Today, I take a look at a fun sequence in an early episode of A Different World.
This is “I Know Every Scene By Heart,” a feature where I spotlight notable scenes in episodes or films that I don’t otherwise feel like spotlighting as a whole (no knock on the episodes or movies in question, necessarily, I just really only want to talk about one scene. Although yes, often it is because I like the scene better than the episode/film).
After Lisa Bonet was fired from A Different World, the show retooled and focused on Kadeem Hardison and Jasmine Guy as the quasi-starcrossed lovers, Dwayne Wayne and Whitley Gilbert. Both characters were cast members in Season 1, but now they were the leads. The show then added more characters as friends for them, but also, Dawnn Lewis’ role as Jaleesa Vinson (an older student) was altered a bit, with her main plot during the second season being a slow-burning romance between Jaleesa and the newly introduced dorm director and coach and Walter Oakes (Sinbad). Walter was the sort of Fonzie character to Dwayne, acting as the older voice of wisdom, but obviously, Walter (being played by an acclaimed standup comedian like Sinbad) was also comic relief.
Jaleesa and Walter’s romance was very much a B-plot in most of their episodes, but occasionally, their B-plot stood out. In Season 2’s Valentine’s Day episode, “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,” Dwayne breaks up with the girl that he had been dating as he got too serious too quickly for her (Whitley had given Dwayne some advice, and so he thanked her with some candy, sparking up their possible romance again). That was the A-plot, but the B-plot was Jaleesa being wary about whether she could really trust Walter, who she had recently started officially dating. So she put on a fake accent and pretended to be a Jamaican woman named Sheila and asked Walter out. He agreed, shocking Jaleesa.
However, when she confronted him, he revealed that he knew it was her all along. She doesn’t believe him, which he knew she wouldn’t, so he then bursts out a group of students all dressed as Jamaicans (Walter throws on a dreadlock wig) who help him with a song called “Jaleesa is Sheila, Sheila is Jaleesa! No fooling (perhaps “no fool me”?), no fooling, your accent didn’t fool me.”
— TV One (@tvonetv) September 8, 2021
It’s an adorable sequence. I love when sitcoms have these seemingly serious relationship moments and they just turn out to be great comedic bits. Oddly, I can’t find the full scene, just this clip on Twitter that cuts off the very end of the rather short song.
If you have any suggestions for other notable scenes you’d like to see me spotlight (preferably movies or TV shows where the scene you’re interested in perhaps stands out more than the episode/film overall), drop me a line at email@example.com!