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Ned and Stacey: The First Season

Thomas Haden Church , Debra Messing , Alan Myerson , Andrew D. Weyman    DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 27.95 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Before Debra Messing (Will & Grace) won an Emmy and Thomas Haden Church (Sideways) was nominated for an Oscar, they starred in Ned and Stacey. Although the screwball sitcom only lasted for two seasons, it confirmed that Church (Flying Blind, Wings) deserved the promotion to lead and that Messing (NYPD Blue) was a talent to watch. In the pilot, mutual friends introduce the couple. Those friends are Stacey's sister, Amanda (Nadia Dajani, Flirting With Disaster), and Ned's co-worker, Eric (Greg Germann, Ally McBeal), who just happen to be married. It's dislike at first sight. Ned is a self-satisfied ad exec and Stacey is a free-spirited freelance writer. He needs a wife to advance his career and she can't afford her own apartment, so they embark on a marriage of convenience. Except for the (heterosexual) marriage part, Ned and Stacey provides the blueprint for Will & Grace as the roommates will continue to see other people, and Amanda and Eric will appear as frequently as Karen and Jack. During the first year, the newlyweds will learn a lot about matrimony. In "Portrait of a Marriage," for instance, they'll find that their relationship, unconventional as it is, is actually pretty healthy compared to Ned's colleagues' highly dysfunctional unions. As Ned puts it, theirs is "a marriage minus the love, sex, and intimacy, which...is more real than the real kind." Notable writers include Oscar winners Alan Ball (American Beauty) and Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), while guest stars include Olivia Newton-John ("Reality Check"), Jason Batemen ("Pals"), and Curb Your Enthusiasm's Susie Essman ("Thanksgiving Day Massacre") as Stacey's aunt. Executive producer Michael J. Weithorn would go on to create The King of Queens. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Show! Oct. 28 2006
I am waiting and waiting to watch season 2. I really enjoyed this show and find it hard to believe that it only lasted for 2 season.

I thought the acting was good and the story lines are funny.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious! Feb. 7 2009
This is one of the funniest comedy series I have ever watched.
It combines great characters and great acting all in one.
Can't wait till the next season is out!
Well worth the price!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  51 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A funny show ahead of its time finally on DVD! Sept. 22 2005
By Cubist - Published on Amazon.com
Ned (Haden Church) is a cynical, self-absorbed advertising agency executive. Stacey (Messing) is an idealist who writes for The Village Voice. They are set-up on a blind date by their friends and its love and hate at first sight. He's superficial and she's all about substance. She's a left-winger and he's a self-proclaimed "no winger." Sounds like the perfect couple, right? Ned and Stacey was a short-lived sitcom that developed a small, buy loyal following. They have now been rewarded as Sony has released the first season of the show on DVD.

It's amazing that this show was even aired let alone lasting as long as it did - two seasons in total. The premise alone must've been problematic for the network: two self-absorbed people getting married for all the wrong reasons. Like the characters in Seinfeld (which is also set in New York City), the characters in Ned and Stacey don't particularly care if the audience likes them and that's what gives the show its edge. For example, in one episode we see the cutthroat world of corporate America first hand as Ned gleefully rubs it in a rival's face that he got married to get his cushy promotion over him. There is a sarcastic attitude that is prevalent throughout the show and a welcome alternative to the shiny, happy people of most other sitcoms. Ned and Stacey would go on to become even more surreal as one of the main cast would be killed off in an episode only to come back in the next one.

With these kinds of things going on, it's not surprising that people like Alan Ball (American Beauty, Six Feet Under) and Charlie Kaufman (Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) would eventually write for the show before it was prematurely cancelled during its second season. Ned and Stacey may have been a classic, opposites attract story wrapped in a sardonic package but it was too acerbic a show for mainstream audiences. Fortunately, this DVD has been released so that its fans can enjoy what was produced during its brief stint.

There is a retrospective featurette entitled, "Strings Attached: Ned and Stacey, Season One." Thomas Haden Church, Debra Messing, Greg Germann and Nadia Dajani are back for brand new interviews as they reminisce about their experiences working on the show.

There is also an audio commentary on the "Pilot" episode by series creator Weithorn. He ends up fleshing out some of the comments he made in the featurette (i.e. casting Haden Church and Messing) with some decent anecdotal information on this low-key track.
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Waaayyy better than Will and Grace... Oct. 7 2005
By Cloudburst2000 - Published on Amazon.com
If you like Will and Grace, then you are sure to enjoy this sitcom that played for two seasons in the mid-90s. My roommate and I were obsessed with this show during college. I was actually very surprised and excited to see it come out on DVD considering it was never hugely popular. That's one of the sad things about television today...the truly good shows like Ned and Stacey are overlooked while drivel like Life According to Jim last multiple seasons.

The premise of Ned and Stacey is simple. Ned marries Stacey to get a job promotion, and Stacey marries Ned so she can have a place to live and move out of her parent's house. The catch is they barely know each other, and what they do know of each other, they don't particularly care for. They are both allowed to date other people as long as they are discreet and don't let certain people know about the 'arranged' marriage...namely Ned's co-waorkers and Stacey's parents(who incidentally adore Ned and Ned them which leads to a very humorous episode). Stacey's sister and brother-in-law(Ned's best friend and co-worker) know of the arrangement and make some humorous sidekicks for Ned and Stacey.

What truly makes this show great is the chemistry between Debra Messing and Thomas Haden Church who play Stacey and Ned, respectively. They just play off each other beautifully. Granted, they argue most of the time which leads to many humorous moments, but they do get along in their own way...sometimes. This show is not about a couple who hate each other...as Ned and Stacey definitely don't hate each other. It's more about personality-clash in close living-quarters. Ned is a neat though sometimes morally-ambigious character while Stacey is a slob who likes to think of herself as morally-superior...Ned often throws this in her face mocking how such a moral person could ever get involved in a 'fake' marriage.

Anywho, this was definitely my favorite sitcom of the 90s. I was highly disappointed when it was cancelled am ecstatic to see it out on DVD. I can't wait until the second season and last season comes out.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars YAAAAAAYYYYYYY!!!! A dream that's finally come true!! Feb. 20 2006
By SaraJaneSteel - Published on Amazon.com
N&S was one of my absolute favorite sitcoms of the 90's. Seriously. I really, really loved it. So did the critics, if I recall....but unfortunately, not enough viewers shared the same enthusiasm, and it only lasted two seasons. I can't believe it was virtually unknown, even in it's day. It had edginess I believe could be compared to Seinfeld (maybe even better). It's characters had dynamics (and jokes) that I believe could BEAT "Will & Grace". All the characters had something to contribute to the show. My favorite was Ned. I adored him. Thomas Haden Church wore his role's attitude like a fine, Italian suit. His impeccable, RAZOR SHARP wit...dispensing wisecracking, poison-tipped sarcasm with deadly accuracy (trust me, it's a lot funnier than it sounds!!)

Well, maybe not ALL the characters contributed to the show...For those who have seen the show: Do you remember around the beginning of the show, Amanda and Greg actually had a kid?? He was a little bratty-like kid with coke-bottle glasses, he didn't really do anything for the show....then several episodes later, he just disappeared without even a mention of what happened??

Anyways, when I saw what I (much later) found out was the last episode, I was real sore. All I can say is: if you have a TV show to pitch, and FOX gives you an offer, run don't walk. It's the kiss of death!! They will mangle the show beyond recognition, they'll under-advertise (then blame you for the low ratings), they'll endlessly move your show across the programming schedule like a chess piece, they'll push you aside to give attention to a crappier show just because it has a "big" name. It's unfortunate, tragic that N&S was a casualty of such treatment.

Sorry for the rant....heh...anyways, for those who are unfamiliar with this show: This show is bursting at the seams with intellegent jokes/characters and saucy wit. If you enjoy Will & Grace, I'm pretty certain you too will fall in love with Ned & Stacey.
22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Episode guide Sept. 6 2005
By Phillip O. - Published on Amazon.com
The first season aired from September 1995 - April 1996. The first 24 episodes are as follows:

#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 and goes back to her parents home.

#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.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT Oct. 23 2005
By C. Cancio - Published on Amazon.com
I will agree with another reviewer and say that this show is/was way ahead of its time. There are only a few shows I remember that really did it for me and this is definitely one of them. The hilariously stoic facial expressions of Thomas Haden Church and the interactions between him and Rico are incredibly funny. Its the nonchalant humor that made this show one of the best. Debra Messing as Stacey ... its Grace before Grace existed! Nadja Dajani as Amanda taps into the parts of us that may think something, but don't necessarily say it aloud. She does! All the cast of the show, the writing, the situations...combine to make one great comedy. I wish it lasted longer...but again, it was way ahead of its time. People didn't appreciate this kind of humor before. Buy IT!
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