The Series Philosopher

Philosophising about the 'S'-word: Watch… and learn

My Wife and Kids

the-series-philosopher-250px-my_wife_and_kids_logoMy Wife and Kids is an American television sitcom that ran on ABC from March 28, 2001, until May 17, 2005. Produced by Touchstone Television (now ABC Studios), it starred Tisha Campbell-Martin (Dr. KenMartin, Everybody Hates Chris) and Damon Wayans (Lethal WeaponIn Living Color, The Underground), and centers on the character of Michael Kyle, a loving husband and modern-day patriarch who rules his household with a unique and distinct parenting style. As he teaches his three children some of life’s lessons, he does so with his own brand of humor. Wayans and veteran television writer/producer Don Reo (Blossom, The Ranch, Everybody Hates ChrisM*A*S*HRhoda, The Golden Girls) co-created and executive produced the series.

Characters

Main characters

  • Michael Richard Kyle, Sr. (Damon Wayans) – Michael is a father of three children and the patriarch of the family. He has been married to Janet Marie “Jay” Kyle since age 17, as a result of having gotten her pregnant with their first child Michael Kyle, Jr. Michael owns an eponymous trucking business that he built from the ground up. He often exhibits a very interesting sense of humor, and occasionally does impressions of famous people such as Bill Cosby and Don King. Mainly teaches his kids valuable lessons, using the method of what he refers to as “Michael Kyle Signature Moments”.
  • Janet Marie “Jay” Johnson-Kyle (Tisha Campbell-Martin) – Janet, usually referred to by her nickname “Jay”, is the mother of three children. Jay’s role in the series is typically to be the voice of reason for the family, including Michael; for example, when Michael evicted Junior from the house in season three’s “Jr.’s Risky Business” after catching him and his girlfriend Vanessa in Jay and Michael’s bed after having sex, she is the one who tries to have Michael to rethink his decision.
  • Michael Richard “Junior” Kyle, Jr. (George O. Gore II, New York Undercover, Second Generation Wayans) – Junior is the only son and first child of Michael and Jay Kyle; initially, Junior was depicted as being simply an underachieving student.
  • Claire Marie Kyle (Jazz Raycole, Everybody Hates Chris in Season 1; Jennifer Freeman Seasons 2–5) – Claire is the middle child of Michael and Janet Kyle. In the first season, Claire was a sweet, friendly pre-teen who went through typical growing pains, such as having her first crush, wanting her first bra and feeling embarrassed or irritated by her parents.
  • Kady Melissa Jheny Spilken Kyle (Parker McKenna Posey) – The youngest daughter and youngest child overall of the Kyle children, Kady is the precocious one out of the kids, and is commonly referred to as “the cute one”.
  • Franklin Aloysius Mumford (Noah Gray-Cabey, Heroes; seasons 4–5; recurring, season 3) – Franklin is Kady’s playmate and “boyfriend”, first introduced in season three’s “Jay the Artist”. Franklin is a child prodigy, who is very skilled at playing the piano, which usually amazes first-time listeners, and is generally very intelligent, so much so that he had accomplished attending and graduating from Harvard University before the age of 7. Franklin has very strong feelings for Kady and sees her as his everything. He is also good friends with Michael, despite not being equals.
  • Vanessa Scott-Kyle (Meagan Good, Minority Report, Mr. Robinson, Californication; recurring, season 3; Brooklyn Sudano; seasons 4-5) – Vanessa is Junior’s girlfriend, who was first introduced in the season three episode “Jr.’s Risky Business”, and whom Junior sees as “the greatest girl in the world”, though a disapproving Jay believed Vanessa had an agenda with Junior.
  • Tony Jeffers (Andrew McFarlane, ER, The West Wing; seasons 2–5) – Tony is Claire’s boyfriend for the majority of the show’s run. In season two’s “Letting Go”, he was depicted as not being very bright, sexually inactive because of his religious beliefs, though his subsequent appearances depict him as a nice, Christian teenager, though Michael often thought that Tony had an agenda that he is really using this as a ruse to try to trick Claire into having sex with him.

Recurring characters

  • Jasmine (Ella Joyce, Roc, Belle’s) and Calvin Scott (Lester Speight, Rockville CA) are Vanessa’s money-seeking parents. Calvin is feared by the Kyles because he is rather big and it is shown that he eats live meat, but Calvin is a childish, dimwitted, crybaby on the inside married to Jasmine, Calvin’s disapproving and wealth-seeking wife. While Calvin’s stupidity and immaturity annoys everyone else, Jasmine caters to it, and often treats him like a child.
  • Rachel McNamara (Liliana Mumy, The Cleaner; seasons 2-4) – one of Kady’s classmates and best friend, who hates Michael.
  • R.J. (DeRay Davis, Reno 911!) – an employee of Michael.
  • Brian (Brian Holtzman; seasons 2-4) – an employee of Michael.
  • Todd (Todd Lynn; seasons 2-4) – an employee of Michael.
  • Larry (Sean Whalen, Superstore, Lost) – an employee of Michael.
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The Series Philosopher is a woman in her late 20s. Not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.

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