Friends and Lovers (TV series)
|Friends and Lovers|
Title card with text "Friends & Lovers." A card with the text "Paul Sand in" immediately preceded it in the opening credits.
|Created by||James L. Brooks
Craig Richard Nelson
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||15|
|Executive producer(s)||James L. Brooks
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||MTM Enterprises|
|Original release||September 14, 1974– January 4, 1975|
Friends and Lovers (also known as Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers) is an American sitcom starring Paul Sand which centers on a musician in Boston, Massachusetts, and his personal relationships. It was Sand's only starring role in a television series. The show aired from September 14, 1974, to January 4, 1975.
- Paul Sand: Robert Dreyfuss
- Michael Pataki: Charlie Dreyfuss
- Penny Marshall: Janice Dreyfuss
- Dick Wesson: Jack Riordan
- Steve Landesberg: Fred Meyerbach
- Craig Richard Nelson: Mason Woodruff
- Jack Gilford: Ben Dreyfuss
- Jan Miner: Marge Dreyfuss
Robert Dreyfuss is a young bachelor and double-bass player who returns to Boston after living in Denver, Colorado, for three years and wins a job playing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. He is a romantic who falls in love easily with the women he meets, but he has little luck with them because he is shy, passive, dour-faced, and tends to say the wrong things at the wrong time. In sharp contrast, his older brother Charlie is aggressive, loud, physically fit, and athletic. Charlie is protective of Robert, while Charlie's affection-starved wife Janice constantly mocks Robert for his romantic failures, and Robert often gets caught in the middle of the arguments to which Charlie and Janice are prone. Charlie and Janice have a three-year-old son named Brendan who is mentioned in the first episode, but Brendan never appears in the show and is never discussed in any other episode. Ben and Marge are Robert's and Charlie's parents.
In the orchestra, Robert makes friends with an Austrian violinist, Fred Meyerbach, who has a strained relationship with his father. They must deal with the young, sarcastic, and overweight conductor, Mason Woodruff, and the antagonistic orchestra manager, Jack Riordan.
Paul Sand was a rising star – he had won a Tony Award on Broadway and received good reviews for his appearances on The Carol Burnett Show and The Mary Tyler Moore Show – when MTM Enterprises decided to give him his own situation comedy in 1974. In order to give the show the maximum possible exposure to new viewers, CBS aired Friends and Lovers on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. between two blockbuster hit situation comedies, All in the Family at 8:00 p.m. and The Mary Tyler Moore Show at 9:00 p.m. – arguably the best time slot for a new series in the autumn of 1974. The show also received much publicity, touted as the "sleeper" hit of the fall 1974 season.
James L. Brooks and Allan Burns created and were the executive producers of the show. Writers included Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, Gordon Farr, Lowell Ganz, Steve Gordon, Andrew Johnson, Monica Mcgowan Johnson, Arnold Kane, Allan Leicht, Coleman Mitchell, Phil Mishkin, Geoffrey Neigher, Mary Kay Place, Steve Pritzker, and Bud Wiser. Episode directors were Peter Bonerz, Bob Claver, Tim Kiley, Robert Moore, Alan Rafkin, and Jay Sandrich
The show was filmed in color before a live studio audience.
|Season #||Episode #||Title||Plot/Notes||Original air date|
|1||1||"Getting to First Bass"||Robert returns to Boston from Denver, auditions for the orchestra, lands a job with it, meets Fred, reconnects with his ex-girlfriend, and falls for an untalented new student. Henry Winkler guest-stars as an egotistical cellist; Bo Hopkins and Lynne Lipton also guest-star.||September 14, 1974|
|1||2||"The Big Fight"||Robert shushes a muscled loudmouth and gets egged into a fight with him. Max Gail guest-stars.||September 21, 1974|
|1||3||"Love Thy Neighbor"||Robert wants romance with a neighbor who broke up with her husband.||September 28, 1974|
|1||4||"Fiddler in the House"||Robert's life is disrupted when Fred's father, a violin virtuoso who is affable but feels superior to those around him, comes to visit. Teri Garr and Leon Askin guest-star.||October 5, 1974|
|1||5||"The Cinderella Story"||Robert falls for a ballerina dancing the part of Cinderella. Andrea Marcovicci guest-stars.||October 12, 1974|
|1||6||"Ben and Marge Are Back"||Robert and Charlie's parents Ben and Marge return from Arizona and reveal that they have lost all of their money and will be staying in Boston.||October 19, 1974|
|1||7||"Moran's the Man"||A friend invites Robert to date the same woman he has been dating, creating a romantic triangle. Robert Klein, Mariette Hartley, and Pamela Bellwood guest-star.||October 26, 1974|
|1||8||"A Date With Robert"||Attempting to find a classy date to take to an important dinner, Robert can do no better than a woman who works as a part-time bus driver. Beverly Sanders and Dena Dietrich guest-star.||November 2, 1974|
|1||9||"Dreyfuss and Dreyfuss, Associates"||Charlie designs a gas station and enters an architectural competition. Gordon Jump guest stars.||November 9, 1974|
|1||10||"Smart Move"||Robert feels that everyone around him is pressuring him to get married and buy a house. Sharon Spelman guest-stars.||November 16, 1974|
|1||11||"Maid in the Snow"||Janice plans a romantic Thanksgiving holiday with Charlie at a ski resort, but Charlie ruins it by inviting Robert, Fred, and Fred's girlfriend Trudy – then Robert comes down with a cold and hurts his back and Janice must care for him in the cabin while the others are out skiing. Karen Morrow guest-stars.||November 23, 1974|
|1||12||"All's Well That Ends"||Robert plays coach in a romance between a baseball player and a stewardess.||November 30, 1974|
|1||13||"Just the Ticket"||Robert gets his father Ben a job at the orchestra's ticket office.||December 7, 1974|
|1||14||"The Groupie"||A determined 14-year-old flutist announces to Robert that she is his groupie and pursues him both at work and at home. Susan Neher and Robin Strasser guest-star.||December 14, 1974|
|1||15||"From Russia With Lust"||A girl-crazy Soviet pianist moves in with Robert.||January 4, 1975|
Some critics expressed disappointment in Friends and Lovers – the Boston Herald American's Anthony La Camera called it "a downright disappointment" and the Boston Globe's Percy Shain said it was "mundane and average, with few laughs" – but others gave it more favorable reviews. The premiere episode on September 14, 1974, was the 14th-most-watched show of the week, and during its run the show had good ratings – for example, a 36 share in early October 1974 – and was the 25th most-viewed television show of the season. However, its ratings paled in comparison to those of the shows before and after it; it lost viewers from All in the Family, which had a 51 share in early October 1974, and network executives believed that it did not provide a good lead-in audience for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, viewership of which fell from previous seasons to a 39 share by early October 1974. Especially given the high hopes the network had had for the show, it was considered a ratings disappointment for its highly advantageous time slot and, in fact, one of the bigger disappointments of the fall 1974 season.
CBS cancelled the show after only 15 episodes, the last of which was broadcast on January 4, 1975. Along with The Texas Wheelers, Friends and Lovers was one of the first two MTM Enterprises shows ever to be cancelled.
In January 1975, two weeks after it last aired, Friends and Lovers was replaced in its time slot by a new show, The Jeffersons. A better fit for CBS's Saturday-evening line-up, The Jeffersons was a major hit which aired in first-run production until 1985.
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- Leszczak, Bob, Single Season Sitcoms, 1948–1979, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Publishers, Inc., 2012. ISBN 978-0-7864-6812-6.
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- IMDb Paul Sand in Friends and Lovers (1974–1975)
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