The Fanelli Boys

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The Fanelli Boys
Genre Sitcom
Created by Barry Fanaro
Terry Grossman
Mort Nathan
Kathy Speer
Written by Robert Bruce
Michael Davidoff
Barry Fanaro
Howard Gewirtz
Terry Grossman
Tom Maxwell
Mort Nathan
Treva Silverman
Kathy Speer
Martin Weiss
Don Woodard
Directed by Gary Brown
James Burrows
Jim Drake
J.D. Lobue
Jack Shea
David Steinberg
Andrew D. Weyman
Steve Zuckerman
Starring Ann Morgan Guilbert
Ned Eisenberg
Joe Pantoliano
Christopher Meloni
Andy Hirsch
Richard Libertini
Vera Lockwood
Opening theme "Why Should I Worry?"
Composer(s) Thomas Pasatieri
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 19
Cinematography Vincent Contarino
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) KTMB Productions
Touchstone Television
Distributor Buena Vista Television
Original network NBC
Original release September 8, 1990 (1990-09-08) – February 16, 1991 (1991-02-16)

The Fanelli Boys is an American sitcom that aired on NBC as part of its 1990-91 prime time schedule. The series was created by the team of Barry Fanaro, Mort Nathan, Kathy Speer, and Terry Grossman, all of whom previously worked on The Golden Girls.


Following the death of her husband, Theresa Fanelli (Ann Morgan Guilbert) is prepared to sell the family business (a funeral home) to her son Anthony (Ned Eisenberg) and move from Brooklyn to Florida. Thwarting her plans are the arrival of her younger sons Ronnie (Andy Hirsch), who had just dropped out of school, and Frankie (Chris Meloni), whose engagement has just been broken. Another brother, the slightly disreputable Dom (Joe Pantoliano), is between hustles. Anthony learns that the funeral home is about $25,000 in debt, which he had not counted on. Soon, all of the boys are back at home with their mom, just like the old days. Advising the family, somewhat dubiously, are Theresa's brother, a Catholic priest known as "Father Angelo" (Richard Libertini), and fortune teller Philomena (Vera Lockwood).

The Fanelli Boys showed fairly strong Italian-American ethnic stereotyping; there was even an Italian flag in the program's logo. The series garnered low ratings and was cancelled in February 1991 after airing nineteen episodes.

The series started off as smart and edgy. With early ratings low and despite fairly strong reviews, a more slapstick element was introduced. This killed the show's chances and it died an early death.


Title sequence[edit]

The show's original opening sequence was filmed footage of a dining room table (presumably the Fanellis') as it was set by its family, followed by them sitting down and serving pasta and wine, which culminated in everyone toasting. Only the family's hands were seen during the entire sequence. This was accompanied by an instrumental, old-world Italian tune.

In January 1991, a month before The Fanelli Boys was cancelled, the opening changed to featuring videotaped scenes from the show with the cast, along with an in-house rendition of Billy Joel's "Why Should I Worry?" as the new lyrical theme.


Episode # Episode title Original airdate
1-1 Pilot September 8, 1990
1-2 "You Can Go Home Again" September 12, 1990
1-3 "Pursued" September 19, 1990
1-4 "The Hex" September 26, 1990
1-5 "Heart Attack" October 3, 1990
1-6 "Take My Ex-Wife, Please" October 10, 1990
1-7 "Poetic Justice" October 24, 1990
1-8 "Father Smoke" October 31, 1990
1-9 "Tarnished Angel" November 7, 1990
1-10 "The Two Doms" November 14, 1990
1-11 "An Italian-American Gigolo" December 1, 1990
1-12 "A Fanelli Christmas" December 8, 1990
1-13 "Oh My Papas" December 15, 1990
1-14 "Accidents Will Happen" January 5, 1991
1-15 "Doctor, Doctor" January 12, 1991
1-16 "Rope a Dope" January 19, 1991
1-17 "The Undergraduate" February 2, 1991
1-18 "The Wedding (Part 1)" February 9, 1991
1-19 "The Wedding (Part 2)" February 16, 1991


External links[edit]