Sunday, October 01, 2017

Ned and Stacey: The Complete Series

© by Gerald So | 8:00 a.m.

Ned and Stacey originally aired on FOX for a season-and-a-half (1995–97), starring a post-Wings Thomas Haden Church and Debra Messing in her first lead role. Advertising executive Ned Dorsey marries Stacey Colbert to land a promotion. Freelance writer Stacey marries Ned to move out of her parents' house into his hi-rise apartment.

The premise may have been a stretch, but something about the characters appealed to me as I caught up with the series–including the eleven remaining episodes of Season 2–on cable. Sony released the first season on DVD in 2005 but, due to poor sales, canceled a release of Season 2. That's how long I waited until Shout! Factory released the complete series last Tuesday.

Ned and Stacey wasn't the usual tale of opposites eventually attracted to each other. Ned isn't a completely callous alpha male, and Stacey isn't a completely altruistic do-gooder. Both initially use each other for material gain. Both hurt each other, though never intentionally. Neither is every issue resolved by the end of an episode. These quirks may have shortened the show's broadcast life, but they are also what I remember and like most about it.

Stacey's sister Amanda (Nadia Dajani) and Amanda's husband Eric (Greg Germann) were memorable as well. Amanda was dominant and brash, but she had Stacy and Eric's best interests at heart. Eric responded to Amanda with calm and flexibility. Showing these same qualities as a best friend, Eric helped humanize Ned.

By the final episode, Ned had lost his advertising job and planned to drive to Texas. Stacey, meanwhile, had moved into an apartment of her own. Ned visited her on his drive, and they professed they loved each other. It's not romantic love as we go to black, but love between unexpected friends.

As I prepared to buy the DVDs, I was pleasantly surprised to learn Ned and Stacey was created by Michael J. Weithorn, who wrote my favorite episodes of Family Ties. Weithorn would find commercial success as creator of The King of Queens.

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