Moesha was a beloved mid-’90s UPN comedy about a young girl living in the Leimert Park section of LA balancing friends, boys, family and academics.
The show took a serious turn midway through Season 5 when Frank’s aunt accidentally revealed that Dorian was Frank’s son and not his uncle as he led on. Per Frank, he had an affair on Moesha and Myles’ mom during a trying time. Dorian was conceived out of that affair and ultimately given up for adoption to Frank’s sister Sandra. Together, they raised Dorian but with Frank as an uncle figure.
Season 6 followed Dorian on the hunt for his birth mother and coming to terms with Frank for the betrayal. But the season would prove to be its final. Ratings took a minor dip as the show continued to grow more and more dramatically.
Sheryl Lee Ralph, who starred as Moesha’s stepmother Deidre Micthell, later revealed in a TV One special that she chose to take a demotion and only appear in a part-time capacity because she did not approve of the show’s new direction.
“It broke my heart because I really felt that Moesha the series filled such a void for people when it came to great images of family – Black American family,” she said. “Then you’re going to tell me that this Black man is a liar?”
William Allen Young felt the same, adding, “We didn’t know why we were messing with African American man where you literally unraveled him in a way where you didn’t need to.”
According to Marcus T. Paulk who starred as Moesha’s younger brother Myles, there was a reason for the dramatic shift. As reported by Atlanta Black Star, a fan claimed on Instagram that Frank Mitchell was the worst television dad. But Paulk wasn’t having it and came to his defense.
“D**n @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…so they wanted to make our show a [dramedy] and give @rayj a job at @brandy request. so they wrote him in as Frank’s son. Which was random as hell but y’all still watched it soooooo…it’s y’all’s fault.”
There you have it. Hopefully, more is learned in the reboot that’s in the works.