United States (TV series)

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United States
Genre Dramedy
Created by Gary Markowitz
Written by Gary Markowitz
Larry Gelbart
Tom Whedon
Everett qlGreenbaum
Carol Gary
Directed by Will Mackenzie
Nick Havinga
Starring Beau Bridges
Helen Shaver
Rossie Harris
Justin Dana
Composer(s) Jack Elliott
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 13 (6 unaired)
Executive producer(s) Larry Gelbart
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 30 minutes
Production company(s) OTP Productions
Original network NBC
Original release March 11 – April 29, 1980

United States is an American sitcom (dramedy) that aired on NBC from March 11 until April 29, 1980.

Larry Gelbart, the show's executive producer and chief writer, said the name United States was not a reference to the country but rather to "the state of being united in a relationship". Gelbart envisioned a series that would be "a situation comedy based on the real things that happen in my marriage and in the marriages of my friends".

Episodes tackled such topics as marital infidelity, household debt, friends who drink too much, death within the family, and sexual misunderstandings.

United States focused on Richard and Libby Chapin, an upwardly mobile couple who lived in a Los Angeles suburb, Woodland Hills. Beau Bridges played Richard, and Helen Shaver played Libby. Gelbart reverted to black-and-white script for the show's titles. He said that was to convey the mood of "a sophisticated '30s film." Gelbart also avoided use of background music and a laugh track. Scripts featured dialogue such as, "Just for once I'd like to be treated like a friend instead of a husband," and "Maybe you and Bob can go out and get yourselves one redhead with two straws."

United States premiered at 10:30 p.m. on March 11, 1980. NBC pulled it from the schedule within two months, after only seven of 13 episodes had aired. The series aired later that year in Britain on BBC2, under the title Married. The remaining episodes were not broadcast in the US until 1986, when the A&E cable channel aired United States.

The show's tagline made by NBC was "It will do to marriages what M*A*S*H did for war".



  1. Uncle Charlie (3-11-80)
  2. Broccoli (3-18-80)
  3. Josh (3-25-80)
  4. And Baby Makes Two (4-1-80)
  5. All Our Weapons (4-8-80)
  6. Windmills (4-15-80)
  7. Sometimes (4-22-80)
  8. Better Than Burning (4-29-80)


Writing in The Toronto Star, entertainment critic Ron Base (reviewing the first episode) felt the program lacked insight, and wrote that the program's emphasis on talk and arguments made Bridges and Shaver "surprisingly unlikable".[1]

In their Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows (1946—Present), authors Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh characterize the show as "tedious, boring and didactic".[2]


  1. ^ Base, Ron (12 March 1980). "Nasty arguments aren't funny". Toronto Star. p. F3. 
  2. ^ Brooks, Tim; Earle Marsh (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows (1946—Present): Ninth Edition. U.S.A.: Ballantine Books. p. 1702. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4. 
  • Lurie, Alison. (1980, April 26-May 2). Are We Ready For Marriage—1980s-Style ... With No Sugar Added? TV Guide, pp. 4–8

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