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Series / On Our Own

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On Our Own was a short-lived sitcom produced by Miller-Boyett Productions (creators of Full House and Family Matters) that ran on ABC's TGiF from 1994 to 1995. The series was a Dom Com set in St. Louis, Missouri, about seven siblings trying to stay together as a family after their parents die in a car crash. Ralph Harris played Josh Jerrico, the eldest brother, and the children were played by the six Smollet siblings (Jo Jo, Jazz, Jussie, Jurnee, Jake, and Jocqui). There was also a family pet bulldog named Jinx.

In order to stay together, Josh decides to impersonate his Aunt Jelcinda and dresses in full drag (think Madea before Madea) in order to fool social worker Alana Michaels (Kimberley Kates) who quickly sees through the ruse. But she agrees to keeps their secret to avoid them getting split up, but her boss Mr. Gordon Ormsby (Roger Aaron Brown) being enamored by Aunt Jelcinda further complicates things.

After low ratings, the series was retooled, and lost the characters of Alana and Gordon and Josh gained full custody of the kids, eliminating the need for him to go in drag. T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh was brought in as a Love Interest to Josh, and Cool Big Sis to the two girls, but it wasn't enough and the show was cancelled.

Notable for showcasing the Smollett performing family, who still work in the entertainment industry in various roles, with Jussie and Jurnee being the most high-profile members.

Not to be confused with the similarly-themed 1988 film On Our Own, or the 1977 CBS sitcom also titled On Our Own.

This series contains examples of:

  • Alliterative Family: The Jerrico family, whose names all start with "J," including their deceased parents that are named Jared and Jasmine, aunt Jelcinda, and family dog Jinx.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Josh as Aunt Jelcinda/Mama J. Gordon is instantly smitten when he sees him in drag and even Alana says his makeup and looks are completely convincing; the only reason why she wasn't fooled was because she called the real Jelcinda the day prior.
  • Don't Split Us Up: The central conflict of the show, with the Jerrico siblings trying to stay together instead of being split up by the foster care system.
  • Parental Abandonment: The Jerrico siblings' parents died in a car crash.
  • Retool: Following disappointing ratings, the series was revamped, resulting in the departure of characters Alana, Gordon, and the elimination of Josh's need to cross-dress as part of the storyline, as he gained full custody of the children. To inject new dynamics, T'Keyah Crystal Keymah was cast and was introduced as a love interest for Josh. Despite these efforts, the show failed to regain traction and ultimately was canceled.
  • Short-Runners: Ran for one season between 1994 to 1995.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Josh as Mama J.