1 9 9 2 – 1 9 9 7 (USA)
101 x 30 minute episodes
Mark Cooper (former NBA player Mark Curry) is a former student at Oakridge High School in Oakland, California, where he had been the star of the school’s basketball team and tried out for the professional league but failed in his efforts.
He had returned to his alma mater to teach science and history, working under principal P.J. Moore (Nell Carter). She and Mark had grown up together and he called her ‘Peaches’. His students call him ‘Coop’ and he is also the coach for the school’s cheerleading team, the Penguinettes, and of the Oakland Peanut League basketball team.
Coop lives at 653 Hamilton Street in a house he shares with sexy Vanessa Russell (Holly Robinson) and Robin Dumars (Dawnn Lewis). Their relationship was platonic, so stories revolved around their dating misadventures as well as Mark’s experiences in his new career as a teacher.
Vanessa was originally an executive secretary at the investment firm of Toplin and Toplin. She had hoped to become a stockbroker but later developed an interest in the medical profession and worked as an orthopaedic nurse at the Sweetwater Retirement Home, then as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) trainee and finally a licensed EMT with an ambulance crew.
Robin is the music teacher at Oakridge High School. She is a sweet girl but somewhat jealous that Vanessa can eat what she wants yet maintain her slim figure.
When Robin moves out in the second season, Coop buys the house with Vanessa and his cousin, Geneva Lee (Saundra Quarterman), a single mother, and her forthright young daughter, Nicole (Raven Symone), become their new tenants. Geneva is initially the new music teacher at Oakridge, then the acting principal and finally the principal (making her Mark’s boss as well as his housemate).
Others who moved through the light, bright little stories included fun-loving neighbourhood kid Tyler (Marquise Wilson), rival coaches Ricketts (Roger E. Mosley) and Corley (Ron Canada), college buddy Steve (Steve White), and assorted students.
The house in which Mr Cooper “hung” was originally that of the Seavers on Growing Pains (in the first episode, Jason Seaver (Alan Thicke) himself showed up to wish them well). Subsequently, the set was changed without explanation.
Roger E. Mosley