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Series / The Single Guy

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An American sitcom that aired for two seasons (1995–97) on NBC, which followed struggling writer Jonathan Elliot (Jonathan Silverman) and his close friends as he tried to find success and a relationship while living in New York City.

The show also starred Joey Slotnick, Ernest Borgnine, Ming-Na Wen, Jessica Hecht, Shawn Michael Howard, and Olivia d'Abo.

Tropes for the series:

  • Actor Allusion: Maureen McCormick appears in "Kept Man" as Valerie, Jonathan's latest girlfriend. "Love Train" has Sam briefly acknowledge the failed relationship and ask, "What was her name? The one who looks like Marcia Brady?"
  • Blind Date: The first episode has Jonathan fixed up with a woman that Matt and Janeane know. It goes badly, due to the woman being very obnoxious.
  • Crossover: Ross from Friends appeared in one episode.
  • Didn't See That Coming: "Pop" sees Jonathan's father, Walter, get engaged, only for Jonathan to learn the woman in question is someone that he previously dated.
  • Gave Up Too Soon: Jonathan does everything he can think of in "Love Train" to find the woman in the Cinderella costume, feeling she's his One True Love. His message to meet up doesn't yield any results, ultimately leaving him all alone in a subway car and told he has to leave. Just as he walks out, the woman enters from a different direction and is disappointed to find the place empty.
  • Gift of the Magi Plot: An episode has Jonathan and one of his female friends encountering this situation, the exact gifts being a Russian Doll and a comic book. In the end, he makes a quip that someone should write a book about this.
  • Halloween Episode: Season 2's "Love Train" opens on Halloween night, with the group fresh off going to a costume party. While riding the subway home, Jonathan spots a woman dressed as Cinderella who share several of his interests, but he kicks himself for hesitating when she smiles at him. He spends the rest of the next day desperately trying to track her down. The rest of the episode has nothing to do with Halloween, though assorted decorations are in the background.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Jonathan with Manny, who works in his building.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The opening sequence in "Grandfather Clause" starts with Jonathan sitting in-between Ross Geller and George Costanza, only to bid them goodbye before going to sit between Matthew Brock and Casey Chappel. This reflects a scheduling change from Thursdays to Wednesdays.
  • Ma'am Shock: After being addressed by the hated word, Janeane get a tattoo to prove she's still young and cool.
  • Mistaken for Gay: The Friends crossover has Jonathan and Ross each thinking the other is gay and hitting on them.
  • New Year Has Come: One per season, but in different ways.
    • "Midnight" (Season 1): The group is at a lavish party for the big moment, but unable to date Amanda, Jonathan brings a doctor instead as a form of Operation: Jealousy. The others quickly find the doctor off-putting, as she goes into great and gory detail about her work. Matt and Janeane are also experiencing marital problems, due to The Loins Sleep Tonight.
    • "New Year" (Season 2): After all his friends talk about their resolutions for the new year, Jonathan has a nightmare of them all achieving their goals and him being old and alone. He goes to a therapist, with the conversation quickly turning towards his failed relationships and what he needs to do to change that.
  • Pick Up Babes With Babes: "Babysitting" sees Jonathan agree to babysit Sebastian for Matt and Janeane. He was happy to help his friends out, only to learn about this trope during a trip to the park. Jonathan is only too happy to play the part of a single dad, until Matt sneaks out of work to see his son at the park.
  • Retool: For the second season, married couple Matt and Janeane were dropped, while four new single friends were added (Russell and Marie as regulars, Charlie and Dan on a recurring basis). At the time, critics chastised this and pointed out it was done to make the show even more like Friends than it already was.
  • Rogue Juror: One episode has Manny serving on a jury and becoming this. It used actual clips from 12 Angry Men at one point.
  • Series Fauxnale: "Vegas Finale" sees Jonathan get drunk and wake up married. It's been suggested the writers knew they were getting cancelled and did this as a precaution, while still leaving room to continue (either by undoing the marriage or retooling the show to accommodate it) in case of a last-minute renewal.
  • Subways Suck: Jonathan eventually pries open the doors and braves the filthy underground tunnels trying to make it to freedom.
  • Thanksgiving Episode: One per season.
    • "Sister": Paula (Janeane's sister) visits for the day, but a messy bout of Belligerent Sexual Tension ensues with Jonathan.
    • "Davy Jones": Jonathan has a chance to work on the eponymous guest star's biography, which adds to his stress of hosting the big dinner. Meanwhile, Marie has problems of her own when her ex-husband shows up.
  • You Look Familiar: Strangely averted. Despite Jessica Hecht having a recurring role on Friends as Susan and a main role on this as Jeanine, the crossover never does anything with it. We don’t see Ross meet Jeanine (even though he’s there to look at a bone she found) and Jonathan doesn’t react when Ross shows him a picture that has Susan in it.