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Series / Ed

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"This is a whole new brand of weird."
Ed, to Phil

A seriocomic show airing on NBC from 2000–04 about a hotshot New York attorney named Ed Stevens (Tom Cavanagh) who, following being fired from his law firm and a painful divorce, moves back to his little home town of Stuckeyville, Ohio, buys the local bowling alley, and runs it in conjunction with his law firm.

Basically Northern Exposure without the Fish out of Water elements, this show went for a sense of eccentric whimsy, which was usually genuine and smile-inducing ("Hey! You like sex? Come to the Festival of Ducks!").

Had an odd first episode - the entirety of the pilot was presented as a "Previously On..." intro and they started with episode 2.

This TV show provides examples of:

  • Automobile Opening: Through the town of Westfield, NJ, playing the part of Stuckeyville, OH.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Ed's ex-wife Liz ends up regretting her affair with the mailman and her divorce and actually goes to Stuckeyville in a season 4 episode to tie back the knot to him. (He doesn't accept it.)
  • Berserk Button: "I am a Lawyer. I own a bowling alley. They are not the same thing." - Ed's standard response to being called 'The Bowling Alley Lawyer'.
  • Beta Couple: Michael and Nancy.
  • Betty and Veronica: The dynamic pops up a few times, usually involving Ed and Carol. First, Ed is the Betty to Nick's Veronica for Carol's Archie. Then, after an Unrequited Love Switcheroo, Carol becomes the Betty to Bonnie's Veronica for Ed's Archie. After another switch, Ed again becomes the Betty, this time to Dennis's Veronica for Carol's Archie.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension:
    • Ed and Stuckeyville DA Bonnie Haine, starting out as courtroom rivals before becoming interested in each other.
    • Also, Carol and her new principal Dennis Martino, who develop feelings for each other while clashing over their conflicting educational principles.
  • Big Eater: Ed is a proud member of the local restaurant's "Two Pie Club".
  • The Big Guy: Kenny played by Mike Starr.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Ed. Mike counts as a Bunny Ears Doctor.
    • Given the nature of most of the other characters, though, their quirkiness probably seems tame by comparison.
  • Catchphrase
    • "Ten bucks if you..."
  • Cheating with the Milkman: One of the reasons Ed comes back to Stuckeyville is because he caught his wife Liz having an affair with a mailman. Not the mailman because she claims to have met him at Starbucks, not from his mail route.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Phil.
  • Crusading Lawyer: Ed frequently takes people's cases because he believes they've been wronged in some way, and often offers his services free of charge.
  • Devoted to You: Ed to Carol.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Ed to Carol at times. Gets a lampshade early on.
    Big, stupid romantic gesture time?
  • Eccentric Townsfolk: The show thrives on this trope.
  • Evil Lawyer Joke: Ed tells an old one to Carol's class. "Why don't sharks eat lawyers? Professional courtesy."
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Ed and Mike, best buds since they were kids. Also Carol and Molly who, despite running in different circles in high school, have become very close in the years since.
  • High-School Sweethearts: Mike and Nancy.
  • Insistent Terminology: Ed is frequently called the "bowling alley lawyer," to the point where its a Running Gag, particularly early in the series. He takes issue with this, as it implies he practices "bowling alley law," and is quick to correct people.
    Ed: I'm a lawyer and I own a bowling alley. Two separate things.
  • Joisey: Exterior Stuckeyville town scenes were filmed in Westfield NJ, some locals were hired as "Stuckeyville Extras".
  • Mistaken for Gay: The Burtons take in a Swedish foreign exchange student named Gunther, and Mike makes this assumption when he finds Gunther doing things with Nancy like baking and wearing makeup. It turns out Gunther is just pretending to like these things to get closer to Nancy. Mike promptly throws him out of the house.
  • Never Win the Lottery: One of Ed's cases concerned co-workers being sued after they tricked a fellow worker into thinking he had won the lottery - who then told off the Boss and quit his job before he found out that he hadn't.
  • Omnidisciplinary Lawyer: Ed goes from practicing transactional law in New York to a small-town practice involving some transactional law, but also real estate, civil suits and pretty much anything you can think of, in a different state, with what seems like no real transitionary period.
  • Quirky Town: Come on, they named it Stuckeyville.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • Phil's actor left briefly to do a candid camera style show, so did Phil himself.
    • The actor who played Warren's friend Mark was set to undergo gastric bypass surgery, so the procedure was written into the series as a plot point for the character.
  • Recovered Addict: Dennis Martino, who is a recovering alcoholic.
  • Running Gag:
    • The ten dollar bets.
    • Phil and his zany schemes.
    • The name Godfrey.
  • Shout-Out: The name of Ed's old law firm (Farmer & Sheehan) is an in-joke reference to "Late Show with David Letterman" stagehands Pat Farmer and Kenny Sheehan. (The series was produced by Letterman's company, Worldwide Pants.)
  • Simple Country Lawyer: The local lawyer Ed faces in his first trial in Stuckeyville tries it, white suit, panto accent and all. The judge, who knows him well, laughs him out of the courtroom.
  • Stage Magician: Stuckeyville Sam.
  • The Bet: Ed and Mike's classic $10 bets.
  • Two-Teacher School: It often seems like Carol and Molly are the only teachers at Stuckeyville High, except for Carol's boyfriend Nick, until they break up and Nick is Put on a Bus, and Dennis, the new principal who shows up in Season 2. It's also downplayed and somewhat justified, since other faculty do occasionally show up, either in the background or for a single episode, which makes sense since the school isn't the main setting of the show.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: A few times with Ed and Carol before they finally get together. S1: Ed —> Carol then Carol —> Ed. S2/Early S3: Ed —> Carol. Late S3: Carol —> Ed. Though, late season 3 is the most straightforward example.
  • Villainy-Free Villain: Dennis Martino, the principal who (despite very early appearances to the contrary) is not a bad guy. But he is Ed's romantic rival for Carol over a season and a half. He is too serious to ever have fun, making it clear (especially with every other significant character being fun-loving) that Carol would be making a big mistake if she married him. But she comes extremely close to doing so.
    • Ed's opposing counsel occasionally fall into this. They're just doing their jobs by representing their clients against Ed's, but sometimes they behave like snarky jerks in court for no real reason.
  • Wanton Cruelty to the Common Comma: Ed's other reason for having come back to Stuckeyville: he got fired due to having drafted a contract with a misplaced comma which cost his law firm $1,6 million.
  • What Have We Ear?: Stuckeyville Sam does this to Ed at the end of the episode "The World of Possibility".
  • Will They or Won't They?: Ed and Carol. They will.