Ned and Stacey: The First Season
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What happens when two people hate each other at first sight? They get married, of course, in \"Ned & Stacey,\" the fast and funny, shotgun marriage-of-convenience sitcom from the producers of \"The King of Queens\" starring Academy Award nominee Thomas Haden Church (Best Supporting Actor, \"Sideways,\" 2004) and Emmy Award winner Debra Messing (\"Will and Grace\"). Ned Dorsey (Church) is a pompous advertising executive who needs a wife to get promoted. Stacey Colbert (Messing) is a ditzy freelance writer desperate to move away from her parents. So what happens one week after these strangers meet? They become in-name-only newlyweds with a great new job and a terrific view of Central Park. This three-disc DVD set includes all 24 hilarious episodes.
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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Top Customer Reviews
I thought the acting was good and the story lines are funny.
It combines great characters and great acting all in one.
Can't wait till the next season is out!
Well worth the price!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.
#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.
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.
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.