Series: Everybody Hates Chris
Starting from the left: Tonya, Drew, Greg, Chris, Rochelle, Julius.
Everybody Hates Chris
1982. That was the year I turned 13. Before I was a comedian, I thought the coolest thing that would happen to me was being a teenager. I was gonna have women, money, stay out late... I thought it was gonna be the bomb!
Boy, was I wrong!
(2005-2009) is an American sitcom that is loosely
based on the life of Chris Rock
. Set in the 1980s
, it revolves around the home and school life of Chris, featuring his easygoing, although money worrying, father Julius, sassy
, if somewhat overreacting, mother Rochelle, younger brother Drew (who gets all the girls Chris can't), and "daddy's girl" sister Tonya. It also features the equally, if not more, hapless
Greg, Chris's best friend and confidant from school. The series is also narrated
by the humorous Rock looking back at his younger self, typically saying the opposite of what the younger Chris thinks.
Chris and his family live in Bedford-Stuyvesant, colloquially known as Bed-Stuy, primarily a black and Puerto Rican residence. It is home to many comedic recurring characters, including the aptly-named black market dealer Risky, Jerome (who always asks "the little dude from across the street" (Chris) to let him "hold a dollar
"), "Doc", owner of the local grocery store, and Mr. Omar, a womanizing funeral director and later tenant to Julius and Rochelle.
Chris attends Corleone Junior High, and later Tattaglia High School, where he experiences racism from students and staff alike as the only black student in the school. His friend Greg is also a target of bullying, though to a far lesser degree. Joey Caruso is the racist school bully who is, ironically, obese and short like some of his victims. Ms. Morello, his naive teacher who's attracted to black men
, unintentionally makes racist remarks to Chris, who forces himself to ignore them or accept them as innocuous, while Rock comments on them
. Rock later makes a cameo
as Chris's guidance counselor.
Oh yeah and if you haven't guessed, the title is a joke on Everybody Loves Raymond
This show provides examples of:
- Accidental Athlete: Chris is recruited by the basketball coach who sees Chris shooting a wad of a paper into a trash can. Alongside the fact that Chris must be able to play basketball, he has Chris join the team. Subverted when Chris fails horribly at the sport.
- The Ace: Drew is a very odd example in that he is Chris' younger brother but still the ace. He's a ladies man, learns martial arts by just watching TV, and otherwise all-around cool guy, something Chris just can't compete with.
- Adults Are Useless
- Always Someone Better: This is how Chris views his younger brother Drew.
- Ambiguously Gay:
- Angel, an androgynous boy in Chris' home economics class. His sexuality is never stated outright, but it seems to be implied in his first episode.
Angel: "Oh Chris, hold me! I'm scared! (glomps Chris)
Chris: (weirded out) "So am I Angel."
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Tonya.
- Anyone Remember Pogs?: Well, it is set in the '80s, so it's understandable that various fads, like Spin the Bottle and the Rubik's Cube, would make an appearance.
- Apron Matron: Rochelle, even though well-meaning, is a force you'd better not ignore if you value your life.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In-universe. Rochelle is remarked to be so incensed by and against the idea of Chris selling drugs that she'd overlook any other crimes committed.
Police Officer: "Ma'am, your son killed the governor, kidnapped his daughter, robbed the President and ran a red light."
Rochelle: Did he sell drugs?
Police Officer: No ma'am.
Rochelle (to Chris): Get in the house!
- Ass Shove: Chris inadvertently yells at his own mother, resulting in a very embarrassing incident with a shoe.
- Babysitter from Hell: Yvette in "Everybody Hates the Babysitter". She seems nice at first, until she leaves and comes back with her baby, which is the beginning of her constant problem of never being in the house.
- Beautiful All Along: Chris initially didn't want to go out with Kelly in "Everbody Hates Big Bird" because she was tall, gangly, and nerdy-looking, but did it anyway so he wouldn't hurt her feelings. Because of the aforementioned attributes, everyone called her Big Bird. At the end, she got a total makeover. Needless to say, Chris felt like an idiot.
- Big Little Brother: Drew is taller than Chris, much to Chris' dismay.
- Big Man on Campus: Drew. He may be in junior high school, but he's good at damn near everything he (and other people) does, can "get girls at 12 that [Chris] couldn't get until [he] was 30," and even had his class melt down in a frenzied panic when he was absent due to skipping school.
- Bland-Name Product:
Chris: That's right, "Cookie!" Not "cookies", Cookie.'"
- One episode featured Rochelle trying to get the kids into "Hansel and Gretel", an organization for upper-crust African-Americans, and a parody of the real life organization Jack and Jill.
- Bluff the Impostor: Sort of in "Everybody Hates Basketball". Rochelle tells their new tenant (who she is afraid is a serial killer) that she heard he's from Chicago. When he says no, he's from Philly (and just says it's okay), she is suspicious because according to her, people from Philly can't shut up about it. It turns out that he's wanted by the FBI.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Tonya in the later seasons.
- Breathe on the Fan: Chris' father is so cheap that he even complains about how much electricity this stupid fan game uses.
- Butt Monkey: Chris, obviously. Also Greg to some extent.
- Captain Ersatz: The episode "Everybody Hates Homecoming," in which Chris hits it off with a girl named Jenise Huckstable. She even has a doctor and a lawyer as parents, a dance intro sequence upon entrance to her house, and a laughtrack inside her living room. Clint Huckstable happens to like gaudy sweaters, sweet potato popsicles, and has a very distinctive voice, as well.
- Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Basic formula for every episode.
- Catch Phrase:
- Jerome's "Little dude (from across the street)! Lemme hold a dollar!"
- Julius's "That's $X (and Y cents) worth of ______."
- Occasionally Rochelle's "I ain't raisin' no babies!" and "I don't need this! My man has TWO jobs!"
- Don't forget Greg's "You are so in there."
- And Mr. Omar's "Tragic."
- And Michael's "BIG MAAAN!"
- Comically Small Bribe: Julius actually tries to bribe someone with a penny.
- Character Development: Most notably Chris, though most of the other young characters qualify.
- Chris is a bit of a "dork" at the beginning of the series and struggles socially, which in one episode he realizes is part of the cause of his bullying problems rather than just being the only black kid in school. By season four he is much more normal and a straight example of a "cool loser" protagonist. Meanwhile, his friend Greg started out as a typical social outcast whom Chris bonded with, but his dorkiness was flanderized to the point that he apparently couldn't sleep without dressing up as a superhero and praying to said hero for protection.
- Chekhov's Gag: Julius gives Drew a Wayne Gritzky jersey in the episode "Everybody Hates the Buddy System." Then in the episode "Everybody Hates Gretzky," a couple of white guys try to steal Drew's jersey, but back off when they realize it's misspelled.
- Chick Magnet: Drew.
- Completely Missing the Point: The episode when Chris refuses to do the dishes when Rochelle. Like always, Chris's mom asks him to do it, but never makes Drew and Tonya do any chores, which he deems unfair and unreasonable. The entire episode, Chris and Rochelle are at odds with each other, with Julius trying to get both sides to meet in the middle (with Julius noting to Rochelle about how illogical her decision making can be, and that Chris has fair reason to be angry). In the end, Chris and Rochelle apologize, but Chris still winds up doing the dishes by episode's end while Drew and Tanya watch TV.
- Content Warnings: Within the episode "Everybody Hates Fat Mike," for when Rochelle curses out Julius.
- Cosmic Plaything: Chris, it's the entire premise of the show.
- Crapsack World: Pretty much how everything around Chris, and solely Chris, works.
- Crazy Homeless People: Kill Moves.
- Daddy's Girl: Tonya.
- Deadpan Snarker: Chris Rock, as the narrator and when he guest starred as Chris's guidance counselor.
- Department of Redundancy Department: Julius: "You lost ten dollars?! That's $10 worth of dollars!"
- Diabolus Ex Machina: Most of the time things do not end well for Chris. To the point where even when everything does end well, it took a dream to pull this off. Though there are some exceptions:
- "Everbody Hates the Babysitter" ends with Chris deciding to rat out the horrible babysitter to his parents, and his mom preparing to beat her up.
- Another was the Christmas Episode, where even though Chris is in the hospital, his family visits him and the episode closes as they're opening their presents.
- Though Chris' Christmas present from Julius was getting the gifts out of layaway. And he has to pay him back.
- There's also the new year's episode, Chris finally gets a kiss from Tasha, that ended pretty well aside from Rochelle getting upset at him over messing up her good luck charm or something like that.
- One episode ends with Rochelle screwing up. She still yells Chris' name, then sadly says "I know" when he points out he didn't do anything.
- He also got a pretty good ending in "Everybody Hates Sasuage" as he successfully tricked Caruso and his goons into attacking him in front of the principal, resulting in them all getting detention.
- The Dog Bites Back: Chris planned a diabolic revenge against Caruso in "Everybody Hates the Last Day". It worked as Caruso was punished for something he did not do. Afterwards, Chris told him "don't mess with me anymore". Of course, it backfired on Chris in the end of the episode.
- Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off: Rochelle, who at one point manages to literally put her shoe up Chris' ass.
- Double Standard: How the parents treat Drew and Tonya in contrast with how they treat Chris, how Ms. Morello treats Greg (for being white) in contrast with how she treats Chris (for being black), how Keisha treated Chris in contrast with how she treated Drew, and how come James received a full salary from Mr. Fong while Chris had taxes subtracted from his.
- Downer Ending:
- If the situation starts off fine, something goes wrong. If the situation is already bad enough, Chris is subjected to more torment.
- Also, the series finale has him dropping out of high school in the 10th grade after getting unfairly left back, to keep true to Chris Rock's real life. But considering how awesome Chris' life turned out after that, it's not so much of a Downer Ending.
- Drunk with Power: Chris, in "Everybody Hates Hall Monitors."
- Education Mama: Rochelle towards her three kids, at least initially.
- Egg Sitting: In "Everybody Hates Eggs," Chris had to do this. The episode went from Oh, Crap to fine, but being Everybody Hates Chris...
- The Eighties: Averts the 1970s even though in real life, Chris Rock turned 13 in 1978; he has said that if he set the show in the '70s, everyone would have to wear afros and disco suits.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In the pilot episode, the theme music for the intro is different as the other music in the next episode. The narrator said the city and the year where and when the series was set in instead of showing the name and the year onscreen. It also lacks the title's chorus in the end.
- Even Evil Has Standards:
- Apparently the one thing Risky won't sell is Playboy magazine, at least to kids (or, at least to Chris).
- And apparently the one crime that Rochelle couldn't forgive of her children is selling drugs.
- Everybody Hates Mathematics: The opening credits depict a textbook cover that reads "Everybody Hates Trigonometry."
- "Everybody Hates Math" is even the title of one episode.
- Everyone Has Standards: Rochelle's parenting style is borderline abuse, but she doesn't follow through on any of her more outlandish threats, nor does she strike her children on Christmas.
- Evil Counterpart: Albert to Chris in "Everybody Hates the New Kid.".
- Evolving Credits: Subtle but each new season the opening slowly adds more movement. Compare Season 1 which just had still shots of the cast to Season 4 which had full on movement.
- Exact Words: In "Everybody Hates Bomb Threats," Chris's teacher tells him he has to memorize a speech or else he'd fail the 10th grade. He never said anything about reciting it.
- Exit, Pursued by a Bear: The endings of "Everybody Hates Blackie" and "Everybody Hates Fat Mike" involve Chris being chased by someone.
- Flanderization: In the first season, Ms. Morello's racist comments were naive and light. However, in every new season, they became more and more mean-spirited. This makes her attraction to black men even more ironic.
- Force Feeding: Rochelle keeps trying to get Tonya to eat the sausage they got in bulk to no avail, eventually rather than make her do it the family have a heartwarming talk about it laughter which results in Tonya trying and liking it, Or at least, that's what Chris showed us what he would have preferred happen instead of what actually did happen. What really happened was Rochelle lost it and jumped the table to physically force her daughter to eat the sausage so that her husband and sons had to restrain her while Tonya screams.
- Freak Out: Chris, who had trouble memorizing a speech in "Everybody Hates Bomb Threats" and would fail 10th grade if he didn't. It's lasts temporary, and is played for laughs.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Eventually, the opening credits started showing the sky for a half second with the clouds spelling, "Even the clouds hate Chris."
- From the Mouths of Babes: In "Everybody Hates the Babysitter", the babysitter is a teenage mother. Tonya tells the babysitter's mother "My mom told me she would kick me out if I had a baby 'cause she ain't raisin' no babies. Why didn't you kick her out?"
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Well it is a family show, despite being a Chris Rock show. For example:
- During one episode, Chris and Greg talked about plucking girls. Constantly.
- In "Everybody Hates Badboys" Chris finds out that Tasha loves rapper Slava Slav, and determines that he should act more like him to impress her, which leads to this line from narrator Chris:
Chris: Maybe if I went to prison, I could get lucky.
Chris: Wait, that didn't come out right.
- Also in another episode when Rochelle is talking with Sheila on the phone after the latter had a very cheap date, Rochelle says the man had better have "big feet"(I.E. have a large manhood) being that cheap.
- Gilligan Cut: Like in "Everybody Hates the First Kiss," when Greg suggests that Chris do "lip ups" to help him kiss better.
- Gossip Evolution:
- In the first episode, Caruso beat the hell out of Chris, then he and his friends chased Chris down to beat him up some more, until he caught a bus. In "Everybody Hates Sausage," somehow that story got turned into various, escalating ones, ranging from Chris knocking out Caruso's teeth to Chris beating up his family and taking his house.
- In the Season 2 episode "Everybody Hates a Liar", Chris helps remove a mouse from Tasha's room, and after the task is completed, a grateful Tasha gives him a peck on the cheek while they are outside after the event. Jerome sees them, and when Chris denies attempts to dissuade anything more with a "yeah, you know", word spreads through the neighborhood & their school and ranges from him kissing her to being her boyfriend. It gets to the point where Chris, whom has since been confronted by Tasha's grandmother, who had previously confronted his parents, had to declare to the whole neighborhood that nothing actually happened. He even apologized to her grandmother personally, though it did little to convince her that he wasn't a hooligan, but at least Tasha finally forgave him.
- Hanging Judge: One episode involves Rochelle in court for supposedly speeding. Before her case is called, the judge in question is seen sparing women just because they're beautiful and giving Disproportionate Retribution to everyone else. Once Rochelle's case is called, she proves the judge had been wrong the whole time with everyone who attended court. She gets fined anyway, for doing a victory dance.
- Heel-Face Turn: Malvo, in "Everybody Hates Ex-Cons." Until the very end of the episode. And then until he meets Peaches.
- Hidden Depths: Kill Moves. In the beginning, the audience knows him as a borderline-psychotic homeless man who knows deadly martial arts. Later in the series, it's revealed that he was always savant-like, also has a talent for math, was an air traffic controller, and came from a wealthy family. However, when Reagan started downsizing and he lost his job, Kill Moves spiraled downward on a path of paranoia and schizophrenia and wandered the streets until Gazoo told him that he'd only find true happiness by living in a box.
- Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Rochelle is not a patient person and it shows. In turn, Rochelle's mother is heavily critical of her daughter. It is notable that most of the abuse is taken out on Chris in keeping with the "Chris can't catch a break" theme of the series.
- Hypocritical Humor: When the über-racist teacher/principal Ms. Morello calls Chris a racist for not wanting to stay in an all-white class at Tattaglia.
- Hustler: Jerome and Risky.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode title starts with "Everybody Hates."
- Imagine Spot: A main gimmick of the show. Most of them are from Chris's point of view, but every character has one occasionally.
- Innocent Bigot: Ms. Morello is seemingly incapable of speaking to Chris without providing a cringe-worthy example of this. Examples include assuming his mother is a single parent, suggesting that he deliver a speech in front of the class as a rap, or giving Chris a brown egg when the class is doing a project that requires them to carry eggs around pretending that they are babies. Yikes.
- It Will Never Catch On:
- This is why Doc refused to invest in Sushi in "Everybody Hates Homecoming."
- And in "Everybody Hates Graduation," Julius declines to invest in the George Foreman Grill.
- In one episode, Chris' uncle who is always trying some get rich quick scheme is selling tapes from his car, and nobody wants to buy them. The tapes are of Beastie Boys, Run DMC, Public Enemy and a few big '90s rappers.
- Jerkass: Caruso.
- Jerkass Has a Point: When Tanya calls out their horrible babysitter for not taking care of them and leaving them.
- Karma Houdini: Again, Caruso.
- Karmic Death: Every Halloween, Mr. Harris the local butcher dresses as "Sweet Tooth the Candy Pimp" and steals children's candy. Adult Chris mentions that he died in 1984 from a bad case of gingivitis.
- Laser-Guided Karma: A good one happens to Caruso. In the episode, "Everybody Hates Sausage," Chris attempts to get revenge on Caruso for bullying him by attempting to throw a D sized battery at him, but he fails horribly when the battery misses Caruso and it breaks the school door, causing Chris to get put in detention for three days. On the third day, Chris gets his revenge and succeeds by luring Caruso and two other boys near the principals office. Chris kicks the principal's door and then Caruso and the other boys throw batteries at him. The principal walks out of his office and sees the bullies attacking Chris and Caruso and the other two boys ends up in detention while Chris walks off scot free.
- Laugh Track:
- Averted, except for a parody scene in "Everybody Hates Homecoming." It's lampshaded in the same episode, to boot.
- It's also averted in "Everybody Hates the Ninth Grade Dance."
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: "Slava Slav?" Though not all that lawyer friendly, though the character isn't based that much on Flava Flav. It was a parody of rappers in general.
- Lazy Bum: My Uncle Michael was almost 40 and never had a job. He put the "um" in "bum."
- Literal Ass Kicking:
- Who knew that you could send your children through time and rewrite their DNA, with just the back of your hand?
- Or literally slap the black off your brother?
- Or, even closer to the trope name, literally put your shoe up your son's ass?
- Logical Fallacies: Pretty much all of Rochelle's justifications for anything. A particularly egregious example was when Rochelle was supposed to mail an envelope for Tonya so she could get a Billy Ocean poster. However, Rochelle forgets to mail the envelope and leaves it in her purse, opting instead to buy a poster from Risky. When that fails, Tonya kindly asks her mother for the envelope so she can mail it herself.
- Lovable Coward: There are "got your back" guys, and "I'll be back" guys. Greg was a "I'm running like a bitch" guy.
- Manipulative Bitch: Tonya, and a particularly skilled one at that.
- Mistaken for Racist: Caruso, by everyone, until the series finale. It is revealed that he only acted racist because he was jealous of Chris' intelligence. One episode does imply his family at home is in fact racist, however. It's possible Caruso could be slightly racist but plays it up to hide his aforementioned jealousy.
- Mouthy Kid: Tonya.
- Mr. Exposition:
- The doctor who occasionally pops up on the show. However, he doesn't so much explain the plot as he does concepts related to the plot that the audience may not be familiar with, such as what the gout is or the causes of hypertension.
- And sometimes Chris Rock himself.
- Narration Echo: Used all the time, often in the form of adult Chris pointing out what the worst thing would be for his younger self to say/do in a particular situation, only for his younger self to immediately say/do that exact thing. Occasionally it's more of a Narration Ironic Echo when young Chris says/does the exact opposite.
- Never Trust a Trailer: pretty much the entire last season (last two?) had promos with things that just never happened in the episodes.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In "Everybody Hates Bomb Threats", it's revealed at the end that Chris' fake bomb threat led the bomb squad to ignore another bomb threat... which resulted in a school being blown up.
- The Nicknamer:
- Jerome. All the neighborhood kids are some variation of "little dude" to him, Chris being "little dude from across the street."
- And Mike, to some extent. He always addresses Rochelle and Julius as "'Shelle" and "BIG MAN!!!"
- Caruso, who always refers to Chris as a different black person, real or fictional.
- No Ending: The series finale. Just as Chris asks for his GED scores, the screen goes black.
- No Name Given:
- Chris's family's name is intentionally not given, although it could be Rock it is not wholly accurate in its interpretation of Chris Rock's childhood. Mr. Omar even calls Chris's parents Mr. Julius and Ms. Rochelle to avoid saying their surnames.
- IMDb says it's Rock. Also, the episode "Everybody Hates My Man" kind of confirms it - just listen closely to the announcer at the football game when Chris is laid out immediately as he enters the field.
- Nostalgic Narrator
- Nothing But Hits: The show thrives on this, especially its soundtrack, though it's none the worse for it.
- N-Word Privileges: Early on Caruso uses the word on Chris, but it being Brooklyn Beach in the '80s, gets away with it. But according to the narration he "did the same at a DMX concert twenty years later and got stomped."
- Oh, Crap: Chris in "Everybody Hates Bad Boys," after (inadvertently) yelling at his mother.
- Only Sane Man: Chris fits this most of the time.
- Painting the Medium: Frequently, especially in "Everybody Hates Mother's Day" when Chris Rock and adult Tonya have an argument in the voiceover booth, while the camera pans between young Chris and Tonya respectively.
- Papa Wolf: Julius handled his business when Malvo threatened Chris in "Everybody Hates Chain Snatching."
- Pet the Dog: Well, cat, in Caruso's case.
- Police Are Useless: At least for blacks. Even in the first episode; one cop walks by while Caruso is beating the crap out of Chris, looks at them and keeps on walking.
- Plot Hole: There is a huge timeline plot hole: the entire series is stated to cover five years of Chris's life (series premiere is in 1982 and series finale is in 1987). However, Chris passes 4 years at school (3 in Corleone and 1 in Tattaglia).
- The mistake can be traced back to the season 2 premiere, in which Chris apparently starts the new school year in 1984 despite season one taking place during the 1982-1983 school year. This mistake continues throughout the rest of the series: season 2 takes place from 1984-1985, season 3 from 1985-1986, and season 4 from 1986-1987.
- Produce Pelting: In the episode "Everybody Hates Elections", Chris is running for class president and finds himself in a debate against his opponent (the biggest bully on campus). Chris is really liking how his opponent is winning over the crowd, so he starts emulating him. One line Chris likes is "_____ now, _____ tomorrow and _____ forever." Problem is, he fouls up and ends up saying "Detention now, detention tomorrow and detention forever.". Cue about 200 pounds of mainly lettuce and tomatoes, with lots of other fruit and veggies mixed in, being tossed right at him.
- Put on a Bus to Hell: Keisha moves away to Compton, California.
- Recurring Riff: "Everybody haa-aates Chriiis!"
- Repetitive Audio Glitch: The very end of "Everybody Hates DJs."
- Running Gag: Several, some occurring more than others.
- Sadist Show: This show is based around this trope.
- Sassy Black Woman: Rochelle and Tonya.
- Scary Black Man: Averted with Julius, despite his actor's previous roles; Rochelle is the real power in the household.
- Seven Dirty Words:
- Alluded to: "That look means all seven of the words you can't say on television, but because this is a family show, she can only say this."
- Chris actually listens to a George Carlin record with the seven dirty words in "Everybody Hates Dirty Jokes." Each word is rendered as its place on the list—for instance, the episode's final line is "Number three!"
- Shaggy Dog Story: "Everybody Hates the Buddy System." The Principal tells Chris to hang out with Caruso in the hopes that Chris will understand why Caruso beats him up everyday. He pairs the two students together on a field trip, and purposely leaves them behind at a museum so they'd have to work together to find their way back to school. When Chris (predictably) learns nothing and reports back to the principal, the latter reassures the former that he did learn something after all: "You learned that I was wrong."
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Monk.
- Shout-Out: The names of the schools in the series are Corleone Junior High, Lamont Sanford Junior High and Tattaglia High. The "Everybody Hates Homecoming" episode is one to The Cosby Show.
- Smoking Is Cool: "Everybody Hates Being Cool."
- Snowball Lie: In "Everybody Hates Bed-Stuy," Chris takes Doc's story about his romantic adventures and turns it into a story about a serial killer loose in the neighborhood, in order to turn in a good story for the school newspaper. Unfortunately, that story got relayed to local news outlets, and Chris was finally forced to kill it when a cop had a gun to Julius's head.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Caruso beating the crap out of Chris in the first episode with "Ebony and Ivory" in the background.
- Spoiled Brat: Tonya.
- Stepford Smiler: Rochelle, of all people, become this, when her father dies right at the dinner table from a heart attack.
- The Stool Pigeon: Tonya to her brothers.
- Teen Pregnancy: Defied. Rochelle has zero tolerance for teenage mothers. Cue her catchphrase "I ain't takin' care of no babies!!"
- Tempting Fate: Usually before everyone's schemes (especially Chris's) go wrong.
- This Loser Is You: Chris.
- Timeshifted Actor: In a similar vein to The Wonder Years, this show follows Chris Rock's childhood.
- Two-Teacher School: Only a handful of teachers are shown repeatedly, Ms. Morello being the most shown.
- Token White: Greg Wulliger.
- Troperiffic: With Race Tropes.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Doc's girlfriend takes over in "Everybody Hates Doc's."
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Although said to be based on Chris Rock's early life, there are major differences between the sitcom and what really happened.
- We Sell Everything: Risky, usually out of the trunk of his car or the inside of his jacket. The exception is that he won't sell Playboy to the underage.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: In one episode, when Rochelle discovers she is one year younger than she thought she was, Drew even questions if her mother is even her mother, and Rochelle seems to be a little thoughtful about it. This is never brought again in the show.
- The Worst Seat in the House: Julius winds up with these whenever he buys tickets from Risky.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Rochelle won't tolerate her sons hitting girls, going to the extreme of not allowing them to defend themselves even if a girl tries rip off their arm. Tonya learns about this and uses it against Drew in one episode, though Rochelle later finds out she's been lying and beats her up off-screen.
- You Would Do the Same for Me: Not that the character did...