction 03x17
Raj and Rerun protest the rundown condition of their apartment.
Food Poisoning 03x16
Rerun suffers food poisoning and a lawyer wants him to sue Rob's Place.
Shirley's Fired 03x15
Shirley gets fired from Rob's Place.
Dwayne's Dream 03x14
Dwayne's new job has him thinking of leaving school.
A Present for Dee 03x13
Dee gets a stolen necklace for her birthday.