The Wayans Bros.
GenreSitcom
Created by
Starring
Theme music composer
Opening theme
ComposerTom Rizzo
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons5
No. of episodes101 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
Production locationsWarner Bros. Studios,
Burbank, California (taping location)
Camera setupVideotape; Multi-camera
Running time21 minutes
Production companies
Original release
NetworkThe WB
ReleaseJanuary 11, 1995 (1995-01-11) –
May 20, 1999 (1999-05-20)

The Wayans Bros. is an American sitcom television series that aired on The WB from January 11, 1995, to May 20, 1999. The series starred real life brothers Shawn and Marlon Wayans, comedian John Witherspoon and Anna Maria Horsford (season 2 onward).

Premise

Shawn and Marlon Williams (Shawn Wayans and Marlon Wayans) are brothers who live in an apartment on 117th Street in Harlem. Shawn owns a local newsstand, where he and his brother Marlon work on a daily basis. Their father, John "Pops" Williams (John Witherspoon), owns a diner called Pops' Joint, where Marlon once worked (during season 1). Formerly located in Harlem, the restaurant was later moved downtown into the fictional Neidermeyer Building, in Rockefeller Center, where Shawn's newsstand is located and Dee Baxter (Anna Maria Horsford (onwards from Season 2)) works as a security guard.[1]

Season 2 transitions

Many transitions were made in season 2:

Cast

Main

Recurring

Episodes

Main article: List of The Wayans Bros. episodes

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113January 11, 1995 (1995-01-11)May 24, 1995 (1995-05-24)
222September 6, 1995 (1995-09-06)May 15, 1996 (1996-05-15)
322September 4, 1996 (1996-09-04)May 14, 1997 (1997-05-14)
422September 17, 1997 (1997-09-17)May 20, 1998 (1998-05-20)
522September 17, 1998 (1998-09-17)May 20, 1999 (1999-05-20)

Production

The Wayans Bros. was the first of the four sitcoms that aired as part of the original Wednesday night two hour lineup that helped launch the network (along with Unhappily Ever After, The Parent 'Hood and the short-lived Muscle). While in development, the series' working title was initially supposed to have been Brother to Brother, before the name of the series changed to The Wayans Bros.[2]

In the show's second season in 1995, Pops' Joint (the restaurant owned by Shawn and Marlon's father, John "Pops" Williams) was moved into the Neidermeyer Building, where the location was changed from Harlem to Rockefeller Center, Manhattan.

While the series did not end on a cliffhanger, it was cancelled in 1999 due to declining ratings and was not given a proper finale. In the horror comedy film Scary Movie (2000), Shawn Wayans' character, while furiously stabbing another character to death, breaks the fourth wall and says: "And The Wayans Bros. was a good show, man! It was a good-ass show, and we didn't even get a final episode!"

Theme music and opening sequence

The show's official opening title began with Shawn and Marlon on the steps of a brownstone apartment building, donning afros and wearing 1970s preppy attire, moving in rhythm to an accompanying satirical music piece that's supposed to have a 1970s style "urban" sitcom theme song feel. Marlon forcefully smacks the camera, and then segues into "the real opening" of The Wayans Bros.

The scene then cuts to them with their normal clothes and trying to help an old woman who gets hit by a bus. The camera then shows the brothers inside the bus with the title of the show underneath them. The "second half" part of The Wayans Bros. theme song was changed twice throughout its four-year run (19951999). In the first two seasons, the show's theme song was A Tribe Called Quest's "Electric Relaxation".

In the third season, the theme song changed to a four-second hip hop beat. In the final two seasons, the show's theme song was changed again to a regular hip hop instrumental beat (which was produced by the Wayans Bros. & Omar Epps). In Brazilian reruns of seasons one and two episodes that have aired in SBT in 2015, this version replaced the seasons one and two sequence with the season three sequence.

Syndication

Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution handles syndication distribution of the series. In September 1999, after the series was cancelled by The WB, the series began airing in off network syndication nationwide.

The first season DVD cover for The Wayans Bros.

At that same time, Chicago based national cable superstation WGN began airing reruns of the series, airing the series until 2002 (when its broadcast syndication run also ended); WGN (both the local Chicago feed and the national superstation feed) aired The Wayans Bros. in first run form from 1995 to 1999, when WGN (whose local Chicago feed was an affiliate of the network) carried WB programming nationally to make The WB available to markets where a local affiliate did not exist (The Wayans Bros. is one of three WB series to have aired on WGN in both first run and syndication form; The Parent 'Hood, 7th Heaven and Sister, Sister being the others).

In 2006, reruns began airing on BET, after a four-year absence, where it ran until 2007. In 2007, reruns of the series aired on Ion Television, where it ran until 2008. Since then, several Viacom networks, including MTV2, VH1 and BET Her have run the series in continuous rotation. As of 2023, reruns air frequently on VH1. All five seasons of the show stream on HBO Max and BET+.

Home media

Warner Home Video released Season 1 of The Wayans Bros. on DVD in Region 1. Warner Archive subsequently released Seasons 2 to 5 on DVD in Region 1.[3][4][5][6]

DVD Name Ep # Release Date
The Complete First Season 13 February 8, 2005
The Complete Second Season 22 May 9, 2017
The Complete Third Season 22 November 7, 2017
The Complete Fourth Season 22 January 22, 2019
The Complete Fifth Season 22 March 26, 2019

References

  1. ^ Brown, Preezy (2020-01-15). "10 Most Memorable Episodes Of 'The Wayans Bros.'". VIBE.com. Retrieved 2022-08-15.
  2. ^ "It's Comedy for WB Network". Broadcasting & Cable. August 15, 1994. Archived from the original on 2012-11-05.
  3. ^ "The Wayans Bros: The Complete Fifth Season".
  4. ^ "The Wayans Bros. – 'The Complete 2nd Season' Is Coming to DVD at Long Last! Shawn and Marlon Come Back to Disc This May, from the Warner Archive". TVShowsOnDVD. Archived from the original on 21 April 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  5. ^ "The Wayans Bros. - 'The Complete 3rd Season' Is Coming to DVD This Year! MOD Available from the Warner Archive in Early November". TVShowsOnDVD. Archived from the original on 21 October 2017. Retrieved 20 April 2017.
  6. ^ "The Wayans Bros: The Complete Fourth Season".