Still Standing (TV series)
Joel Murray (Seasons 3–4)
|Opening theme||"You Make Me Happy" written by Holly Knight (performed by Will Hoge)|
|Composer(s)||Dennis C. Brown|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4|
|No. of episodes||88 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||21 minutes|
Tea Gal and Java Boy Productions|
20th Century Fox Television
|Original release||September 30, 2002 – March 8, 2006|
Still Standing is an American sitcom that ran on CBS from September 30, 2002 to March 8, 2006. It starred Mark Addy and Jami Gertz as Bill and Judy Miller, a working-class couple living in Chicago. Taylor Ball, Renee Olstead, and Soleil Borda portrayed their children and Jennifer Irwin portrayed Judy's sister Linda.
A working-class couple in Chicago try to instill good values in their three kids, Brian (Taylor Ball), Lauren (Renee Olstead), and Tina (Soleil Borda), but their own past experiences often conflict with the lessons they try to teach their children. Judy Miller (Jami Gertz) is the attractive wife who was wooed by Bill (Mark Addy) when he duplicitously dated Judy's less attractive friend. Judy started dating Bill when she noticed him to be sensitive. Bill noticed Judy in front of the lockers located by the principal's office, wearing a tight red Aerosmith Shirt and pants with her right pocket ripped.
Judy and Bill were both popular in high school and they never outgrew that teenage mentality. Neither one has the level of maturity to teach their kids right from wrong, often causing a role reversal between the parents and the children. Judy's sister Linda (Jennifer Irwin) continuously butts heads with Bill.
- William "Bill" Miller (Mark Addy): The want-to-be cool father of the Miller family, he is a former high school football standout but is now often perceived as an overweight, lazy, Homer Simpson-like character. Bill has a tendency to take part in "macho" activities such as watching sports, drinking beer, and working on carpentry projects. Bill is not the most intelligent person in the bunch and only spent six weeks in college, but he does well working at a Sears-like department store's toilet department. He tends to play the "good cop" when parenting his kids. However, he can sometimes be overprotective with elder daughter Lauren. When he gave the captain of the football team advice and the boy then asked Lauren out, Bill ruined the date. He also ruined Lauren's thirteenth birthday by telling the boy Lauren liked that she liked him. He often calls her "Pumpkin."
- Judith "Judy" Miller (born as Judy Michaels) (Jami Gertz): The mother of the Miller family, she is a good-looking woman in her late 30s, trying not to lose touch with her younger self and trying to be the "cool mom." She often goes to a hairdresser who Bill also went to for a period of time. Judy works as a dental assistant. She is more intelligent than Bill (marginally) and often joins in his schemes after seemingly having foiled them. She tries to be loose with her daughters, but Lauren loves to break the rules, so she often finds herself being the one person she does not want to be like: her mother. She can often be overprotective with her son Brian, whom she calls Bri-Bri. She never realized he was growing up until he did. When Brian begins to not want to hang out with her, she gets him sick by giving him the sippy cup of juice that her youngest child Tina had drunk from when she had a cold. In the Miller household, this cup is referred to as a "Sicky Cup." Normally she is happy when Brian gets a girl (something she thought he would never do) but when she sees his girlfriend Bonnie is taking over his life, she becomes overprotective, which causes Bonnie to break up with Brian.
- Brian Hops Miller (Taylor Ball): Eldest offspring and only son of the Miller family, Brian is a gifted (he is the valedictorian) but relatively unpopular high-school student; widely regarded as a geek, nerd, or lame (usually by his parents). Although he is straight, a running gag within the show is that Brian's sexual orientation has been questioned several times by his parents because he reads Vogue magazine (he justifies this by saying that "sometimes those models wear see-through clothes, and it gets cold in those studios"), twirls a baton, and quits his brief tenure as a high school football place kicker to join the cheerleading squad (ultimately revealed as his way to interact with cute girls). He was also asked out on a "Boy on Boy Gay Date" from an all-star athlete at school. It is also mentioned in one episode, when Bill and Judy come to Brian for help, that he is afraid of clowns. In later seasons, he is neglected and even ignored by his parents. This is ironic when one considers the number of times the two parents mention their future reliance on Brian's success due to his intelligence. He loses his virginity during his junior-senior summer while on an exchange programme in Italy; he and his father are both glad that Brian lost his before Lauren did. At the end of the series, Brian is admitted to University of Chicago, his top choice. He is called "Bri-Bri" by his mother, much to his dismay. His excuse for not being called Bri Bri was that he filed his own tax return that year. Although, when Judy got him sick, he wanted to hang out with his mom all day. He tries to be cool, but he is not, which disappoints his father.
- Lauren Barley Miller (Renee Olstead): The hormonal, spoiled teenage older daughter of the Miller family, Lauren is one of the pretty, popular girls at school even though she hates everything about herself. She gets in trouble for breaking her parents' and the school's rules. She is not smart, nor does she apply herself as much as her brother does. Her parents expect she will amount to little more than a cocktail waitress. Lauren is shown to have a talent for the arts; in one episode she is found to be a gifted singer, and in another she stars in the school play (although she does not seem to be any good at clarinet, making her parents hide it from her). She is called "Pumpkin" by her dad, which embarrasses her. She is also a huge Blink-182 fan.
- Tina Kathleen Miller (Soleil Borda): The youngest child and mismatched daughter of the Miller family, Tina could be described as an obnoxious second grader. Tina's family sees her as clueless, but viewers see that she is one of the most clever in her family. In a few episodes, Tina is also portrayed being unafraid to take a practical joke to the next level. Sometimes she tends to be the "creepy child" of the family.
- Linda Michaels (Jennifer Irwin): Judy's younger sister, Linda spends much of her time hanging around the Miller house, much to Bill's dismay, although at the end of the episode "Still Helping Out," Bill, viewing Linda from behind as she is exercising, mistakes her for the shapely Rose Grundy, an attractive ex-Schultze Beer girl, only to learn of this awkward case of mistaken identity when Linda turns around, becoming sick to his stomach after the ordeal. Linda suffers from low self-esteem and high self-pity. She dates and eventually marries Perry, a singer in a Foghat cover band. Though she has a guestroom for when her mother comes to town, Helen prefers to sleep on the couch at Judy's, much to Linda's dismay.
- Daniel "Fitz" Fitzsimmons (Joel Murray): Bill's best friend, credited as so for seasons 3 and 4. He works with Bill as a salesman and has a gay son, Scotty, who hit on Brian and is team captain of the high school baseball team.
Guest and recurring roles
- Perry (James Patrick Stuart): Linda's husband, a musician who performs in Reno, NV. He intentionally uses a fake English accent which was useful when he first appears on the show as the singer in a Foghat cover band. In Reno he becomes the "Captain" as one half of a Captain and Tennille cover group.
- Marion Fitzsimmons (Kerri Kenney): Fitz's wife. She is considered controlling by Fitz. She is very much portrayed as not on the same page humor wise with Fitz, Bill and Judy, which is one of the factors behind her and Judy not always getting along. In one episode, Kenney also portrays Mary Simms, a volunteer at Tina's school.
- Gene Michaels (Steven Gilborn): Judy and Linda's father. He is an avid collector and connoisseur of model trains.
- Helen Michaels (Janet Carroll seasons 1 and 2; Swoosie Kurtz seasons 3 and 4): Judy and Linda's mother. She favors Judy over Linda. Her character portrayal differs based on the actress; she is more motherly when portrayed by Caroll, but outgoing and fun when portrayed by Kurtz, thus, changing the mentality of the character during the seasons.
- Hakim (Daniel Murillo) Hakim is Brian's good friend who also attends Jefferson High School and is in the Engineering Club with Brian. It is revealed in the episode Still Changing (Season 1, Ep. 19) that Hakim plays oboe in the band and a has runny eye, and after Lauren decides to resume her clarinet playing in the band, salacious gossip soon flies alleging that Hakim would show Lauren the closet where the school band stores its supply of rusty trombones. In the episode Still Parading (Season 2, ep. 17) Hakim lets loose a blood curdling scream when a cat runs across his path as Hakim is using a nail gun. As Brian excitedly explains, "He's horribly allergic!" Hakim also utters a D-bomb and says, "Safety be damned," as he hastily departs on a tandem bicycle, sans helmet, with Donald, one of Brian's other friends. In the episode Still Avoiding Christmas (Season 4, ep. 9) Brian and Hakim were planning on having a "Jam Session," not a musical encounter, but rather a session where they make fruit preservatives. Hakim must cancel the "jam session," as it is revealed that Hakim is related to famous boxer Naseem Hamed a.k.a. Prince Naseem, and must participate in an elaborate ring walk entrance for Prince Naseem where Hakim, dressed in close fitting two piece purple blouse, must carry Prince Naseem on his shoulders and dance to the ring as Prince's song Delirious plays over the arena loud speakers.
- Al Miller (Paul Sorvino): Bill's father, a retired steelworker. When Bill was younger, Al left Bill and his mother (Louise) with little or no money, creating the main dynamic between Bill and Al. Later in the series, when Al is set to get remarried, his fiance reveals that Al is in reality a multi-millionaire who has been lying to Bill for years.
- Louise Miller (Sally Struthers): Bill's manipulative mother who moved to Chicago after her divorce. She manipulates those around her by guilt-tripping them. Her controlling nature with Bill sets her constantly at odds with Judy. On numerous occasions Louise and Judy vie, usually as a result of Judy finally snapping at Louise for her manipulativeness and Louise's subsequent hurt feelings. Many times they fight, to make up and then fight again. She eventually dates and marries Johnny.
- Johnny (Clyde Kusatsu): Louise Miller's new love interest and eventual husband. He is very wealthy, having bought Louise an expensive car. He is Japanese, which is addressed when he first meets Bill and Judy at a Chinese restaurant and Bill mistakes Johnny for a waiter.
- Bonnie (Ashley Tisdale): Brian's girlfriend.
- Becca (Lauren Schaffel): Lauren's best friend. She is also very afraid of Judy. In one episode, Lauren reveals that Becca's parents went to a marriage counselor, but unfortunately the counseling soon lead to group therapy, which soon turned into a cult that partook in perverted sexual acts of group orgies and wife-swapping.
- Ted Halverson (Kevin Nealon): The Millers' religious neighbor. He and his wife tend to be "overachievers" who often compete against Bill and Judy, though often before Bill or Judy know there is a competition. The Halversons also believe that a mother should be at home and not working, as evidenced by numerous allusions to Judy "doing what she can" considering she is a working mother.
- Kathy Halverson (Marin Mazzie): Ted Halverson's equally-religious wife. Kathy is usually the voice of reason, and dampens Ted's competitive nature after he has gone too far.
- Matt Halverson (Shawn Pyfrom): Ted's son and one of Lauren's boyfriends.
- Shelly (Julia Campbell) and Terry (Justine Bateman): The Millers' lesbian neighbors, and mothers of Chris. Adding fuel to Bill's fantasies, Shelly is a flight attendant and Terry is a nurse. On more than one occasion it is shown that Terry finds Judy attractive, prompting Shelly's jealousy.
- Chris (Sean Marquette/Jared Hillman): Lauren's love interest in several episodes; Shelly and Terry's son. He has extraordinary handyman skills which his overprotective mothers rarely allow him to utilise.
- Kyle Polsky (Todd Stashwick): Bill's irresponsible, immature neighbor who has a large collection of toys and is related to the (fictional) famous and wealthy Polsky beer family.
- Carl (David Koechner): Bill's best friend during seasons 1 and 2. Works with Bill at the department store.
- Maxwell "Mack" McDaniel (John Marshall Jones): Bill and Fitz's friend during seasons 2 and 3 (6 episodes). Mack works with Bill and Fitz at the department store.
- Jeff Hackman (Chris Elliott): Also works with Bill. Sometimes called Jeff Hackman "Never-Pay-Ya-Backman".
Each of the episode titles begins with the word "Still", with the exception of the pilot.
The show entered off-network syndication in 2006, and in the fall of that year 20th Television put it into barter-syndication. It aired on many affiliates most notably MyNetworkTV and The CW affiliates. Lifetime Television acquired the cable rights to air it from 2006-2009. ABC Family acquired the rights to rerun it in the Fall of 2010, but due to very-low ratings it was taken off the line-up. Only to be put back on the schedule from December 2013 to June 2014, it was then replaced by The Middle.
|Season||Timeslot (EDT)||Season Premiere||Season Finale||TV Season||Rank|| Viewers|
|1||Monday 9:30 P.M.||September 30, 2002||May 12, 2003||2002–2003||#17||14.41|
|2||Monday 8:30 P.M.||September 22, 2003||May 24, 2004||2003–2004||#26||11.82|
|3||Monday 8:00 P.M.||September 20, 2004||May 23, 2005||2004–2005||#48||9.95|
|4||Wednesday 8:00 P.M.||September 21, 2005||March 8, 2006||2005–2006||#87||7.0|
A 2002 Entertainment Weekly review gave Still Standing a "D" grade, calling it an "apathetic" show that "does zip to freshen the Fatty-Gets-a-Family formula."
- "Lifetime Adds Still Standing" (Variety)
- "Still Standing Readies for its Final Bow" (USA Today)
- "Still Standing Survives Critical Mass" (USA Today)
- Still Standing TV Character Biographies at TVacres.com
- List of productions at CBS Studio Center
- "July 7th Development Update" (TheFutonCritic.com)
- Still Standing at the Internet Movie Database
- Still Standing at TV.com
- Hooking the Showrunner: Ari Eisner, Still Standing writers' assistant, shares the story of Still the Man, his first episode ever produced
- Floorplan for Stage 20, Still Standings home at CBS Studio Center