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A pleasant, somewhat forgotten 1980s sitcom on NBC, one of several of the era to feature all-black casts. It lasted from September, 1986 to May, 1991. A total of 110 episodes in five seasons. Set in an urban Philadelphia church, it starred Sherman Helmsley as Deacon Ernest Frye, an attorney with a considerably lacking sense of ethics, and Clifton Davis as the Rev. Reuben Gregory, a young, naive and idealistic minister. Another cast member was Anna Maria Horsford as Frye's 36-year-old spinster daughter, Thelma.

Despite the church setting, many of the plots were standard sitcom fare, with little or nothing to do with the show’s ecclesiastical context. Two of the recurring themes of the show were Deacon Frye’s often harebrained schemes to raise money for the church, and Thelma’s initially unrequited love for the reverend. (They eventually marry and, in the final episode, have a baby.)

Tropes used in Amen include:
  • Actor Allusion: In one of the show's Christmas Episodes, the choir is bickering over which song to sing for a competition. When someone suggests "Mary's Boy Child", Rolly scoffs at the idea, claiming. "I never cared for that one." That's odd, seeing as how Jester Hairston, Rolly's portrayer, WROTE THE SONG. Later in the episode, he sings it during the competition.
  • All Take and No Give: Frye’s fund-raising schemes are usually more slanted towards lining his own pocket than the church’s coffers.
  • Amen Break: not an exact example, but the theme song is a spoken-word version of the source music for the Amen Break. The theme song is probably what's most remembered about the show, besides Sherman Helmsley post-"The Jeffersons."
  • Amoral Attorney: Attorney Frye never met a loophole, scheme or conniving tactic he didn’t like.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Thelma and Deacon Frye are the most egregious offenders.
  • BBW: The Hettabrink Sisters, Amelia and Cassieta
  • Brother Chuck: Inga, Chris, Clarence, Cassieta, Jeanette, Lorenzo (the choir director)
  • Child Prodigy: Reverend Johnny
  • Christmas Cake: Thelma. The Hetebrink sisters too.
  • Christmas Episode: several during the series run.
  • Citizenship Marriage: Deacon Frye fakes a marriage to Inga so she could fool an INS agent and stay in the country. the INS agent was really a messenger from her attorney's office; he was bringing a letter telling Inga that she received a six-month extension on her visa.
  • Cousin Oliver: Chris
  • Deadpan Snarker: Rollie (Jester Hairston) is a textbook example. Many of the funniest lines are his pithy, sarcastic asides and reactions.
  • Fake Band: Ernie and the Sublimes
  • The Ghost: Deacon Frye lost his wife when Thelma was a young girl. She is often mentioned, but glimpsed only once in a flashback.
  • Gossipy Hens: The Hettabrink Sisters, hands down. Amelia became less of one after Cassieta left the show.
  • Grand Finale: The church raises enough money to stay open, and Thelma and Reverend Gregory have their baby boy.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Helmsley’s character might just as well have been named Deacon George Jefferson — their personalities are virtually identical. Also, Rollie’s wife is Mother Winslow.
    • Jester Hairston and Clifton Davis starred in That's My Mama, a 70's sitcom that took place in the latter's barbershop in Washington, D.C.
    • Halle Berry played a love interest of Ernie's in a fifth-season episode.
  • Hot for Preacher
  • Insatiable Newlyweds: Thelma and Reverend Gregory
  • Jerkass: Deacon Frye is a vain, amoral, conniving, self-serving Ambulance Chaser, with few, if any, saving graces. Somehow, he manages to maintain his church office and enjoy the tolerance and forgiveness of his fellow parishioners.
    • This is mainly because Deacon Frye's grandfather founded the church. Otherwise, he would have been kicked out a long time ago.
  • Jesus Taboo: Averted. Even though the show lacked serious religious overtones, Jesus/God was mentioned quite a bit by various characters.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: no plans to be released on DVD. However, reruns can be seen daily on TV One, RTV, and Gospel Music Channel.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Thelma as it relates to her cooking skills.
  • May-December Romance: Deacon Frye is considerably older than many of his love interests, especially Halle Berry, who prompted Thelma to exclaim, "No wonder he's acting like a teenager--he's DATING ONE!"
  • My Beloved Smother: Reuben's mother, who constantly takes passive-aggressive digs at Thelma and tries to make her feel like she's not good enough for him. Not until Thelma finally tells her off does she admit that her son is the only family she has left and that she was afraid of losing him. Ernie counts too, for the way he tends to treat Thelma like a child, to the point where she and Reuben have to throw him out of their honeymoon suite.
  • Oblivious to Love: The reverend, at least in early episodes, is oblivious to Thelma’s flirting.
  • Panicky Expectant Father: Reverend Gregory
  • Preacher Man: Actor Clifton Davis is, in real life, also an ordained minister.
    • As well as Child Prodigy Reverend Johnny (now in his early 30's) who has his own mega church outside of Chicago.
  • Sassy Black Woman: The Hettabrink Sisters, Thelma
  • Screaming Birth: Thelma
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Rollie, to the max.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Thelma is depicted as somewhat of a whiny, frumpy, plain Jane, but when she makes the effort to dress and groom nicely, she is a rather attractive lady.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Thelma to Ernie, Ruben, and Ruben's best friend. In another episode, after Ernie loses an election, he gives one to the core cast.
  • Wedding Day: Thelma and Reverend Gregory (twice), Rollie and Leona.
    • Thelma also had one in the first season. She left him at the altar.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Thelma took in a foster child named Jeanette, and she appeared in about 4 episodes. Then she was gone with no mention of what happened to her.
  • Yes, Virginia: In the Christmas Episode "Miracle on 134th Street", Frye must defend a department-store Santa against an assault charge--he punched a man who was ridiculing him. Despite initially thinking that the man is bonkers, Frye comes to believe that he is in fact, truly Santa Claus and decides to use this as his defense. Sure enough, his identity is proven in court after reading a letter that the prosecutor wrote to him as a young boy. At the end of the movie, Frye receives a train set that he had always wanted,apparently as a reward for being "good".

Episodes of this series provide examples of:

  • Armed Farces: A six-episode arc in the fourth season has Thelma joining the Army, with predictable results, despite initially presenting herself as a very competent would-be soldier.
    • Thelma was a very competent soldier-she made it through basic training-and most likely would have had a decent military career (and a man who didn't need more time to marry her) if marrying the reverend wasn't her all-consuming life's goal.
  • Class Reunion: Thelma
  • Disguised in Drag: Reuben and Ernie (mustache and all) dress as very unconvincing female recruits in order to sneak into Thelma's Army camp.
  • Hey, Let's Put on a Show: The “talent show” episodes in the third and fourth season, plus the fund-raising telethon in the series’ two-part finale.
  • On One Condition: An elderly parishioner dies and leaves her successful restaurant to the church. They can use some of the profits for church projects, if they keep the restaurant open. Hilarity Ensues
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money: A very rich parishioner offers the church a huge amount of money if Reverend Gregory finds him a woman to marry. Of course he refuses to help and Deacon Frye gladly offers up Thelma.
  • Teen Pregnancy: A young member of the choir is pregnant and Reverend Gregory tries to kick her out. Surprisingly, Deacon Frye defends her after he delivers her baby. He also convinces the baby's father to marry her in a later episode.
  • Twenty-Four-Hour Party People: The 15 or so people that we've never seen before who attend Thelma's bridal shower.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Deacon Frye has a fear of snakes and overcomes it by being locked in a room with one that wraps itself around him.
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