Dennis ][ Society: A series adaptation of Steve Martin's The Jerk in the more comforting mode of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, this is the story of a young white man raised by a black family in the Deep South, admirably (if a little eccentrically) brought up to believe that he's no different from his five dark-skinned adoptive siblings. One day he's called to his high school principal's office for a meeting and informed that his biological parents have been found. Dennis - who didn't even know he was adopted, har har! - goes off to live with his biological family, and is pressured to get into the family business. In doing so, he brings a fresh hip-hop sensibility to the upper-crust white world in which he now lives; when his biological dad dies, Dennis steps up and takes over the biz, which happens to be the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. Riotous comedy ensues as the show follows the twin formulae of 'fish out of water' workplace sitcom (echoes of Mary Tyler Moore!) and class-anxiety domestic sitcom (notes of sitcom classic Benson!).
Wacky future episodes include:
'Hire Learning': Dennis implements nondiscriminatory hiring practices at the firm (which he's rechristened KK&K Ltd.), and reaches out to his adoptive brothers and sisters to offer them internships. The Klansmen are taught the meaning of friendship.
'The Mos That Roared': KK&K Ltd. is threatened with merger with another branch, and Dennis holds a benefit concert - with hip-hop artist Mos Def headlining - to raise enough funds to keep them afloat, and does an impromptu freestyle rap about the pressures of knowing he's an affirmative action hire. Bill Cosby guest stars.
'Strange Fruit Loops': The rollicking, heartbreaking first season finale (hourlong). When Dennis's white girlfriend is faced with a tough choice - whether or not to get an abortion - Dennis brings both his families together for a conference. In an unexpected moment of solidarity, they set upon him and string him up as a race-traitor and a fornicator; at the height of comic tension the rope turns out to be too long(!!) for the tree they're using, and luckily the group is struck with the inhumanity of what they're doing. The cops, seeing a crowd of black people assembled without a permit, arrests Dennis's adoptive family. The Klansmen use the noose to string up a piñata - it's the perfect height - and bail out Dennis's adoptive family to hold a life-affirming fiesta centered around their shared dislike of Latinos.