Memorable characters include:
- Mary Jenkins, played by Marla Gibbs - a mother of one, juggling the numerous responsibilities of household, family and personal life with invariably humorous results.
- Lester Jenkins, played by Hal Williams - a father and small-time contractor struggling to stay on top of his own family and job responsibilities.
- Brenda Jenkins, played by Regina King - Mary and Lester's daughter - a studious, talented, and mostly well behaved young woman just beginning adolescence.
- Rose Hollaway, played by Alaina Reed- the landlady of building 227 who often sat with Mary on the front steps laughing and gossiping about various other residents.
- Sandra Clark, played by Jackee - the building's resident vamp who's whining voice and wiggling, tight-dressed body became staple features of 227
- Pearl Shay, played by Helen Martin - an older woman who often leaned out her front window to comment on Rose and Mary's discussions. Also the grandmother of young Calvin Dobbs, the love interest of Brenda Jenkins.