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Series / Still Standing

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Clockwise from center: Judy, Bill, Linda, Brian, Lauren and Tina
"I wouldn't have it any other way,
Cause you make me happy..."

Still Standing is a family Sitcom that aired on CBS for four seasons from 2002-2006, characterized by notoriously bad parents. Despite this fact, their three kids are actually (relatively) well-adjusted.

Set in Chicago, Bill (Mark Addy) and Judy (Jami Gertz) Miller have never really given up their high-school antics, despite having three children to raise: brainy Brian (Taylor Ball), spoiled Lauren (Renee Olstead), and strange little Tina (Soleil Borda). Judy's unlucky-in-love sister Linda (Jennifer Irwin) often pops in to trade barbs with Bill. The end of episodes usually deal with a role reversal by having the kids teach a lesson to the adults.

Has nothing to do with the Glurge-filled Strawman Political autobiography penned by a Miss USA contestant, the documentary/stand-up series about troubled small towns in Canada, or the Elton John song "I'm Still Standing".

Still Tropes:

  • The '80s: Bill and Judy still wish it was the eighties, when they ruled their high school.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Al is getting remarried, and Bill is annoyed by his soon-to-be stepbrother Billy. Then again, he's about thirty years older than him, and much of it is due to jealousy.
  • Artistic License – Law: Two in-universe examples were mentioned, Played for Laughs:
    • In one, Judy mentioned how Bill once wanted to build a treetop casino because it wouldn't be subject to "the laws of the ground."
    • In another, Bill wanted to share a beer with Brian to recreate a memorable father-son bonding he had done with his father before Brian leaves to study abroad in Italy. When teenaged Brian asks if that's illegal, Bill tells him airports are like International Waters and immune from local law. This one is averted though, as he readily admits he's lying, he just wanted Brian to shut up.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In "Still Parading," Fitz's son Scotty asks Brian on a date, revealing himself as a Manly Gay. Bill and Judy are terrified about having to tell Fitz the truth, and when they finally blurt it out, Fitz remarks that he's stunned...because he didn't realize that Scotty was ready to start telling non-family members. It turns out that Fitz and Marion are both completely aware of their son's homosexuality and don't care at all, instead supporting him.
    • The Cold Open of one episode has Judy calling everyone into the kitchen to complain that there's been a dirty cooking pot on the table for days. She deliberately left it there to see who, if anyone, would wash it or at least move it to the sink, and storms out after saying that she fully expects it to be gone when she gets back. Bill sighs that she seems serious...and then takes out a pad and paper to ask which of them has won their bet about how long it would take Judy to comment on the cooking pot (it's Tina, who immediately demands they pay up).
  • Big Eater: Bill.
  • Blatant Lies: Bill's and Judy's attempts to cover up their latest schemes often rely on this. In just one example, Judy discovers that Bill prepared a bad version of one meal to get out of cooking, then made a good version for himself and hid in the bathroom to eat it.
    Judy: What's a toaster oven doing in the shower?
    Bill: ...getting ready for work?
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Well, sister-sister incest, actually. In one episode, Judy thinks she got groped by her mother-in-law's boyfriend while he was hugging her, so she tries to recreate the moment with her sister Linda by hugging her and grabbing her ass. Both of them seem to enjoy it (Judy even makes a comment about Linda having tight glutes). Linda lampshades this later on when Judy wears tight pants in order to try and see if the boyfriend will try to grab her ass again.
    Judy: Now keep your eyes on my butt all night long.
    Linda: Is it possible that we're too close?
  • Bumbling Dad: Present as expected in a sitcom. But what makes this case stand out is that both Bill and Judy are incompetent parents.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: In "Still Bill Vol. 1," Bill's dad Al bonds with his new fiancee Joy's young son Billy. Bill is hurt to see his father spending time with the boy, but later discovers that the kid genuinely loves Al and thinks the world of him. Bill then takes his father to task for his habit of making promises and breaking them, and makes Al take Billy to a science museum.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Perry, Linda's boyfriend.
  • Contrived Coincidence: In the show's first Christmas Episode, Judy takes Tina to see a Mall Santa, but the poor guy has a massive seizure while she's there, prompting her to become scared of St. Nick. Bill and Judy try to fix the problem by producing an old Santa doll...only for its head to immediately come off. Next, Judy suggests that Bill don a costume of his own to soothe Tina's phobia—but the suit he finds just so happens to be infested with spiders. Thus, when Tina enters the room, she sees "Santa" wildly flailing his arms and screaming "I'LL KILL YOU ALL!" Needless to say, it doesn't help her fears at all.
  • Creepy Child: With an unblinking stare and a vindictive nature, Tina can come across as this. One example involves Linda scaring her once as a prank, only to result in Tina frightening her back more than once.
  • Diet Episode: One episode sees Linda date a younger and extremely physically fit man, which prompts Bill and Judy to try to exercise more. Unfortunately, they're both horribly out of shape, but that doesn't stop them from trying to hide their pain from one another.
  • Discriminate and Switch: Bill telling Judy that Brian's employer likes the White Sox in Still Our Kids:
    Bill: I just found out Brian's boss roots for the other team!
    Judy: Well, we can be accepting of that. It's a lifestyle choice...
    Bill: No, no, he likes the White Sox.
    Judy: What the...what kind of person would choose to live like that?!
  • The Ditz: Lauren, usually. This role is also sometimes filled by Perry, Linda's on-again-off-again boyfriend/fiance/husband.
  • Double Standard: Bill is always hoping for Brian to meet a girl and get laid, but gets riled up any time Lauren even mentions boys, though it is only due to him being Mistaken for Gay. This is a pretty common Double Standard in real life.
  • Drunken Master: A variation—in "Still Parading," Judy and Lauren take an Irish step-dancing class to participate in the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. It turns out Judy is a horrific dancer, which confuses her, as she's always been amazing whenever she goes to parties. Linda points out that Judy was always drunk out of her mind at those parties, which gives Judy an idea—she downs some of Tina's cold medicine and finds that as long as she's high on it, she can move like she's in Riverdance.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The house had a very different setup in the pilot.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Since Al's stepson is named "Billy", he begins to call older Bill "Bumpy".
    Bill: But I don't wanna be "Bumpy".
    Al: Should've said that five thousand pizzas ago.
  • Even Nerds Have Standards: Brian likes a lot of nerdy things, but after learning that he has to take square dancing in order to pass gym class, he balks and says that square dancing is lame.
  • Exact Words: After Bill catches a boy in Lauren's room (who's actually tutoring her in algebra) Lauren asks Bill if he can get the door on his way out. Gilligan Cut to Bill carrying her bedroom door down the stairs.
  • Fat and Proud: Bill is out of shape, overweight, and proud of it.
    Linda: (about her new athletic boyfriend) Check out that six-pack!
    Bill: Forget a six-pack, who wants to tap a keg? (lifts his own shirt)
  • Fat Idiot: Bill has these moments from time to time.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Fitz's wife, Marion. There was an entire episode dedicated to this, with such friends being deemed "The Marion." Bill and Judy themselves have been this several times, including in the aforementioned episode.
  • Funny Background Event: When Judy is plotting a scheme to get the The Who tickets from their friends, you can see Tina walking into the kitchen, picking up a large cutting knife, then walking off. And then Lauren runs in looking scared.
  • Gag Penis: One episode involves Brian being embarrassed about his penis size in the showers after gym class. While Bill and Judy assume the issue is that he is underwhelming, it's eventually explained that the problem is that he "stands out" over everyone else.
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: When a lesbian couple move in next door, Bill fantasizes about them and thinks a plant holder in their living room is a sex apparatus.
  • Hidden Depths: Lauren is actually a very good singer. Her actress has also appeared on stage for charity and on the radio.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood:
    • You can bet Brian, Lauren, and Tina will have some...interesting stories of the constant taunting and belittling from their parents. But they tend to mean well and really love their kids. Their failures in parenting are usually just fleeting jokes. The last episode is kind of an easy one to use as evidence, with Judy and Bill breaking down over Brian leaving for college, but it's only one a bunch of moments where it's easy to root for (at least Judy) them for showing just how much they love their kids.
    • It's hinted that Bill had one, in one episode he mentions that his father made him fight a dog to settle a bet.
  • Hollywood Genetics: Lauren's red hair sticks out among her brunette parents and siblings. Though her maternal grandmother is a redhead, so it's not impossible.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All the episodes are "Still (something relevant to the episode)" except the pilot episode.
  • I Have No Son!: Played for Laughs in "Still Cooking." When Brian learns of Bill's prowess in the kitchen, he blurts out the news to Judy when his father refuses to bribe him to keep the secret. Bill immediately declares "From now on, Lauren is my first-born son." The payoff comes when the kids are eating later, and Brian remarks that his talking about the situation worked out well for everyone.
    Bill: Yeah, everyone except you. (Literally snatching a pork chop off of Brian's plate and passing it off to Lauren) There ya go, son!
  • It's Been Done:
    • Perry writes a song that happens to have the same tune as KISS's "Rock and Roll All Nite".
    • This is also played with in "Still Going First." Perry offers Bill a romantic poem to try to win Judy over after a fight. The end of the episode reveals that Perry actually took the words from an erectile dysfunction commercial.
  • Incest Subtext: Played with in one episode-Brian starts spending more time with Linda and they do things together like see musicals, go out to dinner and even go on a carriage ride, then Lauren tells her that Brian and her are basically dating since Brian started going places with Linda after his girlfriend dumped him, so Brian is essentially looking at her as his replacement girlfriend. Linda naturally gets squicked out by this and tells Brian that they should stop seeing each other because of the "awkwardness" Brian is also sickened at the thought of it. Then at the end, Brian tries to sneak out of the house with Lauren to go see a musical and Linda catches him, Brian then realizes he's doing the same thing with Lauren that he did with Linda and gets squicked out again.
  • Insistent Terminology: Bill once took Tina to a Bar - AND GRILLE.note 
  • Lazy Alias: When he has to put in a fake bid at a silent auction, Bill uses the name Mill Biller.
    Bill: ...Too obvious?
  • Lazy Bum: Bill can lean toward this, and he's even proud of it (or at the very least doesn't bother to correct those who call him out). In one example, the doorbell rings:
    Judy: Can someone get that?
    Lauren: Busy!
    Tina: Busy!
    Bill: Lazy!
  • Line-of-Sight Alias: Subverted. Brian claims he's holding a condom in his wallet for a friend named Dorian. The parents ground him, thinking he made up the name while staring at the front door. Turns out he actually has a friend named Dorian, but the condom really was Brian's.
  • Manly Gay: Scotty, Fitz's son, qualifies as he's a Big Man on Campus jock character who hits on Brian and even asks him out when they work on a float for the parade together, which leads to -
  • Mistaken for Gay: Brian. Most of the speculation is due to him be much more soft spoken and intellectual than his family. Not to mention he reads Vogue, twirls a baton in band, likes musical theatre and even served as a male cheerleader at one point. The latter, however, was Brian's way of interacting with girls he wants, but could never get otherwise. Despite all of this, it has been made perfectly clear that he is straight.
  • No More for Me: In The Stinger of "Still Parading," Lauren, Judy, Bill, and Brian all do some Irish step-dancing, with the latter two in full leprechaun costumes. Tina wanders in to get her daily dose of cough medicine (which has been shown throughout the episode as capable of getting people drunk), sees the unexplained party, and says "I think I've had enough" as she dumps the bottle in the trash.
  • Not Hyperbole: In one episode, little Tina comes into Bill and Judy's bed to say that she can't sleep because she's "antsy." They try to soothe her and start drifting off...only to realize that Tina is covered with actual ants, and she explains that she already told them that!
  • Not What It Looks Like: In one episode, after Bill takes Brian to a strip club for his 18th birthday, the family starts getting worried because Brian keeps going all the time, quitting his tutoring job with the school and even the sleaze-bag strip club owner says he doesn't like what Brian's doing with the girls. When they storm the back room to confront him and see him... tutoring the girls to get their GEDs. Then the truth is revealed (the girls paid better than the school, sleaze-bag doesn't want the girls to leave, etc.)
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: "Still Cooking" reveals that Bill has secretly become an accomplished chef after watching late-night cooking shows. He keeps it a secret because he doesn't want to do any work around the house, and when Judy finds out, he even goes so far as to deliberately ruin a meal to try to get out of making dinner. Judy catches on when Bill secretly whips up a delicious version of the same meal and tries to eat it in the bathroom. Though it turns out that Judy is turned off by Bill's effeminate behavior in the kitchen and he still gets out of it.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Louise, Bill's mother, frequently butts in on Judy's parenting and tries to steal her thunder. Unlike most examples, though, a big part of the obnoxiousness is that Judy and Louise have a lot in common, and Judy doesn't like to be reminded of that.
    • Averted with Judy's mother Helen, who gets along great with Bill.
  • Old Maid: Poor, poor Linda...
  • One of the Kids: Bill and Judy. Made even worse due to the fact they have three children.
    • Perry, Linda's recurring boyfriend and eventual husband, also acts this way. He's notably one of the only people on the show who genuinely gets along with Tina, who's a Creepy Child.
  • Only Sane Man: Brian, again.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Mark Addy slipped in and out from his natural British accent and his character's American accent.
  • Parental Hypocrisy: The parents were complete Jerkasses in high school, so they often run into this trope when disciplining their children.
  • Punny Name: Brian and Lauren's middle names are Hops and Barley, respectively.
  • Racist Grandma: Bill's mother had this occasionally. At her engagement party, "Who bought me a rice cooker? My fiance is Asian, I'm marrying a rice cooker." Bill's father, Al is stated to be racist as well, but, apart from mentioning a convenience store being owned by "Romanian bastards" it comes across as an Informed Flaw.
  • Really Gets Around: Linda is implied to be this, and has a different boyfriend in most episodes, but she seems to want to get married.
  • Right in Front of Me: Bill and his co-workers are goofing off at work when a college-age fellow calls them out on it. Not realizing that this kid is their new manager, they blow him off and continue goofing.
  • Running Gag: Several:
    • Brian being Mistaken for Gay, which is in nearly every post-season 1 episode.
    • Bill being caught doing something dangerous and/or stupid, only for Judy to be caught doing something even worse than what Bill did.
    • Bill and Linda's Snark-to-Snark Combat.
    • Tina's creepy child moments.
  • Sadist Show: A lot of the things that Bill and Judy do to their kids would probably get them in trouble with Social Services in real life.
  • Scenery Censor: From "Still Hangin' Out" (Season 2, Episode 20): The lamp when Judy is naked and rubbing lotion on herself while Matthew Halverson (son of neighbors Ted and Kathy) is watching by jumping on the trampoline that she and Bill had mistakenly positioned under the window.note 
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: The Halversons act as this to the Millers.
  • Soul-Sucking Retail Job: Bill sells toilets for a living and clearly hates it. In one episode, Judy tries to ask how his day was, and he remarks that they can save a few seconds every evening by simply assuming that it was awful.
  • St. Patrick's Day Episode: In "Still Parading," Bill tries to bond with Brian by helping him build a St. Patrick's Day parade float, only to modify and destroy it. Meanwhile, Lauren dreads the humiliation she's going to suffer when the uncoordinated Judy performs her Irish River Dance at the parade. Both kids end up getting a surprise: Bill dresses as a leprechaun to replace the figures he destroyed, and Judy finds that she becomes a great dancer after drinking Tina's cough medicine.
  • The Lad-ette: Judy, who was just as willing to crack open a beer and watch a Chicago Bears game as her husband Bill. She often tried to claim that she was the more "intellectual" and cultured of the pair, but often ended up getting into just as much trouble as he did. One episode even lampshaded it: Tina, the family's youngest daughter, has a spider in her room, and runs to her mother to kill it, which upsets Bill and sends him on a quest to prove his status as the "man of the house."
  • The Smart Guy: Brian.
  • Stacy's Mom: Judy plays this role for Brian's and Lauren's friends—they clearly think she's attractive and often openly ogle her. In one episode, the Millers' house becomes a popular teen hangout because a trampoline in the backyard allows guys to jump up and see Judy while changing in the bedroom.
    • Another episode has Brian volunteering to help out at a widow's house. Bill and Judy initially think she's a little old lady—and then discover that she's played by Bo Derek.
  • Tempting Fate: In one episode, Bill's mother Louise is planning to get married, which delights Bill as he thinks she'll stop her constant meddling once she has someone else to pay attention to. Just as Bill is saying that everything is going smoothly, in comes his father Al announcing that he's planning to stop the wedding and remarry Louise.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Beer and Pizza for Bill.
  • Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: Tina, the youngest Miller (she seems to be about seven), could get extremely creepy at times. The fact that she was often the cleverest member of the family and able to be The Chessmaster before entering third grade was occasionally acknowledged In-Universe.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: The overweight Bill and the thin Judy.
  • Unishment: In the pilot, Lauren misbehaves, and Bill responds by telling her to go to her room. When Judy reminds Bill she has a TV and a stereo in her room, he then gets wise and tells her to go to his room.
  • The Unfavorite: While Bill and Judy aren't good parents themselves to their three children, they relate with Brian the least, even announcing that they won't know who he is if he fails at something. One time, they even stole money from him.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Bill and Linda have this relationship—the two snark at each other constantly, but they do get along and like each other deep down.
  • Volleying Insults: This is pretty much the entirety of Bill and Linda's interaction with each other.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: Tina, by far the youngest family member, is often seen as the most clever.
  • Women Are Wiser: Averted - Judy might have more common sense and be less hotheaded, but she's still as thickheaded and immature as Bill.
  • Wrench Wench: Judy changes the oil in Bill's car.