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Series / The Parkers

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The Parkers is a Comedy Series that aired on UPN from August 30, 1999, to May 10, 2004. A spin-off of Moesha, The Parkers featured the mother-daughter team of Nikki (played by Mo'Nique) and Kim Parker (played by Countess Vaughn).

The series centered around a mother and daughter who both attend Santa Monica College. Nikki was forced to give up her dreams of going to college when she discovered she was pregnant with Kim. After Kim reaches adulthood, Nikki finally decides to go back to school. Kim is initially mortified with this decision, but eventually accepts the situation. Most episodes revolved around Nikki's infatuation with Professor Stanley Oglevee or trying to break up any other potential romance he has.

Unlike Moesha, this show was a straight up sitcom rather than a dramady. And it even managed to reach its natural end unlike its parent series — which ended on a Cliffhanger.

The series finale aired on May 10, 2004 and drew in 3.6 million viewers.

The Parkers provides examples of:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Nikki to Professor Oglevee at first.
  • Acrofatic: Despite her size, Nikki has been shown doing very extreme stunts. In Til Death Do Us Apart - And Make It Soon and some other episodes, she doubles as an Action Girl.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "And The Winner Is..." had each member of Freestyle Unity enter the contest behind the other members' back due to the contest not accepting groups, so Stevie, T, and Kim are seen doing solo performances.
  • A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: Prof. Oglevee.
  • Alpha Bitch: Regina.
  • Altar the Speed: Kim and Jerel have a quickie wedding in Las Vegas. It's annulled when Jerel's mom reveals that he is only 17.
  • Ambiguously Gay or Camp Gay: Freddie, but seeing that he's the father of Regina's baby from a one night stand, he may be Camp Straight.
  • Aloof Elder Sister/Annoying Older Sibling: Nikki's older sister Constance is pretty insufferable, pissing off Dez, Tommy, and The Professor for not letting them eat the Thanksgiving dinner until Kim and Tiffany came back. She even threw out Nikki's flowers and started bossing everyone around, who were shocked to see Nikki actually "enduring" her sister's behavior.
    • This also applies to Prof. Olgevee's older brother Sterling.
  • Artistic License – Education: The show has a tendency to depict activities and services usually associated with large universities with Santa Monica College, which is a two-year community college. For example, community colleges don't have fraternities and sororities.
  • Back to School: The entire premise of the show.
  • Berserk Button: Nikki doesn't take too kindly to the Professor being hurt by other women, as seen in "A Knockout Times Two".
  • Betty and Veronica: Nikki was normally the Betty to the Professor's various girlfriends, notably the main one who was actually named Veronica. Considering her full name was Veronica Cooper, this may have been intentional.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Nikki may or may not have some shades of this.
    • Beware the Silly Ones: Kim, however, is this trope, if the episode "Somebody's Watching You", has anything to say about it.
  • Big Beautiful Woman: Nikki, Kim (when her weight fluctuates up), and Andell are both rather large women and are portrayed as Dude Magnets, to a certain degree.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Paris in "Jury Duty", and it was practically obvious to everyone. Well, the women, anyway; the men were just too horny to find her guilty.
  • Black Comedy Rape: In "Hands Off, Grandma", Nikki's grandmother manages to corner Professor Oglevee alone in his apartment and at the very least sexually assaults him after she turns off the lights. Of course, this was Played for Laughs as this happens while Nikki pointed out the absurdity in thinking of her grandmother wanting to get with the professor.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Kim (Blonde), Nikki and Andell (Brunette), and Stevie (Redhead).
  • Brainy Brunette: Nikki. She's dark-haired, has the big ideas, and graduated as Valedictorian with a Merit Scholarship and all.
  • Break the Haughty: Regina getting knocked up in the series finale, by Freddy. In reality, the actress was pregnant and wanted to announce it in the show.
  • The Bro Code: Andell breaks it when she makes out with Mel, Nikki's ex-husband in Et Tu Andell? Stevie does the same to Kim after dating Hakeem.
  • Broken Aesop: Nikki, after so many years of putting herself out there only to get rejected coldly time and time again by the professor, finally moves on for good and gets over him, planning to marry a new man who treats her well, loves her and respects her. During the series finale wedding ceremony The Professor, after having a Love Epiphany, goes to her and begs for her love. She rejects her fiancé so she can be with the professor. So, to review: obsess over someone until you have too much respect for yourself & finally move on, and then the person of your obsession will come around?
  • Catchphrase: The page quote. Also Prof. Oglevee to Nikki: "Get away from me, you psycho!"
  • Caught Up In A Smile: In "The Hold Up," Nikki and Prof. Oglevee are (separately) at a bank when it gets held up by a man with dwarfism. Both Nikki and the Professor are named as accomplices when edited footage shows Nikki literally holding up the robber at the counter and him drawing his gun. While the footage is correct, this was before he revealed himself to be a robber; at the time Nikki was just trying to help him out as he was too short to be seen over the counter. She eventually saves the day after talking with the robber and getting the cops to bring in his wife to talk sense to him, who he says he's doing this for in an attempt to get money to buy her nice things.
  • Christmas Episode: Everyone gets locked in a department store on Christmas Eve.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Nikki anytime the Professor has a new girlfriend.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Kim. Her behavior is actually Played for Drama at times, as Regis used her as a guinea pig for this psychology thesis; individuals with low-IQs' who are still able to function. Kim, understandably, flips her lid.
  • Crossover: With the parent series Moesha. Hakeem and Moesha come to Kim's birthday party in the Halloween Episode. Another episode has Nikki working for Hakeem's mom at Magic Johnson Theaters.
  • Dad the Veteran: Both Nikki's fathers (her birth and the one she grew up with) fought in Vietnam, while Nikki was young.
  • Darker and Edgier: The final episodes in the fourth season onto the final season opener seemed to be much more serious, especially the fourth season finale, An Ivy League Of Her Own, starting from Jury Duty when a gold-digger slept with her four ex-husbands until they died from heart attacks, stole their insurance money, had gotten away with it, and almost made the Professor her next victim in Til Death Do Us Apart - And Make It Soon. The episode, "She's Positive", in Season 5, has T finding the girl of his dreams, but then has second thoughts after finding out she's HIV-Positive.
    • The fifth season opener may be the darkest episode of the whole series. Not even Nikki's and Paris' girl fight seem to be Played for Laughs, seeing that Paris did intend to take out Nikki along with the Professor.
  • Doorstopper: In "Love is a Royal Pain," Kim mentions that her boyfriend Royal has her reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, and she describes the philosophy. Playing off of the novel's infamous length, and the fact that Kim is carrying a hardback edition, she hands the book to Nikki, who has trouble lifting it.
  • Dumb Blonde: Kim, in seasons 3 & 4.
  • Evil Twin: The Professor's twin brother, Sebastian.
  • Fake Band: Freestyle Unity, made up of T (Rapper), Kim (Vocals), and Stevie (Backup).
  • Faux Yay: Nikki and Veronica, off all people, acted as a lesbian couple to avoid a lesbian hitting on them. It quickly turns into Les Yay when said lesbian compliments Andell's complexion, who is actually flattered.
  • Femme Fatale: Paris. Kinda doubles as a Dark Action Girl as she breaks a table in half during her girl fight with Nikki in "Til Death Do Us Apart - And Make It Soon", causing Nikki to back down. See Darker and Edgier for more examples.
  • Fiery Redhead: Stevie. Red-haired and just as sassy as her peers.
  • Flanderization: Happens to Nikki, Kim, Oglevee, and even Andell.
    • Nikki grows more stalker-like in her advances towards Oglevee, to the point where he'd be gaslighted into going to couple's therapy with her and she keeps spare keys to his apartment. This was in contrast to the earlier episodes where Nikki was clearly thirsty for his affection but was aghast at the suggestion of taking photos of him asleep and sneaking into his apartment for Rush Week.
    • Kim goes from a ditzy Deadpan Snarker to someone who is so idiotic that it's amazing she even graduated Kindergarten, much less is attending junior college.
    • Oglevee goes from a Reasonable Authority Figure who is annoyed at Nikki's advances to a very desperate Jerkass who goes out of his way to insult Nikki.
    • Andell goes from her Team Mom role from Moesha where she was a voice of reason to someone who is dismissed as desperate by Nikki of all people.
    • Stevie even gets this. In the backdoor pilot episode from Moesha, Stevie's mention of her relationship with her mother is mostly a comment about how her mom isn't as cool as Nikki; then Stevie's schtick was revolved around how bitter she feels about her parents' neglect of her.
  • Foreshadowing: Right from the first episode: "I can't do that! He's a professor... and my future husband."
  • Formerly Fat: Professor Oglevee. It's shown in a flashback when he reveals this to Nikki and her friends.
  • Game Show Appearance: Nikki and her family are on a game show called Family Secrets. It's revealed that Nikki's mom and dad are actually her aunt and uncle and that her favorite aunt–a traveling jazz singer–is really her mother.
  • Gay Bar Reveal: In the episode, "Since I Lost My Baby", Nikki teams up with Veronica to end Stanley's relationship with a woman named Angela. They (along with Andell) later discovered that Angela's ex, Chris turns out to actually be a woman when they find her at the club she works at, learning that Angela is a lesbian, and that they are at a gaybar. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Graduate from the Story: Combine this with the Grand Finale. Everyone graduates except Kim, Nikki is the Valedictorian, and she marries the Professor.
  • Halloween Episode: Kim's birthday is October 31st and her party is the focus of one episode. Another year has the cast having a halloween party at the home of the professor's new girlfriend.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Shaquan is only mentioned by Kim, usually during their phone conversations. She finally appears in the finale.
  • Jerkass: Gertie in general, but especially in Practice What You Preach, who kinda steps over the line for Moral Event Horizon for airing her old classmate Carla's laundry, who just became a new minister, about having a child out of wedlock with a married man and her attendance at Nikki's naughty-girl party, despite that Gertie herself was there, all because Carla cheated off Gertie's exam and made her take the fall.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Nikki can be pretty obnoxious, even a bully towards some, but out of most of the characters, she has the biggest heart, and is generally nice most of the time.
  • Karma Houdini: Nikki Parker. One would think that her constant harassment of Professor Oglevee and pretty much any female character in his general vicinity would land her a few nights in jail or at the very least see her either expelled from school or sued into oblivion, but Nikki very rarely faces any sort of comeuppance for her behavior.
    • One Season 4 episode sees her deliberately harassing Professor Oglevee's date, Candy, completely unprovoked; she throws food into Candy's lap, and further humiliates the poor woman by snatching the wig right off of her head. And what happens after this incident of blatant assault? Absolutely nothing, Nikki comes home to a gentle moment with an adorable kid asking her if she caught uncle Stanley with "the floozy".
  • Heroic BSoD: The fourth season finale and final season opener was a kick in the face for Nikki, as the Professor proposes to Paris, causing her to pass out, along with Kim who goes to Harvard with Regis, leaving her lonely and depressed.
  • Last Disrespects: Dead Clown Walking where Nikki's beloved clown, Tebo, died and she holds a memorial service at her home. People are more interested in the food, Free Style Unity performs a song that Crosses the Line Twice, Tebo's son reveals him to be an unfaithful husband and bad dad who had a small pecker, his agent was more concerned about losing a commission, and his best friend revealed Tebo to have betrayed him amongst other things.
  • Living Lie Detector: Nikki, on occasion, has shown the ability to get the truth out of anybody by having them look her dead in the eye. It once was so powerful, she put T and Stevie into a trance and made them forget that they had just snitched on Kim.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: Stevie; she talks of being neglected by her parents and even her grandparents.
  • Magical Realism: One Halloween Episode featured a Egyptian sorceress who tried to sacrifice the main cast to resurrect her dead lover, complete with mummy minions. A Valentines Day episode featured a Jamaican witch who gives Nikki a love potion that enchants most of the main cast. One Christmas Episode featured Santa Claus. Finally, the episode, "Saving Grace," features angels. It was not even a holiday special.
  • Male Gaze: Stevie, but Veronica trumps her in this trope.
    • Kim receives some of this, even capturing male attention.
    • In-Universe with the honeys T checks out
  • Mama Bear: Nikki's older sister Constance in the first Thanksgiving Episode grew aware of this. Constance, just because you're ignorant of your daughter's wild intention and accusing Kim of being a bad influence when it's the other way around, doesn't mean you go and call your niece a liar. Besides from that, Nikki is willing to go through hell and high water for Kim.
  • Marshmallow Hell: This happens whenever Nikki puts someone in a headlock.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: Nikki thinks Prof. Oglevee's neighbor is a killer who is coming after her a la Rear Window.
  • One-Shot Character: Shaquan.
  • Pretentious Pronunciation: "Oh, and by the way, your name ain't 'Tra-say' it's Tracey, girl." Mind you, this was a Shut Up, Hannibal! moment from Kim.
  • Put on a Bus: Of all people, Kim., who goes away to Harvard in the fourth season finale. She later come back on in the final season in "Mama, I'm Baaack!"
  • Questionable Consent: In the season 3 finale, Nikki has sex with a drunken Professor Oglevee. In the season 4 premiere, which takes place the morning after, Oglevee is not happy when he realizes he had sex with Nikki and always points out he was drunk whenever she brings it up in later episodes.
  • "Rear Window" Homage: Nikki's plot in Somebody's Watching You where she spends her time in a cast spying on a playboy neighbor, she then spots him strangling a girl and starts to investigate, it turns out it was a trick to make Nikki stop spying on her neighbors concocted by Professor Oglevee and the neighbor with the help of an actress.
  • Running Gag: Every time Nikki mentions how long she carried Kim and how long she was in labor, the time for each seems to stretch out further and further.
  • Short Teens, Tall Adults:
    • Kim is significantly shorter than both her parents (Countess Vaughn is 4'11, Monique is 5'9, Tommy Ford is 6'4''). Lampshaded by an Enfante Terrible in one episode who, when told by Kim that her father was also tall, responded with Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe. One episode revealed that Kim was likely switched at birth; her birth mother is closer to Kim's height.
    • Stevie is also significantly shorter than her mother. This is Lampshaded when Nikki first meets her, who retorts, "You are no leprechaun, yourself."
  • Shout-Out: Kim daydreams that everyone is on an episode of Dallas.
  • Slut-Shaming: Gertie does this to the new minister, for attending a "naughty girl" party and for having a child out of wedlock with a married man (the son is 12). For further information, scroll to Jerkass.
  • Spice Up the Subtitles: In 1x08, when Kim gives her point of view of how her Mexican vacation with Nikki went, one of the soccer players Kim coached tells Nikki that she is a good soccer teacher. However, the subtitles throw in an extra "damn" in his sentence, which Nikki reacts to.
    Nikki: Did you just "damn" me?
  • Thanksgiving Episode: One episode has Nikki and her sister fighting and another has Nikki and Kim fighting over the menu.
  • Teacher/Student Romance: It's one-sided between Nikki and The Professor until the finale. Also, though not a romance trope, Regina slept with her college professor to save her GPA.
  • Teen Pregnancy: It's why Nikki got married to Kim's dad (they later divorced) and had to put off going to college until Kim turned 18.
  • The Reveal: In the finale, we finally see Kim's best friend, Shaquan, who turns about to be Korean, which may be a shock to those who expected her to be black.
  • The Cameo: In various seasons, the cast from Moesha, Shirley Caesar, Yolanda Adams, and Tweet.
  • Token White: Stevie, Kim's best friend Shaquan as the Token Asian.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Nikki kinda gets upgraded to Action Girl in the fifth season opener.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Professor, as much as you would want to get away from Nikki, is it worth becoming the next victim of the woman you proposed to, who got away with killing her four ex-husbands and collected their insurance, and suddenly reappears when you're in the newspaper for your inheritance after she coldly turns you down?
    • It also doesn't help that Paris would have been sent to jail, if it wasn't for the Professor causing a mistrial. Nikki lampshades this herself.
      Nikki: Your honor, we have eleven guilty votes, and one dumbass not-guilty vote.
  • True Companions: Pretty much the whole gang, especially in the Christmas episode, "Secret Santa".
  • The Unfavorite: Constance, slightly to her and Nikki's father.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Nikki and Andell, slightly.
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Nikki to the Professor, even if she wasn't really his girlfriend.
  • Well Done Daughter Guy: Nikki's father hadn't forgiven Nikki for getting pregnant with Kim out of high school for 20 years, which has been distressing his wife and Nikki.
    • In the same episode, Constance applies when she is pained by the reveal that Nikki was his favorite before then.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Several characters, most notably Dez, Tommy, and the other characters from Moesha.
  • What the Fu Are You Doing? and Waif-Fu: Nikki has her own way of fighting called, "Nikki Tae-Bo", which she uses to take out a burglar in one episode. Paris on the other hand, in the finale season, seems to have some experience in martial arts as she breaks a table in half during her would-been fight with Nikki.
  • Why Waste a Wedding?: In the series finale, Nikki, who had planned to marry another man, instead marries the professor after he declares his love for her.
  • Witch with a Capital "B": "Evilene" was often used as a homage to The Wiz; though calling someone a witch got thrown around at times.
  • Zany Scheme: What Nikki frequently comes up with to make money, get Kim and/or her friends, and/or herself out of trouble, and to snag Professor Oglevee.