Stand By Your Man (TV series)

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Stand by Your Man
Based on Birds of a Feather
Developed by Nancy Steen
Neil Thompson
Starring Melissa Gilbert Brinkman
Rosie O'Donnell
Sam McMurray
Rick Hall
Miriam Flynn
Rusty Schwimmer
Don Gibb
Ellen Ratners
Composer(s) Chuck Loeb
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 8
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) Home Made Productions
WitzEnd Productions
20th Century Fox Television
Original network Fox
Original release April 5 (1992-04-05) – May 17, 1992 (1992-05-17)

Stand by Your Man is an American sitcom that aired on Fox from April 5, 1992, until May 17, 1992. The series was created by Nancy Steen and Neil Thompson, who also wrote some of the episodes. It is notable for being Melissa Gilbert's return to series television after the conclusion of Little House on the Prairie nine years earlier, and the first lead sitcom role for Rosie O'Donnell, who was then on the verge of breaking into major fame.

The series was created as an American adaptation of the British sitcom Birds of a Feather, which was still in production at the time.


The show's premise, as narrated in the opening credits by Fox network's chief announcer Joe Cipriano in a deadpan comical fashion, was that two sisters, earthy Rochelle Dunphy (Gilbert) and loud, crass Lorraine Popowski (O'Donnell) agreed to live together for emotional and moral support while their husbands were doing time in prison for robbery. Rochelle was a trophy wife who had married Roger Dunphy (Sam McMurray), a former working stiff who had become wealthy, supposedly as a successful manufacturer of sunroom and patio furniture. She thought her life of luxury was near perfect until her husband was discovered to have committed a series of major bank robberies with her brother-in-law. (Roger had in fact owed much of his wealth, and the money he spoiled Rochelle with, to robbing banks.) Lorraine had married blue-collar slob Artie Popowski (Rick Hall) in a shot-gun ceremony in Las Vegas, and together they shared marital bliss in the trailer park. However, once Roger and Artie were convicted of the crime and carted away from their wives, Lorraine had no choice but to move into Rochelle's palatial home in the suburbs of Franklin Heights, New Jersey. The sisters then became even closer as they gave each other support in a time of need, and went on crazy adventures ribbed with humor that bordered between classic Vaudeville and the toilet.

Since most of Roger's wealth was re-claimed by their respective banks upon his and Artie's sentencing, Rochelle and Lorraine were suddenly faced with financial problems. The former was reluctant to find a job, after living off Roger for so long; the latter worked at Bargain Circus, a retail store, helping the two get by. Gloria (Rusty Schwimmer) and Sophie (Ellen Ratners) were Lorraine's co-workers at the store. Ironically, one time when Lorraine demanded Rochelle get a job at Bargain Circus, it turned out to backfire on her; earlier, their boss had been fired for sexual harassment of Lorraine, and upper management replaced the boss with someone who impressed them with her strong confidence: Rochelle.

Adrienne Stone (Miriam Flynn) was the status-conscious next door neighbor who resented everything having to do with the sisters' living arrangement. Adrienne was convinced that Lorraine was helping to bring down the value of the neighborhood, never missed an opportunity to make the imprisoned husbands a subject of conversation, and in addition, had something hypocritical to hide. Lorraine's biker friend Scab (Donald Gibb), a rough but good-hearted guy, caught the eye of Adrienne, and she started an affair with him. She easily convinced him to be a kept man by treating him to nice clothes and getting her friends to think he was some kind of pro athlete or sea captain. Their relationship was openly revealed to everyone before the end of the series' short run.

In every episode, Rochelle and Lorraine also visited their husbands in prison. Much of the key conflict between the sisters occurred here; Rochelle could not be apart from Roger for too long, since they were still madly in love; Lorraine, who still stood by Artie, vented her anger towards Roger, but also expressed anger at Artie for not having the guts to say no to Roger.



Stand by Your Man was Fox's attempt to finally add power to the latter half of their Sunday night lineup, building upon the success of the shows that aired earlier that night (Married...With Children, The Simpsons, et al.). At this time, Fox still scheduled Sunday programming up until 11/10c, and hoped that the broad, somewhat raunchy nature of Stand by Your Man would draw a sizeable audience for the 10/9c slot. The network also saw the series as its "next big Married...With Children" (many critics claimed Stand by Your Man outdid Married... with the style of its writing).

For the show's original episode run, and for two weeks beyond, it aired at 10/9c on Sundays. Fox officially canceled the series in May. The show then moved into the 10:30/9:30c slot on the same evening, in mid-June: after two more months of summer reruns, Stand by Your Man had its last network airing on August 9, 1992.

Theme song[edit]

The show's title was taken from the Tammy Wynette song of the same name; though neither the song itself nor a variation of it was used in the series.

External links[edit]