Ed (TV series)
The main cast
|Created by||Jon Beckerman
Jana Marie Hupp
Michael Ian Black
Daryl "Chill" Mitchell
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||83 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||42 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Worldwide Pants Incorporated
|Original release||October 8, 2000– February 6, 2004|
Ed is an NBC television program co-produced by David Letterman's Worldwide Pants Incorporated, NBC Productions (now Universal Television) and Viacom Productions (now CBS Television Studios) that aired from 2000 to 2004.
The hour-long comedy-drama starred Tom Cavanagh as Edward Jeremy Stevens, the protagonist, Julie Bowen as his love interest Carol Phyllis Vessey, Josh Randall as his friend Dr. Mike Burton, Jana Marie Hupp as Mike's wife Nancy, Lesley Boone as their friend Molly Hudson, and Justin Long as awkward high-school student Warren Cheswick. Other supporting cast members included Michael Genadry and Ginnifer Goodwin as Warren's friends Mark and Diane, and Michael Ian Black, Mike Starr, Rachel Cronin, and (later) Daryl Mitchell as the employees of Stuckeybowl, Ed's bowling alley. Long term guest stars included John Slattery as Dennis Martino and Sabrina Lloyd as Frankie Hector. The show was created by executive producers Jon Beckerman and Rob Burnett. David Letterman is also credited as one of the show's executive producers.
In 2004, NBC cut the show from their lineup due to poor ratings. It continues to have a cult like following, with many clamoring to see its release on DVD or a streaming service like Netlix or Hulu Plus.
The show revolved around Cavanagh's Ed Stevens, a hotshot New York lawyer who, on the same day he is fired from his job (for drafting a contract with a misplaced comma that ended up costing his firm $1.6 million), comes home to discover his wife sleeping with a mailman (the wife makes the point that it is not their mailman in particular, but another mailman).
Deciding to spend some time in his hometown of Stuckeyville, Ohio, he is reunited with friends that he has missed, as well as Carol Vessey, a woman he had a crush on in high school. Determined to win her heart, Ed decides to stay, buying a rundown bowling alley and setting up a new law firm in the process, earning him the undesired nickname "The Bowling-Alley Lawyer" ("I am a lawyer, I own a bowling alley. Two separate things").
Ed also had a number of running gags, such as bowling alley employee Phil (Michael Ian Black) hatching ludicrous schemes usually to gain fame and/or fortune, ten-dollar bets between Ed and Mike that would require one of them to do something extremely embarrassing, mentions of Arbor Day as a big holiday, and various characters named "Godfrey" appearing in many episodes. The series also dealt with issues of social popularity and self-esteem both through Ed—who was unpopular in high school and yet had a crush on stereotypically popular blond cheerleader Carol Vessey—and through Molly, Carol's coworker and friend who was similarly unpopular in high school and continues to have self-esteem issues due to her being overweight.
After his wife cheated on him, Ed Stevens (Tom Cavanagh) returns to his home town of Stuckeyville.
Ed reconnects with his old high school crush, Carol Vessey (Julie Bowen), who has become a high school English teacher. Her friend, Molly Hudson (Lesley Boone) teaches science at the same high school. Warren Cheswick (Justin Long) is an awkward high school student who has a crush on Carol, his English teacher.
On a whim, Ed buys the local bowling alley, Stuckeybowl. Besides Ed, Stuckeybowl has only three employees, Phil Stubbs (Michael Ian Black), Shirley Pifko (Rachel Cronin), and Kenny Sandusky (Mike Starr). Later, Kenny leaves and Eli Cartwright Goggins (Daryl Mitchell) joins Stuckeybowl. Starving for business, Phil comes up with the idea to combine Ed's legal knowledge with bowling. Ed comes to represent many of the townspeople in court.
Dr. Walter Jerome (Marvin Chatinover) is a doctor who owns the practice where Mike works. He wants Mike to succeed in his practice, so he is strict in his methods.
Mark Vanacore (Michael R. Genadry) is Warren's best friend and closest confidant.
Diane Snyder (Ginnifer Goodwin) is also Warren and Mark's friend.
Jessica Martell (Robin Paul) is the object of Warren's affections.
Future Primetime Emmy Award winners such as Neil Patrick Harris and Jim Parsons also had guest appearances before finding success with CBS shows How I Met Your Mother and The Big Bang Theory, respectively.
While the premise of the show hinges on the changes in Ed's life in New York and his initial return to Stuckeyville, the pilot which illustrated these events was not aired as part of the series. A summary using footage from the pilot, however, did appear at the beginning of the first regular episode.
In addition, the pilot also contained some notable casting choices, with Donal Logue portraying Phil and Janeane Garofalo guest-starring as Ed's ex-wife Liz. Michael Ian Black replaced Logue as Phil in re-shot scenes of the first episode and for the entire series, and a number of different actresses played Liz in her few appearances (for example, Lea Thompson played the character in several episodes near the end of the series).
Although set in the fictitious town of Stuckeyville, Ohio, the majority of the series was actually shot in various towns in northern New Jersey including Montclair, Hillsdale, Haworth, Westfield, Cranford, Nutley, Ridgewood, Harrington Park, Allendale and Northvale and Rockland County, New York (Tappan, Nyack). Many of the street names and towns mentioned on the show are real New Jersey street and town names. The opening sequence showed Ed driving past the Rialto movie theater in the downtown of Westfield. Stuckeybowl was actually the former Country Club Lanes in Northvale, NJ, and also served as the show's headquarters. Many of the show's other sets were built in a cleared out portion of the bowling alley such as the interiors of Stuckeyville High School, the courtroom, and The Smiling Goat. Country Club Lanes went out of business several years ago, and was completely demolished in the late Spring of 2006, to make room for new housing.
The opening credits theme song for the majority of the show's run was "Next Year" by Foo Fighters, except during the entire second season when Clem Snide's "Moment in the Sun" was used. Season three reverted to "Next Year" in the United States, after resolving the "complicated business reasons" that prevented its use the previous year. "Moment in the Sun" continued to be used outside the U.S., although the end credits list "Next Year" as the opening theme.
A framed Foo Fighters poster hung on the wall of Stuckeyville High School principal Molly Hudson's office.
|Season||Timeslot (EDT)||Season Premiere||Season Finale||TV Season||Rank||Viewers
|1||Sunday 8:00 P.M. (October 8, 2000 – May 23, 2001)
||October 8, 2000||May 23, 2001||2000–2001||#52||11.5|
|2||Wednesday 8:00 P.M. (October 10, 2001 – May 15, 2002)||October 10, 2001||May 15, 2002||2001–2002||#58||9.8|
|3||Wednesday then Friday 8:00 P.M. (September 25, 2002 – April 11, 2003)||September 25, 2002||April 11, 2003||2002–2003||#49||10.12|
|4||Wednesday then Friday 8:00 P.M. (September 21, 2003 – February 6, 2004)||September 21, 2003||February 6, 2004||2003–2004||#76||8.25|
The first season of Ed was met by favorable reviews from critics. Review aggregator website Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, gave the show a score of 86 out of 100 based on 32 reviews. Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Ken Tucker described it as "the best new show of the season...possess[ing] all the bright romantic magic and tart humor of a first-rate screwball film comedy", with particular praise for the performances of Cavanagh and Bowen.
- Sullivan, Brian Ford (March 7, 2007). "On the Futon with... "The Knights of Prosperity" creators Rob Burnett & Jon Beckerman". The Futon Critic.
- Owen, Rob (October 8, 2000). "It's prime time for 'Late Show' writers". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- Frost, Bill (November 30, 2000). "Dog Boy Saves NBC! Believe the hype: Ed is a good, weird time.". Salt Lake City Weekly.
- Blackman, Lori (November 17, 2000). "Tom Cavanagh of 'Ed'". CNN.
- Iorio, Paul (September 24, 2000). "`Ed' Has That Letterman Touch". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Fries, Laura (October 2, 2000). "Ed (review)". Variety.
- Vancheri, Barbara (September 25, 2002). "TV Preview: 'Ed' creators hope to keep show fresh". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- "Ed: Season 1". Metacritic. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
- Tucker, Ken (6 October 2000). "Ed". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
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