Whitley Gilbert and Dwayne Wayne: The Iconic Love Story of Beauty and The Geek.
When it comes to iconic tv couples, Whitley Gilbert and Dwayne Wayne of A Different World would definitely be in the top 5 of my all time favorite television couples, and certainly in the top 3 best representations of black love along with Martin and Gina (Martin) and Cliff and Clair Huxtable (The Cosby Show). There’s no denying that the electric chemistry of Kadeem Hardison and Jasmine Guy is what launched A Different World to iconic sitcom status. So, it’s quite ironic that it wasn’t supposed to happen at all.
It was director\producer Debbie Allen who came up with the idea that Dwayne and Whitley become the black Romeo and Juliet: Two people from two completely different worlds that fall in love… Only Dwayne and Whitley’s story ends much happier since neither one die at the end.
It all started in the pilot episode, back when Lisa Bonet’s Denise Huxtable was the center of this new Cosby spin off. Of course the pilot focused on her first day of her second year at Hillman where a Freshman Dwayne Wayne falls head over heels for her. But for a few seconds we get Dwayne and Whitley’s first meeting when he asks her to dance after getting turned down by Denise. Of course, being the snooty princess she was she dissed him. And after that they hated each other instantly, like all the classic love stories where a man and a woman meet each other, hate each other and then… well, you know. Anyway, the first real spark of attraction flew when Dwayne and Whitley did finally get that dance and Dwayne made his mack move and grabbed that lovely bottom of Whitley’s. She got mad and ran off, but later that night she found herself having steamy sexy dreams about Mr. Wayne. Whitley, being a virgin didn’t know how to react, but it was in this particular situation where we got the first official Whitley\Dwayne kiss.
Things may have went back to normal between them after that, but it was from that situation that the red hot flame between them was first lit. It would be the next year after Dwayne finally decides to let go of his infatuation with Denise Huxtable and the two begin to bond where the real star crossed lover thing comes into play between the two.
After that second big kiss, the game was afoot as now there was nothing stopping Dwayne from pursuing Whitley, and as he worked hard to convince her that he was the man for her their friendship continued to blossom. One of the best aspects of Dwayne and Whitley’s relationship is that unlike a lot of couples on tv or in real life, these two really did start off as good friends before they became a couple. They got to like each other before they were in love with each other. And it was that bond that kept drawing them together despite people like Kinu and Byron Douglas The 3rd coming in and driving them apart.
Of course, while Kinu was an obstacle that was over in a minute the smooth, handsome, highly intelligent and wildly successful politician Byron Douglas was an obstacle that nearly destroyed Whitley and Dwayne forever. Dwayne and Whitley had broken up and soon Whitley met Byron while working his campaign for senate. On paper Byron was the perfect man for Whitley, and even Dwayne thought so which is why for her sake he tried to bow out. But now the time came for Dwayne and Whitley to make their ultimate decisions when Byron proposed to Whitley and she, both to her and Dwayne’s surprise said yes.
We all know where this is headed. The iconic wedding episode to this day holds some of tv’s greatest moments. Two in particular became legendary in sitcom history. One was the deep and cathartic talk between Whitley and Dwayne the night before her wedding, which, by the way had subtle symbolism of Romeo and Juliet’s balcony scene. And the second we all remember what became the most epic wedding ever: “Baby, please! Please!”
In the sixth and final season Dwayne and Whitley were finally married and were pretty happy, though reality hit them quite a bit with a robbery making them broke and plenty of arguments (mostly over money) but the two had enough faith in each other, trust in each other and most important, love for each other to get through it all. They even got their happy ending with Dwayne getting a big job in Japan designing a new gameboy type gizmo and the two were now expecting a little Wayne in the oven.
Whitley and Dwayne overcame their many differences to become one of the most iconic tv couples of all time. Sure they weren’t perfect and could bring out the worst in each other, but they also brought out the best in each other, and helped the other grow and evolve as individuals. They were best friends and starcrossed lovers turned man and wife. And they did all of this because they just loved each other. That’s all there was to it. ’Til next time, folks!