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A Different World

By Wikipedia

A Different World (1987-1993) was a sitcom that dealt with the life of students at the fictional Historically Black College, Hillman, and ran for six seasons on NBC. A spin-off series from The Cosby Show, it was originally centered around Denise Huxtable (Lisa Bonet). Later seasons focused on Dwayne Wayne (Kadeem Hardison) and Whitley Marion Gilbert (Jasmine Guy).


  • Mary Alice - Leticia "Lettie" Bostic (Episodes 13-20, 23-44)
  • Darryl M. Bell - Ron Johnson (Seasons 2-6, recurring previously)
  • Lisa Bonet - Denise Huxtable (Season 1)
  • Charnele Brown - Kimberly Reese (Seasons 2-6)
  • Loretta Devine - Stevie Rallen (Episodes 1-9, 21)
  • Jasmine Guy - Whitley Marion Gilbert-Wayne (Entire run, except for Episode 22 (see below))
  • Kadeem Hardison - Dwayne Cleophus Wayne (Entire run, except for Episode 22 (see below))
  • Dawnn Lewis - Jaleesa Vinson-Taylor (Seasons 1-5)
  • Lou Myers - Vernon Gaines (Seasons 3-6, recurring previously)
  • Jada Pinkett - Lena James (Season 6, recurring previously)
  • Ajai Sanders - Gina Deveaux (Season 6, recurring previously)
  • Sinbad - Walter Oakes (Seasons 2-4, recurring previously)
  • Cree Summer - Winifred "Freddie" Brooks (Seasons 2-6)
  • Marisa Tomei - Maggie Lauten (Season 1)
  • Glynn Turman - Col. Bradford Taylor (Seasons 2-6)
  • Karen Malina White - Charmaine Tyesha Brown (Season 6)

Episode 22's Cast

The final episode of the first season, Episode 22, entitled "My Dinner with Theo", had a much different casting lineup than the rest of the series. It was apparently shot before the pilot was, and as such many characters from the rest of the show are not credited at all, and some appear only in this episode. This also marked the end of the run on the series for two regulars: Lisa Bonet, who left upon discovering she was having a baby with her husband at the time, Lenny Kravitz, and Marisa Tomei. Later, in what is regarded as an Oscar upset, Tomei would win Best Supporting Actress for My Cousin Vinny.

Characters that did not appear in this episode include: Jasmine Guy as Whitley and Kadeem Hardison as Dwayne. Characters that appeared in this episode but no others include Ted Ross as Dr. Harris, the dean of Hillman and Vernee Watson-Johnson as Carla Meyers, Hillman's resident director.


Share Your Memories!

Do you have a favorite episode of A Different World? What do you remember about the series? Share your stories with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)

Your Memories Shared!

"I really like the episode when Dwayne and Whitley finally got together after months of hiding their feelings for one another. That was the best episode, because as a viewer we were all waiting for it to happen. Their relationship was really the essence of the show, but it did not take away from the other characters or storylines. When the show was on it was, and always will be my favorite show, in fact I named my son after one of the characters, Whitley's ex-boyfriend Julian. Thanks for the oppurtunity to let me share my feelings about my favorite show."

--Short T

"This has always been my favorite sitcom. I loved to young American-Americans seen in a positive light. My favorite episode would have to be when Whitley decides she wants Dywane only to discover Kenu."


"This was and still is my favorite TV sitcom. I especially liked the way the writers developed the characters and they evolved into new people at the end of the show (the last season). This seemed very realistic because that's what happens to students in college, grow up, and or change from their freshman year to their senior year in many ways. Once again, I think it is the best."


"A Different World is my all time favorite tv show! I would have to say that my favorite episode of A Different World would be the one when Dwane and Whitley finally get married. It took my breath away when Dwane was proposing to Whitley, and I was so happy when she decided to marry him!"


"I absolutely loved the chemistry that the cast of this show had. It seemed so real. Althogh I didn't attend a Historically black college, I believe this show hightened the awareness of a generation to the pride and community that is cultivated in this arena. If I had one wish, I would bring this cast back together for a reunion that last for one whole season!!"


"My favorite episodes were when Whitley and Dwayne got married, Walter and Jaleesa's wedding, when Whitley and Dwayne Were stuck in the blizzard. Oh hell i loved all of 'em!!"


"Absolutely the best episode was the time Whitley married Dwayne instead of Senator Byron Douglass. :) I loved the way he "came and got his woman.""


"A Different World is my all time favorite sitcom. Whitley and Duane are my all time favorite TV couple. I love the show I still watch it today. I have several favorite epdisodes but my favorite season were season 4 and season 6. Mainly because they focused primarily on Whitly and Duane. I wish there was a chance of a reunion...with "Whitley and Dwayne" still happily married with maybe two kids!"


"I really love this show! I started watching it as a companion piece to the Cosby Show, but I began to enjoy it in its own right! I forgot it was a spin-off. Whitley and Dewayne's wedding was one of the most romantic in television history. Though it could get silly sometimes, I think its a show African-Americans can watch with a source of pride without worrying about losing any racial respect. To sum up, I love this show wish there was a reunion episode in the future."


"My favorite episode of A Different World was by far the wedding of Dewayne and Whitley. Next was when they were fighting over the furniture in their apartment. There are just so many favorites, I can go on and on. It was by far the best sitcom for young African-Americans ever! I also liked the final episode, the acticng was superb!!!"


"Diffrent World is one of my favorite TV shows, it was not always my favorite show buit eventually it became the show that I had to tape every day. The show helps me to understand that I am not alone in college, especailly being that I attend T.S.U. a historically black school similiar to Hilmman college."


"Different World is probably one of the best African-American sitcoms of the late 20th century. As a young black women in England, this programme was shown every Thursday by our home channel - Channel 4. Many young black brits regularly watched the show as it was the only show on British TV at the time for black teenagers and young twenty somethings. It gave us an insight into what it was like to attend an all black college in the USA. The show was a spin off from the Crosby Show and was centred around Denise - Lisa Bonet going off to an all black college called Hillman. At first, the show started of slowly and the story lines were weak. However, when Debbie Allen took over from Bill Crosby as the main producer, this changed the dynamics of the show and brought to the forefront other characters such as Freddie and Kym. The demise of Lisa Bonet was probably a good thing. Not that Lisa was a poor actress, just that the show now centred around the college and its activities rather than one person. These changes made the show come alive! Whitley, Freddie, Dywane, Ron, Kym, Jalisa and Sinbad were born! Although it was a comedy, there were some serious episodes such as the time Dywane was arrested during the time of the Los Angeles riots and the issue of college rape. As new characters were added the show developed never losing its humour or its appeal. One of my favourite storylines was the one where Freddie was falling for Ron but was dating Shazza - Gary Dourdan from CSI, and Ron was in a relationship with Kym, Freddie's best friend. For me Different World is an example of what can be done with a good script, good actors/actresses and a good director/producer. It launched the careers of Jada Pinkett and Gary Dourdan. To sum up the show in three words, SIMPLE THE BEST!! PS, It would be nice to have a one off show say a College Reunion, to see where there lives are now."

--Esther from London England

"I set my schedule according to the hour ADW is on. My favorite episode is when it is midterm time and they are in the "Zone". Also the Black history moment where Whitley finds out that her family owned slaves, or when Whitley gets through to the bad kids, but my ultimate favorite is the final episode where Dwayne finds out Whitley is Pregnant. I demand a reunion!!!"


"It is very refreshing to watch every episode of A Diffrent World. I can't begin to express to each actor that participated in this show, how much I enjoyed watching their characterization of college students, professors, parents, mentors, etc. I felt so connected due to my age at the time the show aired, and when it left the air, I too was going experiencing changes in my life that mirrored the final episodes. It would really be a highlight in my life, as well as the other people that have responded, to see this show revisited and possibly another show to evolve from the reunion. Thank you to all actors, writers and most of all thank you to Debbie Allen for "Kickin it Up a Notch," --back then..."

--Cheer Girl

"My favorite episodes were when Whittley was pursuing Dwayne. A reunion is long over due."


"This show has been the funniest I have seen, I love watching it even now. I have few favorite episodes but the best two are when Whitley and Duwayne finally get married that is and awesome episode and the one where they talk about AIDS - it 's good that the show deals with real issues."


"A Different World was a very good sitcom. Sorry that Lisa Bonet's character Denise left after the first season due to her real life pregnancy. However I believe that if she was to continue on the show, Denise and Dwayne would have gotten married instead of Dwayne and Whitley."


"My favorite episode was the last one. I cried when Whitney and Dewayne left for Japan. The relationship between him and Ron saying goodbye to one another, was a friendship that I had watched from the begining of the show. They show re-runs now, and every time I look at the last episode of the show of Dewayne telling Ron goodbye I always cry."


"I loved all of the episodes of A Different World. I especially liked the scenes at "The Pit". I have been trying to find the written modern intrepretation that Jada Pinkett-Smith's character Lena James presented in the English professor's (played by Roscoe Lee Brown) class on Romeo and Juliet (I think that was the one). If anyone knows please do a feedback."

--Ms. M

"A Different World is my favorite show, along with its creater, The Cosby Show. This show really focuses on college life. Before I started to watch this show I had no idea what so ever about college life and A Different World has open eyes to what I wasn't getting.My favorite episodes are when Whitley finds out that she is pregant. The way she tells Dwayne is real cool. Another one of my favorites is when Dwayne has a dream that he was treated like a woman. It was so funny because women were running the country and it was a mess. Also when Dwayne and Whitley left for Japan at the end of the season. That was so sad everytime I watch it I want to cry. My parents also love the show. In fact, they named me after "miss thang" Whitley. When the show first came out, I wasn't born and now I have to tape all the episodes. They really need to get put together a reunion to see where they are now."


""A Different World" is a show that I still wished continued today. What I liked most about the show was it's continuity from year to year bringing in new faces and new storylines. Whitley and Dwayne are still my favorite couple and the Kym, Ron and Freddy love triangle put an exciting twist on the show. I love the issues faced in the final two seasons- from the Rodney King beating and Gina's abusive relationship to the stand made by Dorian to Lena about waiting to have sex when he marries (and he stuck to it) and the halarious episode on the Predential race where the women were the canidates. This show had one of the best final episodes I've ever seen. (Putting it against "Cheers", "Cosby Show", "Good Times", "Living Single" and "Martin"). Being an Historically Black Univeristy Alumni, I agree that this show accurately showed what college life was like in the late Awesome80s and early ninties. I would love to see how each of the characters have evolved into the 21st century. I hope that there is a reunion in the making (or at least a short story to update us on the characters as well as "Where are They Now??" on the Actors and Actresses who played the roles.) Until then, I'll keep enjoying the Syndications."


"This show takes me back to my college days, and my university wasn't even a historically black college. I feel like I know each of the characters and can relate to their feelings, thoughts, struggles, and behavior. I would LOVE to see a reunion episode. Until then, keep the reruns coming!!"


"Forget Whitley and Dwayne - my all time favourite TV couple was definitely Freddy and Ron!! Their on screen chemistry was amazing and as they were my two favourite characters, I think the best episode was the one where they finally got it on! While most viewers were waiting for Dwayne and Whitley to sort themselves out and get together I hoped that former sparring partners Ron & Freddy would see the light and realise they were made for each other- and they did! Eventually! The show was also a fantastic showcase for talented young up-and-coming actors and also tackled serious and gritty issues which made it a must see show. I still catch the repeats now. The demise of Denise Huxtable and the introduction of Debbie Allen as a producer was the best thing that happened for the show. Bring on a reunion special! (Or at least give us an update on what the actors are up to now)."

--ron&freddy fan

"There were so many sitcoms in the "Awesome80's". I was born in 1988, but I still watch Awesome80s sitcoms. I watched the Cosby show a lot also, but nothing compared to A Different World. I watch the reruns of ADW every chance I get, everytime the episode is finished I can't help but think, "I wonder what happens to the characters in the future". I can't help but wonder if Dwayne and Whitley stay together or how many children they have. I am 15 now and A Different World is my number one favorite show. I would love to see a reunion special, I think ADW fans diserve to know what exactly happens to the characters."


"They say art imitates life. Well, I happened to be a college student through five of ADW's 6 seasons. While I'm not an African-American, nor did I attend a prodominantly black college, I found much in the series I could relate to. To this day I find it one of the very few programs that realistically potrayed college life, (outside of the first season) or of college aged people during that time period."

--Capt Paul

"I have always loved A Different World, even when Denise couldn't remain on the show, I remained a faithful viewer. I loved the episode when Dwayne bust up Whitley's marriage to the senator. It was unforgettable. My family used to call me Kim because they thought I favored her. . I remember how bad I wanted to be a part of the college experience, which was one of the reasons why I went to college. My college (Northern Illinois University) had a Gilbert Hall when I was a freshman and only sophomores could sign up to live there. . I wanted to live in Gilbert Hall so bad, but when my sophomore year came, they turn our Gilbert Hall into an administrative building. . I was heart broken. . I wanted to related to the series so bad. . I would love to purchase the DVD collection when ever it comes. Thanks for the memories."

--Tiffany Booker, Marietta, GA.

"I loved the episode when Duane takes Whitley home for the Christmas Holiday and they are all around the piano singing. Those were the good old days. Families don't do that anymore, everyone has somewhere else to be. "


"My word! I never thought I'd see the final season of ADW but I finally did thanks to sindications! I was born in 1981 so when the show aired my parents didn't like me seeing "adult" TV shows so I would sneak in a show here and there but never got to see the ending, now almost 11 years later, I finally got to see it and I loved the last season! Whitley's marriage to Wayne totally brought a nice closure to the the near ending of the show, it's funny, but although Cree Summer and Kadeem Hardison had a real relationship off screen, the on-screen romance between Jasmine Guy and Kadeem Hardison felt pretty darn real!"


"A Different World played a very huge part in helping to the world to view Black youth in a light that was and is positive and uplifting. Though the sitcom involved many elements, the important matter was we were allowed to see black youth from different background grow successful. The show also dealt with issues that were very significant in black culture. The episodes about apartied, LA riots, minority voting.

My favorite episode was the one which included Whoopi Goldburg and Tisha Campbell. The professor (Whoopi Goldburg) ask students to write their own obituary. Tisha Campbell's character reveal that she can contract HIV. I think the show was very responsible in opening up a forum where young people could start discussing and becoming educated in an issus the affects the our community and the world so greatly.

Today the issues is very large and I think A Different World tried to get a headstart in education and putting an end to this epidemic. Even though A Different World was apart of the Awesome Awesome80s I think the generation behind it could watch the show today and learn a lot. The outcome would still be positive."


"I first watched "A Different World" in the early 1990's during my teenage years in London, England and I loved the show so much back then that I recorded some of the episodes. I still have it on tape and I watch the show now with nothing but fond memories using it as an instrumental vehicle for growing up as a young woman. It was and still is one of the most positive programmes depicting the diversity of young African-Americans in one of the most challenging moments in their life. Filled with great laughs, good energy and characters we can all relate to I have nothing but praise for Bill Cosby and Debbie Allen for creating this wonderful programme with positive role-models."


""A Different World" was one of those shows where if you watched it, you would never forget it. It was based on predominantly black college students who faced many different phases of life that taught them about themselves and the real world. Two characters that should never be forgotten are Dwayne Wayne(Kadeem Hardison) and Whitley Gilbert(Jasmine Guy). Dwayne started out being this goofy college freshman that was always looking for love in the wrong places. He took a special interest in Denise(Lisa Bonet) though. Whitley was a snobby princess type of girl that would have never given Dwayne a second look, but as time grew, they became more fond of each other and grew out of the characters that they started out being as they matured. The first time they kissed was when they were waiting for a tow truck in Whitley's car. They had just visited Denise' house where Dwayne finds out that he has no chance with Denise because she's married. Whitley and Dwayne were on their way back to campus, but they got a flat tire and they were stuck in the snow. Dwayne climbs in the back seat to keep Whitley warm and for some body heat himself. They both say that they are through with love and promise to meet each other when they're 95 years old for a game of Bingo. They laugh and then they kiss until they're interrupted by the bright lights of the tow truck. They share more kisses and lots of love as time goes on and they even get married. Dwayne and Whitley were only part of the magic though in this monumental show that was created with a great cast that left everlasting memories on their audience. If you never watched A Different World before, you should make it your duty to check out the re-runs that come on from time to time now. It's definitely a show that you don't wanna miss."

--Amanda Dixon

"I want to echo everything that everybody else said. But, my favorite episode is definitely the two-parter Spring Break episode where they get tangled up with two drug dealers. This is my absolute favorite show and I defiinitely want them to put it on DVD. This is my family's personal inside joke because we always say "Relax, Relate, Release!!" and other lines from the show. This is what good television is about, when you bring together great actors, writers, producers etc. and we get the chance to tell a great story. I sure hope that NBC can find its way to a reunion episode. But if not it will still always be my favorite show and thanks for the great times. I actually went to an HBCU (partially because of this), and it was a good simulation!"

--Iwanttoname my daughter Whitley!

"I love all episodes of A Different World, What is there not to love the show brings together postive African Americans, Love, real topics that many people face daily. If I had to pick one or two it would be the Freddie's Date Rape because it showed a side of the cast that would touch anyone one's heart. Two: When Dawayne and Whitley get married because it brought new meaning to the phrase "Baby Please!!!""


" As a coach, mentor, camp supervisor and a all around worker with todays youth, I have always been able to use a episode of this program to get a point across. The topics that this show has cover in the six years it was on TV, could of help me thru my days in college. Please put this on DVD!"

--Coach Gaiter

"One of my top favorite episodes is when Whitley calls Montel Williams for marital advice. It was neat how she calls a talk show that comes on in real life. I especially like the part when Freddie tels everyone that it's whitley on the phone talkin to him. They zoom in on Lena, Charmaine and Freddie's surprised faces. If you notice Charmaine covers her eyes, Lena cover her ears, and Freddie covers her mouth. This is the three wise monkeys-See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil. I like how they conveyed that message. I also like when Freddie finally confesses to Kim that she's been kissing Ron. It was funny how Kim said she already knew and seemed to not care because she was starting to like Spencer. This is one out of lots of my favortie episodes."


"I am black, and I was born in 1966, so I was college age at the time that A Different World aired. (1986-1992) I think that it was a great show for young African Americans and young Americans of any race.

I know that some people like to criticize Lisa Bonet, but I think that we should respect her as a fellow young, black person. Sure, she may seem strange in some respects, but who isn't strange at some time or another. I hated it when they took her off of the series."

--LM Williams

"I loved this show and still do. Watch it daily on the Oxygen network. Like many before me, my favorite shows are where Whitley and Dwayne realize their feelings for each other. It was quality tv and a show that your children could watch. Rock on Miss Thing, Chipmunk, Dr. War, Freddie, Kim and the rest. "


"I love a diffrent world. You see I said love as in the present. This was and still is my favorite show. I watch it every day. Dwanye and Whitley are my all time favorite Tv couple. I can't express how much I love this show and all the people who played in it. I wish that they were all still acting. I haven't seen any of them except for on maybe one or two shows since a different World. If you guys are reading this: Kim, Ron, Freddie, Jalesa, Col. Taylor, Mr. Gaines, Whitley, and Dwanye you guys are the best and played in the best sitcom every created. Don't every forget that! Your biggest fan"


"ADW has to be one of the most influential shows in the history of television. The light that was shed on the college experience not only promoted historically and predominantly black colleges, it called attention to higher learning in general. Imagine the number of people who gave college a consideration where there was not one!! To this day I can watch ADW and laugh like it was the first time. Please, Please, Please tell us fans what we have to do to get a reunion show. "

--32 and still loving it

"when whitley and dawyne moved to japan the reason why I like this part is becouse it inpires me and it teaches me about different worlds and friendship and taking it a step futhur"


"I loved this show and still do. Watch it daily on the Oxygen network. Like many before me, my favorite shows are where Whitley and Dwayne realize their feelings for each other. It was quality tv and a show that your children could watch. Rock on Miss Thing, Chipmunk, Dr. War, Freddie, Kim and the rest. "




Aired: September 24, 1987 - July 9, 1993

Cast: Lisa Bonet, Jasmine Guy, Dawnn Lewis, Kadeem Hardison, Darryl Bell, Marisa Tomei, Sinbad, Kim Wayans

Network: NBC

Genre: Sitcom

Theme songA Different World by Phoebe Snow (Aretha Franklin after season one)

Spinoff of: The Cosby Show

Image courtesy of NBC

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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