Trivia / A Different World

  • Actor-Shared Background: Both Cree Summer and her character Freddie are biracial, though their mixes are different—Cree's father is white, while Freddie's mother is.
  • The Cast Showoff: Several cast members get to show off their singing talents in various episodes.
  • Contractual Purity: Lisa Bonet got pregnant in-between seasons. Cosby was among those that felt viewers wouldn't accept Denise as an unwed mother, so Denise was transferred back to The Cosby Show before getting Put on a Bus so Bonet could have the baby.
  • Dawson Casting: Several of the cast members, including Jasmine Guy, Kadeem Hardison, and later Karen Malina White in the show's final season, were in their mid-20s when they were cast as Hillman students.
    • Ironically, not so with Dawnn Lewis/Jaleesa, who was supposed to be older than the other students. Jaleesa was said to be 26 at the start of the series and Dawnn Lewis was in real-life.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Jasmine Guy, Kadeem Harrison and Glynn Turman directed episodes from time to time.
  • Fake American: Subverted. Cree Summer was born in Los Angeles, but raised in Saskatchewan.
  • Fake Mixed Race: Inverted. Lisa Bonet and Jasmine Guy are biracial, but their characters, Denise (unless Cliff and Claire adopted her and didn't tell us) and Whitley, are not.
    • Averted and subverted with Freddie: her mother is white, while in real life, Cree Summer's father is Caucasian.
    • Played straight with Suzanne and Terrance.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Denzel Washington showing up on set to surprise Jasmine Guy (her character Whitley's crush on him was a Running Gag.
  • Just a Stupid Accent: In real life, Jasmine Guy sounds nothing like Whitley Gilbert. She has stated in interviews that she based the accent off of her third grade teacher to emphasize the character's southern roots and affluence.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Is Jasmine Guy anything like the pretentious, snobbish character she portrayed for 6 seasons? Not by a long shot; she's actually rather humble and pleasant to be around, in addition to being a loving mother to her own teenaged(now adult) daughter.
  • Romance on the Set: Kadeem Hardison dated Cree Summer for a while during the show's run.
  • Screwed by the Network: According to the cast interviewed on Unsung, they believe that NBC Entertainment president Warren Littlefield canceled the show because of their decision to do an episode about the Rodney King verdict.
  • What Could Have Been: Allen Payne was asked to join the cast in the sixth season along with Karen White. (Both had appeared as their characters from The Cosby Show in Season 5's "Conflict of Interest" to tour the campus.) However, Payne opted to pursue a movie career, so Lance and Charmaine have a long-distance relationship that ultimately ends.
    • Debbie Allen actually wanted to keep Marisa Tomei on the show and had worked on potential story ideas for Maggie following the retool.
    • The show was originally conceived as the story of Maggie, a white girl's, experiences attending a historically black colleges (Meg Ryan was cast in the lead role)
  • Write Who You Know: Whitley and many of her stories were based on the life of one of the show's writers.
  • Written by Cast Member: Jasmine Guy wrote a handful of episodes.
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