1 9 9 5 – 1 9 9 9 (USA)
100 x 30 minute episodes
Produced by the same people responsible for Fox’s Married . . . With Children, this comedy was similarly mean-spirited.
After sixteen years of marriage, Jennie Malloy (Stephanie Hodge) – who was looking for more excitement in her life – had kicked husband Jack (Geoff Pierson) out of their Los Angeles home.
Jack, who made $40,000 a year as a used car salesman for his soon-to-be-ex-father-in-law, was offered a divorce settlement by Jennie that would leave him with only $8,000 to live on.
While they fought over the terms of the divorce he moved into a ratty apartment with only a stuffed bunny called Mr Floppy for company – his 8-year-old son Ross (Justin Berfield) had given Mr Floppy to his dad because he didn’t want him to be lonely.
Jack initially questioned his sanity when the cynical Mr Floppy started talking to him, but, not surprisingly, the stuffed bunny (voiced by Bobcat Goldthwait) became this loser’s only real friend.
He and Mr Floppy watch Spanish TV “for the girls in bikinis and high heels” and talk constantly about supermodels and women’s breasts.
The two Malloy high schoolers were 16-year-old Ryan (Kevin Connolly), a slob unable to find a girlfriend, and 15-year-old Tiffany (Nikki Cox), a self-absorbed young sexpot. Although none of the kids was thrilled to spend the weekends with Dad, they were more than willing to play their separated parents off against each other to get whatever they wanted.
Jennie’s chain-smoking, alcoholic mother, Maureen (Joyce Van Patten), who hated Jack, had moved into the house to help her raise the kids.
Despite the separation and the fact that they disliked each other intensely, there was a surprisingly strong physical attraction between Jennie and Jack, leading to periodic sexual encounters in both her house and his apartment.
Jack did move back into the house but was living in the basement since he had to court Jennie to get back into their bedroom (he never made it).
A year later the series focus shifted from the parents’ relationship to the activities of the kids, particularly sexy Tiffany and her new rival at school, Sable (Kristanna Loken) – who used Ryan as a doormat, but he was too stupid to realise it.
Tiffany was accepted to Harvard but couldn’t go because Jack couldn’t afford the $28,000 a year it would have cost. So Tiffany and Ryan went to Northridge Junior College, where she worked on the school paper, the Northridge Journal.
Jennie eventually died in a tanning-bed accident, leaving Jack free to date – but she was still around in ghostly form (visible only to her family) to keep interfering with everyone’s lives.
The following week she was brought back to life, when a real-life Warner Bros. programming executive, Jordan Levin, showed up late in the episode and told the rest of the family that the ghostly Jennie wasn’t as funny as they had thought it was going to be.
A year later Jennie was really gone from the show, having dumped Jack and gone to Europe with another woman.
Ryan’s hair was bleached blonde, and Tiffany had a new rival at school, Barbara (Wendy Benson), the sexy blonde brown-noser. They both had aspirations of transferring to Harvard and were in constant competition, academically and socially.
In the series’ finale, they were both accepted to Harvard and Jack, in order to pay the high cost of the Ivy League school, motivated himself to become an incredibly successful car salesman to the stars.
Ryan Malloy (age 16)
Tiffany Malloy (15)
Ross Malloy (8)
Joyce Van Patten
Voice of Mr Floppy