Unfortunate Incarceration, Nervous Jerry Lewis Laughter
and the Sounds of "Black Man, Black Man"
The token male of the series, Anthony Bouvier is always finding himself right in the middle of his co-workers' female problems and conversations -- which probably partially contributes to his incessant nervous laughter.
Anthony starts out as Sugarbaker's delivery man and then eventually becomes a full partner in the firm. Prior to working at Sugarbakers he had not had the easiest life. His mother, a drug addict, left him in the care of his grandmother when he was two weeks old. A strict, but loving, school teacher, Dondi -- as Anthony calls his grandmother -- now lives in Memphis, Tennessee. Anthony's father is located by his co-workers as a birthday gift for Anthony on his thirtieth birthday. His name is Charles Clarence Monroe and he lives in New Orleans. At first, Anthony is not too pleased by the reunion, but finally decides to get to know his dad. Anthony has brothers and sisters scattered all over the country, but he rarely mentions them.
As a teenager, Anthony worked as a busboy at the Beaumont Driving Club, a very exclusive and restricted establishment. He would have graduated from high school in 1977, but was arrested for his involvement in a convenience store robbery. Anthony was waiting in the car while his friends went in to buy beer. Without his knowledge, his friends decided to take the contents of the cash register instead. As a result, Anthony spent some time in jail -- a period he refers to as his "unfortunate incarceration." He often regales the ladies with morbid stories of his prison days, including tales of his bully cell mate T. Tommy Reed.
After being released and starting work at Sugarbakers, Anthony does many things to improve his life. He graduates from Kennesaw Junior College, gets his contracting license, and moves on to law school. Wanting to give back as much as he can, Anthony gets involved with a citizen's rights coalition and the Big Brothers Program, plus begins raising money for a black history library and educating people on world hunger.
Over the course of the series, Anthony develops a close bond with Suzanne Sugarbaker -- much to the confusion of everyone since she is constantly making reference to his being a black ex-convict. He somehow finds himself being her best "girlfriend" to the point of being subjected to waxing her legs, chauffeuring her pet pig, and even dressing as her maid to fool immigration. He develops a similar bizarre bond with senior citizen and friend of the Sugarbakers, Bernice Clifton, who thinks of Anthony like a son -- and alternately as a sex object.
For a time, Anthony is involved with Lita Ford, a super yuppie who wants to make Anthony the black Donald Trump. The ladies despise her. Later he hooks up with the ditzy but lovable Vanessa Hargraves, who vanishes off the canvas during season five. At the end of season six, Anthony announces his engagement to the ultra-rich Vanessa Chamberlain, a woman the ladies don't seem to like much better than Lita.
By season seven -- just as Anthony is working hard to complete law school -- his snooty fiancée dumps him, so the ladies take Anthony to Las Vegas to cheer him up. Depressed, Anthony goes on a drunken binge and wakes up in his hotel room married to a beautiful showgirl, Etienne Toussant. The intense attraction between the two encourages Anthony to give the marriage to Etienne a serious shot, and much of season seven deals with Anthony learning to adjust to his overly enthusiastic wife --- who wants to be Mrs. Anthony Bouvier with a vengeance.
Anthony also makes a guest appearance on the spin-off Women of the House to visit Suzanne when she becomes a Congresswoman. Despite his hope, their relationship has not changed much, and she gets him into another compromising situation -- trying to get him to destroy her diary which has been subpoenaed by the Ethics Committee. Now a lawyer, Anthony is concerned that helping Suzanne will get him disbarred, but as usual is unable to say no to her. No reference is made to Etienne or his marriage.
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