The BEST Episodes of A Different World
Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!
Last Updated: Nov 19, 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 - High Anxiety
Season 2 - Episode 18 - Aired Mar 16, 1989
Kim becomes overwhelmed by her hectic schedule, as she tries to balance pre-med courses with work and extracurricular activities. She also obsesses over her grades, suffering from nightmares about getting too many B's to make it into medical school. She buys a datebook and tries to plan every moment of her day, ignoring her friends' warnings that her lack of sleep could endanger her health. Kim finally agrees to cut back on her activities after fainting in the Pit. Mr. Gaines quarrels with his wife over the presence of their grown son, whom he wants to throw out of the house. Mr. Gaines crashes at Col. Taylor's place after Velma kicks him out, and quickly wears out his welcome.
#2 - 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.
#3 - No Means No
Season 2 - Episode 20 - Aired Mar 30, 1989
Freddie falls for Garth Parks, a handsome and intelligent baseball star. Teammate Dwayne backs out of a date to the dance with Freddie so that she can go with Garth. However, Dwayne is disturbed when Garth shares details of a past incident with a woman. Dwayne describes the story to Walter, who confirms that it should be considered date rape. When Dwayne tries to dissuade Freddie from dating Garth, she accuses him of jealousy. Garth takes Freddie to an observation point and tries to force himself on her, but Dwayne comes to the rescue. Freddie and the other victim make statements to the police and help put Garth behind bars.
#4 - All's Fair
Season 2 - Episode 9 - Aired Dec 15, 1988
Kim begins spending a lot of time in her dorm room with her boyfriend, Robert. Whitley tries to be understanding, and sets up a system to allow the couple some privacy. However, she quickly grows tired of being locked out of her own room and quarrels with Kim. She notes that Robert's bed is vacant and decides to move into his room. Kim goes to the guys' dorm to retrieve Whitley, and they agree that they deserve each other. Freddie edits a poetry magazine, but her harsh critiques make her unpopular with classmates.
#5 - 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.
#6 - 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
#7 - 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
#8 - 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.
#9 - 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.
#10 - When One Door Closes... (2)
Season 6 - Episode 18 - Aired May 8, 1993
Marion and Adele arrive to help Dwayne and Whitley pack for the move to Tokyo. After learning of Whitley's pregnancy, they try to dissuade the couple from leaving. Whitley grows tired of listening to Dwayne argue with the women; she storms out. She finds solace with Ron, who has gotten into a major fight with Freddie over his plans to sue Dwayne. Dwayne convinces Whitley that they need to move on and make a life away from Hillman. Marion and Adele overcome their anxiety about being separated from their grandchild by getting very drunk. Dwayne and Whitley's friends throw them a going-away party at the Pit. Freddie comes over to Ron's apartment to share the news that she made law review. They make up, but she cannot convince him to come to the party. Everyone shares favorite stories about the Waynes and wishes them luck. Whitley and Dwayne return the favor by thanking their friends for all their love and support. Dwayne has very kind words for Ron, who hears about the speech from Freddie
#11 - 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.
#12 - Those Who Can't... Tutor
Season 1 - Episode 4 - Aired Oct 22, 1987
Dwayne offers to tutor Denise in calculus after she receives a D on a test. Denise believes that it is a scam, but Dwayne turns out to be an excellent tutor. They study for so long that Dwayne gets locked inside the dorm after curfew. He sneaks into Whitley's room while she is sleeping and climbs out the window. Stevie catches Dwayne coming down the fire escape, and Whitley suffers tremendous damage to her reputation. Dwayne refuses to tell the truth because he fears that Denise could be suspended. Stevie believes that Dwayne and Whitley are lying, and plans to report them to the dean. Denise interrupts and explains what really happened.
#13 - 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
#14 - 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.
#15 - If Chosen, I May Not Run
Season 1 - Episode 8 - Aired Dec 3, 1987
Denise shows potential as a sprinter during P.E. class, and the track coach asks her to come out for the team. Her father is thrilled to have another Huxtable competing for Hillman, as he and his father both ran for the school. Denise enjoys the attention she receives from her friends and other students, but cannot handle the grueling practices. She considers quitting until a star runner informs her that she is not the only one who hates practice; in fact, the entire team feels this way. Maggie desperately tries to track down an economics book that she needs for a term paper.
#16 - 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.
#17 - Answered Prayers
Season 3 - Episode 9 - Aired Dec 7, 1989
Kim learns that her father has been shot in the line of duty. Whitley drives her to Ohio to see him, with Dwayne and Freddie along for moral support. Kim visits her father's hospital room and makes peace with him. After Mr. Reese begins to recover, Whitley, Dwayne and Freddie have to race back to campus for midterms. Freddie reveals that she had been unsure of the existence of God until she prayed at Kim's request; having her prayer answered was a life-changing experience. She questions her newfound faith after Mr. Reese experiences complications and is left paralyzed from the waist down.
#18 - 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
#19 - 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.
#20 - 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.
#21 - 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.
#22 - 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.
#23 - 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.
#24 - 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.
#25 - 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.