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Think modern life is stressful? Well just be thankful that you're not Eric Feeble, the perpetually struggling forty-something and unfortunate star of this short-lived British animated series. The series lasted for 13 episodes, broadcast in two seasons. The first season was broadcast in 1997, the second in 1999. The first series (but not the second) was co-produced by Klasky-Csupo.Eric is a divorced father of two. He is the primary caregiver for both of his kids. Which is a stressful duty. Brian, Eric's son, seems to have a learning disability. He is 9 to 10-years-old, but has already flunked classes for three years. He doesn't speak at all, wanders aimlessly, and has a tendency to place random items into his mouth. Claire, Eric's daughter, is notably frail. She is 6-years-old and her immune system is hypersensitive. She has allegic reactions to just about everything, and has to eat special regulation food. Which doesn't stop her from craving for regular food. Maria, their Portuguese au-pair, is alcoholic. His ex-wife Liz currently lives with another man, and tries to rediscover herself through following New Age ideas. Which doesn't prevent her from incessantly calling Eric when she feels like it.The work environment of Eric isn't much better. His office is sandwiched between the janitor's closet and the men's toilets. Paul Power, his boss, is a very demanding individual. Never satisfied with Eric's work, Mr. Power has demoted him in previous occasions. And is always ready to press him further. Eric still has a personal secretary, Alison Scabie. Unfortunately for him, she provides no actual help. She treats the office line as her personal phone, speaking constantly with her friends. Leaving Eric saddled with her work as well as his own.Eric has an additional reason to feel like a failure. He compares himself to neighbor Ray Perfect, a man who seems to have the perfect family and a great career. Eric finds himself needing the assistance of Doc, his family doctor, who is ready to provide with plenty of medication. Too bad said medication has nothing to do with his stress.
Tropes featured include:
The Ace: Eric's next-door neighbors, the Perfect family.
Express Lane Limit: One episode has three such lanes: "Less than ten items but more than four", "less than four items but more than one", and "one item or less" (which the Eric promptly uses to checkout one potato.)
Not Quite Dead: In Pony, Eric comes home to see that Brian's hair is alight after he eats a chemistry set, but later in the episode, he's alive and well, because you don't have to kill anyone off forever in fiction!
Strictly Formula: The first season was very much this: Eric is faced with a looming deadline (typically work-related), tries to meet it, but the whole world prevents him from doing so. The second season was far less formulaic. However, both seasons still ended each episode with Eric's head vein choking him by the episode's end (an exception is "Au Pair", which ends with a rival maid pointing her tank at Eric and the family, and the four screaming).
Subverted Catchphrase: In one episode, Eric has rats in his house and asks Doc what he should do. Instead of telling Eric to relax (like he usually does), Doc says to panic.
Suicide as Comedy: In "Pony" an entry in Claire's diary implied she was going to die, because she's never going to get a pony.