Stacey: Why Ned?
Ned: It was business.
Stacey: Strictly business.
Ned: Here's the deal – to get a promotion, I needed a wife.
Stacey: To get a life, I needed his apartment.
Ned: So what the hell, we up and got married.
Stacey: The only thing we have in common? We irritate each other.
Ned: Right! Enjoy the show.
It starred Thomas Haden Church as obsessive-compulsive advertising executive Ned Dorsey and Debra Messing as beautiful, red-haired journalist Stacey Colbert Dorsey. Also in the cast were Nadia Dajani as Stacey's sister Amanda Moyer and Greg Germann as Amanda's husband Eric, who was also Ned's best friend.
The plot is basically that both Ned and Stacey were brought together in a Marriage of Convenience: Ned needed to be married in order to get a promotion and Stacey wanted to move out of her parents’ house and Ned had the perfect apartment.
At first, Ned and Stacey bickered a lot, which slowly progressed into something resembling a romance, but the show was cancelled before their relationship could be further developed.
Not to be confused with Gavin & Stacey.
Tropes that apply:
- Actor Allusion: An inadvertent example. In the pilot, Ned cracks a joke about being “wingless.” Thomas Haden Church had left the show Wings in order to do this series. Creator Michael J. Weithorn admitted that while the reference was not intentional, he understood why many thought it was and had no issue with them interpreting it that way.
- Attractive Bent-Gender: Eric attends a Halloween party dressed as a nurse and can't get some guy to leave him alone.
- Bad "Bad Acting": Alexa Miroslav. She has one line in a car commercial - "Hey stranger, what took you so long?" - and manages to deliver it with every obviously inappropriate emotion you can imagine. Only when she's looking directly at her crush Eric does she get it right.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: As pointed out in the Opening Narration.
- Beta Couple: Ned's coworker Eric and Stacey's sister Amanda, already married with a son when the show starts.
- Blind Date: Ned and Stacey's first meeting.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: In the pilot, Stacey comes to Ned's apartment to confront him about him stealing an impassioned speech from her and using it out of context in an underwear commercial.Stacey: Remember me?Ned: I'm not sure.Stacey: Then let me remind you. I'm the person you exploited without a trace of conscience.Ned: You're gonna have to be more specific.
- Cannot Tell a Joke/Don't Explain the Joke: In Eric's speech about the firm's work on an ad campaign for an ice cream company, he makes a quip about how they "even worked on Sundays (sundaes)". No one gets it, and only one person laughs (at Amanda's insistence) when he explains it.
- Christmas Episode: "Les is More or Less Moral-less." Eric is going to bust Les for embezzlement, but if he goes down, Les vows to reveal Ned and Stacey's phony marriage. So, during the office Christmas party, Ned and Eric attempt to retrieve the report implicating Les from the boss's office.
- Conflicting Loyalty: In one episode Stacey gets a lead on one of Ned's clients, an ice cream company responsible for serious environmental damage. Stacey ends up writing and submitting the article over Ned's objection, but it's worth noting that she did consult him before making the decision to investigate them.
- Cut Short: The plug was pulled 11 episodes into Season 2. 11 more episodes were completed, but they never did air on Fox.
- Double Entendre: One of Stacey's boyfriends believes that he's having an affair with her behind Ned's back (in reality, she and Ned are totally free to date as long as they're discreet about it). Stacey doesn't bother to correct him, and when he phones her at the apartment she pretends that he's her banker. Ned, aware of and amused by the whole thing, takes the phone and says, "Listen I know my wife's account is small potatoes to a big banker like you, and I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank you for servicing her personally."
- Halloween Episode: "Halloween Story." While attending an office costume party, Ned and Stacey kiss while thinking the other is someone else. They actually like it and are horrified by the thought of actually being attracted to each other.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Ned.
- Losing Your Head: One commercial being pitched by Ned has a basketball player attempting a free throw from half court, but misses. With the clock still running, he pulls off his head and uses it instead, making the basket. The Tag Line is "Don't Quit When You're Ahead."
- Mistaken for Gay: One of Ned's clients deduces that Ned and Stacey have a sham marriage and makes a natural if erroneous guess as to why. This is a problem for Ned because the client actually is gay and out, and isn't happy about his ad rep living a lie.
- Obsessive Spokesperson: Played for Laughs where Ned refuses to accept anything but a certain biscuit brand:Ned Dorsey: Uh, hon, these don't taste like Family Goodness Biscuits.Wife: I tried a different brand tonight. Hope you don't mind.Ned Dorsey: Mind?! Of course I mind, damnit! I want Family Goodness Biscuits! Get out of here, you wrong biscuit buying slut!
- Pair the Spares: Stacey's parents stop by to make a phone call the same night that Ned is at home with Veronica, his Girl of the Week. Ned attempts to sneak Veronica out of the apartment but is interrupted when Stacey arrives home with Neil, her date at the same time. Thinking quickly, Ned introduces Neil and Veronica as their friends and forces them to pose as a married couple for the rest of the evening. They end up Becoming the Mask, though whether or not the relationship lasted after that episode is unknown.
- Sexless Marriage: Discussed when Ned explains his offer to Stacey.Ned: I mean, it doesn't have to be a real marriage, just a marriage minus the love, sex and intimacy, which, now that I think about it, is more real than the "real" kind.