"A lie is a lie...unless your friends and family are in on it. Then it's a commonly-held belief."
Most episodes follow his exploits and his point of view. He knows that his life has been and is very screwed-up, but realizes that he himself has turned out relatively okay. Even though the show is about his family, everyone calls him by his last name except for his dad and Erin.
- The Teetotaler: Like his actor, Titus quit drinking in his teens after he fell in a bonfire during a beach party and nearly died. His falling off the wagon is a major plot point in Season Two.
"So I'm sitting in a meeting when my pager goes off with a message. It says 'Dad's dead.' So I race out of the meeting and drive all the way to Santa Maria because, naturally, I think 'MY DAD'S DEAD!'"
Christopher's fiancée, a strong and independent woman whose family is just as messed-up as his. She is a calming influence on Titus, is one of the few people Papa Titus likes and is semi-openly lusted after by both Dave and Tommy. Despite her peacemaking personality, she has a buried Irish temper that everyone is afraid of. Her parents, Nora and Merritt, are miserably married alcoholics, her sister Kim is a sexually promiscuous drug addict and her brother Michael is a career criminal. Her childhood dream was to become the first person in her family to not be arrested. She brings in her niece Amy (Kim's daughter) after her stepfather (Kim's boyfriend) almost punches her in the face for calling Child Welfare on him.
Dave Scovill (Zack Ward)
Christopher: I want you to tell me what you want!
Christopher's stepbrother and close friend. He has a short attention span
, is easily swayed by food
, smokes pot
, is a Cloud Cuckoolander
and has an obsession with Asian women
. He is blissfully unaware of how messed-up he is.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: To Titus, though the rest of the gang treats him similarly.
- Bi the Way: In the middle of Season 3 hints are dropped that Dave doesn't mind being sexual around men (i.e., kissing Tommy to prove that Tommy isn't gay in the episode "Tommy's Not Gay" and working at a bar on nights when gay men drink at half-price. See Even the Guys Want Him. Although it seems more like he believes himself to be a local sex god and acting benevolent/making money out of it than actually be interested in men.
- Throw It In: Dave's obsession with Asian women came about because Zack Ward is married to an Asian woman in real life. The writers thought the visual of the extremely pale Ward being with an Asian woman was hilarious.
Tommy Shafter (David Shatraw)
Tommy: Now, Mr. Titus, this is something my father taught me. (starts making hand gestures) Father and son start together...and then, they grow apart...until the son's ready to be a man...and then, they grow together again.
Ken: Can you get him away from me?
Friend of the family and accountant for Titus' custom car shop. Growing up in a relatively stable household, Tommy is the only "normal" member of the cast, and he is just as screwed-up as everyone else. Eccentric, flamboyant and anal, his effeminate
mannerisms are subverted as he is heterosexual, but those mannerisms are picked up from his gay father.
- Ambiguously Gay / Mistaken for Gay: Justified in that Tommy imitated his father, who was a Straight Gay who kept his true sexuality under wraps for many years.
- Beware the Nice Ones: While it's hard to do, pushing Tommy too far may get him to tase your juvenile delinquent ass up or kick the homophobic shit out of you and force you to scream "I'm a homo!"
- Camp Straight: A downplayed version. His campish mannerisms are a direct result of his father being in the closet while raising him.
- Stalker with a Crush: In the episode "Tommy's Girlfriend," where Tommy's high school sweetheart (played by Nicole Sullivan) ends up trapped in Titus's car shop after Tommy crashes his car into hers.
Christopher: (while role-playing with Dave about how condescending their dad is) Hey, Dad, I started my own business and I made more money in one year than you have in any year of your life! What do you think about that?! Heh heh heh... (Ken appears behind him, beer in hand)
You could consider him to be a Magnificent Bastard
, to some degree. The show revolves around the relationship between him and Christopher. He is a very difficult man to describe; he's gruff and difficult, but has Jerk with a Heart of Gold
tendencies. He seems to enjoy watching Christopher suffer, but it seems to be a form of Training from Hell
meets Wax On, Wax Off
Juanita Titus (Christine Estrabrook, Frances Fisher, Connie Stevens)
Juanita: Get down! The aliens can see you!
Young Christopher: They look like trash cans, Mom.
Juanita: They always do! They're aliens, not morons! Go get your metal hat! (brandishes a shotgun and shoves the business end of it out the window) HOW DARE YOU INVADE MY PLANET! (fires)
- Axe Crazy: Chased after Ken with a broken wine bottle at the end of "Mom's Not Nuts," and shot her abusive second husband Bill when he punched her in the face during Titus' wedding.
- Driven to Suicide: How Juanita died. The good news is that she didn't take anyone with her when she died.
- Manipulative Bitch: Ken and Christopher have described Juanita as this.
Tommy: Well, someone's turning into a woman!
Amy: Yeah, and I'm looking at her.
- Does Not Like Men: Justified when you consider that her mom's boyfriend beats the crap out of her when he's drunk and she was molested by a male babysitter whose son sexually harassed her.
- Hidden Depths: "The Protector" and "Amy's Birthday" shed light on why Amy is such a broken child: Her mother is a drug addict who's too high to raise her own child, her stepfather is a drunk who beats her and, when Amy was a child, she was sexually molested by a family friend who offered to take care of her while her parents were in jail.
- Straight Gay: The episode "Errr" reveals that Amy is in love with someone named "Charlie..." who turns out to be a girl. Prior to that point, there was no mention of Amy's sexual preference.