YMMV: Rules of Engagement

  • Acceptable Lifestyle Targets: Women under 30 are portrayed as Russell-fodder and not much else.
    • Husbands who love sports are portrayed as hopeless at anything even remotely unisex.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Jennifer the Only Sane Man being pushed to her breaking point from dealing with an idiot boyfriend, apathetic neighbors and a lecherous acquaintance, or does she hang out with these people to indulge her superiority complex?
    • Did Russell greencard-marry Timmy out of kindness, or to indulge his homoerotic sense of dependency on him?
      • Jeff admits that this is his interpretation of Russell.
  • Base Breaker: Timmy and Russell, due to the fandom being split between which one it considers The Scrappy and Ensemble Darkhorse, whether it's both of them, or is it neither?
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Timmy.
    • Jeff and Audrey, due to having taken over the primary couple stuff from Adam and Jennifer.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Russell and Audrey's sister, due to the fact that she was one of the few women he really cared about and wasn't just using for sex.
  • Fridge Horror: Adam's stupidity might be the result of minor brain-damage, due to the possibility that his Hippie mother continued to take mind-expanding drugs during pregnancy! Considering what we see of her, there is nothing that rules this possibility out!
    • Evidence of Jennifer's porn-career surfaces at the end of an episode.
    • Adam and Jennifer are portrayed as being very much in love, but there's plenty of evidence that they secretly hate each other and their relationship is purely superficial. How long will their marriage last when their looks fade away?
  • Growing the Beard: Many fans agree that the show became more entertaining after it started focusing primarily on Jeff and Audrey.
  • Hollywood Homely/Pudgy Liz is treated as being hideously ugly and extremely overweight when she is neither.
    • Also applies slightly when Adam and Jennifer film themselves having sex and are disgusted when they watch it. While a lot of their disgust revolves around the awkwardness of their sex, they take the time to remark how awful they look. Adam remarks that he needs to hit the gym and Jennifer shouts, "We are not tan!,"... even though they clearly are.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Adam is fascinated by Jeff's half-naked looks on an old photo, and wants Jeff to find him good-looking on the similar photo he had made of himself. He also asked Jeff to do like he was Audrey.
    • Russell hitting on Timmy is a running gag that starts almost immediately after Timmy is introduced in season 3 & culminates spectacularly in the finale episode.
      • Russell is a bit of a stalker around Timmy, coupled with Schadenfreude; taking exquisite pleasure in making Timmy angry & uncomfortable. He's placed a tracking device on Timmy, follows him on vacation, crashes his parties, & sabotages his dates.
      • Russell attends a party he made Timmy beg to get an invite for & thanks the host by hitting on the guest of honor's girlfriend. When confronted, Russell says he couldn't have hit on her because he's Timmy's boyfriend. When Timmy loudly dumps him, the guest of honor hooks Russell up with his gay friend Matt.
      • In season 3, when Timmy gets tired of Russell wasting his time on setting up dates & working on cancelled projects, he decided to work for Audrey, who's growing increasingly irritated with her secritary. It's played off & worded intentionally to sound as if Timmy was cheating on Russell & Audrey is cheating on Tanya. Russell is swayed back in Russell's favor when their "2 month anniversary" is brought up, & Audrey says "You're never going to leave him, are you?"
      • In one episode, Timmy and Russell have their hands on each other's knees under the table mistaking each other for their dates.
      • Russell gets a girlfriend who is Timmy's Distaff Counterpart. At one point, Russell tells Timmy that Indians with British-accents are his "type," backed up by the time he chased after Timmy's arranged fiance, and encourages his girlfriend to look more and more like Timmy. Later, he accidentally hits on Timmy.
      • Russell asks Timmy to marry him in the last episode, to keep him from begin deported. When the pastor asks if they want to seal it with a kiss, Russell puckers up & closes in, but Timmy's not having it. Jeff makes it known that he always suspected Russell was gay for Timmy, that now it's legal & not just in his head.
      • Looking at Jeff & Audrey's baby in the finale, Russell asked Timmy if they should adopt one. Timmy said he wasn't ready to be a father. Russell joked that Timmy would be the mom.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Russell becomes this when Audrey tells him that her sister doesn't feel the same way about him as he does towards her. Although Russell tries to play it cool, it's obvious that he's completely heartbroken by the news.
    • Although some people consider it to be a case of Laser-Guided Karma due to Russell's poor treatment of women. This is even lampshaded by Audrey herself.
  • Kick the Dog: Audrey has a kick the dog moment in the episode "Reunion" where she and Jeff travel to Nebraska to attend her high school reunion. Audrey intends on rubbing it in her classmates' faces that she lives in New York City and has a great life, but when it turns out that most of her high school classmates have gone on to have rich, fulfilling lives she becomes depressed that she's unable to gloat like she wanted to. Audrey definitely comes across as rather shallow and mean-spirited in that episode.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Jeff in several episodes. He has shown himself to be quite capable of deception and tricking others into doing his bidding.
  • So Okay, It's Average: This seems to be the general opinion of television critics regarding the show. When the show was canceled in May of 2013, many journalists noted their surprise that the show managed to last for seven seasons due to the fact that it never had high ratings and it had narrowly avoided being canceled several times before. Other people have remarked that while many people like the show, virtually nobody considers it to be their favorite show.
    • As the show ended, the response was still the same, describing it as a solid show that never really set the world on fire, but did have a steady, dependable run that gave them a deep enough episode count to, again, have a steady, dependable (and therefore highly profitable) run in syndication.
  • The Scrappy: Timmy.
    • On the other hand, some fans actually consider Russell this due to how much of a selfish Jerkass he is (although his recent character development has begun to lessen this), with Timmy's passive-aggressive snarking at how utterly inept Russell to be both deeply refreshing and making him something of an Ensemble Darkhorse.
    • Timmy is more of an Ascended Extra, having started out as a one time role that was too popular to let go of, & he was asked to become a regular.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: Russell and Audrey's sister.
  • The Woobie: Adam becomes this in the later seasons. He's so naive and good-natured that he honestly believes that Russell and Jeff are his friends, when in reality they just like to make fun of him.