Payne (TV series)
This article relies largely or entirely on a single source. (February 2012)
|Created by||Judd Pilot|
|Composer(s)||Scott Van Zen|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||9 (1 unaired)|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Big Phone Productions|
Port Street Films
Studios USA Television
|Original release||March 15 –|
April 28, 1999
Payne was a mid-season replacement on CBS and aired in March and April 1999. The show also starred JoBeth Williams, Julie Benz and Rick Batalla. Despite fairly positive reception, and receiving the blessing of John Cleese, who agreed to take a recurring role as the antagonistic rival hotelier if the show was renewed, Payne was quickly cancelled. Nine episodes were filmed; eight were aired.
Payne was a remake of Fawlty Towers, though set in this version at an ambiguous location on the coast of California, as opposed to Torquay, England, in Fawlty Towers. The action takes place at the Whispering Pines Inn, owned and operated by Royal Payne and his wife, Constance. Royal was always trying to improve the quality of his hotel and eventually franchise the place, in search of immortal legendary status as a hotelier, like Hilton or Waldorf.
- Royal Payne (John Larroquette) – Inspired by Basil Fawlty, Royal had an overpowering obsession (not unlike Basil’s generally obsessive behavior) with keeping up with a rival hotel called the Sand Dune, located just a short distance up the road. His schemes to do so cheaply or overly simply were the source of many of his problems. The viewer was given the impression that the only reason Whispering Pines ever had any guests at all was that it was in a popular resort area and the far superior Sand Dune was nearly always full. Payne like Basil is guilty of false economy and rudeness.
- Constance (Connie) Payne (JoBeth Williams) – The antagonistic dynamic between Connie and Royal was also nearly identical to that between Sybil and Basil with one distinct exception: their sex life was apparently extremely vibrant and healthy, whereas Basil and Sybil's was implied to be repressed, (though Basil does claim 2 or 3 times a week in the episode "The Psychiatrist", although this is most likely untrue). Connie’s gossip sessions on the telephone with her friends (a Sybil Fawlty characteristic) invariably had her bragging about how fantastic Royal was in bed, implying that this was why she continued to tolerate him. Since Royal had a Basil-like sense of embarrassment, this caused him enormous consternation. She is no doubt named for Connie Booth, who played the maid, Polly, in Fawlty Towers and who co-wrote the show with her then-husband, Cleese.
- Breeze O’Rourke (Julie Benz) – A waitress/chambermaid, based on Polly in Fawlty Towers. One difference between Breeze and Polly was that Breeze was staunchly proud that she was a virgin, "saving herself for marriage". Otherwise, Breeze was, like Polly, intelligent, efficient, and repeatedly saving Royal from his own incompetence.
- Mo (Rick Batalla) – A bellhop from India, Mo is essentially modeled on the Manuel character in Fawlty Towers.
EpisodesEpisodes aired in the UK on the ITV network soon after the series run. Episode 8 was also broadcast in the UK unlike CBS.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||"The J. Edgar Hoover Pin Story"||Dorothy Lyman||Gail Parent||March 15, 1999|
|2||"Sexual Intercom"||Michael Zinberg||Jennifer Fisher||March 17, 1999|
|3||"Whatever Happened to Baby Payne?"||John Rich||Rob Dames & Lenny Ripps||March 24, 1999|
|4||"Gossip Checks In and a Cat Checks Out"||John Pasquin||Judd Pillot & John Peaslee||March 31, 1999|
|5||"Pacific Ocean Duck"||Andrew D. Weyman||Teleplay by John Peaslee & Judd Pillot|
Story by John Cleese & Connie Booth
|April 7, 1999|
|6||"Trouble in Room 206"||John Rich||Joseph Staretski||April 14, 1999|
|7||"I Never Forget a Face-Lift"||Craig Zisk||James Kramer||April 21, 1999|
|8||"Wedding Fever"||Dorothy Lyman||Steve Atinsky & Dan O'Connor||April 28, 1999|
|9||"Uncle Royal and Aunt Connie"||Michael Zinberg||Jonathan Leigh Solomon||Unaired|