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Series / The Wayans Bros.

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Marlon and Shawn.

We're brothers!
We're happy and we're singing and we're colored!
* beat*
Gimme a high-five!
(Shawn and Marlon look at each other in disapproval)
Director: Alright, cut and print. Beautiful, guys. Dyn-o-mite! That is...
(Marlon trashes the camera)
Opening theme

The Wayans Bros. is a sitcom that aired on The WB from 1995 to 1999, staring real life brothers Shawn and Marlon Wayans. The series premise is pretty simple: the two brothers live in a shared one-bedroom apartment in New York. Said apartment is above their father's restaurant, called "Pops' Joint", which the two would visit on occasion during Season 1.

In Season 2, Pops moves his restaurant to the Neidermeyer Building, where Shawn manages to acquire a newspaper stand and works alongside Marlon. The rest of the series takes place here. The newspaper stand comes with a security guard (Lou in the second season, Dee for the remainder of the show) who becomes a close friend of theirs. The boys also move into a brownstone which still had one bedroom.

This series provides examples of:

  • Acquired Situational Narcissism:
    • Even though he always have been a bit arrogant, it happens to Marlon who, after embarking on a successful tour with Keith Sweat, acts like a total dick until he screws up and the play is cancelled.
    • Shawn in the Season 1 episode "I'm Too Sexy for My Brother," in which he steals Marlon's thunder and becomes a model. Of course, Shawn's then-girlfriend Lisa calls him out at the end.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Age-Inappropriate Dress: In "Hip-Hop Pops", Pops starts dressing and acting like someone in his 20s:
    Shawn: (to Pops) You look like the Grinch that stole hip-hop!
  • Amusing Injuries: Some of the cold opens in Season 1 have Marlon electrocuted from fixing a toaster, burned alive from trying to cook French fries and having his head explode from blowing up the hundredth balloon for a party. Shawn usually reacts nonchalantly about these situations.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Marlon is this towards Shawn.
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: Frequently invoked before Shawn and Marlon set out on a scheme.
  • The Atoner: Marlon becomes this at the end of "Marlon's Return." After the play has a successful run across several cities, Marlon tries to take over the other actors' lines in a production in a local theater, and in frustration, they quit mid-show, causing the play to end its run. When Shawn states that it was Marlon's ego that shut the production down, Marlon responds that Shawn never had faith in him being an actor, to which Shawn shoots back that he gave the acting company the money he was going to invest in new newsstand so that Marlon could go on the road. At the end, Shawn and Pops find Marlon working as a pirate in a kid's birthday party, and when they ask why he lied about his new "acting gig," Marlon says he's trying to earn back the money Shawn spent on the play, and since he was a labeled difficult to work with, this is the only type of acting jobs he can take.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: If an episode consists of Shawn and Marlon butting heads, then it will usually end with them making up with brotherly love.
  • Bad "Bad Acting":
    • Shawn and Marlon do this when trying to lure a burglar back to their apartment to catch him.
    • They do it to sweet talk Pops to give his brother the loan:
  • Big Applesauce: The series takes place in New York.
  • Big Eater: Dupree and Dee.
  • Big "WHY?!": Used as a running gag whenever someone shouts out this verbatim when they think someone has died. The one who uses this the most is Marlon.
  • Boxing Episode: Marlon fights Hot Pepper Lopez, who was played by real life boxer Héctor "Macho" Camacho.
  • Burger Fool: Shawn temporarily works at a fast food restaurant to keep up with the rent since the newsstand burns down and is in need of repairs. This becomes particularly embarrassing when an old teacher of his stops by with her class and doesn't believe him when he tries to explain why he's there.
  • Butt-Monkey: Just about all of the characters are this to some extent.
  • Captain Ersatz: Everybody Loves Everybody seems to be a blend of Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond.
  • Catchphrase:
  • Celebrity Lie: While Shawn and Marlon do know Busta Rhymes, the rapper doesn't like them because Shawn insulted his girlfriend when they were kids. The brothers trick him into performing in a benefit to save Dee's church from foreclosure.
  • Celebrity Star: Including R&B singer Keith Sweat, En Vogue, Erik Estrada and Jerry Springer.
  • Christmas Episode: Santa Claus holds the gang at gunpoint because they lacked the Christmas Spirit.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Shawn's girlfriend Lisa, Lou, Monique, White Mike, Dupree, T.C. and Pop's cook Bennie/Hop Sing.
  • Citizenship Marriage: Shawn in one episode.
  • Clip Show: The 100th episode "Three on a Couch."
  • Continuity Nod:
    • A Season 2 episode has Pops mention that a Cajun restaurant ran by a rival cook named Rick had opened up across the street. This would be a plot point in the Season 5 episode "Romeo & Jeleta" where Shawn dates the rival's daughter.
    • The aforementioned "Three on a Couch" is filled to the brim with these.
  • Cool Old Lady: Grandma Ellington.
  • Courtroom Episode: Marlon sues Shawn. Hilarity Ensues.
  • The Ditz: Marlon is this most of the time.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: The theme for the last two seasons was produced by Shawn and Marlon themselves, with help from Omar Epps.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off!: Pops says this when he gets mad at Shawn and Marlon.
  • Double Standard: Pointed out by Marlon in "Ho's on First," in which he dates a girl who, as the title suggests, really got around. He realizes how he and Shawn have dated a bunch of girls in their day and they never got called on it just because they're guys. He still loves her no matter what and sees that it's in the past, but his suspicions get the best of him and they break up.
  • Embarrassing First Name: It's revealed in one episode that T.C.'s actual name is Thelonius Capricornio.
  • Fake Band: Pops was once the lead singer of The Temptones. Their hit? "When My Love Goes Bang, Bang, Bang."
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job:
    • At the end of "Marlon's Return," Shawn and Pops find Marlon working as a pirate for a kid's birthday party. When they confront him about having lied about his new acting job, first Marlon says he's willing to do what he can to pay back the money Shawn wanted to invest in second newsstand that he gave the acting company to take the play on the road. Second, after his disastrous attempted take over of the play in the final function, due to his massive ego, he was labeled a difficult actor, and no one wants to hire him for a serious acting gig.
    • In "Brother can you Spare a Dime?" Shawn gets a job at a burger joint to get some of his dignity back after Marlon lands a gig on sitcom, and starts paying for everything. Also, Shawn's newsstand burned down (accidentally as determined in the previous episode's investigation) soon after finding out that the money manager he hired didn't pay any of his bills and emptied his bank account, leaving him penniless and drowning in debt.
  • Flanderization: In earlier episodes, Marlon wasn't exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he still had a good degree of common sense and worldliness about him. In later episodes, not so much.
  • Flashback: Parodied. Marlon begins to have one when he and Shawn visit the house they grew up in. Complete with the harp music and rippling screen, until Shawn stops him momentarily and then joins with him as the flashback continues.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Marlon and Shawn, respectively.
  • Game Show Appearance: The family appears on a Family Feud-esque show called Family Battle.
  • The Ghost: Shawn and Marlon's mother is mentioned, but never seen. This also applies to Dee's mother.
  • Good Bad Girl: In "Ho's on First", Marlon dates a Nice Girl who had a reputation for sleeping around. She seems to have abandoned her promiscuous ways, but is confronted about it when Marlon finds out about her past from Shawn, who is informed by T.C. and Dupree about it. T.C. and Dupree note that even during those days, she used to rescue animals whenever she wasn't sleeping with someone.
  • Handsome Lech: Shawn. Although he has a healthy flow of women, it's revealed in one episode that he has a fear of commitment.
  • In with the In Crowd: Shawn.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Marlon has one after gambling away the money for Pops' birthday present.
  • Large Ham: Marlon is THE hammiest of them all, with Pops being a very close second. Shawn gets his licks in too.
  • Loony Fan: Marlon (and later Shawn who goes to rescue him) is held hostage by a deranged fan.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: This happens to Pops when the brothers grow suspicious about him going out in the middle of the night in a suit. He was taking dancing lessons and he wanted to surprise his wife.
  • Mistaken for Dying: This also happens to Pops in "Pop's Last Hurrah." He was getting a checkup for his hemorrhoids, and was embarrassed to tell his sons.
  • Mistaken for Murderer: The gang thinks Grandma's new beau is a serial killer who preys on old women.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • One episode involved a suspiciously named Arnold Crump, the millionaire who threatened to tear down Pops' diner.
    • The brothers have a tendency to crack jokes at celebrity shortcomings.
  • No Ending: The show never got a proper series finale, something Shawn Wayans' character lampshades in the first Scary Movie.
  • The Rashomon: The episode "Fire!" No one is telling the truth.
  • Running Gag:
    • Pops' taking off his belt whenever the boys got out of line or twitching his eyes whenever he's lying.
    • Marlon being unable to pay his half of the rent.
    • The brothers (usually Marlon) always crying out "WHY!" whenever they think someone has died.
    • Shawn calling Marlon "stoopid" whenever he does or says something...well..stupid.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Dee.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl:
    • Marlon.
    • Shawn at times.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In "Unspoken Token", Shawn dreams that he is on an episode of Good Times, in which the brothers have referenced a few times before.
    • The aptly titled episode "Misery" serves as a Whole-Plot Reference to the novel of the same name. Marlon, famous for his role on Everybody Loves Everybody, is kidnapped by an obsessed fan who threatens to kill him if he refuses to marry her, and even tries to break his legs using a sledgehammer and a piece of lumber. When Shawn goes looking for him, he too ends up captured, and they are rescued in the nick of time by Dee and Pops, who managed to figure out where they disappeared to.
  • Show Within a Show: In the later seasons, Marlon gets a job on the show Everybody Loves Everybody.
  • Take That!: Several celebrity jabs made by the brothers.
    Shawn: (talking about Marlon's passion for art) It's about as real as Michael Jackson's wedding. (cue laughter and graons from the audiences.)
  • Token White: White Mike.
  • Treachery Cover Up: In "Odd Man Out", Terrell, Shawn's best friend from high school, comes to visit to the detriment of Marlon, because Terrell enjoys playing pranks on him. Although Shawn loves having Terrell around, Marlon becomes suspicious because, despite playing for a Greek professional basketball team, Terrell keeps borrowing money from Shawn. However, Shawn sides with Terrell and kicks Marlon out of the apartment until Terrell is ready to go home. Later, when Dee reads a recent issue of a sports magazine that highlights basketball teams from outside the U.S., they discover that Terrell isn't on the roster of any of the Greek teams. When Marlon confronts Terrell, he admits that he was cut by the team before the season started and he returns the money he borrowed from Shawn. Marlon promises Terrell he won't tell Shawn about this on the condition that Terrell doesn't return until he becomes a real friend, right before he kicks him out of the apartment. When Shawn asks about Terrell, Marlon says Terrell had to go back to train for the next season, and probably won't be back for a long time.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery: Marlon sort of displays this in character on his show. This was also the whole point of the episode "Gots to Have a J.O.B."
  • The Un-Favourite: Marlon is usually portrayed as this.
  • Very Special Episode:
    • In "Gots to Have a J.O.B.", Marlon gets a job in a series of malt liquor commercials. The first commercial is innocent enough: he's singing with some guys. The other commercials, however, are full of stereotypes about blacks and are sexist. Marlon makes a lot of money, but Dee, Pops and Shawn feel that he's selling out and setting a bad example for kids. Marlon comes to realize this when a young fan tells him that he plans to drop out of school and drink malt liquor. Marlon can't quit because, according to the contract, he will be sued. With Shawn's help, Marlon is fired from the commercials, but not before taking over a live shoot of the latest commercial and telling everyone what's exactly in the malt liquor, how it damages the black community, and exposing the director for the racist he really is.
    • In "Unspoken Token", Shawn gets a job at a company, but finds out that he was only hired so the company could meet the requirements of minority workers for a government contract. Shawn quits the job, but not before bringing in the man the company applied to for the contract. The twist? Turns out the man is black.
    • In "The High Life", Marlon meets one of his favorite actors, who turns out to be a drug addict. The actor persuades Marlon to smoke weed to calm himself before a big audition. Marlon gets high and blows his audition and we later find out that the actor who referred him was fired for the same reason.