Reminiscing on: UPN’s Monday night lineup

Earlier this year, Netflix announced some popular Black sitcoms would gradually make their way to the streaming platform. As a nostalgic person, I was overjoyed by the news, but there’s nothing like the Monday night lineup.

On Monday nights, between the hours of 8-10 p.m., Black excellence was displayed on primetime television. On what was then known as UPN, you could expect to watch four different representations of Black life, each of which catered to various demographics. “The Parkers” and “One and One” were family-based shows that portrayed single parent households. “Half & Half” dove into the developing bond of two paternal half-sisters. Then, “Girlfriends,” for a slighter older crowd, portrayed a group of friends holding each other down as they go through life’s ups and downs. The lineup would occasionally change. Earlier schedules included “Moesha” and “The Hughleys;” shows like “All of Us” and “Eve” had short stints on the network. Nonetheless, Black stories were being told. 

I longed for Monday night lineup because of the quality Black television, but it’s done more than just provide me with something to look forward to weekly. The anticipation built as I waited caused some sort of structure in my life…even if it was only for one day.

As a student in school, I scheduled my life around it. Before the shows commenced, I managed to complete my homework , study, fit in some leisure activities, do my chores and prepare my snacks to watch the show. Watching the show was my reward for productivity, a productivity I’ve also been able to reach to watch the VH1 lineup when “Love and Hip Hop” initially aired, the Saturday morning lineup featuring “Recess” and “Pokeman.” Shonda Rhimes’ famous TGT before she left ABC for Netflix.

Though streaming platforms have brought the shows back, the built in schedule with any lineup subconsciously forced me to get things done. WIth the ability to binge at literally anytime, it’s hard to recreate the moments and the productivity that came along it.

There’s really nothing like the Monday night lineup.

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