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Series / Undateable

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"No doubt I got no game, my friends, they're all the same. You can't lose if you never try, that's why me and you, we're Undateable for life".

Undateable is an NBC sitcom that first aired during the summer of 2014. It stars Chris D'Elia as Danny Burton, a lady's man, and Brent Morin as Justin Kearney, a romantic who can't confess his feelings for the woman he loves. The show revolves around their developing friendship as Danny takes Justin under his wing and the hijinks they get into along with the regulars at Justin's bar.

Despite being given a summer burn off by NBC (airing two episodes weekly before airing the final three at once), the show actually had some of the strongest summer ratings NBC ever had and actually increased its viewership. It was enough for NBC to renew the show for a slightly shortened second season, this one introducing Bridgit Mendler as Candace, the bartender at Justin's bar in an attempt to escape the Contractual Purity caused by her role in Good Luck Charlie. The second season featured a live episode that created so much buzz that NBC renewed the show for a 13 episode third season order with the proviso that every episode be broadcast livenote .

Not to be confused with the Channel 4 documentary series The Undateables.

A Tall Order of Tropes Walks Into A Bar:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Bursky is determined to sleep with Leslie despite her making it abundantly clear that it'll never happen.
  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: Danny mispronounces words he doesn't use often, even ones that are common like insecure ('in-se-kure') and resume ('re-so-may'), requiring a bit of coaching to get that last one right.
  • Accidental Pun: Justin's bar is called 'Black Eyes' in an attempt to make it sound tough (as in you get into a fight and you get a black eye). But most people hear the name as 'Black Guys' and assume that it's a gay bar.
  • Acting Unnatural: Justin is a horrible liar and can't stop babbling until he lets the truth slip, like when he's trying to hide the fact that he and Danny hung out with Leslie's ex-husband. Brent is even worse.
  • Actor Allusion: Throughout the live airings of season three, the characters would make constant digs at the other actors' careers.
  • All Gays are Promiscuous: After two seasons of complaining that he can't find any men to be with, Brent spends season three talking about all the sex he's been having. His comments show that he's trying very hard to compensate for his dry spell.
  • Audience Participation: During live opening sequences, the cast will perform gags with the studio audience. In one episode, the studio audience played the part of a movie theater audience that gets angry at Danny for spoiling the plot of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
    Danny: Everyone ready to see some Star Wars?
    Audience: Yeah!
    Danny: HAN SOLO DIES!!!
    Audience: BOO!!! [Throws popcorn at Danny]
  • Berserk Button: Don't insult Detroit in front of Shelly.
  • Better than a Bare Bulb: In Season 3, coinciding with the move to broadcasting episodes live, the show became incredibly self-aware and constantly leaned on or broke the fourth wall. For example, in the Season 3 premiere, the gang discusses Justin and Candace's relationship troubles and how long TV will-they-won't-they plots can run, prompting Danny to lament that they could "watch this repetitive junk all season" before grimacing straight at the camera.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Candace terrifies Danny into trying to win her a house in a contest. She does this by threatening to pretend to be his daughter which would seriously salt his game.
    Candace: I know you originally stayed because of my whole "Crazy Candace" act.
    Danny: It wasn't an act. I truly saw the evil inside you.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: One Couch Gag involved the two leads trying to figure out how to pronounce creator Adam Sztykiel's name.
    • Adam Sztykiel himself briefly appears as a drunk in the season two live episode's title sequence.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The season two live episode had the cast acknowledging the camera and studio audience. Chris D'Elia would even break character to announce that commercial breaks were coming up.
    • In the third season, the camera will pan out to the studio musicians and audience during scene transitions so that the sets can be reset.
    • While they try to keep to the script as much as possible, the live episodes do have the cast breaking the fourth wall. For example, during an argument between Justin and Danny:
    Justin: You think you're the star, but guess what? Bridgit Mendler is more famous than you!
    • During an argument between Danny and Candace, Chris D'Elia decided it was his turn to throw a dig at Bridgit Mendler's previous starring role:
      Danny: You weren't the real star of Good Luck Charlie; the parents were!
  • The Cameo: The second season live episode was absolutely packed with cameos from actors previously involved in Bill Lawrence productions, including Zach Braff and Donald Faison continuing their legendary bromance as Shelly's co-workers and Ed Sheeran (playing himself) who gets into a feud with Justin. Scott Foley appeared in both that live episode and the live third season premiere, playing himself as an egotistical nice guy who insists on always being called "TV's Scott Foley."
    • Throughout Season 3, various celebrities pop up during the opening credit sequence simply to hold up the "Created by Adam Sztykiel" sign. A short list includes: Robert Maschio (Todd from Scrubs), Tony Hawk (doing skateboard stunts across the set), and Dr. Drew.
  • The Cast Show Off: Brent Morin has a fairly powerful singing voice in the high tenor range so Justin belts out a variety of pop hits throughout the series. It annoys Danny to no end, however.
    • Bridgit Mendler also gets to show off her singing and ukelele skills from time to time.
    • In Season 1, David Fynn (Brett) sings a bit of opera. In the Season 3 Christmas episode, he shows that he has a set of pipes that puts both Brent Morin and Bridgit Mendler to shame.
    • Rick Glassman (Bursky) occasionally shows off his piano skills and sings in a low bass.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: Candance in "A Stray Dog Walks Into a Bar". Brett then teaches her how.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Burski desperately wants to be able to charm ladies like Danny does, but is so off-putting to the women he hits on that they either walk away from him or, like Leslie and Sabrina, banish him to a corner of the room.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: An overriding trait shared by most of the characters.
    • Danny almost completely self-absorbed and genuinely sees nothing wrong with breaking out high kicks or jumping around like a baboon in public, convinced that it's part of his charm, not to mention that he frequently takes on a strange stilted inflection to show that he's being sarcastic. There must be something to it, though, as he does have an impressive list of conquests.
    • Shelly, due to the fact that he's almost perpetually high, isn't completely aware of what's happening around him. He'll often stay quiet during scenes only to pop up with a non sequitur punchline that gets the cast and studio audience guffawing.
  • Continuity Snarl: Actors from other Bill Lawrence productions have made appearances on this show. Sometimes they play themselves (while referencing past roles). Sometimes they play new characters. Sometimes they play their old characters. Sometimes they make multiple appearances while rotating through the previous examples. It's all played fast and loose for whatever gets the biggest laugh.
  • Couch Gag: Each title sequence has a unique voice-over featuring banter between Danny and Justin.
    • Starting in Season 3, the live opening sequence involves the cast performing gags in the studio audience while the episode's musical guest performs an acoustic set. A Running Gag of this was Henry, the youngest child of Bill Lawrence, one of the series's executive producers, and his wife, actress Christa Miller, popping up alongside one of the actors.
  • Creepy Monotone: Danny develops one, played for laughs to the studio audience's and cast's delight, as he tries to understand what it means to be insecure. Which he pronounces "in-sack-ure."
  • Disappeared Dad: Justin's father left the family when Justin was 13 and the two have only had sporadic contact since then.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Justin is a truly nice guy and is completely in love with Nicki. He wins her over thanks to Danny putting together a romantic variation of the Engineered Public Confession where Justin says all the nice things he would do for Nicki without Justin knowing that she is in the other room.
    • This trait is what gets Candace to fall head over heels in love with Justin.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: Leslie doesn't like Trent because of how he mistreats Candace but she does appreciate how well built he is.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Danny and Justin quickly fall into this dynamic.
  • Hidden Depths: Danny comes across as an egotistical jerk focused on getting as many notches on his bed post as possible, but he's also a loyal supportive brother to Leslie, looks out for his friends, and really does want something more than casual flings (although he doesn't know how to maintain a serious relationship).
  • I Call Him "Mr. Happy": Brett spends an episode trying to come up with a suitable nickname for his penis. Leslie brings in a baby naming book to try and help. He settles on a name by the end of the episode, but the audience is left in the dark as to what it is.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Starting with season two, the episode titles end with "...Walk(s) Into A Bar".
  • Insistent Terminology: It's not simply "Scott Foley". It's "TV's Scott Foley", thank you very much.
    Leslie: Stay out of this, Scott Foley!
    TV's Scott Foley: HEY! It's TV's Scott Foley!
  • It's All About Me: Danny's ego is so big that he can't help turning any situation back towards himself, even when he's trying to be genuinely selfless. It's especially disturbing to him when someone else starts to take attention away from him and he'll take steps to rectify it.
    • Danny goes so far as to tell Nicki that the move Justin used in bed is his own invention, fully aware that Justin is self-conscious about his sexual performance.
    • Danny also completely co-opted Leslie's wedding, calling it "Danny's Big Day", wearing a white tuxedo, and performing a solo dance number in lieu of the bride and groom's first dance. From the way Leslie and Danny talk about the day, it also seems as if Danny made the walk down the aisle all about himself as well. To top it all off, he thinks he actually improved the wedding by making it all about himself.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Trent, Candace's ex-boyfriend, has no redeeming qualities. She was dating him out of desperation because she was homeless and needed a place to stay.
  • Kavorka Man: Danny isn't conventionally handsome and his concept of proper public behavior is anything but appropriate, but his self-confidence and utter lack of self-awareness helps him seduce women.
    • Burski would like to think of himself as one, but he is genuinely creepy and puts off women he tries to hit on.
  • Ladykiller in Love: Danny falls for Sabrina, Leslie's friend, and pursues a relationship with her. Unfortunately, after some time in the relationship, he ends up sabotaging himself and has to spend the rest of the season incurring Sabrina's wrath.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: With the transition to live episodes, the scripts now play on the fact that it's a sitcom in an artificial environment. Characters do things like give out phone numbers that the audience can call live or demand that the studio musicians change the music to better fit the mood.
  • Literal-Minded: Danny doesn't seem to understand the meanings of "monkey wrench" or "monkey business." Observe.
  • Live Episode: Season 2 had an hour-long live episode packed to the rim with celebrity cameos. Brent Morin even had his chest waxed live! All of Season 3's episodes will be live.
  • Local Hangout: Justin's aspirations for 'Black Eyes', although he's far from achieving that goal.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Guy: Danny is a platonic one for Justin. Justin's uptight and in a rut, but Danny just sort of tornadoes himself into Justin's life, latches onto him, and focuses on fixing Justin's life, whether he wants the help or not.
  • Manchild: Danny is determined to maintain his carefree, womanizing, lifestyle for as long as possible despite Leslie's pleas for him to grow up. Throughout the first season, he's shown to behave incredibly childishly and other characters frequently have to explain stuff to him as if he's a grade schooler.
  • Mistaken for Gay: The way Danny and Justin play off each other makes people assume that they're a gay couple and it's frequently lampshaded.
    Kevin: "Are you guys a married couple?"
    Justin: "Excuse me?"
    Kevin: "I know a Bert and Ernie situation when I see one. Which one of you is the wife?"
    Danny: "Uh, you know what? I'm not going to answer that question 'cause it might hurt my wife's feelings."
  • Not So Above It All: Danny constantly teases and berates Justin for what he believes is his friend's unmanly music tastes. But even Danny has to admit that he doesn't find One Direction completely unappealing, even dancing along as Justin sings "What Makes You Beautiful".
  • Odd Friendship: Justin and TV's Scott Foley are close enough that Foley will drop everything and fly to Detroit to bring flowers and champagne to help celebrate Justin and Candace's first date.
  • Overly Long Gag: Brent Morin drags out the slow-motion celebration gag set to Katy Perry's "Roar" for as long as possible, repeating the "Roa-oa-oa-oa-oa-oar" line over and over again as the rest of cast do more and more ludicrous actions until they bust out laughing. Only a small portion made it into the broadcast episode.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: In the finale for Season 2, Danny defeats Candace's ex Trent in a contest where the last person touching a dilapidated house wins it (he was doing it for Candace at Justin's urging). Seeing as how Danny won on the fourth day, he is understandably exhausted, and needs to be carried off by Burski and Shelly. He briefly passes out, missing Candace planting The Big Damn Kiss on Justin, which also happens to be their First Kiss.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: How to tell when Danny's really angry: He. Starts. Clap. Ping. His. Hands. On. Ev. Ry. Syl. La. Ble. And also stamp his feet for additional oomph.
    • After aceing his job interview, Danny says "Best! Day! In! The! History! Of all! The days!", punctuating it with high kicks.
  • Punny Name: Candace's mom referred to her daughter and Justin as "Jay-Z and Beyoncé".note  After they get engaged in the Season 3 finale, she starts calling them "Jay-Z and Fiancée".note 
  • Really Gets Around: Seemingly a source of pride for Danny. It's clear, though, that he does want something more significant but he doesn't know how to deal with a proper relationship.
  • Sad-Times Montage: In the season 3 finale, Justin and Danny are shown in different places moping about their earlier fight. This is accompanied by the Backstreet Boys singing "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely" live on the set.
  • Seppuku: When Justin is pretending to get hit by Cupid's arrows, Danny mimes taking one of the pretend arrows and disemboweling himself with it while mumbling in mock Japanese.
  • Shout-Out: A few times in the live episodes, Chris D'Elia will make jokes about his time on the sitcom Series/Whitney. It pays off when Whitney Cummings guest-stars as Danny's new flame, managing to crack D'Elia up with an ad-lip and he fires back with "don't get us canceled twice!"
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Pretty much why Candace falls for Justin. Everyone else is a Shipper on Deck, but Justin is hopelessly and hilariously Oblivious to Love.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Justin accidentally offends Ed Sheeran and Sheeran, in retaliation, gets his Twitter followers to slap Justin on sight.
  • Source Music: Transitional music during the live episode was performed by a guitarist ostensibly participating in open-mic night at Black Eyes with Burski occasionally joining in on keybards. Characters would order him to start playing to initiate scene changes or tell him to keep on going if there was time to fill.
    • Starting from Season 3, all transition music is provided by a guitarist and drummer on a small stage just off the set. The camera pans over to the musicians so that the cast and crew can reset for the next scene.
  • Steadicam: One is used for the live episodes, an unusual sight for a typical sitcom shot on a soundstage.
  • The Stoner: In most scenes Shelley stays largely silent and pops up with a non sequitur because he's high and isn't altogether present.
    • Kevin, Danny and Justin's annoying neighbor, is a grower and a dealer and his saliva, according to Dannynote , tastes "like a Bob Marley album".
  • Studio Audience: Undateable is a traditional sitcom that shows how a studio audience can enhance the show for viewers at home. The cast constantly ad libs and delivers lines in strange ways while the writers occasionally substitute lines on the spot, meaning that the studio audience is fresh, engaged, and genuinely laughing.
  • Take That!: The writers, through TV's Scott Foley, get in an epic one against Felicity's disastrous haircut.
    • Chris D'elia and Brent Morin's physical appearances are favorite targets.
    • Bridgit Mendler's previous role on Disney's Good Luck Charlie is frequently brought up to try and get a rise out of her.
    • Brent Morin's Netflix special is occasionally used against him.
  • Troll: Danny loves to mess with Justin's head to amplify his roommate's already considerable neuroses.
  • The 'Verse: May or may not be a part of the same universe as Scrubs thanks to a blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance of The Todd.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: In the season 3 finale, Justin begins singing the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way" to Candace, since that was the song that was playing when they first met. Cue the Boys themselves lining up alongside Justin after getting up from one of the bar's booths to join in on the singing. After they finish up, the Boys leave Justin to propose to Candace. She says yes.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Chris D'elia will use the slightest of reasons to rip his shirt open.
  • Wimp Fight: Combined with What the Fu Are You Doing? Danny and his annoying neighbor (played by Rory Scovel) have an argument that escalates into them facing off and start throwing awkward blows that don't come anywhere near landing, complete with over-the-top 'Hi-ya!'s. It lasts for about ten seconds before they wear themselves out. Brent Morin can be seen repeatedly bringing his hand up to his face and turning his back to the camera to hide that he's laughing. The uncut version is even funnier.
    Justin: "You two obviously know nothing about Karate."
    • In Season 2, Danny gets into a fight with Trent that consists of the two of them calling out moves from Street Fighter and pretending to throw fireballs at one another. It ends in a draw.
    • In Season 3, Danny and Justin start threatening each other with how much they're going to beat the other up, and naming their fists.
    Shelly: I can't believe it. Are they really gonna fight?
    Leslie: I think this is the fight.
  • You Just Ruined the Shot: Danny gets caught in what he thinks is a gun fight and karate chops Liam Neeson in the middle of a film shoot. The producers were so impressed they give him a role in the movie.
    • Becoming a near-regular feature with the move to live episodes. Scenes can be awkwardly blocked and crew and extras pop into frame when they're not supposed to because the cast are almost constantly jumping around the set.