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The Complete First Season
Debra Messing. Thomas Haden Church, Nadia Dajani
3 DVDs
24 episodes plus extra
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2005
535 minutes

Though two complete seasons of Ned And Stacey were filmed, only a season and a half of the series aired before it was yanked off the air mid-season of its second year. The series was probably not yanked because of a bad time slot considering it ran against such totally forgotten sitcoms as Lush Life, Cybill, and If Not For You. The last aired episode of Ned And Stacey was on January 27, 1997 on the Fox network. The complete second season aired on the USA Network. It is a little hard to tell from Ned And Stacey, The Complete First Season, why the show was yanked but at the same time you definitely get the feeling that the Ned character, played by Thomas Haden Church (Sideways, Rolling Kansas, Lowell on Wings) was a little too aggressive and abrasive and this may not have been only an act. The supporting actors and characters also do not really stand out. Debra Messing would go on to fame and fortune as Grace in the hit series Will & Grace which, weirdly enough, shares a somewhat similar premise.

The premise of Ned And Stacey is that Stacey, a nice, single Jewish girl still living with her parents, agrees to a fake marriage to former blind date and abrasive and self-centered ad executive Ned so she can move out of her parents’ into a cool Manhattan apartment. Ned needs to get married to be seen as a family man and so get a promotion. This was an interesting premise and the early episodes feature some very strong writing that definitely makes you want to watch the rest of the series. The second episode, where Ned and Stacey throw a party to impress Ned’s married clients is absolutely comedic, original, and, in how many of those real couples basically break down that night, quite dark.

Perhaps the weakness of this sitcom is already visible in the first season. The writers, who were able to write some very funny situations, good characters, and very good barbs, decided to try to slowly get Ned and Stacey together instead of keeping them apart and seeing what could happen when two single, opposite sex, but supposedly married people have conflicting love lives, etc. The series basically jumps the shark with the Halloween episode when Ned kisses Stacey in the old mistaken identity two people wearing the same costume bit.

Still, not bad, not great.

Episode list:

#1 “Ned and Stacey”
A marriage of convienience results when a reporter, wanting to flee the confinements of her parents home, meets an advertising agent with a two bedroom apartment.

#2 “Portrait of a Marriage”
Ned and Stacey host their first party and discover that their fake marriage outshines most of the dysfunctional ones of their guests.

#3 “Take My Wife, Please”
Ned encourages Stacey to pursue an Englishmen she meets in a bar.

#4 “Cover Story”
Stacey wants to do an expose on one of Ned’s environmental unfriendly clients.

#5 “Model Husband”
Eric thinks he’s being a model husband when he admits to Amanda that he’s spending the night with the beautiful (and drunk) supermodel spokesperson Ned has hired for a new ad campaign.

#6 “Saul and Ellen and Ned and Stacey”
Stacey’s parents choose the worst time for a visit – when both Ned and Stacey each have a date over.

#7 “Here’s to You, Mrs. Binder”
Ned develops a romance with one of Stacey’s childhood friends (Joanna Cassidy).

#8 “Halloween Story”
Ned and Stacey share a kiss at a Halloween party and find they liked it.

#9 “Reality Check”
Stacey is in debt and takes a job as a waitress. Olivia Newton-John guest stars.

#10 “Thanksgiving Day Massacre”
Stacey is depressed at Thanksgiving when she realises that she doesn’t have a “real” husband.

#11 “Sleepless in Manhattan”
Stacey wants a new bed and gets Ned to go shopping with her for one.

#12 “Threesome”
Stacey begins dating Ned’s friend Sam – jealousy ensues.

#13 “Accountus Interruptus”
Ned fears he’ll lose an important account unless he gives in to a client who’s trying to seduce him. Kathy Griffin guest stars.

#14 “New Year’s Eve”
Ned throws a New Year’s Eve party for his co-workers but Stacey decides not to attend.

#15 “Paranoia on the 47th Floor”
Ned thinks that he is about to be fired when his agency hires a young whipper-snapper and sends Ned on vacation.

#16 “A Tender Trap”
Ned’s talents seem to outshine Stacey, who has applied for a journalist job with a major publishing firm.

#17 “Promotional Rescue”
Eric is up for a promotion and Amanda asks Ned to put in a good word for him.

#18 “Friends and Lovers”
Stacey asks Ned to play the perfect husband when her high school rival comes for a visit.

#19 “The Gay Caballeros”
A gay client of Ned’s accidentally discovers that the couple has separate bedrooms and becomes convinced that Ned is not out of the closet.

#20 “Gut Feeling”
Ned becomes a chicken when he goes into the hospital for gallbladder surgery.

#21 “Pals”
Ned introduces Amanda to TV star Bobby Van Lowe, who’s looking to buy property in New York; but after the meeting, Bobby has a different kind of move on his mind.

#22 “It Happened One Night”
Stacey moves out, goes back to her parents’ home, and finds out more than she wants to know.

#23 “You Bet Your Wife”
Ned gets into trouble during a poker game and bets a night with Stacey to cover his bets.

#24 “The End?”
Stacey bets Ned fifty dollars that she can find a better woman for him than he can find a better man for her.


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