“Moesha” star Marcus Paulk disclosed on Aug. 4 that the show’s light-hearted tone became more dramatic in the latter seasons because of the rise of reality television, an explanation he used while defending his on-screen father, actor William Allen Young.
“Moesha” was a 1990s sitcom that followed the life of Black teen Moesha Mitchell, played by Brandy, living in Los Angeles following her mother’s death. The show also starred Young, who served as the series patriarch Frank Mitchell, Paulk — who played Brandy’s younger brother Miles Mitchell — Sheryl Lee Ralph, Countess Vaughn, Lamont Bentley, Shar Jackson, Yvette Wilson, and Ray J.
Paulk’s revelation came after The Shade Room shared a tweet that declared Young the “worst Black TV dad.” The initial upload posted by Twitter user @Blackkout__ read, “Who’s the worst Black TV dad of all time? I’m going Frank Mitchell all day everyday.”
The actor immediately jumped to Young’s defense in the site’s comment section by stating, “😂😂😂 damn @williamallenyoung They tryna cook you…. I got ya back …. Frank was [the] best dad on tv until TV [itself] went left with reality shows such as real-world, leaving networks believing fans wanted to see more drama.”
The 34-year-old continued by mentioning how the UPN network, where the show was initially airing until 2001, felt it would have been better to become more dramatized in order to keep viewers. Despite having drama-themed episodes in the series, Paulk shared that the influence of reality television pushed the network to release season 5’s bombshell that Frank Mitchell had fathered Dorian Long, played by Ray J, outside of his marriage to Moesha’s mom.
Paulk said, “so they wanted to make our show a [dramedy] and give @rayj a job at @brandy request. so they wrote him in a Frank’s son. Which was random as hell but y’all still watched it soooooo… it’s y’all’s fault 😂.”
Upon viewing the “spilled tea,” many “Moesha” fans expressed how the sudden change made more sense and others mentioned how it ruined the Young’s reputation forever on the show.
“😂 that s–t was definitely random as hell”
“I’m so dead at this explanation but I’m not surprised. I swear to gawd growing up that s–t threw me for a loop 💀”
“You right and that’s exactly what killed the show. I hated it then and when I rewatched on Netflix I hated it even more as an adult. I was just so confused. First they thought we were dumb because Ray-j had already been on the show as another character and then to bring him back for that mess.”
“It was dumb. I still don’t know why Dorian couldn’t just stay a cousin. They completely ruined Frank with that.”
Despite all the controversy surrounding the dramatic changes to “Moesha,” the ’90s sitcom is still a hit to fans today. Last year, following its success on Netflix, Brandy announced that she is in talks to make a “Moesha” reboot a reality. She told “Entertainment Tonight” “I am in talks right now with the right people for that to happen. I don’t see it not happening because of the success on Netflix. It just makes sense. I mean, I wanted to see what Moesha was up to.”
“Moesha” ran for six seasons on the UPN network from 1996 to 2001.