Trivia: Smart Guy

  • Actor Allusion: During "The Soda Wars", the final scene before the episode's end credit blooper montage features Mo Tibbs (played by Omar Gooding) trying to pitch a new low-calorie soda to Colonel Bubble executives. His pitch goes well until he jumps off the table and injures himself. The CEO of the company promptly asks "does he have a brother?"
  • Banned Episode: Subverted with "Strangers on the Net". Disney Channel initially excluded the episode from its rerun cycle, due to the "A" story involving T.J. and his friend Karen being contacted by a serial child predator on a chat room for kids. However, the channel reversed course on this decision due to the episode's internet safety Aesop.note 
  • Celebrity Star: Destiny's Child (featuring a young Beyoncé) guest stars in the aptly-titled season three episode "A Date with Destiny," offering T.J. the opportunity to be in their music video and later the chance to go on a world tour with them.
  • Dawson Casting: Word up. Marcus (not an egregious example, considering Jason Weaver was a couple of years older than Marcus), Mo (who fits as in the first season, Omar Gooding was playing 15-year-old Mo, while in his early 20s) and Yvette (her portrayer, Essence Atkins, is actually too close in age to John Marshall Jones – who plays Floyd – for them to be father and daughter in Real Life; there is only a ten-year age difference between the two). It's a bit odd that Gooding and Atkins play high schoolers in the show when you consider that Gooding's character in Hangin' with Mr. Cooper (which ended a few months after Smart Guy debuted) was revealed to have graduated high school in the show's final season and Atkins played a college freshman almost four years earlier in the pilot episode of Saved by the Bell: The College Years, before her character was written out.
    • This also applies to many recurring cast members, such as J.D. Walsh (Mackey), Tinsley Grimes (Nina) and Arvie Lowe, Jr. (Deion), who were also in their early 20s during their runs on the show. It's pretty peculiar when you consider that the Disney-produced series that came after the show ended had most of the teenage characters played by young actors exactly or very close to the same age of their characters.
    • Handily averted with T.J., as Tahj Mowry was the same age as the character.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Dann Florek in the thankless role of PE teacher Coach Gerber, during those lean years between Law & Order and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
    • Marsha Warfield appeared as Principal Dowling in "The Code" and "Brother, Brother".
    • Cirroc Lofton, the actor who played Jake Sisko, plays one of Marcus' friends in season one's "Lab Rats" and a friend of Yvette's who sneaks a kiss from her while working on a newspaper story in "Boomerang".
    • Blake Clark, best known for playing Shawn's father Chet Hunter, also guest starred in "Boomerang" as shop teacher Mr. Petrasek.
    • "A Little Knowledge" featured a young Ashley Tisdale as Amy, an intellectual rival of T.J.'s that competes against him on Jeopardy-analogue game show Knowledge College.
    • "A Little Knowledge" also features John O'Hurley as Knowledge College's Alex Trebek parody Hugh Sterling.
    • Season one's "Lab Rats" features Wesley Jonathan (months before he began starring in City Guys, and years before What I Like About You and The Soul Man) as Yvette's boyfriend Tyler.
    • Brian Doyle-Murray played Pete Gilroy, the panelist whom T.J. replaces on a political talk show in "Cross Talk".
    • "Trial and Error" features Jenny O'Hara as Principal Whitfield and Taylor Negron as Mr. Bringleman.
    • Dule Hill played dance teacher Calvin Tierney in "Gotta Dance".note 
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Jason Weaver (Marcus) provided the singing voice of young Simba in The Lion King.
  • Name's the Same: Reagan Gomez (then Gomez-Preston) and Tinsley Grimes play characters named Nina in different seasons (the African-American Gomez plays Nina Duperly, Marcus and T.J.'s love interest in "Love Letters;" Caucasian Grimes plays Nina [No Last Name Given], Yvette's best friend in several season three episodes).
  • Retroactive Recognition: Episodes of this show contained early appearances of Kyla Pratt, Ashley Tisdale and Naya Rivera.
    • Kenya Moore appeared as Vivian, one of the computer company reps who pitches T.J. about which of their computers to select for Piedmont High's new computer system in "Brother, Brother".
    • Fans who remember Mo were probably surprised to see the sitcom-friendly Omar Gooding (also recognizable from Wild And Crazy Kids and Hangin' with Mr. Cooper) as a gangbanger a few years later in the 2001 film Baby Boy.
  • You Look Familiar: Naya Rivera and Kyla Pratt both appear in "Baby, It's You, and You, and You" as two of the dates T.J. is set up with for a school dance. Rivera appears again in "Never Too Young," as Kelly (a girl T.J. accidentally tells a story told about one of the partygoers that involved her), while Pratt plays Brandi (T.J.'s streetwise friend) in "Bad Boy" and "She Got Game".
    • Taraji P. Henson guest starred as Monique (one of the dancers in T.J.'s music video project) in "Big Picture," and as Leslie (one of Yvette's friends) in "Break Up Not to Make Up" and "Boomerang".
    • Coby Bell (who ironically later co-starred with Tahj Mowry's sister Tia in The Game) guest stars as Garret (a guy who was interested in Yvette) in "The Dating Game" and Anthony "The Hammer" Williams (a basketball player whom T.J. tutored) that same season in "Most Hated Man on Campus".
    • Bianca Lawson played Shirley in "Baby, It's You, and You and You" and Tracy, Mo's two-timer girlfriend in "It Takes Two". Coincidentally, in both episodes, her characters served as romantic interests of Mo.
    • Jennifer Lyons plays Celia (a member on Yvette's cheerleading squad who is the first person T.J. meets on his first day of high school, whose character name is not said outright) in the Pilot Episode, and Lisa (who beat Yvette for the lead in a play, likely because of her new breast implants) in "From A to Double D".