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Series / What I Like About You

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What I Like About You is a 2002-2006 sitcom from The WB about two sisters living in New York. Holly Tyler (Amanda Bynes) is an impulsive, hyperactive teenager; Val Tyler (Jennie Garth) is hyperorganized neat freak nearing 30.

In addition to coping with each other, they also have to deal with their friends (in order of appearance):

  • Gary Thorpe (Wesley Jonathan), Holly's longtime best friend
  • Jeff Campbell (Simon Rex), Val's boyfriend (in season 1 only)
  • Henry Gibson (Michael Mc Millan), Holly's first love
  • Lauren (Leslie Grossman), Val's work-rival-turned-business-partner
  • Vic Meladeo (Dan Cortese), Val's (eventually ex-) boss and eventual husband
  • Vince (Nick Zano), Holly's on and off boyfriend
  • Peter (Stephen Dunham), Vic's chauvinistic replacement
  • Tina Haven (Allison Munn), Holly's female confidante and bad influence
  • Ben Sheffield (David de Lautour), a musician Holly meets in Europe

(Characters with no last name given are exactly that.)

Created by Dan Schneidernote  and Wil Calhoun. Correspondingly, it mixed Slap Stick with relationship comedy.

Contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • Holly's old standup comedy tape in "Dangerous Liasons" is the actual routine that got Bynes hired for All That back in the day.
    • The same episode Holly says this kid should have her own show.
    • Val and Todd's backstory in the same episode is a 90210 plot; Todd is played by Luke Perry.
    • In the Season 4 episode where Holly and Val's father returns as Barry Bostwick, this time gay, he and the entire cast sing the Grease song, "Summer Nights". Bostwick was the first Danny Zuko in the original, 1973 Broadway production.

  • Accidental Misnaming: In the first episode, Val kept calling Gary 'Glen' by mistake.
  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: Val buys and puts on a cheerleader uniform for Jeff, though it gets awkward when he comes to introduce her to his mother while she has it on.
  • All Just a Dream: Val's drunken marriage to Todd the plumber at the end of season 3/beginning of season 4. When she wakes up, though, the drunken marriage to Vic is real.
  • Amicable Exes: Ben and his estranged wife.
    • Ben and Holly eventually, as she continues being his manager.
    • Holly and Henry eventually become this.
  • Anything That Moves: Lauren.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Val is afraid of sharks, bears and leaving the house with the flat iron on.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Gary and Tina. Val and Peter.
  • Betty and Veronica: Henry and Vince are this for a while to Holly's Archie. When she comes back from Europe, she brings Ben with her.
  • Big Applesauce: Duh!
  • Big Little Sister: Amanda Bynes (Holly) who is two inches taller than Jennie Garth (Val).
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing:
    • Dana, Jeff's ex-girlfriend, who appears to be nice and friendly. But then it's revealed that she has no problem making a pass at Jeff when she knows he has a girlfriend - and is said to have a boyfriend herself.
    • Jill gets revealed as this after a while. While in France, she grows apart from Gary, which would be understandable...if she didn't pretend she'd gone back to France to avoid him.
    • Robyn, Vince's ex-girlfriend who makes it clear to Holly that she wants to get back together with Vince and is determined to do so at any cost, yet she acts all nice and friendly in front whenever Vince is around.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase
    Ben's wife: Benji!
    Ben: Oh my damn!
  • Brand X: Holly and Gary's "iBop" music player. Justified on the "Palm Pirate" and "Rulex" as Jeff being conned into buying knockoffs.
  • Brick Joke: Holly loses five lobsters in the episode where she works at Jeff's restaurant, but he only caught four. At the end of the episode, they find the fifth in the kitchen.
  • Butt-Monkey: Henry especially but Gary has moments too, particular before Henry was introduced.
    • Holly counts as well, as her shortsighted impulsiveness gets her into trouble and causes her humiliation throughout the series.
  • Call-Back: "The Talk" has one to Gary's crush on Val in the first few episodes.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin':
    • To avoid going to Aunt Wanda's for Thanksgiving, Val lies to say that Holly is sick. Of course Aunt Wanda turns up with medicine to check on Holly.
    • Holly and Gary sneak off to a party on Long Island. Of course they get a flat tyre and stranded on the road.
    • Holly and Henry ditch school and borrow Val's car so they can go to the beach for a picnic. Of course the car gets towed to an impound lot(with Holly assuming someone stole it) and Val soon finds out about it.
  • Catchphrase: Gary's "Oh my damn!"
  • Characterization Marches On: Lauren was first introduced as a fellow employee at Val's office who was smart and competent enough to pose as a threat to Val. After her second appearance and becoming a permanent cast member, she was written as a stereotypical dumb blonde.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome:
    • Jeff vanishes after Season 1, and gets only a couple of mentions afterwards.
    • Peter vanishes too in Season 3, after The Bus Came Back briefly at the end of Season 2.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Tina thinks she's pregnant and gets excited when the test turns pink. Gary thinks it means she's having a girl.
  • Coming-Out Story: "Someone's In the Kitchen with Daddy", in which Val and Holly's father comes out to them, was nominated for a GLAAD Medis Award.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Invoked when Val plans to drive Vic out of her apartment by turning the heat up and sweat him out."
    Holly: Val...he's a fireman. He's used to heat.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Everyone (except Holly) whenever Gary is shirtless.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Henry, when we first meet him. Vic, when he returns.
  • Doomed New Clothes: When Holly wears her red cashmere sweater to work at the restaurant, it eventually gets caught in the rotisserie and burns up.
  • Doppelgänger Dating: Henry dates another girl at college named Holly, which is commented on.
  • Embarrassing Middle Name: Gary Johann Thorpe
  • Fiery Redhead: Tina
  • Foreshadowing: Double-Subverted. "Loose Lips" is a perfect setup for a developing Val-Vic romance in season 2. Then, over the summer, he leaves the firm. Two years later, he shows up and marries Val.
    • Also in that same episode Holly mentions having a dream of Vic being a firefighter and rescuing her from the burning mailroom and two seasons later Vic does indeed become a fireman.
    • Ironically, and perhaps Squickily, he had no problem flirting shamelessly with Holly in his first appearance.
    • As Val concentrates on her wedding in Season 3, there's less talk of the agency or what's happening with it. This leads to the revelation Lauren basically ran the agency into the ground in record time.
    • Gary and Tina have several of these that hint at their eventual relationship in the finale(most notably the episodes "Val and Holly's Not Boyfriends", "The Incredible Shrinking Group" and "Sky Rink Sucks")
  • "Friends" Rent Control:
    • Justified and semi-averted. At the start of the series, Val's been in the same apartment for several years, with a high-paying, upper-executive job and a roommate to split rent with and their father sends her money for Holly's expenses.
    • "Tyler v. World" shows a tiny, filthy, unlivable rat trap going for the same rent she's currently paying, at which point Val lampshades the rent control.
    • The huge loft the Tylers move to in "The Loft" is offered at the same rent level by the owner after Holly does him a huge personal favor, and once Holly's gainfully employed in season 3, she splits the rent with Val.
  • Grand Finale: "Finally..."
  • Grandparental Obliviousness: Implied, since Nana does not have glaucoma, but medicates herself as though she did.
  • Guide Dang It!: Jeff's last name is seen only in the season 1 DVD cases.
  • Halloween Episode: Two (seasons 3 and 4). Also two Thanksgiving episodes (seasons 1 and 4) and a Valentine's Day episode (season 1). No Christmas Episode, though.
  • Hilarity Ensues: Holly's plans are about as effective as those of Lucy Ricardo.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Gary and Jeff.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: Lauren is very surprised when Holly tells her that there are other things on the Internet besides porn.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Val went to Columbia, Peter went to Yale, Lauren's doctor boyfriend went to Harvard Medical School, and Henryattends Princeton. One episode revolved around Holly's interview with Columbia and her decision not to apply to Columbia.
  • Local Hangout: Changed over the years: Jeff's restaurant, the bar, the diner, and the bakery.
  • The Matchmaker: Holly and Lauren, for Val and Vic.
  • Minor Flaw, Major Breakup: After breaking up with Jeff, Val spends a couple episodes being hyper-picky about dating prospects.
  • Missing Mom: Holly and Val's mother died.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg
    Holly: (To Vic on proposing to Val) What could be better than giving her in front of all the people she loves? ...and Tina.
    • Later:
      Vic: (Proposing to Val) So I want to ask you, in front of all the people you love...and Tina...
  • My Girl Is a Slut: Tina, Tina, Lauren, and Tina.
  • My Girl Is Not a Slut: Holly. Val tries.
  • New Job Episode: Played with. For Val and Lauren, the switch from public relations work to baking was permanent, as were Vince's shift from bike-messaging to real estate and Vic's transition to firefighting. Holly, Gary, and Tina, on the other hand, often found themselves in assorted short-lived employments, though Holly eventually settled in as a music manager.
  • Noodle Incident: Numerous. As mentioned above, the show was co-created by Dan Schneider.
  • Oh, Crap!
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted. After breaking up with Holly, Henry eventually goes out with another girl also named Holly in college. Unfortunately, when Vince sees Henry making in the dark, he automatically assumes it was the main Holly.
  • Out with a Bang: Narrowly averted. Rick has a heart attack while in bed with Lauren, but he doesn't die.

  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Leslie Grossman from Season 2 onwards. Michael McMillan initially in Season 2, but he's back to recurring in Season 3.

  • Pair the Spares: Tina and Gary
  • Parental Abandonment: Mrs. Tyler is dead, and Mr. Tyler moves to Japan in the pilot. Gary's and Tina's respective parents are divorced. Vince hates his father.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Holly and Gary.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Holly finds out about Jeff planning to get Val jewelry on Valentine's day, so she tells Val that he's planning to propose. He isn't, and in fact didn't ever want to get married, so they break up.
  • Precocious Crush: Gary to Val
  • Product Placement: An episode was devoted to Holly and Tina competing to be in an Herbal Essences ad, both getting beat by the girl who was actually in the ad, which aired in the last scene of the episode.
  • Promotion to Parent: Val, since Holly doesn't want to do when their father moves to Japan and Val's roommate has just moved out.
  • Put on a Bus: Ben and Henry leave town after their relationships with Holly end. Henry does return for an appearance in Season 3.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Gary's crutches; Wesley Jonathan had injured himself in an exhibition basketball game.
  • Really Gets Around: Tina and Vince.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Holly and Vince, but then not, but then yes. Gary and Tina in the finale.
  • Sex Changes Everything: Holly went flipping insane after "Halloween".
  • Ship Sinking: Holly/Henry is sunk when Henry gives up when Holly comes back from Europe with Ben.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Holly and Val start off like this, but through 4 years of rubbing off on each other, both start to balance out.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: Gary and Tina
  • Slapstick: The girls, mostly Holly and Val, get into their fair share of humiliating and awkward as much as the guys.
  • Stalker with a Crush: In the earliest episodes, Gary to Val. In season 3, Vince to Holly.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: It's revealed that Val was so busy in season 3 with her canceled wedding that she neglected her ad agency to let Lauren take charge. It turns out that allowing a slightly ditzy assistant to take on a job she's clearly not ready for drove the agency into bankruptcy, which pushes Val to impulsively buy a bakery.
  • Teens Are Short: Averted. Teenage Amanda Bynes was 5'8, making her taller than adult Jennie Garth who was 5'5. Many episodes would actually have Garth wearing high heels and Bynes in sneakers so that they would appear to be the same height (sometimes even making Garth look taller).
  • Time to Move: Played straight in "Tyler v. World", subverted in "The Loft" and "I Want My Baby Back".
  • Token Minority: Gary
  • Token Minority Couple: Averted. Gary does have two black girlfriends during the show's run, but one of his first dates is with a white girl, he has a crush on Val for a while, and he ultimately ends up with Tina.
  • Uptight Loves Wild: All of Val's love interests are notably more relaxed than she is.
  • "Walk on the Wild Side" Episode:
    • Jeff says to Val he wishes she was more spontaneous. She goes a bit wild during the episode but reveals at the end the whole experience "nearly killed me".
    • During another episode, Val tries to be more fun to give Holly some space. Holly and Gary end up going off to a party on Long Island.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: From season 4's "Halloween", does Gary ever get his apple butter!?
    • And in one episode Val goes to a speed dating service, meets a very nice guy, who seems really interested. He stands her up. Val goes to look for him, but finds Peter instead. Never addressed: what happened to the mystery man?
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Lauren when she dates Val's ex-fiance, Rick, which almost ruins their friendship.
  • With a Friend and a Stranger: Holly (main character), Gary (the friend), and Tina (the stranger).