Titus (TV Series 2000–2002) Poster

(2000–2002)

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A Ground-breaking high wire act between tragedy and comedy - the best and most unique sitcom since "Seinfeld"
liquidcelluloid-120 December 2004
Network: FOX; Genre: Sitcom, Dysfunctional Family Sitcom; Content Rating: TV-14 (for language, violence, nudity, strong sexual content, crude humor & dark, adult content); Available: DVD; Classification: Modern Classic (Star range: 1 - 5);

Season Reviewed: Complete Series (3 seasons)

If the sitcom is dying, nobody told Christopher Titus. "Titus" is the spiky-haired comedian's 1-man show, "Norman Rockwell is Bleeding", translated into a 1-set, multi-camera, studio audience sitcom. More than that, "Titus" is a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart. It rocks the audience and the genre, breaking rules left and right and turns the mold of the sitcom inside-out in the process.

Like "Everybody Loves Raymond", "Titus" is a post-modern dysfunctional family sitcom in which what may have been the children of television dysfunctional families 2 decades ago ("The Simpsons", "Rosanne", "Married… with Children") have now grown up and are trying to make their own way - unable to shake their parents and upbringing. "Titus" is the autobiographical life story of it's namesake lead who grew up with a drunken, abusive father (Stacy Keach) and a deranged schizophrenic mother (played by a different actress in each season). To help and hinder him along the way are his borderline retarded half-brother Dave (Zack Ward), his effeminate best friend and the show's "normal" character Tommy (David Shatraw) and the grounding support of his fiancé Erin (Cynthia Watros). Most sitcoms pair an average guy with a hot babe without explanation. On "Titus" there is one, but I wouldn't dare spoil it.

Titus breaks the 4th wall and narrates these stories from a bare room furnished only with a wooden chair and overhead light bulb - these scenes filmed in raw black & white. This "neutral space" serves as a metaphorical playground of the mind, representing sitcom Titus' thoughts and self-perceptions. In the tour de force episode "The Breakup" (that will no doubt separate the drive-by sitcom viewer from the show's hardcore target audience) Titus gets into a fight with Erin to sabotage his own happiness and "neutral space" Titus becomes a boxer. When his parents appear to reconcile, his inner child comes out and "neutral space" Titus literally regresses to 5-year-old Titus.

Not to insinuate that "Titus" with it's occasional moralizing and fascinating abundance of psycho-babble is anything really sophisticated. Actually, the show is stupid humor at its funniest. It is fast, shameless and brazen in it's stupidity. There aren't many places where you will see people thrown through plate glass windows or getting hit in the face with a rake handle (twice!) for a laugh, but "Titus" is goofy enough to go there. Sometimes I laugh in spite of myself, sometimes the gags flop on the floor and inspire a cringing wince. But the show is at such a constant fever pitch that duds are quickly lost in the avalanche of lunacy that is heaped into the lap of the audience. Amid the insanity, the scripts are spiked with an acerbic wit.

The skill and chemistry of the cast sell the show in it's more childish moments. Christopher Titus is new to the game and at times it shows, but he bounds around with endless energy, delivers a fresh voice to the TV landscape and displays a rarely seen naked honesty that fills the lead role of this televised therapy session just fine. Shatraw has an impressive skill for physical comedy, throwing his body around in a way that many actors now wouldn't have the guts too. Watros is sublime and gives the show it's biggest anchor of credibility. Keach, of course, is an absolute joy. Ken Titus is an instantly classic character. Watch him liven up any scene with just a look. Everyone here is in pitch perfect harmony with the tone and vision of the show. They all come to the project with a single-minded determination and belief in what they are doing. The show has the look and feel of a play with all the players doing a dance. They are excellent.

The show also pioneers a style of comedy you never see on TV: the cathartic laugh. The story lines herein are made up of such traditionally audience repelling topics as spousal abuse, child molestation, alcoholism, murder, suicide and post-9/11 airline fears. In finding humor in what is essentially a tragic story, it seems that creators Christopher Titus, Brian Hargrove and Jack Kenny have crafted an entire series out the "Very Special Episodes" that would grind any other sitcom to a melodramatic halt. Uncomfortable tension broke with fits of laughter. In the wrong hands, this type of material could easily be a disaster but Titus and Kenny hone the show with expert precision. They do a brilliant thing by wrapping this edgy too-hot-for-Fox material in a stupid-funny sitcom wrapper, giving the audience a tangible chaser to help swallow it all down. Many times a "Titus" episode would end on a note that glued me to the couch in silence for a few minutes, both out of shock at what I'd seen and out of pride and admiration for how well they where able to pull off this high-wire act.

"Titus" had a high hit-and-miss ratio. Dave's ability to get a dog to drink milk from his mouth ranks as a low (or high) point. But warts and all it is the soul vision of it's creator - and how unique is that? It was a NASCAR series before NASCAR fans became a political voting block. It is a serrate look at modern America that took the gloves off and left marks. It is the dysfunctional family sitcom updated and on steroids. "Titus" wasn't quite perfect, but it pushed the limits of the sitcom further than anyone has before. Based on Fox's cowardly reaction we will not likely see something like it any time soon.

* * * * ½ / 5
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Here is a show that I can relate to...
A-Ron-219 July 2000
In one of the episodes of Titus, Christopher Titus tells us that the LA Times has announced that 70% of American families are dysfunctional. I wonder why the networks have never noticed this before.

Coming from a family of alcoholism and mental illness myself, I must say that Titus is probably the most accurate and intelligent portrayal of the American family in quite some time. I don't watch sit-coms, because their sugar-coated family life and staged, lame humor do not appeal to me. Titus gets through all that, he tells jokes and presents situations in the way that most people from my economic background do. You have to be able to laugh at the horrors of the world you end up.... well, you just don't end up.

Yes, at times it seems mean-spirited, but I must be honest I find the show cathartic. To see that someone else had as lousy a childhood as myself, and can laugh at it (like myself) just makes me all warm and toasty inside. I love this show, and hope to see it for years to come (although I doubt it). The show is intelligent, funny and, at times, touchingly poignant.
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great show dealing with real problems
on_the_brink16 February 2005
Titus was one of the best shows Fox has ever produced. Where other shows seemed to center around problems such as "Oh no, the landlord of my giant, rent-controlled 2-bedroom apartment has died and the new landlord isn't nice at all because he raised my rent by 5 dollars and now I can't afford that 5th I-pod I've always wanted", this show tackled real problems with some great humor. I can't say that my family was as messed-up as Titus' was (in real life or in the show) but through what I've seen happen to some of my childhood friends who did have to live with that I can honestly say that if you're not able to shake it off and laugh about it you're going to be sucked down. And the way this show uses humor to shake off their problems is phenomenal! The fact that they were able to discuss alcoholism, drug abuse, abortion, spousal abuse, child molestation and god knows what else while having me fall of the couch with laughter is amazing. Sometimes I even had to rewind the tape because I had missed several minutes because I couldn't stop laughing. Yes, there were the occasional duds and stupid or obvious jokes, but when show employed such a high tempo you can't expect every joke to be a classic.

I regret that this show has been canceled but I do understand why Titus didn't want Fox to get involved. If you ever get a chance to see a rerun watch it, I can't guarantee that you will like because the humor is too dark for some people but most people won't be disappointed.

11/10 (yes 11 out of ten, it's that good).
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Putting the "FUN" in "DysFUNctional"
StarGaze-921 June 2000
After years of okay shows and assorted crap, Titus is certainly a breath of fresh air.

The premise of the show is certainly unique. Comedian Christopher Titus narrates various stories loosely based on real life events, while supporting them with a string of humorous flashbacks. Titus' family, to put it kindly, is pretty damn dysfunctional, and those of us who haven't had to deal with such problems find it amusing, (though a little sad at times too). Chris Titus put it best in a recent episode when he stated, "Studies show that nearly 60% of American families are dysfunctional. That means WE'RE in the majority! When armageddon happens, all the so-called 'normal' families will be panicking, while the dysfunctional families will be thinking, 'No one's watching the Cadillac dealerships!'"

Don't be afraid of Titus because its another sitcom based on the act of a comedian. Chris Titus' comedy act is unique, and so is the show that is his namesake. I'm so glad that its been picked up for next season. Give it a chance. You'll be happy you did.

Overall: 5 out of 5 stars.
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Simply Brilliant
belisanda26 August 2004
I just got hit by this show on Fox Portugal and have yet to research on Christopher Titus the person behind most of what's so witty, urbane, universal, hallucinatory and yet basically a healthy self-look at america as it enters/entered the 21st century - but I can already say this has got to be one of my favorite comedies ever. Did it got canceled, did it just come to a natural death(much doubt it)? The network is on a continuous loop of re-runs here, so it could have gotten frustrating. But hey, it's Titus! So - to paraphrase somebody else - put the damned thing on DVD now and with plenty of extras please! And keep region 2 in mind, OK?
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WOW!
viper104_8614 November 2000
Okay, this show is the number one show I watch. It is funny, dramatic and did I mention FUNNY! I advise people to watch! My favorite character, as most people may agree, is Papa Titus. He may seem like a hard-ass, but he can make fun of everyone.
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A unique and hilarious comedy
Celticnymph11722 March 2001
Although I may not be as experienced in the television field because of my young age, I have seen many, many comedies and Titus has got to be the best I've seen in years. Not only is the material original and unpredictable, but the humour is so fast moving you'll never be at a loss for laughs. In fact, if you tone out for more than 30 seconds you'll miss a hilarious squeal from Tommy(David Shatraw) or a silver-tongued comment from the charming Christopher.(Chris Titus) I love the way the show has "real life stuff" in it, completely different from the hit shows "Growing Pains" although that was supposed to be realistic and take a gripping hold on teenage life. I should know, I'm a teenager, it didn't. Don't get me wrong though, I'm a big fan of Kirk. Anyway, I think that Titus in undoubtedly one of the funniest comedies in the current line. Especially for Fox.
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The funniest new show yet!
Op_Prime18 April 2000
Titus is a fresh and funny show. The commentaries on Titus' past are hilarious, like the father giving swimming lessons. Priceless. On the outside it would appear like a Seinfeld rip off (It's Like, You Know...), but Titus certainly is not. Titus is good and ranks up there with The Simpsons and That '70s Show.
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Painfully funny... A victim of its own edginess.
rageistruth13 January 2003
Ah, Fox... The company that built itself on controversial, hilarious comedy sitcoms such as "Married... With Children" and "The Simpsons." This is the same network that did its best to get rid of "Titus" for being too edgy?! How did this happen? Ah, I know... Somewhere along the line, Fox completely sold out. It's all about ratings now - and strangely just having good ratings isn't enough! That's why instead of seeing quality comedies like "Titus" you'll be subjected to "American Idol 2," "Temptation Island 4," or "Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire Who Really Isn't But Has Some Checkered Past That We Can Exploit 7." (Stay tuned for Celebrity Boxing XII!)

"Titus" never had bad ratings. It was launched successfully, and stuck around for 3 great seasons until it was cancelled. Throughout it all, it never lost its originality or its razor sharp wit. This, despite Fox doing everything within its power to destroy it during the last season. Frankly, it deserved better; Christopher Titus deserved better - but someone high up at Fox obviously didn't agree with that, and buried the show. You can still find a few episodes floating around online if you're lucky, and you can be sure the Chris Titus will be back and successful once more. Ride those reality shows for all they're worth while you can, Fox. But when this ridiculous fad is over and you wonder where your audience went, remember that you dug your own grave.
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Fox Didn't Treat This Gem Right
BlackX21 November 2002
Meet Christopher Titus. His dad's gone through 7( or was that eight, or nine?) wives, resulting with him and his dumb brother Dave. His dad's never supported him, stopped him, and has laughed at his face for his whole life. As for that brother, he has no idea what the hell is going on and is the butt of the family joke. He creates custom cars, which brings out the, well, um, side of him that shows he has a small obsession of being in charge. His mom's a looney, his girlfriend is all loving and trusting( not a good thing), a depressed drug-selling teenage girl was just forced to move in with him and his best friend can't even tell himself if he's straight, or something else.

Welcome to his world. Christopher tells his every-day story from a wooden room with a chair, a light bulb, and any diagram he can think up. He's screwed up and knows he's screwed up, always on the verge of cracking but not there yet, and walking the fine line between genius and nut job that a single toe out of place can unleash. He refers to the years of childhood torture to bring out the sunny side of things, or, that may depend on your opinion.

Fox never knew this shows' potential. If it would pick a damn timeslot and not only advertise it during the news and Futurama, they would have a hit. The writing is the best thing about this show. Titus's life is so full of trauma, it would make a regular man criple in a womanly nervous breakdown, but not for Screwd-Up Man. His lousy childhood( hilarious, I might add) makes him automatically say what we all think, and do what he wants to. His years of nothing but trial and experience gives him a cool edge to solve any problem, and his outlook on life with his many metaphors and "meaning of life" discoveries we all seek yet are given so casually make him probably the most unpredictable, entertaining guy there ever was. I have to find out these other guys' work.

Catch this before it's completely gone, or you'll regret it. I hope they release it on DVD some day.
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PLEASE please please please put this show out on DVD!!!
spiderfish1317 March 2004
I know some people hated this show. I LOVED it. It was brilliant - hence the "loved it, hated it" responses out there. VERY well written, extremely funny, well acted. It was hysterically funny, it made people think, it had really sad moments, etc. In other words, a very well written and acted series. The fact that Titus decided to end it because he didn't want OR need Fox's intervention was

enough for me to want it back (or at least to have it on DVD). It would be great if it could come back on another network. I know that probably can't happen, but I would by the DVDs in a heartbeat if they ever come out.
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I laughed, I cried, I mostly laughed untill I cried
the_deviot16 June 2002
I don't pray much, but I do pray to the television go to bring back the funniest show I've seen since the simpsons and family guy. How can anyone not love these characters, they are on the same level as everyone else and it makes them even more enjoyable to watch. Dave has to be the coolest brother ever, how can you not enjoy watching someone having a dog drink milk out of their mouth? exactly you can't! the worst thing FOX ever did was cancel Titus, hopefully the whole series will be put out on DVD or something, its the least FOX could do.
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Novel idea
shubee3231 January 2001
My friends think I am crazy, but I love "Titus." What began as a seemingly half-hour therapy session for its star, Christopher Titus, has developed into a solid 30 minute blend of near-slapstick humor, intelligent writing and light introspection.

The cast of "Titus," once somewhat disjointed and contrived (as is the case with many freshman shows), has coalesced into a tight comedic ensemble who riff off each other easily, and help the storylines move along at a refreshing clip.

A major strength of the show, (the only one, my friends contend), is Stacy Keach's role as Ken Titus, Christopher's father. He takes an abusive, callous father, and almost impossibly makes him hilarious. After all, if you remove the humorous context, child abuse is no laughing matter.

And yet, it is Christopher's approach to his past that allows us to laugh with him. While I never saw his one-man show, "Norman Rockwell is Bleeding," I can only assume he conveyed a similar take on his family in that setting as well. This TV show could have easily been rendered as a "Pity Me, I Am So Screwed Up Because Of My Dysfunctional Past" scenario. Instead, Titus' skewed perspective provides enough levity so we may understand how absurd the perverted communication process with those who have hurt us deepest can be, without completely breaking our hearts. It is a testament to everyone involved in the show, that Titus' vision is pulled off with such aplomb.

The supporting cast shines as they reflect what is going on in Titus' subconscious, conveyed cleverly by black & white sequences in a room with only a chair and light bulb, where Christopher frenetically interprets how his past has affected his present. Think of it as Freud on Ephedra, and you'll do just fine.

Cynthia Watros's 'Erin' gets my vote for best character development. Her loving, accepting yet equally madcap persona has flourished into a fully realized partner-in-crime for Christopher, when she could have remained a one-dimensional support figure.

Zack Ward as Titus' slow-witted adopted brother Dave is the 'Chrissy Snow' of the show, as he often, unwittingly foils Chris's attempts at revenge or reconciliation with their father.

My only complaint is Shatraw's character, who is supposed to be Titus's best friend, hardly gets any exploration or airtime. Hopefully, the show will be on for a while, so the effeminate and riotous Tommy can be more developed.

If you're looking for a half hour of audacious comedy, the likes of which you have never seen on network TV, check out "Titus." Considering most good shows get shelved within a year if they don't get the ratings, you might only have a little time left!
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Finally an intelligent comedy.
ace2_heart24 January 2001
Sick of dumb comedies, finally came this one, that uses a lot of black humor, and a very fine techinc. The example of the postmodern family, totally disfuntional, totally crazy. But what can we do, that kind of familiy is real. I hope fox doesn't cancel it like many others, because is one of the best of this season.
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Absolutely positively funny!
wolfpac200013 December 2001
I'm not a big fan of sitcoms, I'll admit that. I never watched a Seinfeld episode in my life and most sitcoms have bored me with their attempts at humor. But Titus is definitely not the average sitcom. The show is hysterically funny and it pulls it off naturally, no lame and forced jokes to be seen. It is very rare that there is an episode of Titus that does not make me laugh myself to tears.
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Seinfeld For The 21st Century
Thor200012 May 2001
Let's face it, not everyone loves Ray, but Titus is fast, funny and hilarious in the the same irreverent ways that Seinfeld was for the Nineties. His optimistic and weird outlooks are great humor for the show as he often clashes with his beautiful girlfriend, his idiot brother and sensitive best friend. Stacy Keach is the real star of the show though as he plays an amalgamation of all the worst drunkards, philanderers and opinionated meatheads in the history of television. This has to be a character he loves to play. The girlfriend's redneck family with multiple criminal records and appearances on "Cops" (and proud of it too) and Titus's spaced out psycho of a mother round out the show's cast of characters, but another thing I like is how the show shifts from Titus's narration of the events as he lives through them like some sort of Dave Allen At Large. Another thing that makes the show so great is how the show's event impact Titus the narrator. If his character regresses to a child mentally, the narrator physically reverts to a child. If some one metaphorically stabs him in the back, we see the knife in the back of Titus the narrator. It's this type of humor that makes it the FOX hit the show is.
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good, but Titus has to keep working at it to keep it real
SPYMAN20013 April 2001
This television show is definitely a standout when compared to the volume of reality-based programming and other half-hour length sitcoms.

There is a definite comedic chemistry between the lead, Christopher Titus and his father, played by Stacy Keach. Titus is by trade, a stand-up comedian and we are familiar with Keach assuming more dramatic roles, e.g. Long Riders, The (movie) and Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer (tv).

The content on the smallscreen is a combination of a standup comedy routine and the traditional sitcom. This allows for different perspectives on the episode without interrupting the comedic rhythm between the actors.

With introspection that is sharp and sarcasm that is biting, this can be a truly original show. I feel that this sitcom can be compared to favourably to "Soap" of the late 1970's. "Soap" introduced an unconventional tv family with morals that accurately reflected America at that time. However, with "Titus", it aspires to skewer the popular psychology that has enveloped addiction and mental illness.

There is an honesty and brevity in this show that is lacking in others.

Unfortunately, there is one concern that I have regarding this sitcom. According to the background given in the media guides for this program it is based on the real life its comedic lead, Christopher Titus. There is a belief that comedic genius is traced to the anger and sadness that the artist has suffered in their past and present.

Therefore, the question has to asked. Is Titus willing to continue exposing painful memories of his past to the viewing public? If yes, the show will continue to be fresh and entertaining. If no, it will quickly become old and stale.
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10/10
Perfect as it can be so far.
debofly15 August 2006
There are plenty funny shows out there that will always hold there own. For a show that was robbed of its seasons past the second it is without a doubt one of the funniest shows ever made and we as movie customers have been ripped off by missing 6-8 more seasons of this original and hilarious show. Not to mention the perfect cast. Just like friends you could not replace one person of the main 5 cast. There's just know way. If you like funny, smart and original by all means buy the DVD, or find a way to watch it cause you won't be disappointed at all. Pretty much every scene in the whole series is funny. It would be great if they would bring it back like they did family guy.
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FOX should rot for ending this.
SSJAniFan9 August 2003
Warning: Spoilers
*spoilers*

This was a funny show. Maybe not too original, but it was still good. It was interesting how the show went, with Christopher Titus giving his perspective on the series(in those black and white segments) as well as the actual episode story going on. But then they ended the show, with Chris now in a mental institution(for only three months, but still, it was a downer). Meanwhile, crud like "That 70's Show," still continues to exist. I have lost most of my respect for FOX now, and the only possible redeemer may be if the company releases a DVD box set of this great series that was never given the chance it needed or deserved.

BOTTOM LINE: I miss this gem.
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A very funny and underrated show
NoArrow5 July 2003
"Titus" has got to be one of the funniest shows on T.V. I love Chris Titus' nervous approach to his own clever comedy. He is truly one of the most gifted young comedians out there.

The show is loosely based on Chris Titus' real life. He plays a young man who's father is a mean, cynical, drinking, lovable character. The father is a multiple divorcee and the best parts of the show are by far the flashbacks to Titus' past. The flashbacks show Titus as a teen and a kid, and almost all involve his mean father.

Totally funny, totally underrated T.V. show, 7.5/10.
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Titus is the greatest TV Show ever!
William The Sexy12 December 2002
Titus is one of the funniest show ever to be on TV,Chris Titus is also one of the funniest men alive. The show based on Titus's life always had me laughing, I never laughed so hard in a sitcome. Cancelling Titus is one of the worst mistakes that the FOX Network ever made.
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Funny show about dysfunction.
VeganThespian24 May 2000
This personally is one of the funniest shows i have ever seen, hands down, perhaps the funniest.

Christopher Titus is a genius. His insight is deep and sharp.

Also this show is reminiscent of the sharp comedy of the past, not the syrupy formulaic laugh track comedy of modern times which is really not that funny.

Titus deals with real harsh issues in a very humorous way. Dysfunction has never been so clear or healthfully humorous. It does not hurt as much when it reminds me of my own family.

The whole cast is brilliant.
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Awesome
kevin.williams22 May 2000
This is simply a heckuva good show, Titus' self-therapy is touching and wonderful and hysterical, Keach is dead-on as the father, and the rest of the cast is perfect in their supporting roles. If Fox can avoid screwing themselves up on this one, they've got a sure winner.
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10/10
the best comedy on TV
Syl15 May 2001
I rarely enjoy today's sitcoms. But when I heard Cynthia Watros was in the cast. I watched it and liked it so much that I tape every episode even the repeats. I can relate to this show than any other on television. not only is Cynthia fabulous but so is Stacy Keach and Christopher Titus. This a very smart, funny show about reality and mental illness. Screw Will & Grace, that show is sexist and misogynistic for me. Titus rules and is here to stay for a very long time. Sadly, the show lasted only three seasons but it made it's way on to DVD and I can watch it forever in my opinion. Stacy Keach was robbed of an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy. I wished he brought back Titus in some other way. The real Ken Titus died, his ashes cremated and scattered over the desert.
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funny, but also sad
bill_haworth16 November 2000
Titus. What can I say? This guy's got it bad: a totally neurotic family, a freaky friend who either needs to come out of the closet or get in touch with his manhood, a good looking girlfriend, and a business that is struggling to get off the ground. Okay, the good looking girlfriend is the really good part, and the freaky friend isn't all that bad when you look at the rest of what Chris has to deal with. But, he keeps kicking back, episode after episode. They knock him down and he jumps right back into the thick of things. Much like the Simpsons, Married with Children, and others in the genre, this show makes your family, no matter how deranged, seem like the Brady's. The first season and the beginning of the new one had me coming back for more, time after time, and little did I realize that the series is based on Chris Titus' real life story. I laugh when I watch the episode's, and then thank god that I wasn't forced to be raised by these people. Titus himself says that this show (and the standup act the show is based on) is therapy for his soul and from what I've glimpsed in the show so far, it is a soul long tortured.
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