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What's Happening!! is a situation comedy that aired in the late 1970s on the American network ABC. The show was filmed before a live studio audience. What's Happening!! is the story of three working-class, African American teenagers who live in a neighborhood of Los Angeles known as Watts. The main focus is on Roger Thomas, played by Ernest Thomas. Known to friends and family as Raj, he lives in a house with his mother Mabel, portrayed by Mabel King, and his sarcastic little sister Dee, played by Danielle Spencer.

Raj's best friends are Dwayne Nelson (Heywood Nelson) and Freddy Stubbs (Fred Berry), who is known around the neighborhood as Rerun. Both of these teens have their own unique idiosyncrasies. For Dwayne, it's his repeated greeting of Hey, Hey, Hey to everyone he sees. Rerun, commonly adorned in a beret and suspenders, is a skilled dancer. All three friends routinely hang out at Rob's Place, where they're waited on by server Shirley Wilson (Shirley Hempill).

Most of What's Happening!! deals with the adventures of Raj, Dwayne, and Rerun in the pursuit of their dreams. Raj's goal is to become a successful writer while Rerun competes in dancing competitions to attain success. Being the youngest of the three, Dwayne's goals are simpler - hook up with one of the girls in school and try to avoid the bullies. When they end up getting in trouble, Dee tends to find out, responding that she'll tell Raj's mother what happened.

The first two seasons of What's Happening!! feature all three friends in high school. By the third season, focus shifted away from Raj's family as he began college and shared an apartment with Rerun. Raj's mother Mabel was reduced to a minor role as well, being mentioned by name rather than being seen. To replace her adult presence, Shirley moved into the Thomas home as a boarder, becoming the caretaker of little sister Dee.

What's Happening!! premiered in the summer of 1976 on ABC. It ended its run in April of 1979.

3 Seasons, 65 Episodes
August 5, 1976
Cast: Mabel King, Danielle Spencer, Shirley Hemphill, Haywood Nelson, Fred Berry
What's Happening!!
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What's Happening!! Full Episode Guide

  • A benefit variety show is staged to save the community teen center.

  • Dwayne runs for class president.

  • Dwayne acts as substitute coach for a basketball team.

  • Rerun imagines what it would be like to be the star of his own show.

  • Raj believes robbers stashed their loot in his mother's house.

  • Raj and Rerun protest the rundown condition of their apartment.

  • Rerun suffers food poisoning and a lawyer wants him to sue Rob's Place.

  • Shirley gets fired from Rob's Place.

  • Dwayne's new job has him thinking of leaving school.

  • Dee gets a stolen necklace for her birthday.

  • Dee tries out for the cheerleading squad.

  • Raj and Rerun compete in the dating department.

  • Raj and Rerun discover their apartment robbed.

  • Needing money, Raj becomes an artist's model.

  • Raj moves in with a co-ed.

  • Rerun gets into trouble with his new credit cards.

  • Raj believes his landlady is in love with him.

  • Shirley's cookies are sold at Rob's Place.

  • Rerun unwittingly stores a box of stolen goods for his neighbors.

  • Raj tutors a college basketball star.

  • Raj plays matchmaker for Shirley.

  • Rerun needs $25 to enter a dance contest.

  • Raj and Rerun graduate high school and share an apartment.

  • Shirley babysits Dee while Mama is away. Raj is caught cheating on his History Final.

  • The son of an Arabian consul hits Rerun's borrowed car.

  • Raj is in love with a 19 year old woman.

  • Rerun's girlfriend is a member of a cult that worships lettuce.

  • The Doobie Brothers help the guys turn the tables on a con man.

  • The guys want tickets to a Doobie Brothers concert.

  • Dee has her first date.

  • Raj manages a quartet he hears at a school talent show.

  • Raj, Rerun, and Dwayne break a TV set destined for a church auction.

  • Raj faces detention and plots revenge with Rerun and Dwayne.

  • When Mama is laid up, Raj becomes the family bread winner.

  • Mama falls in love with a man in her night school class.

  • Bill Thomas gets married.

  • Rerun's sister and brother-in-law make a bet based on Rerun's tip.

  • Raj writes a school play and hopes it will get him a job on a TV show.

  • Dwayne's father runs for public office.

  • Shirley quits the restaurant and gets a job as a secretary.

  • Raj sparks a class debate about freedom of the press.

  • Raj has a bicycle accident and goes to court.

  • Dee talks to a school psychologist.

  • Rerun agrees to marry an illegal alien who wants to remain in America.