Series / Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place

Two Guys, A Girl And A Pizza Place, eventually renamed Two Guys And A Girl from the third season onwards (and not to be confused with the trope of the same name), was a Sitcom which ran for four seasons on ABC from 1998 to 2001.

The show focussed on two guys and a girl who have been best friends since college: Pete Dunville (Richard Ruccolo), the neurotic architecture major; Michael "Berg" Bergen (Ryan Reynolds), an aimless grad student; and Sharon Carter (Traylor Howard), a tough career-woman. Living in the same apartment block in Boston, the three friends are floundering around in their mid-twenties. Sharon is torn between her neglected principles and a very lucrative job which she hates, Pete is obsessed with finding "The One" and never convinced any of his girlfriends fit the bill while also constantly doubting his career choice, and Berg is casually and unconcernedly changing majors as often as he changes the experimental drugs he takes to earn extra money.

After the first season, the supporting cast underwent an overhaul, introducing Johnny Donnelly (Nathan Fillion), the jukebox repairman with a mutual attraction to Sharon; Ashley Walker (Suzanne Cryer), the sarcastic medical student who beats out Berg to be the new top of their class; and later in the season, Irene (Jillian Bach), Pete's Stalker with a Crush & a love for cats. The third season saw the show undergo a further retool, as Pete & Berg stopped working at Beacon Street Pizza and the eponymous Pizza Place was dropped from both the series itself & the show's title.

Tropes used by the series:

  • A Cappella: There was an episode where Sharon had visions of an A capella group that would appear out of nowhere and sing Wilson Phillips songs.
  • Adam Westing: Robert Goulet.
  • Bitter Wedding Speech: Subverted; a drunk Pete starts to give one, but quickly meanders away from that & begins rambling about where he's at right now.
  • Blatant Lies: Sharon, in her job as spokesperson for a chemical company.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Berg.
  • Butt Monkey: Pete in the beginning, Berg in later seasons.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Mr Bauer & Bill after Season 1. Melissa was justified, in that she & Pete had broken up by the end of the season.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: In early seasons, Mr Bauer & pre-Character Development Berg. When Irene (Jillian Bach) showed up, she took on the role.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Ashley does this to Johnny.
  • Compensating for Something: Roger, Berg's rival for Irene in Season 4, is quite clearly as hostile as he is towards Berg due to Berg standing nearly a foot taller than him & his jealousy over Berg's relationship with Irene.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Irene
  • Crazy Memory: The first season had Mr Bauer, who would tell stories about his life that were all actually plots of popular movies, or stories he'd seen in documentaries.
  • The Ditz: Berg.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Ashley; although all of the other main characters had their moments.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Season 1 episodes were all self-contained & aired out of order (Pete breaks up with Melissa in the fifth episode, but are still dating 3 episodes later; Berg starts Medical School in the second episode, but doesn't come to the decision to become a doctor for another 10 episodes), and were built around the Pizza Place. In Season 2, the episodes began to show more continuity & were built around the character's relationships, and the secondary characters of Season 1 were replaced with the ones that lasted until the end of the series.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo:
    • Berg tried to prevent Pete from discovering that Pete's new girlfriend had his [Berg's] name tattooed on her.
    • It's revealed in season 4 that Irene has a tiger covering her back, with Ashley trying to invoke this trope by buying Irene a dress that shows it off in an attempt to scupper Berg's chances at the residency she's chasing. However, it's not treated as embarrassing as Pete gushes over how awesome it is upon first seeing it, and Berg is more upset that other people are getting to see "The Tiger of Temptation" since he doesn't care about the residency & is only trying to win Irene back.
  • Evil Counterpart: Season 2's Halloween episode (See below)
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: In the season 2 Halloween episode, a Berg doppleganger killed all of the supporting and primary cast (With the exception of the real Berg, who was killed by Pete who thought it was the the doppleganger), for the sole reason of getting the pizza place, and "all the pizza [they] could want". Cue ominous thunder and lightning, maniacal laughter & a death glare at the camera. The episode ended on a parody of the "On the next..." teasers, where it cut to the various sets, all abandoned.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Flanderization: Ashley's Jerkass tendencies in the later half of Season 2.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: The season 3 Halloween episode saw a Mad Scientist switch Pete's brain with Ashley's and Berg's brain with Sharon's, and the only one who can help them is Johnny.
  • Funny Answering Machine: Pete & Berg have two over the series.
    • Season 2: "Hi, you've reached 976, Pete & Berg. If you're over 18, leave us a message. If you're under 18 and have your parent's permission, you may also leave us a message." [BEEP]
    • Season 3: "Hi, you've reached Pete & Berg, we're not here right now, so leave us a message. BEEP." [Beat. Pete & Berg start sniggering] "Okay, that was a joke. Leave a message after the beep. BEEP." [Beat. Pete & Berg start sniggering again] "Okay, this one's for real." [BEEP]
  • Funny Background Event: The basis for an entire plot - Johnny bought a camcorder, and whilst messing around with it at a restaurant, an elderly woman starts choking in the background with Pete (Fireman) & Berg (Doctor) being completely oblivious to it whilst dicking around in front of the camera. Sharon performs the Heimlich Maneuver, and Peter & Berg are subject to repeated mocking throughout the city after the footage is broadcast on the local news & points out who they are & their professions.
  • Genius Ditz: Berg
  • Granola Girl: Sharon was one when she first met Pete & Berg. It's part of the reason she's so disgusted with herself for working at a chemical company.
  • Halloween Episode: Had three that really ran with the concept:
    • "Two Guys, a Girl and a Psycho Halloween": A psycho killer that looks like Berg is killing off the main characters one-by-one. Turns out to be Mimi in disguise, trying to get her own show... and all the pizza she can eat.
    • "Halloween 2: Mind Over Body": A mad scientist switches Pete and Ashley's brains and then Berg and Sharon's, and it's up to Johnny to fix it. Hilarity Ensues.
    • "The Satanic Curses": Jealous of their True Companionship, Irene summons Satanic powers to curse Berg, Pete and Sharon. Berg becomes increasingly deformed, Pete grows Ashley's head on his shoulder and Sharon grows a penis. And it's bigger than Johnny's.
  • I Banged Your Mom: Pete does this to Berg in Season 4.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Following the lead of the show's original title, most episodes in the first couple of seasons used a variant of "Two Guys, a Girl and ______".
  • Intimate Marks: Berg once tried to prevent Pete from discovering that Pete's new girlfriend had his [Berg's] name tattooed on her body in a very intimate place.
  • Jerk Ass: Sharon had her moments. One memorable one:
    Pete: (about a rollerblader) I hope he twirls into a bus.
    Sharon: God Pete, that's so mean. [Beat] I was thinking open trench.
  • Kill 'em All: Parodied in the Season 2 Halloween Episode.
  • The Lad-ette: Sharon, but more so Shawn.
  • Language of Love: Played on when Pete falls in love with a beautiful woman who only speaks French.
  • Limited Social Circle: Lampshaded by Berg, when Pete thinks he's in love with Sharon, Berg warns Pete against pursuing her because if she doesn't feel the same way, then it could destroy the dynamic of the group & he [Berg] just doesn't have the time to find new friends.
  • Man, I Feel Like a Woman: The second Halloween special had a mad scientist switch Berg & Sharon's brains. Berg plays this trope straight, when he bemoans being in Sharon's body before he realises he's in Sharon's body and tries to run off to the bathroom to look at himself naked. Pete & Ashley had their brains switched too, but didn't invoke this trope.
  • Midseason Replacement: Season 1.
  • Multiple Endings: "The Internet Show" saw each couple suddenly faced with a pregnancy scare. Four endings were shot and in a promotional gimmick, viewers got to vote online before the episode aired to decide which ending would be chosen. (The other three were shown as a bonus before the end credits, however.) One ending was no one being pregnant, so each of the alternatives - Ashley leaving Pete, Berg and Irene happily reconciled, and Johnny and Sharon committed to trying to have a baby - were all on the table instead of just two out of three. For Berg/Irene, Berg vowed to be there for Irene, but the cliffhanger would've been her not knowing if the baby was his or Roger's. For Pete/Ashley, Ashley is still going to leave, but Pete vows to "not let the dingo take his baby". For Johnny/Sharon, simply a married couple having a baby and the happiest ending of the bunch. Viewers' pick? Pete/Ashley.
  • Neat Freak: Pete.
  • Never Live It Down: In-Universe, Berg's academic probation in Season 3 for nearly killing a diabetic patient whilst sleep deprived. He outright states that he can't win any arguments with Pete anymore, since that'll just get thrown back in his face.
  • Never My Fault: Ashley is the biggest offender.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In Season 3, Berg gets drunk at a bachelor auction & makes an ass of himself. With everyone at the hospital making fun of him over this, he proceeds to work non-stop in an attempt to regain his co-workers respect, before his superior makes him go home to get some rest... Only for there to be an outbreak of food posoining in the hospital cafeteria requiring Berg to keep working due to the lack of healthy doctors. Surprisingly, he stays on top of the situation & impresses the rest of the staff, until this trope kicks in & in his tired state, makes a mistake that nearly kills a diabetic patient, getting him placed on academic probation for the rest of the season.
  • No Dialogue Episode: The One Without Dialogue where we track the characters dealing with physical tasks that don't require any dialogue (except for a dream sequence dance scene)- Johnny needs to fix a toilet, Sharon needs to rescue her wedding ring, Pete chases after a woman on the subway etc. All the jokes come from their struggles with physical objects rather than dialogue.
  • No Name Given: Irene's last name is never mentioned once in the series.
  • Non Action Dress Rip: Sharon's boyfriend Johnny rips the poofy sleeves off her hideous bridesmaid's dress, turning it into something quite wearable.
  • Officially Shortened Title: As noted above, but Saturday Night Live parodied this, suggesting a spinoff called And a Pizza Place.
  • Old Shame: In-Universe - Sharon finds Berg's (An embarrassing advert Berg modelled in during college) in Season 2's Two Guys, a Girl and a Proposal, and Berg sets out to get her back, only for Sharon to be one-step ahead of him in his search the entire time. Until he finds a picture of Sharon pre-comprehensive cosmetic surgery with the help of the her hometown's librarian, and tricks Sharon into thinking he's given up.
  • One Head Taller: Ryan Reynolds (Berg) & Nathan Fillion (Johnny) are both at the six foot two mark, whilst Traylor Howard (Sharon) is five foot five & Jillian Bach (Irene) is five foot two. Naturally, the show paired Sharon with Johnny & Berg with Irene.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname:
    • Berg, although his full-name (Michael Eugene Lesley Bergen) is revealed & both his parents appear and use his first name.
    • Germ.
  • "Open!" Says Me: Subverted. Pete tries to get into Ashley's apartment when there's a leak in it, by throwing himself against the door. He fails miserably but soon realises that the thing that stung him in the side was the key.
  • On the Next: Parodied in the Season 2 Halloween episode.
  • Out of Order:
    • The entire first season, except for the pilot, suffers from this. Notably - Pete breaks up with Melissa in episode 5, but are still shown dating several episodes later in the season; and Berg decides to go to medical school in the penultimate episode of the season, but several episodes prior to that make reference to him already being a med-student. This was not fixed for the 2012 DVD release, despite the long defunct Trouble (The UK station which aired the series) showing them in as close to a logical order as possible.
    • The thirteenth episode of Season 3, "Bridesmaid Revisited" should have aired as the ninth episode of the season, as evidenced by Ashley still living with Pete & Berg following her break-up with Berg in the eighth episode & Ashley moving in with Sharon & Johnny in the ninth episode to air. Much like the Season 1 DVD release, the Season 3 DVD includes the episodes in the order they aired.
  • Put on a Bus: Melissa after Season 1.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Pete's two jobs in Season 3 - Fireman, and make-up salesman. In a subversion, he's not particulary manly anyway and after starting as a fireman, he accidentally leaves his make-up bag at the station, but rather than being mocked over his other job, he's asked by the station chief to give his daughter (Having grown-up with a Missing Mom) a makeover & displays a snobbish attitude to over-the-counter cosmetics & makeovers.
  • Retirony: Played straight in "Two Guys, a Girl and a Psycho Halloween", where an old cop (thinking our trio's claim of a killer is just a silly prank) states it's his last night on the job and then leaves to go to his retirement party.
  • Rich Bitch: Ashley can come off as this, due to coming from a very well-off family.
  • Say My Name:
    • From Two Guys, a Girl and a Celtic Game
    [Pete/Sharon walks into Pete & Berg's apartment, and sees the 1981 NBA Championship banner hanging over the mantle.]
    [Cut to aerial shot of Boston on the "...EEERRRR..."]
    • From Two Guys, a Girl and a Landlord
    [Berg sees Claus - the fish he had managed to teach to fetch - frozen in his fishtank.]
    Berg: Claus?
    [Cut to aerial shot of Boston.]
  • Series Fauxnale: "The Internet Show," where a brand of condoms is reported to be very faulty and each of the three couples is concerned about a possible pregnancy. Fans were given the choices of Berg/Irene, Pete/Ashley, Johnny/Sharon or no pregnancy at all. A vote online saw Pete and the departing Ashley winning (while the other filmed endings were shown at the end as a bonus). This was all designed to lead into a new season, but ABC cancelled the series.
  • Shout-Out: Frequently, in season one - Mr Bauer would frequently see films & documentarys, and then tell the events of what he had seen to Pete, as if it was his life.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Berg gets a few of them. Most memorable when Johnny waits for him in the dark with a popsicle.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Irene towards Pete. At least until after she started dating Berg
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: After Johnny accidentally suggests that The Boys of Fire Island was a perfect film for fire fighters like Pete and him, this happens:
    Sharon: What are you guys going to see?
    Johnny: Not gay porn!
  • The Unfavorite: Pete is this to Bill after Berg starts medical school.
    Pete & Berg have both asked for the afternoon off, but Bill will only let one of them go.
    Pete: Look, Bill - My big presentation is tonight, I just need a few more hours to practice. I'm telling you, if I get this... Look, this one moment could decide my entire future.
    Berg: I have a quiz.
    Bill: Okay; Berg, see you tomorrow.
  • Three Plus Two
  • Token Evil Teammate: Ashley
  • Trope Namer: Two Guys and a Girl
  • Tsundere: Marti.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: This is very oddly averted when ALL THREE (Ryan Reynolds, Richard Ruccolo, and Traylor Howard) end up being paired off with OTHER people which is unusual for the trope.
  • We Care: A large part of Sharon's job is coming up with ways to spin the various ecological disasters created by the chemical company she worked for.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: There is no Beacon Street Pizza in Real Life Boston. Didn't stop Ryan Reynolds from trying to find it on a trip there whilst promoting Van Wilder, though.
  • Whole Plot Reference: A Running Gag with Mr Bauer in Season 1, with him repeatedly claiming that the plots of popular movies (Such as Raiders of the Lost Ark, for example) are actually tales from his life.

Alternative Title(s): Two Guys And A Girl, Two Guys A Girl And A Pizza Place