|Written by||Carl Gorham
|Country of origin||United Kingdom
|No. of series||2|
|No. of episodes||13|
|Executive producer(s)||Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó|
|Running time||30 Min|
|Original channel||BBC Two, MTV, TV2 (New Zealand)|
|Original run||20 April 1998 – 11 October 2000, 11 October 2003 (New Zealand)|
Stressed Eric is a British–American–New Zealand cartoon series that was produced by Absolutely Productions for the BBC Two television channel in the United Kingdom and Television New Zealand. The series revolves around Eric Feeble, a middle class man who is always stressed, because of his family, work, co-workers, etc. The animation for the first series was carried out by American studio Klasky Csupo.
Eric Feeble is 40 years old, still upset over his divorce two years ago, lives in a middle class London house, and is always being kept under extreme amounts of pressure and stress from all aspects of life, represented by a throbbing vein in his temple. His two children, Claire and Brian, plague him with fear and worries every day. Claire is a frail six-year-old who is allergic to a large range of things such as wheat, ponies, spices etc., while Brian is a ten-year-old with learning problems who has been kept back three straight years in school and has an oral fixation. The family's au pair housekeeper, Maria, is an eighteen-year-old Portuguese woman with a serious drinking problem; despite Eric's frequent attempts to keep her under control and focused, she seems to be passed-out drunk for hours at a time, often sprawled on a floor. His ex-wife, Liz, left him for a Buddhist, but she insists on phoning him up incessantly, which merely adds to his growing stress level. The next-door neighbours, the wealthy, successful and snobbish Perfect family, provide him a constant and painful view of what his life could have been.
Eric's workplace is absolutely no escape from his everyday problems. His boss, Paul Power (known as PP), is loud, rude and demanding; he has demoted Eric from Assistant Manager to a low-level clerk in an office sandwiched between the janitor's closet and the men's toilets. His secretary, Alison, is completely useless, spending all her "working hours" making and taking personal phone calls and shrilling rudely at Eric when he requests her attention.
At the end of almost every episode, as the climax of events cause Eric's stress to reach breaking point, the throbbing vein emerges from his temple and wraps itself around his neck, strangling him.
- Eric Feeble - Stressed out divorced father of two children. Eric is a kind, well-meaning man who loves his children. Although bitter and sarcastic about many aspects of his life, Eric genuinely tries to make the best out of situation and deeply loves his children, going to great lengths to make them proud. However he normally fails due to no fault of his own, and the rare times he actually does well, something always happens to ruin it.
- Claire Feeble - Daughter of Eric; allergic to just about everything. Despite this, she is an intelligent, curious, playful little girl. Due to her allergies, she has to eat special regulation food and is always sneaking ordinary food, which immediately makes her swell up.
- Brian Feeble - Son of Eric; has yet to learn to talk and is always putting things in his mouth.
- Maria Gonzalez - The Feeble family's punk-looking live-in au pair; she is Portuguese and always drunk or hungover. She also uses alcohol as perfume in the episode "Potato".
- Liz - Eric's eccentric ex-wife.
- Ray Perfect - Snobbish and "perfect" next-door neighbour of Eric. Shares Eric's workplace but is senior and consistently praised for his fine work.
- Mrs. Perfect - Snobbish wife of Mr. Perfect. Catchphrase: "How art thou, Eric?"
- Heather Perfect - Snobbish daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Perfect.
- Paul Power, a.k.a. P.P - Boss of Eric who is usually very angry. Catchphrase: "Double arseburgers, Eric!"
- Alison - Eric's useless secretary who spends all her time on the telephone gossiping to friends.
- Doc - Eric's dementedly relaxed doctor, more interested in chasing women than treating Eric. He is the closest thing Eric has to a best friend.
- Mrs. Wilson - An old lady who slowly tries in vain to post a letter which always falls from her hand and into a drain, sometimes with Eric to blame. Catchphrase: "Morning, Mister Eric. Just off to the post..."
- Mark Heap as Eric Feeble (UK) & (NZ)
- Morwenna Banks as Claire Feeble and Heather Perfect
- Rebecca Front as Liz Feeble
- Gordon Kennedy Various
- Doon Mackichan as Maria Gonzalez and Alison Scabie
- Geoffrey McGivern as Caleb and Paul Power
- Paul Shearer as Doc
- Alison Steadman as Mrs Perfect
Stressed Eric was bought by NBC and adapted for American audiences. The BBC described it as "the first British animated sitcom to make it on to prime time US TV." Some episodes were shown in August 1998, but they were received poorly despite concessions such as replacing the lead character's voice with famous American voice actor Hank Azaria and changing the storyline to an American in London. Reviewers compared it unfavorably to The Simpsons and South Park such as Variety and USA Today.
Stressed Eric continued when Hibbert Ralph produced the second series, but however, Klasky Csupo did not participate due to budgeting constraints. The second series was animated by Varga Studio instead.
List of episodes
- Nativity - 20 April 1998
- Sex - 27 April 1998
- Pony - 11 May 1998
- Hospital - 18 May 1998
- Potato - 1 June 1998
- Tidy - 8 June 1998
- Cricket - 31 August 2000
- Bursting - 6 September 2000
- Team - 13 September 2000
- Tent - 20 September 2000
- Crush - 27 September 2000
- Au Pair - 4 October 2000
- Drool - 11 October 2000
The Complete Stressed Eric Collection was released on DVD in the UK on 2 May 2011, with the following Special Features:
- The Story of Stressed Eric
- Drawing the Characters with Stig Bergqvist
- Audio Commentaries
- Animatic of Nativity Episode
- BBC Trails
- Storyboard Excerpt from Pony Episode
- Barraclough, Leo (1998-08-03). "Azaria lends voice to ‘Stressed Eric’". Variety. Retrieved 2013-08-24.
- "Nbc Yanks Up 'Stressed Eric'". NY Daily News. 1998-08-12. Retrieved 2013-08-24.
- "Entertainment | Stressed Eric goes Stateside". BBC News. 1998-08-11. Retrieved 2013-08-24.
- US piles stress on Eric, BBC News, 13 August 1998
- "Animated 'Stressed Eric' Lacks All British Propriety - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1998-08-12. Retrieved 2013-08-24.
- Barraclough, Leo (1998-08-11). "Stressed Eric". Variety. Retrieved 2013-08-24.
- Official Stressed Eric Site
- Official Absolutely Productions Site
- Stressed Eric at BBC Programmes
- Stressed Eric at the Internet Movie Database
- Stressed Eric at TV.com