Hard-working stockbroker Brian and lawyer Kate felt like they'd missed out on teenage son Ross's childhood, so when baby daughter Emily came along, they decided to stay home and open a daycare center. This transition was especially hard on slacker Ross, who'd become accustomed to having the house to himself. Working at the Harper Preschool was sweet college-student Kristin, the object of Ross's unwanted affections, who was majoring in psychology and minoring in weaving. And a constant fixture in their home was self-centered Eileen, Kate's best friend and Brian's former coworker, who eventually bought the house next door. A group of kids regularly appeared in the daycare center, but the only standouts were brainiac Molly and rascally Justin, both of whom were quick with the one-liners. Also frequently seen were Ross's buddies Stiv (formerly known as Steve), dimwitted Bob, dorky J.D. and pretentious Allison, whom Ross dated late in the series.
Created by Gary David Goldberg and future political comedy writer Andy Borowitz and featuring a lot of the same crew from "Family Ties," the show initially had a similar vibe in it's first run as a midseason replacement. Then a writer's strike stretched through the summer, which delayed the fall season and turned viewers away from network TV in droves. When the show finally returned for season 2, the cast really began to mesh and the tone got lighter (more akin to "Growing Pains"), with the hilarious "Brady Bunch" episode that's mentioned in every other review, fantasy sequences and other zaniness. Personally, I liked the second season better and was sad that there weren't more. After the show's cancellation, Lifetime aired reruns for a while and they popped up on TV Land around the turn of the century.
Aside from the bizarre "Brady Bunch" connection, the other most memorable component of this series was Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who shined brightly as the total narcissist that hated children. Most of the laugh-out-loud funny jokes were spewed from her lips. It' also interesting to see then-novice, now-old-pro Courtney Thorne Smith learning the ropes of sitcoms. She was a little flat in the beginning but had improved by leaps and bounds by the end of the series. I could go on about each of the actors, but suffice it to say that they were each great in their own rite.
Paramount's not good about releasing their shows on DVD, but I hope they'll license it to Shout Factory or some other distributor someday. This was a funny, lovable little show and it's sad that it's kind of been forgotten.
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