I watch a lot of television, and have watched a lot of television in my lifetime. I’ve seen the popular- Friends, All That, Grey’s Anatomy, The OC- and the not so popular but still loved- Veronica Mars, Freaks and Geeks, Pushing Daisies, Community. But a lot of the shows that will forever stay in my mind are the ones that whenever I bring them up to anyone, they have no idea what I’m talking about. And this is one of those. I watched this show from the ages of eight-twelve and for some reason it’s still branded in my memory, and I just went back to re-watch it now at the age of 22 and it’s still so good.
Ed. Not Mister Ed, not Ed, Ed and Eddy like the internet tried to suggest to me when I scoured it for a place to watch the series. This early 2000s NBC rom-com had the same kind of small town charm as the likes of Gilmore Girls and Hart of Dixie. Ed Stevens was a New York lawyer until he got fired for missing a comma in a brief and his wife slept with the mailman. He moved back to his hometown of Stuckeyville, where he immediately kissed his high school crush and then bought a bowling alley because of that kiss. Yes, I know, genius.
So Ed, played by the constantly undervalued Tom Cavanaugh, stays in Stuckeville to pursue his longtime love Carol Vessey, a pre-Modern Family and also most of the other things she’s know for Julie Bowen. He knows that he and Carol Vessey (a name that must be said with both first and last) are meant to be, but Carol Vessey is less sure. This is probably because they hardly spoke any words to each other in high school. However, Ed is not deterred, instead he obviously decides to open a law practice from inside his bowling alley.
After moving back, Ed moves in with his best friend, Mike, and his wife and newborn. I love when TV shows cast friendships so well. When Ed and Mike are together it’s easy to picture them as they were in high school- BFFs. Though it takes a while for Carol Vessey to come around to loving Ed, she is always friends with him, and brings along her bestie as well. Molly rounds out the friends quintuplet (also including Mike’s wife Nancy). Imagine Friends set in a small town where they all have actual realistic jobs and homes and more than occasionally, go to work. It’s like a legal drama and a workplace comedy and a romantic comedy and a buddy comedy all in one!
To round this out let me just drop some names. The show is produced by David Letterman and written by two of his head writers. Michael Ian Black plays an over-dramatic bowling alley employee who lives in lane 16. A baby Justin Long is a high school student also vying for Carol Vessey’s attention, and baby Ginnifer Goodwin plays his best friend. Neil Patrick Harris, Jim Parsons and the dad from Two of a Kind all make guest appearances at some point. Tom Cavanaugh got nominated for a Golden Globe and the show did win a People’s Choice Award, so I know I’m not the only one out there who remembers it.
So here’s to you Ed- gone and probably mostly forgotten, but not by me!