Follow TV Tropes

Following

Characters / The Bernie Mac Show

Go To

    open/close all folders 

The Main Cast

    Bernard "Bernie Mac" Mccullough 
Played by: Bernie Mac
The show's main protagonist who is loosely based upon the late comedian of the same name. Bernie and his wife took in the three kids when their drug-addled mother, his sister Stacy, was no longer able to be a proper parent. Bernie uses tough-love parenting tactics and he can be both strict and comical. He narrates the series, and between scenes he talks to the audience by addressing them as "America." Although he loves all three kids, his favorite is Bryana
  • Acid Reflux Nightmare: Bernie gets this after developing food poisoning from devouring the undercooked turkey in the Thanksgiving episode.
  • Anti-Hero: He could be this depending on the plot.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: A staple of the series. Bernie spends a most episodes continually speaking to "America" (i.e., the audience) in his study in a big comfy chair. In the pilot, Wanda also talks to the viewers as she leaves for work.
    • There are also yellow captions which remark the events that unfold during the episode in the script, treating the viewers as if they are dumb enough not to figure things out.
  • Berserk Button: Bernie has many, but his biggest one seems to be when Vanessa is obliviously wasting her potential.
  • Can't Stand Them, Can't Live Without Them: His relationship with the kids, especially Vanessa.
  • Comically Serious: Even in his most serious tone of voice, he still manages to bring out hilarious lines.
    Bernie: Lying to a nun. Saying his aunt's sick. He's the one about to be sick, gonna contact a sudden case of "assus beatus redus". That's Latin for "I'm gonna whup his ass 'til it glows".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mostly when he's in no mood.
  • Grumpy Bear: Depending on where the episode takes place and/or his attitude.
  • Happily Married: To Wanda.
  • Hypocritical Humor: During the pilot episode, after Bernie kept asking the kids if they wanted a big ass donut on the way home, Vanessa later responded sardonically with the "big ass" phrase attached to her message. Bernie then told Vanessa to watch her mouth.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: With how often he has to deal with the kids' contemptuous behavior, it's kind of hard to blame him for being tough on them.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: In spite of his crass and irritated behavior towards his nieces and nephew, he does love all three of them.
  • Manly Man and Sensitive Guy: Bernie's Manly Man and Jordan's Sensitive Guy
  • Manly Tears: He has plenty of these. The most notable one is when he found out the truth about his "uncle" being his dad after his funeral from an old birth certificate.
  • Never My Fault: In "Now You Got It", he decides to eat a slice of cake that has been riddled with germs and gets ill from it, blaming the kids for his decision to eat it and getting himself sick.
  • Only Sane Man: At times.
  • Papa Wolf: He will protect his kids whenever either one of them get into it with certain people.
  • Parental Favoritism: Towards Baby Girl.
  • Parental Substitute: He has to care for his nieces and nephew since their mother, his sister, is unfit to care for them anymore.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: A more euphemistic version. Since this is a rated 'G' comedy show, he says words such as "doggone", "bull", or so on.
  • The Snark Knight: He ain't called the "King of Comedy" for nothing after all.
  • Tom Hanks Syndrome: Subverted in the episode "Conrad's Prerogative." In the episode, Bernie wants to have the lead role of an Oscar Bait movie to prove he can be a serious actor, but when the film gets to the part where the athlete Bernie portrays suffers a stroke, Wanda and his friends can't help but laugh at the clip, since it's implied that he look ridiculous in his attempt at at a stroke.
  • Tough Love: As rough as he can be towards the kids, it's his way of showing that he doesn't want them to grow like their parents, especially his sister.
Advertisement:

    Wanda Mccullough 
Played by: Kellita Smith

Bernie's loving wife, a very intelligent woman who is VP for AT&T. She loves raising the kids with Bernie, but periodically her patience is tested. Whenever Bernie has a problem, she does her best to help, though her assistance can be stubbornly overbearing and unnecessary at times. Also, it has been stated that most of Bernie's family thinks she's snooty and is not above using seduction to make Bernie to fix a mistake. She plays a minor but important role in the series finale, in which she advises Vanessa to respect her Uncle Bernie by writing an essay on how he has inspired her.


  • Beware the Nice Ones: Despite being more level-headed and gentle than Bernie, Wanda isn't afraid to go strict on the kids when they really push her past her limit. The episode "For Whom the Belt Tolls" is a flagrant example.
  • Brainy Brunette
  • Deadpan Snarker: She has her moments, mostly around Bernie.
  • Extreme Doormat: Subverted. She shows the kids on many occasions that just because she's much kinder to them doesn't mean it's okay to take advantage of her kindness.
  • Happily Married: To Bernie, obviously.
  • Henpecked Wife: On certain occasions. Although there are moments where she lets Bernie know when he goes too far.
  • Not So Different: In spite of her kindness, she can become just as tough on the kids as Bernie.
  • Women Are Wiser: At least when it comes to discipline.

    Bryana "Baby Girl" Tompkins 
Played by:' Dee Dee Davis

Bernie and Wanda's younger niece, the youngest child and the half-sister of Jordan and Vanessa. Bryana is a friendly little girl who is sweet, innocent, and quite naive, though she is often more vicious, bratty and obnoxious as the series progresses. Bryana is her uncle's favorite (although he loves all three). Bryana is playful and always trusts her Uncle Bernie. Bryana is known for always attacking and successfully beating up her older brother Jordan.


  • Annoying Younger Sibling: To Vanessa, and especially to Jordan
  • Berserk Button: Do NOT mess with Bryana's doll, or very bad things will happen.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: She has her moments.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: While she is cute, she also can become this quite often. "Five Stages of Bryana" is where she was at her worse.
  • Daddy's Girl: To her biological father Bryan
    • Uncle's Girl: Bernie also favors her out of the three children.
  • Deliberately Cute Child: She has pulled this move off at times, most notably in "Five Stages of Bryana".
  • Disappeared Dad: Since she is the half-sister of her older siblings. She is later revealed to have a biological father named Bryan.
  • Enfante Terrible: Especially in later episodes.
  • Flanderization: As the series went on, she has devolved into even more bratty and obnoxious to a point where Bernie decides to stop being lenient on her and punishes her severely.
  • Karma Houdini: Since she's Bernie's favorite, it's easy for her to avoid punishment almost every time.
  • Manipulative Bitch: As revealed in "Secrets & Life", she is the best liar out of all the main cast.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Bernie always refers to her as "Baby Girl" and rarely calls her by her real name.
  • Spoiled Brat: On her worst days, especially in the later episodes.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: She's shown to be athletic as she's a fierce soccer player in "Nut Job" and is able to overpower her older brother and Vanessa does have an aggressive side, she tends to be more interested in girly activities.

    Jordan Tompkins 
Played by Jeremy Suarez

Bernie and Wanda's nephew, the middle child. Jordan is very mischievous and peculiar. He is interested in collecting bugs and conducting odd science experiments. He is always getting beat up by his little sister, Bryana; though on very minor occasions, he has been able to scare her in retaliation and make her cry. Early on in the series during the first seasons, Jordan would always cry, occasionally vomit and sometimes urinate on himself. As the series progressed, he gets tougher and more masculine, most notable shown in an episode in which he joins a wrestling team. He took an interest in magic and even began trying to date girls. Although he knows that there is nothing wrong with Jordan, Bernie tries to his best to make him more masculine.


  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Nowhere near the extent of Bryana, but he can become this to Vanessa at times as well.
  • Black and Nerdy: Isn't it obvious?
  • Born Unlucky: Is perhaps the unluckiest character on the show.
  • Butt-Monkey: He is constantly beaten up by his little sister, picked on by many students at his school, ridiculed for his lack of toughness, got himself launched in the sky via hot air balloon, and so on.
  • Characterization Marches On: He becomes tougher and more virile as the series progresses.
  • Cheerful Child: At least on a good day.
  • Enfante Terrible: Jordan can become this in certain occasions, Depending on the Writer.
  • Geek Physique: He is very thin and wears glasses.
  • Give Geeks a Chance: As he gets older, Jordan begins to have a couple of girlfriends throughout the series.
  • Grew a Spine: Part of his character development in later seasons.
  • Groin Attack: Jordan becomes a victim of this in "Hall of Fame" in a football game when he blocks an upcoming field goal by leaping in front of the ball, which hits his "pebbles".
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: Many times, much to Bernie's dismay.
  • Manly Man and Sensitive Guy: Bernie's Manly Man and Jeremy's Sensitive Guy
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: While Jordan is weak and so effeminate that he loves ribbon dancing, her little sister Bryana who's more athletic and aggressive to point of being able to attack her brother easily.
  • Mistaken for Gay: Jordan's bizarre hobbies and general lack of interest to "manly" activities (save a small stint at football) make Bernie assume this, alongside Mac's blatant homophobia. This is Played for Laughs most times until Jordan hears the disparaging comments about his "softness". Later on, Bernie's less worried with Jordan's sexuality when he openly admits his crush to a girl (albeit Vanessa's classmate).
  • Naked People Are Funny: The writers had a bizarre obsession in the early seasons with having Jordan appear naked or semi-nude. They eventually had the sense to knock it off.
  • No True Scotsman: Jordan's hokey dancing during a family reunion made one of Bernie's relatives criticize him for not raising Jordan properly, because according to him, Jordan didn't act like a young black boy should.
  • Potty Failure: In the pilot episode, he would constantly wet his pants. After that, he pretty much averts this almost completely.
  • Precocious Crush: On Vanessa's friend Jill in "Magic Jordan".
  • Prone to Tears: Jordan started off as this in the first few episodes. But as the series evolved, he gradually shifted away from this.
  • This Loser Is You: Should be obvious with what has happened to him in the earlier seasons. However, he gradually shifts away from this as the series went on.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: The reason why Jordan gets constantly beat up by his little sister.
    • Also, in another episode, after beating up the guys outside the house in retaliation for beating him up for no reason at all earlier in the episode, he shoves the only female to the ground and stops himself from punching her in the face. So he offers her on her feet...and gets punched in the eye as a result.

    Vanessa Tompkins 
-<Played by: Camille Winbush

Bernie and Wanda's elder niece, the eldest of the three children, also known as the main antagonist. Vanessa always purposely gives Bernie trouble with her attitude, most of which comes from the pressure of being the eldest and having to take the parent role with her younger siblings. As the series progresses, she gets along better with Bernie and grows up into a young woman preparing for college. In the final season, she spends most of her time trying to find the perfect college and rejecting Bernie's help with that.


  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: BIG TIME! She is the one who Bernie has almost very little patience with.
  • Cool Big Sis: She can become this to Jordan and Bryana at times.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Especially when dealing with Bernie.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In "The King and I," Bernie discovers that the only reason why Jordan and Bryanna listen to him is because Vanessa secretly approves, or vetoes, whatever orders Bernie gives them, so he decides to let her take charge since she told him they're used to only listening to her anyway. Eventually, Vanessa has to beg Bernie and Wanda to help control Jordan and Bryanna because they won't listen to her anymore.
  • Hypocrite: Vanessa will keep talking about how she can raise herself, but you can bet that she's still going to keep living off of Bernie's hard work.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Despite her rude and contemptuous behavior, especially to her uncle, Vanessa does love her siblings and uncle.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: While Jordan is weak and so effeminate that he loves ribbon dancing, her little sister Bryana who's more athletic and aggressive to point of being able to attack her brother easily.
  • Perpetual Frowner: For a good reason too.
  • Promotion to Parent: Vanessa, due to her mom being so unstable, raised Briana and Jordan until the kids were adopted by Bernie. This authority carries over after they move in with him, since both Jordan and Bryana still look to Vanessa at times for approval. This is part of why she's often angry or frustrated. In "The King and I" when Wanda reprimands Bernie's opinion of Vanessa, she reminds him that Vanessa 'never got to be a child' and he visibly softens over it. Eventually, Vanessa works through these issues, and both her relationships with her family and her self image improves.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: She's shown to be athletic as she's a fierce soccer player in "Nut Job" and is able to overpower her older brother and Vanessa does have an aggressive side, she tends to be more interested in girly activities.
  • We Used to Be Friends: In "Home Sweet Chicago: part 2," following the funeral of Bernie's uncle, while Bernie takes Wanda, Jordan, and Bryanna to his favorite hangouts as kid, Vanessa goes to her old neighborhood to reconnect with her friends, only for her friends to admit that they don't like her anymore ever because they assumed that she was there to gloat over the fact that she manged to move into a nicer house with a rich relative and escape a life in the ghetto, while her friends still stuck there.
Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report