It was a rather unlikely sitcom pairing back in 1989 - Jamie Lee Curtis, who seemed to be doing fine with her big screen career and Richard Lewis known by those who followed the stand-up circuit in the 80's as a pathologically angst-ridden comic who only half jokingly would claim that his perfomances were a form of therapy.
And yet, that was the point - although never catching on enough with audiences, in spite of a revolving door of cast changes with the surrounding players, the heart of the series was the affinity that Curtis and Lewis had for each other as Hannah Miller and Marty Gold, and doubtless why the movie actress and tortured comic joined up to do the show in the first place. In interviews over the years, the actors have always reflected kindly on the show, for although the writing wasn't as strong as others, the affection they shared for each other seemed more grounded, rang truer. Where on "Cheers" Sam and Diane's heat burned bright then quickly fizzled, Hannah and Marty's romance shown with light, dimly at first and brighter as it went - the coupling seemed even more compelling after the consumation. For me, Hannah and Marty had the relationship I found more intriguing - intelligent, respectful and comfortable. The show was at least as interesting after they got together, if not more so.
Sure, the courtship was set in a workplace comedy centered around a Chicago magazine, but at its core this was a story of a romance. The writers seemed to soften Lewis' stand-up persona to make him an effective romantic lead, and Curtis' rapport with him validates the writing.
Although the show's writing wasn't as strong as some comedically, it could be very insightful and touching - and certainly funnier than many others of its era. Rumor has it that the production company that sold the show to ABC axed it themselves since they didn't see a great syndication potential out of it, and since it probably last aired on Comedy Central some six years ago after a long abscence the cancellation seems the right choice.
For me, this was one of the great "also-ran" comedies of the 80's, and to see two seasons of it released gives me hope that other more successful B-team sitcoms (Night Court, Mad About You, Drew Carey, etc.) may finally get another look by the studios as well for further DVD releases.
So thanks in advance to Fox Studios for the anticipated February 07 release, and here's hoping the rest follow right behind.