Sitcom that aired on ABC, starring Damon Wayans. The show is about Michael Kyle and, well...his wife and kids.Featured some clever comedy writing, but all in all was a very standard Dom Com.
This show provides examples of:
Achievements in Ignorance: When Junior's test papers come back with a perfect score he starts acting genuinely smarter. Later in the episode it's cleared up he didn't even get his own name correct on the paper, but the paper he helped Claire with was still an A+ and the climbing frame he put together himself was still built perfectly.
When Michael tells Junior that his infant son makes him smarter it actually seems to work, to the degree that Michael can turn his son's intelligence on and off mid sentence by taking his hand off the baby's head.
An Aesop: One episode introduces a friend of Michael's (played by Mos Def) who has become paraplegic since the last time they saw each other. Michael acts like he's not capable of taking care of himself, and eventually his friend calls him on his behavior and says that he wants to be treated the same as everyone else and not like he's half a man.
At The Opera Tonight: Mike and Jay attended an opera, and mainly got a few jokes about a rich old man and his young girlfriend wearing a black fur wrap. Mike also tricked Jay into leaving early, and they find Junior in the middle of losing his virginity.
Benevolent Boss: Michael is friends with the workers at his shipping company at treats them kindly, but still reminds them that he's the boss.
Catchphrase: Averted in Season 1. After that, it was open season...
Michael had "Ehhhh... No." whenever someone made an idiotic suggestion and he felt like giving them false hope, and a Running Gag was Michael dragging out the "Ehhhh..." part or coming with increasingly creative ways to drop the phrase. Eventually adopted by the rest of the cast.
In later seasons, Claire had a a ditzy giggle and Jay had a high-pitched cackle.
Franklin (and later, Michael) had the habit of making a particularly bad joke and then following it up with "Any-who...", with a slight elongating of the "any" much in the way of "ehhh.....no".
Cool and Unusual Punishment: In order to stop Jay and his sister from fighting, Michael starts singing "Oh Canada" badly and with the wrong lyrics: "Oh Canada, I love you Canada!/You gave us bacon! You gave us hockey!"
When Jay and Kady fall ill, Jay asks Michael to take Kady to see a physician. Faced with Michael's unwillingness to do so, Jay threatens to kiss Michael (and infect him along the way). That gets Michael on the move quickly.
Cut Short: The series ended in a cliff hanger, due to cancellation. Word Of God says that had the series continued, Jay's pregnancy test would come back false. Considering that, it's probably for the best that it was canned.
Disproportionate Retribution: Michael tries to get Junior thrown out of the house for drinking all the milk. Subverted though, in that he needed an excuse to throw him out because Junior got a tattoo and wasn't able to punish him for it.
The Ditz: Junior. Claire in later seasons. Claire's boyfriend Tony as well.
Duck Season, Rabbit Season: The scheme Jay used to trick Michael into letting Claire (as a sophomore) going to the senior prom. Michael even says, upon realization, "Wait a minute, you Bugs Bunny'd me!"
Eek, a Mouse!!: The episode "Of Mice and Men" involves the family discovering the presence of a mouse in the house. Michael and Jay play the trope's scenario straight, by hopping up onto chairs at the sight of the mouse (well, actually, taking turns sight-scene-by-sight-scene with one jumping onto a kitchen chair and knocking the other off to replace him/her); Junior and Kady just show the typical fear, minus chair-jumping. Claire, however, does not elicit the fear due to refusing to be around for Michael's harebrained attempts at killing the mouse, and Franklin is only around in one scene, studying the droppings.
Egg Sitting: Michael makes Junior take care of a water balloon to test if he is ready to be a parent. Junior draws a face on it and calls it Fetus Face. It is eventually destroyed when he slams down the hood of his car while arguing with Michael and the water balloon falls on the floor, followed by a montage of Junior and the water balloon together.
Flanderization: Hoo boy, where to begin. Junior's stupidity, Claire's clumsiness, Jay's callousness, etc.
Gag Penis/Bigger Is Better In Bed: Implied with Michael. In one episode Jay paints a picture of him in the style of Michelangelo's David, and a friend puts it in her art gallery. When it's unveiled, a woman standing next to Jay says "Holy moley, how do you find time to paint?!"
Genius Ditz: Junior has shown himself to be quite bright when the chips call for it, and he's a very talented cartoonist.
In later seasons, he's more or less at extreme levels of stupidity, although an episode focuses on the idea that Junior's son is a trigger for otherwise unseen levels of intelligence. Also, it's hinted that his flash cartoon parodying his own family might become a hit.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: In "They Call Me El Foosay", Vanessa blindfolds Junior to surprise him with a fooseball table. This dialogue occurs.
Vanessa: I got you something to play with while I'm gone.
Junior: Vanessa, I already have that. (grabs fooseball handle) See, I told you I already have this.
Groin Attack: One of Michael's favorite home movies is Junior catching himself in his fly.
Grounded Forever: Michael punishes Claire by grounding her (and forcing her to do all the chores in the house) until she gets him an apple from the apple tree in the backyard. Then he gives her a few apple seeds.
Hot Mom: Jay after her Season 2 makeover, and Vanessa.
Jay taking offense to Michael calling their therapist, openly stating they only call him when she has a problem with Michael. When Michael decides that since pays for the therapist, they're seeing a different one; Jay gets upset & immediately starts complaining when the new therapist takes Michael's side instead of hers, Eventually, they find an impartial therapist.
Michael saying he won't punish Junior for getting a tattoo, then kicking him out of the house when he finds out Junior drank all the milk, and again when Jay points out that her husband has an earring that his own father didn't exactly approve of.
In a later season, Jay decides that all the couples should play a game where they have to answer personal questions about their partner to see how well they know one another. All the men get their questions wrong, and after the women storm off the men realize that the women had yet to answer any questions, so they convince them to return so they can answer the men's questions. When they do, all the women get their answers wrong and forgive their partners for getting their questions wrong... except Jay, who refuses to forgive Michael for getting his question wrong even when she got hers wrong.
Improbable Parking Skills: Junior, trying to show his dad how he can drive responsibly and that he's maturing, parallel parks his car perfectly in less than a second.
Michael forced Junior to live in the garage for around about two seasons, as he had kicked Junior out of the house. By the time he was allowed to move back in, Michael had converted his son's room into his own play area and didn't want to give it up.
Eventually, Junior was joined by his wife and son in "The Remodel", which led to him asking Michael if they could convert the garage into an apartment. An entire episode was spent doing that, after which Michael tells Junior he can move back into the house purely so he can take the remodeled garage for himself. And everyone else just went along with this.
Magic Feather: In one episode, Michael convinces Junior that as long as he's holding his son, he's a genius. When Junior starts being an Insufferable Genius, Michael reveals that it's a Magic Feather, explaining that his own father did the exact same with him in the past.
Nepotism: Averted in one episode. Junior comes to help Michael at work and starts bossing around his employees on the grounds that being the boss's son means he's the second-in-command. Michael ends up putting Junior through some demeaning jobs like scrubbing the toilet to teach him that he isn't the boss, and that you should treat you employees with respect.
The Other Darrin: Claire after Season 1 (by Jennifer Freeman, who looks nothing like Jazz Raycole) because of a plotline dealing with teen pregnancy. Her friend's teenage pregnancy. Lampshaded in the Season 2 premiere. Also, Junior's girlfriend was played by Meagan Good in Season 3 and Brooklyn Sudano from Season 4.
Overprotective Dad: Even after getting proof, time and again, that Tony is pretty much a boy scout, Michael still offers some stubborn resistance to letting Claire date him - even going so far as to drag Jay with him to turn their first date into a double date.
Pac Man Fever: In the episode "Quality Time", Michael gets hooked on a video game. We never see the game in question (and judging by the few lines of dialogue referring to it, it's not a real game) and whenever Michael plays it, he mashes the buttons on the controller and wiggles the joystick around wildly non-stop.
Real-Life Relative: Michael's brother & sister were played with Keenan & Kim Wayans, Damon Wayans's older brother & younger sister. Two of his sons also played Junior's friends.
Real Life Writes the Plot: An interesting version — Damon Wayans' kids were on the writing staff in later seasons, so various plot points (such as Junior getting Vanessa pregnant) occurred because it had just happened to the writers.
Played straight when Jay was missing for the first part of Season 2, due to the actress taking maternity leave. Handwaved as Jay's mother having had an accident, so Jay had left to take care of her.
Rebus Bubble: In one episode, Michael attempts to help Jay study for a psychology test using what he calls "Sight-Kyle-ogy" (for example, Lion + Shaquille O'Neil = Rorschach). Unfortunately this causes her to fail the test, so she hands him one that says "Booty on lockdown". Later, when he convinces the teacher to give her a re-test and she passes, she hands him another and walks off.
Michael: "Spank that donkey"? Why would I want to spank that a- (Eureka Moment, runs off after her)
Suspiciously Specific Denial: After Michael discovers he taped over the video of Kady's first steps by accident and Junior walks into the room.
Junior: What are you doing?
Michael: I ain't erasing anything!.
Take a Third Option: One episode has Jay feuding with Michael's sister (played by Vivica A. Fox). When they demand to know who he'd save first if they were drowning, his response ("I'd probably kill myself trying to save both of you") is what makes them calm down and start listening to him.
Teen Pregnancy: Jay was pregnant with Junior during her senior year of High School. Claire's friend in Season 2, and later on Junior's girlfriend.
Who Would Want to Watch Us?: In the final season, Junior comes up with an idea for a TV show called My Wife And Kid. The premise is essentially his life, albeit flip flopped with him being promoted to the breadwinner whilst his parents are instead mooching off him. Cartoon Michael has a giant head and is obsessed with get-rich-quick schemes, while Cartoon Jay's ass is its own separate character. Named Rufus.
Your Head A Splode: In Season 5, Tony's stern religious beliefs begin conflicting with his sexual desires for his girlfriend Claire to the point that he couldn't be around her and do even the most mundane things. To deal with this, Claire decides to stand in front of him completely naked until he's so desensitized to her that they can go back to how they were before. Tony promptly freaks out and his head explodes, and then it turns out that it was just his imagination, since Claire comes down stairs fully clothed, leading to Tony running away screaming.