Starting from the left: Tonya, Drew, Greg, Chris, Rochelle, Julius.
1982. That was the year I turned 13. Before I was a comedian, I thought the coolest thing that would happen to mewas being a teenager. I was gonna have women, money, stay out late... I thought it was gonna be the bomb!
Boy, was I wrong!
Everybody Hates Chris (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.
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.
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 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: Julius buys Gravy Ways, M&N's, and Butterthumbs as a way to save money on Halloween candy in the "Everybody Hates Halloween" episode. Rochelle objects and throws it out, prompting Julius to tell her that she's thrown away $2.78 worth of candy and wasted $23.98 on the name brand candy that she bought instead.
The family also uses Tussin as a cure-all for every type of ailment.
Tonya: Mom! Chris got hit by a bus!
[Rochelle is seen grabbing her purse and an economy size bottle of Tussin as she runs out the door]
One episode also includes the epitome of this: generics that are so generic they are just black and white packaging with what's in it in block letters.
In the southern United States as well. Always Save brand products are ALL in stark yellow packaging with the type of product in black lettering (from cigarettes to salt to even tampons). Best Choice is similar in black packaging with white lettering but at least has somewhat of a colorful logo.
Also seen in the same episode is, as Chris' narration puts it...
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.
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.
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.
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.
Diabolus ex Machina: It just cannot end well for Chris. Ever. To the point where even when everything does end well, it took a dream to pull this off.
The only episode where things do end well is the babysitting one. It 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.
The Dog Bites Back: Chris planned a diabolic revenge against Caruso in "Everybody Hates the Last Day". It not only worked (Caruso was punished for something he did not do) as also Chris told him "don't mess with me anymore". of course, it backfired at Chris in the end of the episode.
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 the little bitch 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.
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.
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. Which was Rochelle losing it and jumping 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. Temporary, and 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?"
During one episode, Chris and Greg talked about plucking girls. Constantly.
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 to the point where Chris, whom has since been confronted by Tasha's grandmother (who confronted Rochelle) & his parents, had to declare to the whole neighborhood 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.
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 Gazootold 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.
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.
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.
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 Scott free.
Laugh Track: Averted, except for a parody scene in "Everybody Hates Homecoming."
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.
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!!!"
Plus 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.
In one episode, though, Tonya listens to Billy Ocean. Who's heard of Billy Ocean?
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.
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."
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) and ages only two years (he is 13 in series premiere and 15 in series finale). Also Chris kisses Tasha in the reveillon from 1987 to 1988, but the later episodes are still in 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.
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 "Numberthree!"
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."
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.
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.