Maybe with everything we’ve been through, Hollywood feels like we need a healthy dose of nostalgia. There were many TV reunions over the past year, both online and on streaming services and, of course, the long anticipated “Friends” reunion made its debut last week. (It was well worth the hype, by the way.)
Now, E! joins the fray with a four-part special event series, “Reunion Road Trip,” which reunites cast members from four beloved shows: “All My Children,” “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” “A Different World” and “Scrubs.”
Though I was a fan of three out of the four, I only had time to watch one. So, I chose the episode reuniting my favorite of the four, “World,” the classic spinoff of “The Cosby Show,” which debuted in 1987.
Not surprisingly, the “World” reunion revolves around Kadeem Hardison and Jasmine Guy, who played the show’s signature characters, Dwayne and Whitley. The two go on a road trip to a college, where they meet up with former co-stars Darryl M. Bell (Ron), Dawnn Lewis (Jaleesa), Cree Summer (Freddie) and Sinbad (Walter). The group reminisces about their characters and how they got their roles, the social issues the show confronted and the impact the show had on historically black colleges and universities. Charnele Brown (Kim) and Debbie Allen, the show’s executive producer/director, also make appearances.
It’s great to see the cast together and reminiscing, but “Trip” tries too hard to be clever by introducing too many gimmicks. The hour is framed like a reality show with Hardison talking to the camera to set up some of the action. But Hardison is clearly reading, which makes the whole episode seem scripted. The producers would have been much better served to just gather the actors together and let them talk. But the hour is not a total loss as we learn an important piece of information about Dwayne interrupting Whitley’s wedding — one of my all-time favorite TV scenes. And we do get a little scoop on which two co-stars dated for a while during the show. (Hint: They were not a couple on the show.)
If you’re a fan of any of these shows, you’ll no doubt enjoy seeing your favorites together to reminisce and share clips. But don’t be surprised when you’re disappointed that it all goes by too quickly.
“Reunion Road Trip” premieres at 9 p.m. Thursday, June 10, on E! with cast members from “All My Children.” That’s followed by the reunions of “Queer Eye” (June 17), “World” (June 24) and “Scrubs” (July 1).
Angela Henderson-Bentley writes about television for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.