DAR TV: The Steve Harvey Show

There are many television sitcoms that go slept on during their entire run, and some of which that get appreciated in retrospect after they've actively left the air. One show that I think fits both descriptions is The Steve Harvey Show. Not to be mistaken for his current talk show, The Steve Harvey Show ran from 1996-2002, for a total of 122 episodes and ended up in syndication. The show started as a launching pad and a vehicle to further the career of stand up comedians Steve Harvey and Cedric the Entertainer. It would remain a favorite during its run on the WB Network, and garnered good ratings for the station as well. Today, we gathered up the team to look back at this show and reflect on the positives and any negatives as well. Let's get into it shall we?

Out of all the Kings of Comedy, I was probably the least-likely to be a Steve Harvey fan. I thought he was funny enough and whatnot. But, something about Harvey never kept me that long. However, when he had someone to bounce off of--especially Cedric the Entertainer--things were so much better. That's the saving grace of The Steve Harvey Show. Steve Harvey was given people to bounce off of.

Steve Harvey plays retired funk artist-turned-music teacher Steve Hightower in what seems kind of like a send up to Lean on Me. Of course, since this is a 90s sitcom, you've got the goofy kid sidekicks. For Mr. Hightower, we get Bullethead and Romeo for our troubles. While they weren't horrible characters, they were one-note in their Abbot and Costello bit. Actually, now that I think about it, they were like a biracial version of Steve and Cedric's characters, so...eh, they're cool.

One character I absolutely despised--and no, not because I'm "racist"--was Lydia. Lydia can go kick rocks. I don't care that Lori Beth Denberg was funny on All That. Her character was...ugh! No! Just...no! See, I can't even formulate actual sentences and shit to describe her! They should've kept, like, the Spanish chick Sophia or Aisha (whatever happened to her?). Like, I get they wanted to have another white person around aside from Bullethead...but she didn't really work for me.

The Steve Harvey Show is one sitcom that I can watch without interruption. It wasn't overly dramatic and nowhere near boring. It was one of its own kind.

I believe the fact that it was relatable is what made people drawn to it. The situations Steve dealt with on the show were things people dealt with every day. There was a down home flavor to it that was irresistible.

Cedric the Entertainer, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and Merlin Santana made for an amazing cast. They all brought something different to the show. Each had his/her own kind of funny.

We got to see Steve as a disgruntled high school teacher who had a unique relationship with his students. Steve and Cedric were roommates. Wendy, known as Regina on the show, was the principal and eventually Steve's love interest. One of my favorite moments on the show was when the characters Romeo and Bullet Head threw away their disposable cameras. It's hard not to laugh at the thought of that scene.

I wish the show could have lasted longer than it did, but I know every sitcom has a life span. It existed in a time before reality shows took over and I appreciated its authenticity. If the series is on DVD, I'll be finding a way to get it.

Steve Harvey is somewhat of an underrated comedian to me and I think that has to do with the success of his sitcom, his recent foray into TV hosting and some of his more questionable statements, not to mention series of books that just seemed weird to me at times. As a result, I never really heard people bring his name up in a list of the best comedians. However, his talent as a comedian is not to be questioned. His distinctly country ass voice and delivery made the more ridiculous moments of his sets amazing. Right up to his last show, he was consistenly hilarious. His joke about how white people handle being fired differently than black people is still a classic piece of standup and one of my favorites from him. Of course you can't talk about him without bringing up his sitcom ''The Steve Harvey Show''. His friendship with the great Cedric The Entertainer was on full display and the cast of characters was memorable from beginning to end. And no discussion about that show is complete without mentioning the classic songs ''When The Funk Hits The Fan'' and ''Break Me Off A Piece Of That Funk'', probably two of the best songs to come out of a sitcom ever. Which reminds me that True owes the people a Ron Isley impression, but that's something for another day. Steve Harvey is one of the best comedians ever and an important part of Black comedy.

The Steve Harvey Show is probably one of those that you'll watch these days and say, "Wow. This shit is still funny to me." On that show, is where the term "bosslady" was born for me. How many times have you used the term? Safe to say quite often. These days we're seeing Steve Harvey a lot more often because of his drama with the Miss Universe pageant, but his comedy is timeless.

I felt like I really connected with the student body on the show because it was an urban setting. The show was set in Chicago and me being in New York City, I was like, "Finally, I got something I can connect with." I do feel the show was short lived though, but had a perfect run. It probably wouldn't have survived today on the air but it was perfect for the time setting.

I think the mark of a great sitcom is that it never grows old, stale or losses its wit and comedic factor. The Steve Harvey Show fits that description without a doubt. As you've seen in this roundtable discussion, most of our contributors feel as if the show was short lived and deserved more seasons. This was a show that had 6 seasons and 122 episodes. To compare it, Jamie Foxx had 5 seasons. Martin had 5 seasons. Fresh Prince had 6 seasons. Steve Harvey was right there with them, the difference is that the show never experienced the changes and decline that your average sitcom does.

The show featured Steve Harvey in his box fade and baggy suit glory as Steve Hightower, a music teacher who used to be a singer in a fairly popular group, which was a bit far fetched in essence, but it was believable. He would have a boss, the principal Regina Grier, who he would try his hardest to gain trust in and for, while looking to become more than just co-workers. In the midst of that was his best friend and roommate, gym teacher Ced, played by Cedric the Entertainer. Eventually Ced would end up meeting Lovita Jenkins, who would become his girlfriend and eventual wife. The characters of Bullethead and Romeo are hilarious and fit into the roles they are given as students who look to Steve as a mentor.

There are some more pieces to the puzzle in this show, but to me, the highlight of it has always been the music they put out in the episodes, such as "Break Me Off A Piece of Funk", and "When The Funk Hits The Fan", which are honestly two of the most solid songs ever created strictly for a television show (take notes, Empire). The infectious hooks of these songs are what really drive them, as they are all comedic yet enjoyable also. When I reflect back on this show, that is my biggest memory of it: the music. The laughs and the jokes were also always something I loved, but the music remains my first thought when I hear "The Steve Harvey Show".

What are your memories of this show? Post them below in the comments.



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