For six very successful seasons, Brandy starred in the UPN sitcom Moesha as Moesha Mitchell, a stylish, pleasant, conscientious, ambitious and adventuresome teen growing up in a middle-class African American family.
While humorous, the show also dealt with serious issues such as drugs, financial responsibility, teen sexuality, and gangs. While generally lighthearted, it also had some very riveting emotional moments, and thought-provoking stories.
Moesha, often nicknamed “Mo,” is the daughter of Frank Mitchell (William Allen Young), a Saturn salesman and widower. Helping Frank raise Moesha and her kid brother Myles (Marcus T. Paulk) is Frank's new wife, Deidra (Sheryl Lee Ralph), better known as “Dee”. Dee faces the challenge of gaining the acceptance of Myles and, particularly, Moesha, who initially does not welcome anyone taking the place of her mother.
Mo has a longtime guy friend, Hakeem Campbell, who is practically one of the family, played by Lamont Bentley (alas, now deceased). Mo's buddies also include Niecy Jackson (Shar Jackson) and Kimberly Ann Parker, “Kim,” played by Countess Vaughn, who later left Moesha and became the star of a spin-off show, The Parkers.
The teens attended Crenshaw High, of which Dee happened to be vice principal. Their favourite hang-out was “The Den,” run by the strong but always helpful Andell Wilkerson (Yvette Wilson).
Brandy's real-life brother Ray-J later joined the cast as Moesha's supposed cousin Dorian (whose true identity was revealed in a very dramatic episode late in the series). Dorian repeatedly gets himself into deep doo-doo on account of his rebellious follower-type ways. He proves to be quite the handful for Frank.
Over the seasons, Moesha transformed from a mostly light-hearted sitcom into something of a soap-opera - certainly an entertaining one, nonetheless. Some see this change as being connected with the firing of co-creator and producer Vida Spears.
The series departed on a maddening cliffhanger, in which Myles was kidnapped and someone in Moesha's dorm - presumably either her, Niecy, or Alisha (Alexis Fields), - was pregnant.
Unnerving unfulfilled “To Be Continued” aside, Moesha was a thoroughly enjoyable series, well worth watching even now.
Zahra B. of Brandy Exposed started a petition to have Moesha released on DVD. Alas, to my knowledge, that hasn't happened yet. As Moesha was shot on film, it could even be remastered in high definition! Let's cross our fingers.
One thing's for sure: Big Ticket had a big hit with Moesha!