"My best friends are always on my mind
If you want to be down, come on
Gotta do what I gotta do
is an American sitcom that ran on UPN from January 23, 1996 through May 14, 2001, starring R&B singer Brandy Norwood
. The show focuses on the life of a middle-class African American family through the eyes of a typical girl.
At the series' start, Moesha's widowed father, Frank, has, to Moesha's dismay, just married Dee, the vice principal at Moesha's school. Other members of the Mitchell household included Moesha's younger brother Myles, and later on her cousin Dorian, who was later revealed to actually be her paternal half-brother, the result of infidelity on Frank's part during his first marriage.
Moesha's friends included Niecy, Hakeem
, owner of the neighborhood hangout, the Den, and Kim
, who later received her own show.
After six seasons, the show was cancelled, ending the series in a cliffhanger.
The show provided examples of:
- Aborted Arc: Bernie and Andell's secret relationship in the third season eventually culminates in the two getting engaged despite everyone's flippant reaction to the two lasting together. By the 5th season, the two are not seen interacting much. When Andell migrates to The Parkers, the engagement plotline is simply dropped.
- Aerith and Bob: Frank (normal name), Dee (usually a nickname), Myles (normal name spelled differently), and Moesha (very unique name).
- Alternate Reality Episode: A final season episode aptly titled "What If...?" has Moesha and Niecy ponder what life would be like if Moesha's parents had never gotten back together. Moesha lives with her mom, who never died, and Frank is married to Barbara Lee. Moesha is a scheming hoodrat that Hakeem can't stand to be around, Dorian is a Hollywood Nerd, and Myles is pretty much like his normal counterpart. The entire sequence is framed as a soap opera called Moesha and the Restless.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Myles
- As Himself: Morris Day, on the episode "Rhythm and Dues"
- Ascended Extra: Niecy evolved from a friend at the Den with almost no lines in the pilot to one of the core cast members and Moesha's best friend by the final season.
- Big Eater: Hakeem, and how.
- Black Gal on White Guy Drama: One Very Special Episode revolved around Moesha potentially starting a relationship with a white guy. Drama ensues.
- Broken Pedestal: Frank to Moesha and Dorian after it's revealed that her cousin was actually her brother.
- Celebrity Paradox: One episode had Moesha meeting...Brandy Norwood. (The latter plays the former)
- Moesha and Jeremy (played by Usher) go to see Usher in concert. Jeremy's reaction? "He ain't all that!"
- Cerebus Syndrome: Later episodes got a lot more serious due to the waning relationship between Moesha and Frank.
- Crossover: Hakeem and Niecy were part of a crossover episode with Clueless when UPN picked up the show. The cast also crossed over for a Halloween episode of The Parkers.
- There is also some Character Overlap when Maya from Girlfriends appears - her brother is married to Dorian's birth mother. Niecy similarly made an appearance on Girlfriends.
- Cut Short: The series ended in a cliffhanger due to being Screwed by the Network.
- Even more egregious since they were, apparently, only one episode from completing the series. Word of God said that the family would've rescued Myles from his captors.
- Disappeared Dad: Dorian's stepdad is mentioned as this in passing. Not much is said or known about him, but he isn't mentioned fondly.
- Drop-In Character: Hakeem
- Family Relationship Switcheroo: A controversial arc (brought about via Executive Meddling) involved Moesha's cousin Dorian discovering that Frank, Moesha's father, was actually his biological father.
- Fat Best Friend: Kim
- Happily Married: Frank and Dee. At least until the fifth season...
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Moesha
- I Am Big Boned: Kim claims this.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Moesha and Andell
- Invisible Parents: For a show with such a strong focus on Mo and her family, the fact that none of her friends' parents ever appear really sticks out. Averted with Kim when Nikki Parker finally makes her debut to set up The Parkers.
- Karma Houdini: Frank, in one episode. For the sake of peace in the family, he asks a reluctant Moesha to accede to Dee's signing her up for modeling classes behind her back. When the situation blows up (Dee is impossible to deal with), Frank then plays peacemaker - looking good over calming down a situation he caused. Or, Frank - you could have stood up to your wife in the first place.
- Myles gets caught smoking weed and Frank signs him up for therapy that eventually extends to the whole family. This is the same Frank that banned Moesha from dating, forced her to go to another school, compared her to a tramp, drove her out of her own home for an entire summer, tried to get her to take a drug test, and forced Dorian into boot camp. Myles gets to play video games with his therapist.
- Local Hangout: The Den
- The Pendulum during the college years.
- Missing Episode: Several in the GMC/UP Network broadcasts. Most notably, any episode discussing or even acknowledging birth control is axed from the schedule, as well as the Holiday themed episodes.
- Missing Mom: Moesha's birth mother is dead.
- One Last Field Trip: Moesha and her friends have a Slumber Party before she leaves for college; it doubles as a Framing Device for a Clip Show.
- One Mario Limit: The name "Moesha" is just not seen anywhere else in popular culture, and if you come across it again, you'll probably think of this show.
- Out of Focus: Q pretty much vanished by the middle of the third Season.
- Parody Episode: Parodied The Cosby Show and I Love Lucy.
- Phrase Catcher: "Myles, Go to Your Room!"
- Put on a Bus: J.W., Andell's boyfriend in the third season. Particularly egregious in that it happened mere episodes after they celebrated their anniversary.
- Spinoff: The Parkers.
- Stock Sitcom Grand Finale: For the Den when it shuts down. The actual finale didn't get this as it wasn't intended to be the final episode.
- Unrequited Love: Kim/Hakeem
- Victorious Childhood Friend: Hakeem by the end of the series.
- We Used to Be Friends: Hakeem and Q in the final season over Moesha.