Follow TV Tropes


Series / Cybill

Go To
Cybill was a sitcom created by Chuck Lorre that ran from 1995-1998 on CBS.

Cybill Shepherd played Cybill Sheridan, an aging actress that never had her breakthrough.

Other characters included her best friend Maryann (Christine Baranski), her daughters Rachel (Dedee Pfeiffer) and Zoey (Alicia Witt), her ex-husbands Jeff (Tom Wopat) and Ira (Alan Rosenberg) and Rachel's husband Kevin (Peter Krause).

This series provides examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Some of Zoey's more audacious antics get this reaction. For example, when she managed to pass herself off as a teacher for weeks, collecting a paycheck and managing to raise her class' test scores, Cybill can't help but find it hilarious, and is more proud than furious.
  • Adam Westing: Washed-up and aging Cybill Shephard plays... washed-up and aging Cybill Sheridan (who unlike the real one never had a success like Taxi Driver or Moonlighting).
    • Also part of the storyline is how Cybill hails from Memphis and Maryann hails from Buffalo, just like the Real Life origins of Cybill Shepherd and Christine Baranski.
    • Johnathan Frakes also guest starred as an amorous version of himself playing up his status as the "Number Two on Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: Zoey was good at these. She once passed as a teacher at her own school, and even received a paycheck.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The final episode ends with Cybill and Maryann being arrested for the apparent murder of Maryann's husband, Doctor Dick.
  • Camp Gay: The waiter at the bistro where Cybill and Maryann are often dining.
  • Catchphrase: Maryann's contemptuous "Dr. DICK!" when discussing her ex-husband.
  • Character Title
  • Cliffhanger: The series finale ends on one, sadly.
  • Compensating for Something: Doctor Dick's Porsche, which Cybill refers to as a "driveway penis" before blowing it up as revenge for his swindling Maryann out of her savings.
    Cybill: (after a quick and unremarkable explosion) That was quick...big surprise.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most characters had their snarky moments, but Maryann easily tops them all. Next in line would be Zoey, and to some lesser extents Ira and Cybill herself.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Cybill Shepherd sung the theme song herself.
  • Drop-In Character: Ira.
  • Energy Weapon: When Cybill plays Galaxy Gal in "Where's Zoey?"
  • The Eponymous Show
  • The Faceless: Dr. Dick.
  • Flock of Wolves: In one episode Cybill dressed up as a prostitute to research an acting role she'd accepted. She asked another lady of the night what it was like being a prostitute, but it turned out she was also an actress. They asked a third woman, but she turned out to be a journalist. The three asked a fourth woman, but 'she' turned out to be a male vice squad officer.
  • Gag Penis: Cybill and a friend were in a museum and came across a statue of a fertility god, who...well...
    Cybill and Friend: (looking excited and amused) Wow...
    (they turn to each other)
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In-universe. One of Cybill's cheesy cop shows, Island Cop, is huge in Siberia.
  • Halloween Episode: "Halloween" from Season 4. Cybill hosts a Halloween-themed pledge drive for a TV station, and everyone is in costume.
  • Hangover Sensitivity: Maryann had this during a pretty epic hangover she endured when she tried to outdrink a man over twice her size... and won. She starts off saying, "My mouth feels like I just swallowed sheep," and when Cybill and Zoe are having their very loud argument, the sensory overload is too much and she starts wailing, "Searing pain! Nerve damage!" "Temporary blindness!" and finally "The taste of burnt pennies."
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": Ira writes a book about his marriage to Cybill, with him as a Mary Sue.
  • High Heel Hurt: Inverted when Cybill takes Maryann camping. Maryann has only ever worn heels, and so has trouble keeping her balance in flats.
  • Lady Drunk: To an extent, Maryann.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Rachel and Kevin had a kinky side, resulting in Peter Krause showing some skin in two episodes.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Cybill's ample cleavage and shapely legs were frequently on display, oftentimes for plot purposes of the various exploitative jobs she took.
    • Lampshaded when she was cast on a thinly-veiled ripoff of The X-Files called Lifeforms. In her first scene, the camera only showed her from the neck down, and later, an audience was polled and asked "what about the show best held your interest?" The number one answer was her legs.
  • Once an Episode: Nearly every episode opens with Cybill at work, usually filming a terrible commercial or equally terrible guest spot on a TV show.
  • Recurring Character: Jeff, Rachel, Kevin, Sean and Justin were semi-regulars who only received credit in the opening titles for the episodes in which they appeared.
  • Rich Bitch: Maryann, though she does care about Cybill.
  • Ship Tease: Maryann and Ira.
  • Shipper on Deck: Maryann aggressively pushes Zoey and Justin to be together. Deconstructed in that it creates a lot of pressure, which makes them uncomfortable and causes them to see other people. Maryann even admits she only really pushed it so that Justin would stay in town.
  • Show Within a Show: Cybill thinks she finally has a hit on her hands with Life Forms a paper-thin knockoff of The X-Files.
  • Sitcom Archnemesis: Andrea Stone-Thorpe (Morgan Fairchild) for Cybill.
  • Stalker without a Crush: Maryann just can't get past Doctor Dick leaving her, even though apparently she got a good divorce settlement.
  • Stock Footage: In the episode "Local Hero", scenes of the fictional TV series "Island Cop" are of the TV movie Stormy Weathers, which also had Cybill Shepherd as a main role.
  • Teen Genius: Though she doesn't seem too interested in applying herself, Zoey is clearly incredibly smart, and a piano prodigy, to boot.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: To Absolutely Fabulous, one of several attempts to translate that show's success to American network television in The '90s; this was probably the most successful of them. Cybill is a pastiche of Eddy (albeit with several elements from Shepherd's own life incorporated into her backstory) and Maryann is a transparent ripoff of Patsy.note 
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: Mostly Ira but Cybill's other Ex qualifies for this as well.
  • Wondrous Ladies Room: This was a running gag. Ira commented on the potpourri and soap on women's bathroom. During a flashback episode set in the Middle Ages, the king went to the women's bathroom and was surprised with the stool (you know, the thing we sit on) and the curtain.