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Before this show aired in 1995 I wasn't expecting much even though I had
always liked Cybill Shepherd but to my surprise I enjoyed it very much and
it was one of the better 90's comedies.
Cybill Shepherd played Cybill Sheridan, a Hollywood actress. She had two daughters who caused her problems at times and two ex-lovers called Ira Woodbine and Jeff Robbins. Her friend was Maryann Thorpe, played by the talented Christine Baranski.
Cybill was great. The characters were all very convincing, the dialogue was top-notch at times and it was consistently good throughout it's run. You could do worse than check it out next time it airs because it was a real gem in the mid-90's.
I have loved Cybill Shepherd ever since Moonlighting and have seen every single movie she has ever been in. She is a greatly diverse actress. She is also a great Jazz singer. Her book Cybill Disobeidance is wonderfully candid and funny. I love her free spirit and her love of life. You feel like you are in the room with her when you watch her act. By far the best show of hers was Cybill. Her on screen chemistry and antics with Christine Baranski were top notch (look out Bruce Willis!) and it brought out Cybills best acting. It was also very interesting how it was based on her life. No other show is more deserving to be released on video in the USA!!!
My friend and I always watch Cybill, and we love Maryann. Especially when
Cybill and Maryann are going to do really bad things to Maryanns
We always laugh a lot. And we are so thankfull for the people who made this all it lights up our live.
Christine and Marc
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This series was a welcome surprise for several reasons. It had an
agreeably vicious bite to it, in the way the main characters could
fight back in the end of each episode. It showcased Cybill Sheppard in
her finest comic role (even better than her "Mattie Hayes" in
MOONLIGHTING). It really introduced a talent that existed but had not
been able to shine before: Christine Baranski, as Cybill's friend (one
can almost say spiritual sister) Maryann. Finally, it took a harsh, but
realistic look at the way men control the world - and in particular how
hard it is for single female parents to cope.
The story is simple: Cybill Sheridan is an attractive actress in Hollywood, who really has never had the success you would expect. Week after week we watch Cybill getting jobs in commercials, episodes of questionable television series, and third rate movies. Of course, as we watch the acting gigs we get a series of spoofs of typical television and movie fare that we swallow all the time. In fact, one of the best set of episodes were obviously planned as a commentary on Shepherd's initially rewarding, but gradually disillusioning work with Bruce Willis on the earlier successful series MOONLIGHTING. In any event, true stardom constantly eludes our heroine, usually due to decisions that are in the hands of producers or directors (usually male). Occasionally it is due to a female rival, but that is a rarity.
Cybill's problems are compounded by having to raise two daughter, Rachel Robbins (Dedee Pfeiffer) and Zoey Woodbine (Alicia Witt), by herself. Rachel is the daughter from Cybill's marriage to stuntman/actor Jeff Robbins (Tom Wopat) and Zoey is the daughter from a second marriage to novelist Ira Woodbine (Alan Rosenberg). Both daughters consider their mother an eccentric disgrace who interferes with them, but the two sisters are unable to make a really united front, as Rachel is conscious of her attractiveness (as the series progresses she gets married and has a baby), and Zoey - while not adverse to sex or love - is more cerebral (being the daughter of a novelist this makes sense). The two ex-husbands are realistically drawn. While they and Cybill can have arguments at the drop of a hat, both men share intimate histories with her so that they can also remain fairly decent friends.
Cybill's war with the male controlled systems is mirrored by that of her friend Maryann Thorpe. In some ways Maryann (as fleshed out so well by Ms Baranski, who garnered several Emmy Awards for her performances) is "the Fonz" in CYBILL (though not in total effect: Henry Winkler's subsidiary character took center stage of HAPPY DAYS, whereas Cybil Shepherd maintained shared central stage with Ms Baranski in CYBILL). Originally Maryann was a neighbor who drank and pill popped too much. But gradually we learned that this sophisticated and sexy lady turned out this way due to the misfortune of marrying Dr. Richard ("Dr. Dick" as she sharply, memorably calls him) Thorpe. We never see Thorpe (we hear his screams several times). A successful surgeon, he married Maryann (who was a first rate nurse) and then constantly cheated on her with other women. This drives her to the oblivion of booze and pills, but she also lives for occasional acts of vengeance against the Doctor, who finally divorced her. They also had a son, who appears occasionally in the series.
The humor of the show was actually sophisticated and high, despite the actual grimness of the situation for the heroines. The series only lasted four years - the bitterness at the base was just too much for it to become a permanent popular series. But for those four years it managed to be as successfully subversive in demolishing television stereotypes as more successful shows like ROSEANNE had. To the end it remained subversive - the last image of the series was of Cybill and Maryann being under arrest for murder. We never learn what was the outcome.
Now it's really a shame that they stopped producing "Cybill". It really was a one of a kind TV show. It was so warm (always brining up with mother-daughter funny fights), and extremely funny. Seriously although ALL episodes contained hilarious scenes, sometimes they'd just be really meaningful. Cybill plays a PERFECT mother, besides being so easy and natural. Also Mary-ann, Zoey, Jeff and Ira were all funny to a great extent. They perfectly matched their TV character. Does anybody know a petition thing or anything we can do, to let them reproduce the show?!
I haven't yet been able to determine if all the episodes of this frequently
very funny sitcom have been purchased for its current syndicated run on
Oprah Winfrey's OXYGEN cable TV channel. I do know that I am now familiar
with every single episode that has been shown, some of them four, five, six,
seven...I've lost count!...times. Thank goodness for VCRs which allow us to
tape the rebroadcasts; fast-forward through the many, many, many
commercials; and skip past episodes that have finally worn out their
welcome. (Certain ones, though, are the product of scriptwriters at the top
of their form - admittedly superficial to the nth degree but sharply witty
to a degree rarely attained by television writers since America discovered
that mindless fun is a guilty pleasure, sufficient to distract us from the
world's harsher realities.)
But I have to admit that this is one professionally done TV series, with a wonderful cast, headlined by Cybill Shepherd as the titular star and her tart-tongued best friend played with unwavering aplomb by Christine Baranski (whose makeup, hair styles and wardrobe were, and perhaps still are, the envy of every woman who would like to show off her privileged financial status.)
I had been aware of Alicia Witt in my filmic peripheral vision, but this
series converted me into a fan. My father told me; 'Always meet a girls
mother before considering getting serious - you will spend the next 25
watching the daughter become her mother.'
Spending 25 years watching Alicia Witt become Cybil Shepard? Where do I sign? Julia Sowala becoming Jennifer Saunders? Maybe not.
I had become aware of Alicia Witt in my filmic 'peripheral vision', but not as a comic actress. It defies dramatic, though not comic convention for a pretty girl to take comic risks, deal with their vulnerability, and send herself up. Toy with my expectations, why don't you.
Christine Baranski may have walked away with every scene she was in, and have an order of magnitude more scope for layered, funny, and subtle comic acting than Megan Mullally from 'Will & Grace', but Alicia Witt is the real find of this show. Bravo and fair play to Cybil Shepard for not using her veto to remain the prettiest actress on the show.
Not since Murphy Brown with the absolutely fabulous Candice Bergen have I
enjoyed a sitcom so much - even if in Germany it is dubbed in......(you
The two main caracters show immense wit and insight into life´s little problems - and it seems that they enjoyed themselves thoroughly during the shooting of the series.
Cybill is no doubt one of the world´s most beautiful women!
Although I was never aware of this show while it run during it's 95 thru 98 seasons I have caught all the reruns on the TV Guide Channel. I wish I had know of it back then so that I could have written and had begged for them to keep it going. It truly was a laugh a minute series. The chemistry between all the actors was so well casted but I have to say that the writing and the back and forth of Cybill and Mary Ann was magic. I have always loved both these actresses but I have to say that Christine Beranski's talents have been so underrated. I would love it if they were to ever bring it back or even just do an anniversary show. Does anyone know why it wasn't renewed? Bad time slot? Network decision? I always thought that Cybill would had been a much better lead in the movie version of Mama Mia. Wonder if she was every considered.
I have a general recollection of this show when it first aired but
somehow didn't get into it at the time. Now that it is running on
Oxygen and I've been watching - it is a hoot! I simply love Christine
Baranski (possibly fueled by her fun performance as John Larroquette's
-sp?- wife in a recent TV show).
The two of them are similar to Patsy & Eddy of Absolutely Fabulous - just not quite as weird.
Sure hope they will put the show on DVD. I know as soon as I start to record on VHS, they will. lol
It is a show that one has to get into the characters and that may take watching a few times. (Quite similar to the series "Soap" in that way) Once you do , it is addictive!
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