is an ABC
TV show created, written, and produced by Scott Rosenberg as the Spiritual Successor
to his 1994 movie Beautiful Girls
. Beautiful Girls
was based on Rosenberg's Massachusetts hometown and his childhood buddies, and October Road
was based on their reaction to it.
Knights Ridge, MA is a small, blue-collar college town. Nick Garrett leaves at age 18 to go travel around Europe for six weeks. He doesn't return for ten years, leaving behind his widower father, younger brother, girlfriend, and his group of lifelong buddies. During his time away, he became a highly successful author, using his hometown and friends as fodder for his book. While suffering a bout of writer's block, he receives an offer to return to Knights Ridge and give a seminar at the nearby college. Upon his return, he finds that his ex-girlfriend has a ten-year old son named Sam and is engaged to Nick's longtime nemesis, Big Cat. His father and brother are shut-ins, one of his close friends has become severely agoraphobic and hasn't left the house in years, and very few people in town are happy about Nick's return.
This work provides examples of:
- All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Played straight and averted by Eddie. He was known for bedding the cheerleaders and a succession of pretty women. He then starts dating Janet, who is quite the opposite of Eddie's usual tastes.
- Berserk Button:
- Don't try to steal Big Cat's girlfriend, or he will, you know, destroy your life and the lives of everyone around you.
- Don't leave Hannah promising to come back after six weeks and then not call for 10 years.
- Don't abandon Eddie for 10 years and make him look dumb in a best-selling novel.
- Don't be rude to a woman who brings you food. Owen Rowan will bring the ouch.
- Beta Couple: Eddie/Janet. Physical Phil/Pizza Girl.
- Book Ends: the Distant Finale shows Sam about to follow in his old man's footsteps and go off to travel in Europe following graduation. The goodbye scene for Sam echoes the goodbye scene for Nick in the series' pilot.
- Cold Open
- Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: What the post-cancellation epilogue does.
- December-December Romance: Between the Commander and the Dean.
- Distant Finale: Because the show was re-canceled after its second season, the show had several unresolved arcs, namely who is Sam's father. Most of the cast came back, without pay, to film a 15-minute seven-years-in-the-future finale where a now 17-year old Sam has graduated high school and is going to spend the summer abroad in Europe, Nick is revealed to be Sam's father, Janet and Eddie have reconciled, Physical Phil has recovered from his agoraphobia and is still with Pizza Girl (whose name is revealed), the Commander has died, and Ronnie and Aubrey have married and are expecting a child. We don't find out if Owen and Allison got back together, as Brad William Henke was unavailable for filming due to his part on LOST
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: According to the epilogue, the Commander didn't beat his cancer.
- Evil Plan: Big Cat's ex-wife intentionally provokes Hannah into punching her by calling Sam a bastard child so she'll have leverage to gain sole custody of her and Big Cat's twin sons if Big Cat marries Hannah.
- Five-Man Band:
- The Hero: Nick
- The Lancer: Eddie
- The Smart Guy: Physical Phil
- The Big Guy: Owen Rowan and Ikey
- The Chick: Hannah
- High School Sweethearts: Nick and Hannah.
- Hikiko Mori: Physical Phil. The television is his main connection to the outside world.
- Hollywood Pudgy: Nicely averted with Janet. The actress is actually plus-sized, not just big by Hollywood standards.
- Hot for Teacher: Aubrey.
- I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Janet, with Eddie.
- It's Always Autumn: It's perpetually fall in Knights Ridge, MA, except for the one day of winter.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Part of why Nick doesn't actively pursue Hannah.
- Just Friends: Nick and Aubrey try this early in Season 2. It ends with them in bed, and Aubrey saying that Nick just 'friended' her brains out. Nick and Hannah claim to be this as well.
- Karma Houdini: Big Cat manages to destroy Eddie's business and have him beaten, temporarily separate Ikey from the group and cause endless problems for Eddie and Physical Phil at home virtually without consequence. Hannah is totally blind to all his misdeeds. This is averted only in the post-cancellation finale, when Hannah leaves him at the altar and gets together with Nick, and even then what Big Cat has done isn't really acknowledged.
- Last Minute Hookup: Ronnie and Aubrey. The epilogue shows that they've married and are expecting a baby.
- Love Dodecahedron: Hannah slept with Nick, Eddie and Gavin Goddard, and when the series starts, she's with Big Cat. Nick still wants Hannah, even though he's with Aubrey. Nick's brother Ronnie wants Aubrey. Eddie is now with Janet, who Rooster wants.
- Love Triangle: Hannah/Nick/Big Cat. Hannah/Nick/Aubrey. Eddie/Janet/Rooster. Owen/Allison/Ikey. Physical Phil/Pizza Girl/Agoraphobia.
- Love Hurts: And how!
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Pizza Girl matches the typical character elements, but Physical Phil isn't a typical target - he's not a stuffed shirt, just an agoraphobe.
- Mundane Made Awesome: The air band.
- Nerds Are Sexy: Aubrey, to a certain extent.
- No Name Given: Pizza Girl. It's Emily.
- Off-Screen Breakup: Hannah and Big Cat. Nick and Aubrey.
- Outright Lie: Hannah tells Nick that he's not Sam's father. He is.
- Runaway Bride: Hannah in the epilogue.
- Team Dad: The Commander.
- Team Mom: It seems like Nick's mom served this role.
- Title-Only Opening
- Town with a Dark Secret: Subverted. Everybody has some sort of secret, namely Hannah, but none are particularly dark.
- True Companions: Nick, Eddie, Ikey, Owen Rowan and Physical Phil were one in high school, and Nick is trying to rebuild it throughout the run of the show.
- Uncanceled: And then canceled again. Permanently.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Nick gets these on a pretty frequent basis from pretty much every other character about his having left for 10 years and his book bashing all his friends.
- Will They or Won't They?: Nick and Hannah.
- Who's Your Daddy??: The underlying arc of the series in regards to Sam.
- Your Cheating Heart: Alison cheats on Owen with Ikey for feeling neglected. She isn't portrayed as sympathetic, however.