Two Guys, A Girl And A Pizza Place, eventually renamedTwo 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.Centering around two guys and a girl who have been best friends since college - Pete Dunville (Richard Ruccolo), the neurotic architecture student, Michael "Berg" Bergen (Ryan Reynolds), an aimless grad student and Sharon Carter (Traylor Howard), a tough career-woman with a soft centre. Living in the same apartment block in Boston, the three friends are struggling to cope with life after college. Sharon is torn between money and a job that she hates, Pete is going through relationship troubles in his continuous search for "The One", and Berg is changing majors as often as he changes the experimental drugs he is taking 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 beating out Berg to be the 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 titular 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.
Dawson Casting: Subverted and played straight. In the beginning of the series the main characters were supposed to be around 24. They were played by 22 year old Ryan Reynolds, 26 year old Richard Ruccolo and 32 year old Traylor Howard, but they made it believable. In the second season however Reynolds was paired off with the 31 year old Suzanne Cryer and it did show.
Lampshaded in the second episode of the third season, with an entire subplot devoted to Berg realising he's too old to keep working at the pizza place after the new employee refers to him as "Sir".
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.
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.
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.
"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.
Keep Circulating the Tapes: Finally averted, with the first season being released on DVD in April 2012, and the remaining three seasons scheduled to follow later in the year. Over a decade after the show went off the air, and long after Ryan Reynolds & Nathan Fillion have achieved greater popularity with other roles.
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.
Money, Dear Boy: Sharon's stated reason for working at a chemical company despite hating herself for it.
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.
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 ito something quite wearable.
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.
Berg, although his full-name (Michael Eugene Lesley Bergen) is revealed & both his parents appear and use his first name.
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.
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.
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.
Subverted later on in the season, though, as noted above. Unlike the other Friday sitcoms, ABC did move the series back to its previous night as a test for renewal. Didn't work out, though.
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.
Pete started working at the titular pizza place, whilst trying to move into architecture; realised he hated the field & inadvertently got a job as a job counselor and later a make-up salesman, before becoming a fireman.
Berg worked alongside Pete at the pizza place, whilst taking part in numerous medical experiments; spent a period looking for a career before becoming a med student/Doctor.
Sharon was spokesperson for a chemical company, before quitting & moving into charity work, eventually going to law school while working as a legal assistant.
Johnny was introduced as a jukebox repairman, which was retconned into being a general handyman; before becoming the building superintendent & later a fireman.
Parodied with Mr Bauer in season 1, as he would continuously tell Pete tales from his life, all of which were clearly popular movies, or stories from from documentaries about famous figures.
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.