The BEST Episodes of A Different World
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Sep 1, 2020
In this spin-off from the popular sitcom The Cosby Show, Denise Huxtable enters her sophomore year at Hillman, alma mater of her parents and grandfather, where she moves into Gilbert Hall and shares a dorm room with 26-year-old Jaleesa Vinson and talkative new roommate Maggie Lauten. Also included in the first season cast were obnoxious and extremely wealthy dormmate Whitley Gilbert, ladies' man Dwayne Wayne and dorm director Stevie Rallen. Lettie Bostic later replaced Stevie as the new dorm director. At the end of the first season, Denise would return home (and to The Cosby Show) after dropping out of college. In the fall of 1988, new students Freddie Brooks and Kim Reese entered Hillman College. Freddie was a "hippie-child" who developed a crush on Dwayne; and Kim, an aspiring med student, became Whitley's new roommate. Giving Dwayne a hard time was his math professor, Col. Bradford Taylor. Also, Ron Johnson and Walter Oakes became regulars in the second season after appearing o
#1 - Take This Job and Love It
Season 2 - Episode 19 - Aired Mar 23, 1989
Whitley hits Mr. Gaines' car, causing nearly $1000 in damage. She is afraid to ask her father for the money because she fears that he will take her car away. Kim helps her get a job at the Pit to fund the repairs. Whitley initally annoys Mr. Gaines with her incompetence, but soon impresses him with a series of innovative suggestions that help boost profits. Kim feels insecure, as she is no longer Mr. Gaines' favorite employee. Ron endures campus-wide embarrassment after a classmate gives him a terrible haircut.
#2 - The Little Mister
Season 6 - Episode 7 - Aired Oct 29, 1992
During their Halloween party, a drunken Dwayne responds sarcastically when Whitley and friends discuss women's rights and the "Year of the Woman." He falls asleep on the couch after the party, and dreams that all of the candidates in the upcoming presidential election are women (including incumbent Georgia Mush and eccentric Texas billionaire Rose Godot, who can't decide whether or not she is in the race). Whitley is the philandering Jill Blinton, who frustrates husband Hilliard (Dwayne) with her lying and infidelity. Hilliard agonizes over the fact that no one--including his own wife--has any respect for his opinions. Dwayne wakes up and apologizes to Whitley for his sexist comments.
#3 - Baby, It's Cold Outside
Season 6 - Episode 8 - Aired Nov 5, 1992
Whitley catches Ron sneaking Freddie out of his apartment at six o'clock in the morning. Dwayne and Whitley cannot find any time together because he is working three jobs in an effort to support her. Dwayne expresses his frustration to Kim. Kim tries to convince Whitley to talk things out with Dwayne, but she hangs up on her. Whitley calls Montel Williams' talk show and confesses that she and Dwayne have not been having sex. She does not realize that Gina is addicted to the show and has organized a dorm-wide viewing party in the lounge. All of the girls come over to Whitley's house and offer advice. Lena, Gina and Charmaine suggest a girls' night out to take her mind off things. Whitley, Kim and Freddie go to a club alone because the others are under the drinking age. Freddie confesses to Kim about her attraction to Ron. Kim already knew what was going on, but thanks her for her honesty. Kim dances with Spencer, her lab partner. Whitley goes home to find Dwayne waiting for her, and the
#4 - Save the Best for Last (1)
Season 5 - Episode 24 - Aired May 14, 1992
The day before her wedding, Whitley frets about details until Byron is able to bring her back to reality. Kim volunteers to return to campus and retrieve a special pair of earrings that Whitley had left behind. She pays Ron a visit, and frets over the realization that the wedding is probably going to take place. Ron suggests that she intervene, but Kim is hesitant. Ron surprises Kim by giving her a stethoscope, and they share a kiss. The girls enjoy a wild bachelorette party, while a depressed Dwayne walks out on Byron's bachelor party. Late that night, Kim suggests that Whitley may not be completely over Dwayne. Whitley angrily denies this. Dwayne shows up on Whitley's doorstep and asks for the chance to talk with her. They take a walk in the garden, and Dwayne apologizes for the mistakes he has made. She concedes that she placed too much pressure on him, but Dwayne insists that he simply wasn't strong enough for a commitment at the time. He recalls a time when he was a geeky freshman
#5 - May the Best Man Win
Season 5 - Episode 17 - Aired Feb 13, 1992
Whitley organizes a campus fundraiser and tries to wrangle donations from prominent business people. She hits it off with Byron Douglas III, a successful alumnus who owns a restaurant chain. He is impressed by her powers of persuasion, and asks her to assist with his campaign for state senate. Whitley and Dwayne quarrel after she belittles him in front of Byron. Mr. Gaines learns that he is about to lose the lease on the Pit because a corporation outbid him. Byron, a former Pit employee, uses his campaign rally to elicit support for Mr. Gaines. The corporation's representatives decide to seize the opportunity for positive publicity by underwriting Mr. Gaines' lease and letting him keep running the place. Whitley and Byron share a kiss.
#6 - War of the Words
Season 1 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 29, 1987
Maggie prepares to debate Whitley on the topic of whether women can balance a career and family life. She is distracted by a surprise visit from her boyfriend, Mike, who stuns her by revealing that he has left school to take a job with the National Pork Council. He asks Maggie to transfer to a school in Washington, D.C. to be near him, and proposes marriage. Maggie is so overwhelmed by her relationship crisis that Denise must take her place in the middle of the debate. She wins easily by detailing the way in which her parents have employed compromise to make their situation work. Maggie and Mike take her words to heart and decide to slow down their relationship. Meanwhile, Dwayne tries to get a permanent spot on campus radio after successfully filling in for an ailing disc jockey.
#7 - Almost Working Girl
Season 5 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 10, 1991
E.H. Wright needs a new secretary, so Whitley recommends Jaleesa's temp agency. Unfortunately, the company needs to fill the position immediately, and the only person available is Freddie. Freddie overhears the head of personnel say that she does not believe in affirmative action; she feels that she earned her job on merit, and wants others to do the same. Freddie lights into the woman and tells her that she has a duty to her race. Freddie gets fired, making both Jaleesa and Whitley look very bad. Jaleesa agrees with Freddie's stance and isn't sure she wants to do business with E.H. Wright. Col. Taylor angers his wife by pointing out that attacking one's boss because she holds a different point of view is not very smart. Freddie realizes that her behavior was inappropriate, and she and Jaleesa both apologize. Lena has difficulty understanding Shakespeare because of the language barrier. She delves into the spirit of the work and translates it into more modern terms.
#8 - College Kid
Season 6 - Episode 23 - Aired Jul 1, 1993
Lena, Gina, Charmaine, Dorian and Terrell decide to rent a house together. While seeing the temperamental landlord about a plumbing problem, Gina, Charmaine and Terrell discover that he is Langston "Sweet Knuckles" Paige, a former major league baseball star. He is unsure about what to do with his life, so they encourage him to enroll in college. Langston accompanies Terrell to class to check out the Hillman campus. He finds that the professor is an old flame. Gina's abusive ex-boyfriend Dion violates his probation by contacting her. He finally shows up in person in an attempt to win her back. She repeatedly turns him down, and learns that Dion hasn't really changed at all. Langston steps in and manages to convince Dion to leave Gina alone.
#9 - Pride and Prejudice
Season 3 - Episode 14 - Aired Jan 25, 1990
Whitley goes to a jewelry store to buy a birthday present for her father. Freddie tags along because she enjoys watching Whitley "power shop." The clerk ignores them and is reluctant to open the display case. She also suggests a cheap watch, as she doesn't think that Whitley can afford any of the high-end merchandise. Freddie believes that the clerk is a racist and decides to leave. Whitley argues that the clerk probably thought they were poor because of their manner of dress. (Whitley had not changed after her tennis game.) Whitley spends a fortune to prove herself, but her friends argue that this only gives the clerk a fat commission. Whitley returns everything and tells off the clerk, getting the woman in hot water with her manager. The ROTC holds a retreat to teach civilians about life in the Army. Walter makes a fool of himself and loses a bet to Col. Taylor. Dwayne ignores Ron's instructions during a flag capture game. He gets lost in the mountains and comes in contact with poiso
#10 - Rudy and the Snow Queen
Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired Nov 5, 1987
Denise's little sister Rudy comes to visit for the weekend. She surprises Denise by immediately hitting it off with Whitley. When Denise and Rudy find it impossible to sleep in the same bed, Whitley allows Rudy to stay in her room. Whitley teaches Rudy all of her beauty secrets, and the two become good friends. Rudy hurts Denise's feelings by spending all of her time with Whitley. Meanwhile, Jaleesa fears the worst after hearing that her sister went to dinner with Jaleesa's ex-husband. Jaleesa clears up the situation, then asks Whitley to stop monopolizing Rudy's time. Whitley tells Rudy a bedtime story about two sisters and a snow queen. Rudy understands the moral of the story and agrees to pay more attention to Denise.
#11 - A Stepping Stone
Season 2 - Episode 7 - Aired Dec 1, 1988
Whitley choreographs Gilbert Hall's step routine for a competition during homecoming festivities. She annoys everyone with her pushy attitude, and team captain Jaleesa throws her off the squad for insulting the rhythmless Freddie. Whitley reconsiders her behavior following a meeting with her childhood idol, a respected 92-year-old alumnus who never married and is completely friendless. Walter blackmails Dwayne into tutoring the football team's star offensive lineman, "The Meat Locker," for a math test that he must pass to remain eligible for the big game.
#12 - The Goodwill Games
Season 4 - Episode 5 - Aired Oct 18, 1990
Whitley decides to try out for the academic decathlon, as the winning team will receive $1500. Although Dwayne and Ron make fun of her, Whitley proves to be quite knowledgable and makes the team. She and Dwayne are disgusted to learn that they must be partners. During a late-night practice, they start wrestling and fooling around and end up kissing passionately. Whitley overhears Dwayne assuring a jealous Kinu that he has no interest in Whitley. Whitley files her nails during the game, leaving Dwayne to carry the team singlehandedly. Dwayne apologizes and convinces her to play, but they barely lose to Kinu's team. After Dwayne and Kinu leave to celebrate, Whitley declares, "You may have won the prize, but I will get the man." Kim turns down a date from Matthew, telling Freddie that he is strange and she isn't strong enough to deal with an interracial relationship. Freddie argues that Kim doesn't want a social life because it might interfere with her routine. Kim asks Matthew out for co
#13 - I'm Dreaming of a Wayne Christmas
Season 4 - Episode 11 - Aired Dec 13, 1990
Dwayne takes Whitley and Ron to his parents' house for Christmas. Whitley is desperate to impress Dwayne's mother. She sneaks out before dinner to buy an expensive present for Mrs. Wayne. After she misses the subway, a panhandler dressed as Santa Claus accosts her and steals the gift. Whitley stops the thief with some help from the police, but the gift is broken. Mrs. Wayne apologizes for giving Whitley a rough time and urges her not to try so hard. Ron's father punishes him for refusing to work at the dealership by cutting him out of the family's Hawaiian vacation. Ron seeks solace by stuffing his face with Mrs. Wayne's cooking until his father offers him a reprieve.
#14 - Rule Number One
Season 5 - Episode 6 - Aired Oct 24, 1991
Dwayne agrees to provide Lena with free tutoring to help her bring up her calculus grade. They bond over their mutual love of basketball and become friends. Whitley insists that Lena has a crush on Dwayne. Dwayne refuses to believe this until Lena leaves an answering machine message in which she raps about her romantic interest in him. Dwayne pushes her away, but fears that he acted insensitively. Whitley shows a surprising level of tolerance for Lena's behavior. She realizes that Lena is homesick and lonely, and offers to serve as her confidante. Ron enlists Kim's help in marketing a line of beauty products (supposedly) designed for African American women.
#15 - Bedroom at the Top
Season 5 - Episode 16 - Aired Jan 30, 1992
One of Whitley's superiors continually makes unwanted sexual advances. When she turns down his dinner invitation, he suggests that he may not approve a purchase she had recommended. Whitley puts him in his place and decides not to file a complaint. Mr. Holtworth complains to his boss that Whitley has been sexually harassing him. Whitley cannot get a secretary to come forward, and a plan to catch Holtworth on videotape goes awry. Whitley mentions the peculiarity of Holtworth's frequent transfers, and suspects that her boss has heard rumors of the man's behavior. When pressed, Whitley's boss agrees to launch an investigation. Holtworth is found guilty and receives a warning. Terrence makes Col. Taylor uneasy by announcing his decision to major in dance. Col. Taylor attends a class, where he realizes that dance is much more difficult (and exhausting) than he had thought. He acknowledges that Terrence is a very good dancer. Ron takes a job as commercial spokesman for a phone sex hotline.
#16 - Somebody Say Ho!
Season 6 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 15, 1992
Charmaine annoys the other students with her pushy attitude in Dwayne's statistics class. Someone tapes a sign to her back that reads "digit ho." She assumes that Terrell is responsible, and he refuses to apologize. She calls him a hood, and they nearly get into a fight. Charmaine feels that Terrell humiliated her by publicly calling her a whore. She files a formal complaint. Although she finds his behavior deplorable, Freddie offers to represent Terrell in student court. She defends his right to free expression, points out that he was joking, and gets Charmaine to admit that she had also insulted students. Freddie finally realizes that Gina was actually the one who taped the sign on Charmaine's back. Terrell explains why he didn't deny the charges. He didn't think anyone would believe him because they had already assumed that he was a thug. Charmaine and Terrell make peace, and Gina is placed on academic probation.
#17 - A Rock, a River, a Lena
Season 6 - Episode 24 - Aired Jul 2, 1993
Legendary singer/actress Lena Horne visits the Hillman campus to dedicate a scholarship named for her grandmother. Whitley becomes very excited and has her students put together a musical tribute to Ms. Horne. She insists on a formal ceremony and refuses to allow Mr. Gaines to cater the event. Kim is mortified that Whitley could be so respectful of Ms. Horne, yet treat Mr. Gaines as though he is too old to contribute anything to society. When Ms. Horne admits that she doesn't like the upper-crust food, Kim takes her to the Pit for a home-cooked Southern meal. She has a good time dancing with Spencer, Kim and Mr. Gaines. Mr. Gaines recalls meeting Ms. Horne during World War II, and Kim is surprised to learn that this actually happened. During the ceremony, Ms. Horne calls Mr. Gaines to the stage and introduces him as an old friend. Whitley sees the error of her ways.
#18 - Forever Hold Your Peace
Season 3 - Episode 5 - Aired Nov 2, 1989
Dwayne drives Whitley to New York for her father's wedding. He drops in on the Huxtables, hoping to rekindle his relationship with Denise and convince her to return to Hillman. Denise sends him reeling with the news that she married a Naval lieutenant during a sojourn to Africa, and is the stepmother of a three-year-old girl. Whitley becomes depressed about her father's marriage. She believes that he will forget her as he starts a family with his new wife. Dwayne and Whitley compare notes about their personal crises. They get caught in a blizzard, and Whitley's car suffers a flat tire. She and Dwayne huddle in the back seat and continue to comfort each other. They begin kissing, but are jarred back to reality by the tow truck's arrival.
#19 - Delusions of Daddyhood
Season 3 - Episode 6 - Aired Nov 9, 1989
Ron takes a liking to his study partner, Elizabeth; and is surprised to learn that she has a 13-month-old son. He is unsure about getting involved, but quickly bonds with the child. Believing that the boy needs a positive male role model, Ron tries a little too hard to step in and become a father figure. Dwayne arranges a performance by his old friends Heavy D & the Boyz for a charity concert. Whitley, who had hoped to bring in an opera company, organizes an anti-rap protest. She makes a fool of herself by espousing her views to Heavy D, unaware of his identity. Heavy eventually wins Whitley over, and the gang joins him onstage to dance during the show.
#20 - Prisoner of Love
Season 5 - Episode 15 - Aired Jan 23, 1992
A handsome man approaches Freddie and reveals that he is Jamal, her prison pen pal. He has just been released from prison after serving seven years for armed robbery. Freddie is very nervous, but agrees to keep his past a secret. Ron turns over his duties as janitor of Whitley's dorm to Jamal and lets him sleep on his couch. He pays him only $2.50 an hour while keeping the rest of the salary for himself. Jamal hits it off with Whitley, and they set up a date. He tells Whitley the truth about his past. Although she is a little apprehensive, she decides to help him make a fresh start, partially because she is looking for some excitement. Freddie blabs about Jamal's background, causing everyone else to freak out. Ron rummages through Jamal's bag. Dwayne initially criticizes him, then joins in after learning of Jamal's involvement with Whitley. They discover cash and expensive electronic equipment. Jamal identifies himself as Lionel Walker, a reporter conducting an exposÃ© about society's t
#21 - Conflict of Interest (2)
Season 5 - Episode 19 - Aired Feb 27, 1992
Whitley convinces Dwayne to hide while she talks to Byron. Dwayne tells Ron about his night with Whitley and admits that he still loves her. Although Whitley seems willing to take him back, Dwayne chickens out and says, "It was just one night." Byron senses that something is going on and confronts Dwayne, who spills the beans. Whitley comes clean with Byron and insists that she no longer loves Dwayne. Byron forgives her, and they decide to start a relationship. Ron promises to prove himself to Kim. A talkative prospective freshman and her cocky boyfriend tour the Hillman campus. Lance tries to get himself moved off of the waiting list, and upsets Charmaine with his roving eye. Freddie and Shazza annoy everyone with their new policy of total, brutal honesty.
#22 - Honeymoon in L.A. (2)
Season 6 - Episode 2 - Aired Oct 1, 1992
Dwayne and Whitley continue to describe their chaotic honeymoon to friends. Dwayne was not arrested because the police officers were called back to the station for emergency detail. Whitley confronted some rich white women, who hypocritically looted a department store as they talked loudly about blacks being criminals. While trying to get directions, Dwayne ran into a group of young people looting their neighborhood grocery store. The shopkeeper pleaded that he disagreed with the verdicts, and Dwayne and another man tried to calm the rioters. A man ignored them and smashed the windows, while others stole Dwayne's car. Whitley struck up a conversation with a homeless man, who saw the riots as a way for people who felt invisible to make themselves heard. Dwayne rode up on a bicycle and was reunited with Whitley. Col. Taylor disagrees with the suggestion that the riots will make a difference, as people had made similar comments after the Watts riots of the 1960s. Lena scoffs at the idea o
#23 - Mind Your Own Business
Season 6 - Episode 16 - Aired Jan 21, 1993
Ron convinces Mr. Gaines to purchase a club with him. Ron has maxed out his credit cards to cover the down payment, but believes he can make back all the money on opening night. The band he had booked backs out at the last minute. Mr. Gaines calls upon his grandnieces, four awkward young women from the country who have never sung outside of the church choir. Ron cannot bring himself to tell Mr. Gaines that they would make a terrible headlining act. Whitley and Ron storm out in frustration after trying to choreograph the girls. Lena, Gina and Charmaine manage to convince the girls to loosen up and add some flash to their act. Although still clumsy, the foursome manages to deliver a fine performance.
#24 - Homie, Don't Ya Know Me?
Season 6 - Episode 22 - Aired Jun 24, 1993
Lena's friends from Baltimore come to visit for the weekend. Lena is disconcerted to discover that Piccolo, her very attractive ex-boyfriend, has tagged along. Piccolo intends to prove that he has changed and win her back. He mocks her for dating Dorian, who tries to be mature about the situation. When Piccolo gets into an argument with Lena while dancing at the club, Dorian steps in to fight him. Lena's friend Yolanda accuses her of selling out by choosing college and her new friends over life in Baltimore. Dwayne tries to help Lena by relating his past experiences. Although Piccolo insists that he has turned away from the street scene, Lena feels he is the same selfish, unreliable person he has always been. She cares about him, but will not allow him to interfere in her life. Lena helps Dorian attend to his black eye and assures him that she is glad to have him in her life.
#25 - Honeymoon in L.A. (1)
Season 6 - Episode 1 - Aired Sep 24, 1992
Dwayne and Whitley recall their honeymoon in Los Angeles. Whitley insisted on going shopping in Beverly Hills while Dwayne drove to Inglewood to pick up basketball tickets. During her excursion, not-guilty verdicts were announced for the police officers who beat Rodney King. The shopping center closed after the riots broke out, leaving Whitley stranded. After hearing the verdicts, Dwayne got out of his rental car and began kicking the tires. A cop drove by and decided to arrest him, much to the chagrin of his partner. The students and staff of Hillman discuss the case. Lena sees it as just another example of the injustice toward her race, while others criticize the prosecution for overconfidence. Freddie arrives, and stuns everyone by sporting straight hair and a business suit. She is enrolling in law school and helping med student Kim run the dorm. Lena calls her a sell-out, but Freddie argues that she is trying to make a difference from within the system. She feels that Lena's milita