The Smart Guy TV show is an underrated American sitcom about black excellence from the 90’s that deserves more respect. Check us out as we shine a light on this #CultureClassic.
Smart Guy is a series centering on the exploits of child prodigy T.J. Henderson (played Tahj Mowry). Because of his extraordinary intellect, TJ jumps directly from the fourth grade to the tenth grade, attending the same high school as his two elder siblings Yvette and Marcus. The series debuted on March 26, 1997 and ran for three seasons ending on May 16, 1999. The series was produced by de Passe Entertainment (formerly Motown Productions) in association with Walt Disney Television.
Set in Washington, D.C., the show centers on the misadventures of boy genius and youngest child T.J. Henderson who becomes a high school freshman with teenagers as his classmates. He must adjust to the life with older, but not necessarily wiser, high school teenagers – including his brother Marcus (played by Jason Weaver) and Marcus’ best friend Mo (played by Omar Gooding). Episodes typically deal with T.J.’s missteps of trying to fit in as a kid genius, while being a small kid in high school, as well as the contrast between his book smarts and his brother’s street smarts.
Older brother Marcus Henderson, the wannabe suave and underachieving middle child, also deals with standard teenage problems, such as finding a date and doing homework (spending most of that time trying to get T.J. to do his homework for him). Their father Floyd Henderson (John Marshall Jones), is a widowed single father who owns his own roofing business, deals with the problems of raising his three kids: Yvette, Marcus and T.J., since his wife’s death. Floyd’s only daughter, and Marcus and T.J.’s older sister Yvette (Essence Atkins), usually is the level-headed member of the family – similar to Floyd in that respect – and is the typical overachieving student.
All in all, the Hendersons are one of the best representations of a middle class black family you can find in any area of TV and so quite underrated. Plus the intro is a wholesome bop. All three seasons are available to stream on Disney +.
- Production company de Passe Entertainment was founded by Berry Gordy Jr., son of Motown founder, the legendary Berry Gordy.
- de Passe Entertainment also produced Sister, Sister starring twins Tia and Tamar Mowery (Taj’s big sister).
- Keeping it about family, Omar Gooding is the younger brother of Oscar winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr.
- Jason Weaver pre-Smart Guy was the singing voice of Simba in OG version of The Lion King film.
We hope you enjoyed our look back at the #CultureClassic Smart Guy TV show. Check out some of our other throwback film articles:
Written by @TalentedMrFord