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Series / Hangin' with Mr. Cooper

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Hangin' with Mr. Cooper is an American sitcom that aired on ABC from 1992-1997. For most of its run, it was on the TGIF Friday lineup.

The series centered on former NBA player turned Cool Teacher Mark Cooper, along with his roommates, childhood friend Robin and Vanessa. Robin was gone in Season 2 and replaced by Mark's cousin from Georgia, Geneva, and her daughter, Nicole. Next-door-neighbor, Tyler, and Mark's students (most prominently Earvin) regularly dropped by.


This series provides examples of:

  • Adorkable: Vanessa.
  • Away in a Manger
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Nicole at times.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Some episodes have bits where Mark and other characters directly address the audience. Even the first episode had it, with an appearance by Alan Thicke, in character as Jason Seaver at first, before taking the Seaver family portrait off the set with him.
  • Burger Fool: One episode saw one of Mark's students dropping out of school to get a job at Clown Burger. Mark gets forced by P.J. to get him to come back to school, which he does by walking in and being the most obnoxious customer he can be (at least on a family-friendly show), then telling the student that if he wants to work at Clown Burger, he's going to have to put up with customers like that eight hours a day for the rest of his life.
  • Advertisement:
  • Celebrity Is Overrated
  • Christmas Episode: "Miracle in Oaktown" in Season 1, "Santa's Got a Brand New Bag" in Season 2, "Christmas Show" in Season 3, and "Christmas '95" in Season 4.
  • Cliffhanger Copout: Season 3's "High Hopes" ends with Mark leaving for a new job, Vanessa leaving the country with her boyfriend, and P.J. telling Geneva she's going to be fired. Season 4's "Together Again" is just that, with Mark freshly fired from his new job, Vanessa rushing home, and Geneva replaces P.J. as school principal. On the other hand, it should be noted that Mark has to deal with the fallout of leaving the school and proving he didn't just come back to kill time before another job offer comes along.
  • Cool Teacher: Mark.
  • Couch Gag: During the first season.
  • Country Mouse: Geneva.
  • Crossover: "Hangin' with Michelle" is one with Full House. Mark gets a substitute teaching job in Michelle's class. Jesse also makes a cameo.
  • Drop-In Character: Tyler.
  • Ear Worm: The Season 1 theme song was pretty catchy and fun to hear, as seen here. It was performed by En Vogue with Dawnn Lewis and Holly Robinson-Peete (Vanessa and Robin).
  • Enormous Engagement Ring: Double Subverted when one of the two girls accepts a proposal from a supposedly rich suitor. The other woman comments on its size ("I can see where the Titanic hit it!"), but Mr. Cooper calls it a cubic zirconium. She refuses to believe that it's a fake until the stone in the ring breaks in some accident. It ends with the suitor having a real diamond as well, but he was going to switch it due to resizing or resetting issues.
  • Gold Digger: Vanessa was this before she started dating Mark.
  • Halloween Episode: "Father Fairest" in Season 2 and "Halloween" in Season 4. Season 3's "Mo' Money" was set during Halloween, but that didn't factor into the plot save for an end credit scene.
  • Homage: The bully in the episode "My Bodyguard" was named after Scut Farkus from A Christmas Story.
  • Jaded Washout: Mark skirted pro basketball after college and played with them with a ten day contract for a story arc in the first season. It's a source of bitterness that he got cut, but knows few people get even the chance he did.
  • Mama Bear: Geneva.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: The "Warriors" two-parter gives Mark the chance to regain his NBA glory.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: "Father Fairest" sees Mark learn that Earvin wants to see his Disappeared Dad again. Mark tracks him down and reunites the two, but it turns out Earvin just wanted to yell at him. Mark has to figure out how to resolve the family strife, especially when Earvin's mother yells at him for blundering into private business.
  • Only Sane Woman: Geneva.
  • Put on a Bus: The first episode of Season 2 mentions that Robin has moved away. She was never seen or heard from again.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: "Soul Man" during Season 2.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Mark and Vanessa towards the end of Season 4.
  • Reality Ensues: There were frequent comedic pratfalls that the characters easily brushed off, but in one case, a blow to the head gives Mark a concussion. Vanessa struggles to keep him conscious until an ambulance can arrive.
  • Retool: The show originally started as a black version of Three's Company (three single people living together, one guy and two girls) but the show was re-worked after one season. Robin was replaced by Mark's cousin Geneva, two kid characters were added, and there was a bigger emphasis on Mark's job with the addition of Nell Carter as the principal and Geneva also getting a job as a teacher.
  • Sexy Santa Dress
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Averted. Geneva was more wholesome and initially much meeker than Robin. Over time, she did develop a more assertive personality similar to Robin, but she still retained her more wholesome attitude.
  • Vandalism Backfire: Tyler tries to stand up to a bully who is forcing Nicole to do his homework. Tyler grabs the paper and rips it to shreds, only for Nicole to inform him that he just ripped up her homework.


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