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Still Standing aired from September 2002 until March 2006 on CBS.
In this traditional family sitcom, Bill and Judy ( Mark Addy, Jami Gertz) were a happily married middle-class couple raising their three children in Chicago. They had been high school sweethearts and were still madly in love after 15 years of marriage. Chunky, good-natured Bill was a salesman while Judy , his pretty wife, worked as a dental assistant. Their three children were Brian ( Taylor Ball), a preppy-like intellectual who, despite being closer to his computer than to any of his classmates, longed to develop a social life; Lauren ( Renee Olstead), a rebellious free spirit who chafed when compared unfavorably to her more studious older brother; and Tina ( Soleil Borda), an uninhibited wide-eyed tyke who adored her parents. Judy's neurotic sister , Linda ( Jennifer Irwin), showed up frequently to complain about her dating problems-she had no luck with men-and trade zingers with Bill.
Bill was not the most highly motivated salesman at the store where he worked, and regularly groused with his coworkers, Carl ( David Koechner) early on and Mack (John Marshall Jones) later. He wasn't very conscientious at home either, where Judy did most of the shopping, parenting and little things around the house that a guy would normally do, and routinely skipped his responsibilities to hang out with his best friend , Fitz (Joel Murray). His divorced overbearing mother, Louise ( Sally Struthers), showed up occasionally to irratate both Bill and Judy.
During the 2004-2005 season Linda finally found true love, although Perry ( James Patrick Stewart), the struggling rock musician she got engaged to , was no bargain. He didn't have much talent, barely made a living, and wasn't around very much. Soon after their wedding in May he left Chicago to take a job in Reno and for most of the last season Linda's only contact with him was by phone. In the series finale Brian graduated from high school and was preparing to go to college-with funding from Bill's father, Al ( Paul Sorvino), who had recently admitted to the family that he was much richer than any of them realized.
An Article from USA TODAY
'Still Standing' cast survives critical mass
By Bill Keveney
PASADENA, Calif. — For any new television series, an early, crucial performance never makes it to the small screen. The set is a hotel ballroom, the actors play themselves and the audience is more than 100 TV critics and reporters who gather here each July from across the USA and Canada.
But the coming-out appearance at the Television Critics Association's press tour can be as important as a sharply written episode. Many viewers get their first impressions — before premiere night — from these writers. A show's pilot will have more influence on the writers' stories and reviews, but the value of good buzz can't be exaggerated.
As one of about three dozen new series seeking to stand out in the fall schedule, CBS' Still Standing gets its shot at impressing this finicky audience on a recent Sunday.
The recipient of the prized slot after CBS' No. 1 comedy, Everybody Loves Raymond, Still Standing faces critics who want to know why CBS values it so highly. Chris Ender, CBS' entertainment publicity chief, ups the ante by introducing Still Standing as "the next great comedy for CBS on Monday night." He calls the show, which features long-married parents with teen children, "a great strategic fit" with Raymond, King of Queens and Yes, Dear.
Critics, used to hearing network praise for new shows, ask about potential weak spots: Are the characters too similar to those in CBS' other Monday shows? Will British actor Mark Addy have trouble with an American accent? Is his character, the immature father of three, just the latest sitcom "schlub"?
"He's not a schlub," says Jami Gertz, putting a protective arm around her TV husband. Her instinctive defense hints at the kind of co-star chemistry the comedy will need to attract viewers.
"It's insane, isn't it?" a bemused Addy says later. "It gets it all over and done with quickly, which is a good thing, I guess."
The 30- to 45-minute sessions run the gamut. A few shows get the critics' love, others only disdain. Most, including Still Standing, just get a lot of questions, some intelligent, some silly. Journalists make judgments after seeing only the pilot episode; many use the sessions to find out more, such as where a series is going.
The sessions prove easier for some performers, especially comedians. Bonnie Hunt was a hit during the session for her ABC comedy. For others, the scene is disconcerting. Questions seem to come from disembodied voices and can range far beyond the show itself. And TV critics aren't known for diplomacy.
"It's not a relaxed atmosphere," says Gertz, who nonetheless seemed relaxed and eloquent during the session. "They're shooting questions at you. You don't really know who they are. You don't really know where they're from."
Publicists try to lessen potential discomfort by prepping panelists beforehand. Still Standing's stars and producers, who had received a sampling of possible questions, get more of a low-key pep talk than a strategy session, since no big areas of controversy are anticipated for the Chicago family comedy.
As about 20 publicists, executives and agents hobnob backstage, Ender talks kids with Gertz — each has three sons — and commiserates with Addy about his 48-hour whistlestop, in Friday from England and out later Sunday for Amsterdam and his brother's wedding: "You've come a long way for a 40-minute press conference."
Once out on the Ritz-Carlton ballroom stage, the two stars and the two executive producers, Diane Burroughs and Joey Gutierrez, handle some questions better than others. As to similarity to other CBS comedies, Gutierrez explains that Still Standing was written two years ago for Fox and that Roseanne was an influence.
The question about Addy's accent doesn't go as well. Gutierrez says he sounded fine, but the British actor responds tersely to a question about whether he is working with a dialect coach ("Yeah") and how that is going ("Any other questions?").
Other questions simply seek background. Addy says he was drawn to Still Standing because the script made him laugh. Gutierrez discusses the show's blunt-spoken, blue-collar roots, based on his and Burroughs' Chicago upbringings.
When the panel concludes, writers approach with individual questions. Ten ask Gertz about some of the snootier characters she has played, her Chicago background — and even what she had on her dressing table, the latter for a feature based on actresses' answers to an offbeat list of questions. (Moisturizer, she replies.)
After ending the session a few minutes early — to give Addy time to catch his plane and because questions began to lag — Ender terms it "a straightforward, meat-and-potatoes press conference." Others seem relieved. Burroughs says it went well; Gutierrez says it was fun, with no big surprises.
Compared with some shows, Standing doesn't get a rough press tour ride. Critics say the panel was neither a smash nor a disaster. "I don't think it achieved liftoff in terms of being particularly memorable. It was sort of a garden-variety session," like most, says Dallas Morning News TV critic Ed Bark, who asked the schlub question.
With a great time slot and familiar fit in a hot comedy lineup making it likely to succeed, the series had less riding on the session than some shows, says Bark, who adds that the pilot grew "reasonably funny" after a disappointing start.
For Still Standing, a press-tour standoff will do just fine.
An Article from USA TODAY
Published on July 5,2002
The major players in 'Still Standing'
Hoping to be the one still standing
Each fall, dozens of new TV series premiere, but by the end of the season, only a few remain. Win or lose, each represents a substantial personal investment for a core of creative individuals. In the next few months, USA TODAY will take you behind the scenes for the birth of the CBS series Still Standing. Meet the creators and key characters.
Diane Burroughs and Joey Gutierrez are the executive producers for the new CBS show Still Standing.
Age. Burroughs, late 30s; Gutierrez, 39
Hometown. Burroughs, Mount Prospect, Ill.; Gutierrez, Calumet City, Ill.
Family. Live together; in relationship for 16 years
Still Standing title. Each is creator and executive producer; they have overall responsibility for the series.
Notable writing credits. Martin, The Drew Carey Show, co-executive producers on Yes, Dear; Gutierrez helped with opening monologues on Seinfeld.
On influences that led to the creation of Still Standing.
Gutierrez: "My parents have been married 43 years. Even though they argued every day, you knew they were staying together. That's why we always loved shows like Roseanne. Just underneath it all, there's a genuine love for each other, even though you say the worst things to each other."
On experiences that motivated them.
Burroughs: "We went to see Smashing Pumpkins and Kiss at Dodger Stadium. There were entire families there, with their kids, in the Kiss makeup. There were 25,000 people there like that. These are the families we want to write something for, the parents who take their kids to (these) concerts, the kids and the parents who listen to the same music."
On leaving stand-up comedy for TV writing.
Gutierrez. "I loved doing standup. It taught me a lot of things. But I knew I would never be a George Carlin or Richard Pryor. ... I never needed to be on stage. I liked writing the jokes."
Burroughs. "I was in it during the era of everyone being blue. That ended my standup career quite rapidly. ... Midwestern content is a lot different than it is out here."
Randy Cordray, a producer for the CBS show Still Standing.
Hometown. Casper, Wyo.
Family. Married with two sons, 16 and 18
Still Standing title. Producer
Notable production credits. Dharma & Greg, Coach; got his start as a stagehand at KTLA-TV.
On what he brings to the series. "I have a long history of working in the entertainment industry. I have done predominantly situation comedy in my career. I pretty much know most of the crew people who do each of the various jobs. I bring this body of knowledge with me."
On what brought him to the series. "After I learned Dharma was canceled, I submitted for this show. I had a couple of interviews (for other shows), but this was the one I really wanted. It looked like a hit. I had an instant affinity for (Burroughs and Gutierrez). I felt like we would have fun together."
On duties that include hiring much of the staff and crew and overseeing the budget. I hire all the right people to do the show properly. It's a really fun job. ... My job is to build the best show possible for these guys."
Hometown. York, England
Real-life family. Married with a 2-year-old daughter
Still Standing role. Bill Miller, husband and father of three
Notable credits. The Full Monty, A Knight's Tale, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas; The Last Yellow, upcoming release The Sin Eater, with Heath Ledger
On what brought him to Still Standing. "It was the writing. I just thought it was a great script. I found it very funny."
Hometown. Glenview, Ill.
Real-life family. Married with three sons (ages 3, 7 and 10)
Still Standing role. Judy Miller, wife and mother of three
Notable credits. Gilda Radner: It's Always Something; Twister; ER; Square Pegs
On what brought her to the series. "I laughed. This had a quality I knew. I grew up in blue-collar Chicago. I knew people who loved Rush and AC/DC, hard rockers who loved Aerosmith and drove Camaros. Diane and Joey are kind of my contemporaries. (Also) I love performing in front of an audience. It's exciting, having that immediate reaction."
On what she brings to the series. "I think my sense of humor will help. It gets you through a lot in life. When you have a child, you learn not to take yourself so seriously. I think that will definitely help me in the role."
A Review from Variety
(Series; CBS; Mon., Sept. 30; 9:30 p.m.)
By MICHAEL SPEIER
Filmed in Los Angeles by Twentieth Century Fox Television and CBS Productions. Executive producers, Dianne Burroughs, Joey Gutierrez; co-executive producer, Regina Stewart; producer, Eandy Corday; director, Andrew Weyman; writers, Burroughs, Gutierrez;
Bill Miller - Mark Addy
Judy Miller - Jami Gertz
Linda - Jennifer Irwin
Brian Miller - Taylor Ball
Lauren Miller - Renee Olstead
Tina Miller - Soleil Borda
Original ideas are hard to come by in CBS' "Still Standing." Yet another sitcom about dumb men and the women who love them, laffer gains little mileage out of a collection of setups and punchlines that have turned up on every other family half-hour since the dawn of time. Affable Mark Addy is the potential charmer here -- despite an awkward comfort level, he's as cuddly as he is dopey -- but there really is little reason to tune in unless you missed the same bits on "Yes, Dear," "King of Queens" and "Everybody Loves Raymond," the net's Monday lineup that Eye execs are trying to safely complement.
Addy is Bill Miller, an overweight teddy bear who doesn't hide from the fact that he sells toilets for a living. He's married to high school sweetheart Judy (Jami Gertz), a working mother to the couple's three children: Lauren (Renee Olstead), a precocious pre-teen who wants a belly-button ring; Brian (Taylor Ball), a studious geek who knows nothing about girls; and Tina (Soleil Borda), an adorable toddler who loves running around naked -- whatever.
In "Still's" debut, Judy's sister, Linda (Jennifer Irwin), comes for dinner with her psychologist boyfriend. They convince Bill and Judy to play the Honesty game, and, of course, Bill says things he doesn't mean. Meanwhile, Bill has convinced Brian that the only way to lure a lass is to be rebellious, so when sonny boy is eventually caught smoking at school, mom and dad arrive at the principal's office to clear up the misunderstanding.
Really silly stuff here, and it's up to Addy and Gertz to do most of the heavy lifting. That's a mixed blessing: They both have their moments, but neither of them looks or sounds ready to carry the load. Gertz has recently taken on more dramatic roles (a guest stint on "ER," "Gilda Radner: It's Always Something") and is more of a versatile supporting thesp. Brit Addy, who auds will know from "The Full Monty" and as Fred Flinstone in "Viva Rock Vegas," is the more charismatic of the duet, even though he's stiff one moment (probably because he's trying to hide his accent) and stupidly funny the next.
Fall sked is jampacked with soft-and-innocent skeins, from the inane ("Family Affair") to the returning greats ("The Bernie Mac Show"). "Still Standing" is right in the middle; neither unique nor edgy in its look and its execution, project -- pilot was directed by Andrew Weyman and written by exec producers Joey Gutierrez and Diane Burroughs -- lands a familiar thud but familiar is exactly what CBS is going for.
A Review from The New York Times
TELEVISION REVIEW; Trying for Fresh Takes On Well-Worn Situations
By NEIL GENZLINGER
Published: September 30, 2002
Is it possible to find fresh life in a well-worn television genre? Several new crime shows this season have answered that question with a definitive yes on the drama side of the ledger. For a case study of the sitcom side, see ''Still Standing,'' tonight on CBS, which finds the secret, and ''Less Than Perfect,'' tomorrow on ABC, which doesn't.
A capsule description of ''Still Standing'' couldn't sound more drab: a white suburban couple with the obligatory three children lives its lower-middle-class existence, surviving on a steady diet of wisecracks. But the show demonstrates that premise is secondary; relaxed acting and counterintuitive writing are the main ingredients.
The relaxed acting is provided by Mark Addy and Jami Gertz as the slightly mismatched couple. She's pretty and intelligent, he's pudgy and sells toilets for a living, yet already in the pilot they have a comfort level that makes you believe they really might be married.
Their teenage son (Taylor Ball), a studious type with an abnormally clean room (''The Bubble Boy had a messier room,'' the father complains), gets most of the focus in the first episode, as he begins to discover girls, and the contrast between brainy boy and dumb dad is worked to deadpan perfection.
Mom, to dad: ''I think you should talk to him.''
Dad: ''Don't make me talk to him. I love him; I just don't understand him.''
Mom: ''Is he using big words again?''
The script delivers one great line after another, none of them predictable, none rendered with the desperate shrillness of less confident sitcoms. The same cannot be said for ''Less Than Perfect,'' which tries to mine another often-tapped vein: the office comedy.
Sara Rue is a secretarial type who gets a prime job as an assistant to a television news anchor (Eric Roberts), making some co-workers jealous. Everyone in the ensemble is a broadly drawn caricature, and the running gag, such as it is, involves food, Ms. Rue being somewhat chunky.
It's a dubious joke the first time; the 15th, it's just plain annoying. Beware any show where the laugh track gets revved up to ''whoop'' as often as it does here. Example: an office eating binge, straining for laughs throughout, ends with someone licking an ice-cream container. Those invisible laughers are whooping. We at home are merely thinking that this sad search for a final morsel of nourishment is somehow a metaphor for the show itself.
CBS, tonight at 9:30, Eastern and Pacific times; 8:30 Central time
Directed by Andrew Weyman; Joey Gutierrez and Diane Burroughs, executive producers and writers. Produced by 20th Century Productions in association with CBS Productions.
WITH: Mark Addy (Bill Miller), Jami Gertz (Judy Miller), Jennifer Irwin (Linda), Taylor Ball (Brian Miller), Renee Olstead (Lauren Miller) and Soleil Borda (Tina Miller).
LESS THAN PERFECT
ABC, tomorrow night at 9:30, Eastern and Pacific times; 8:30 Central time
Directed by Ted Wass; Terri Minsky, Nina Wass and Gene Stein, executive producers; written by Ms. Minsky.
WITH: Sara Rue (Claude Casey), Zachary Levi (Kipp Steadman), Sherri Shepherd (Ramona Platt), Andrea Parker (Lydia Weston), Andy Dick (Owen Kronsky), Eric Roberts (Will Butler) and Julie Claire (Sascha).
A Review from Entertainment Weekly
D By Gillian Flynn
Are there any TV clans left that like each other? ''Everybody Loves Raymond''; ''The King of Queens''; ''Yes, Dear''; and ''According to Jim'' glean their comedy -- with varying degrees of success -- from the petty annoyances of family life. CBS, which boasts all of the above except for ''Jim,'' has become the go-to network for this kind of ''Ain't men lovable lunks?'' humor -- and the quarreling comedy has hit the tipping point with ''Raymond'''s Monday-night companions ''Two and a Half Men''and Still Standing.
The biggest problem with ''Still Standing'' is that it does zip to freshen the Fatty-Gets-a-Family formula. Working-class doof Bill (''The Full Monty'''s Mark Addy) has a mysteriously hot wife, Judy (Jami Gertz, who will never really go away, will she?), a boy-crazy nemesister-in-law (Jennifer Irwin, taking a few hits from Megan Mullally's helium pipe), and a set of kids he tries to ignore in favor of food and TV. The show gets its zingiest lines out of a concept perfected by ''Roseanne'' and cribbed to death ever since: Parents aren't always thrilled to be parents. When their youngest is ill, Judy urges Bill to talk to the little one. ''Why?'' he counters. ''Being sick doesn't make her more interesting.'' The line's not bad. It just feels used...and creepily warm, as if Ray Romano had been carrying it around in his pocket too long and decided to throw it away.
Unlike most of today's jerky sitcom dads, Addy is neither a stand-up nor even an American (he's a Brit trained at the Royal Academy for Dramatic Art), and his subtlety doesn't help the situation -- nor does his not-quite-camouflaged accent, considering he's supposed to be from Chicago. Addy's blue-collar Bill, a toilet salesman, no less, mocks his bookish son by dubbing him Brian Von Brainiac. To make those jabs work, you need an outsize, farty frat-guy delivery -- and you need writing that tells us the big oaf is teasing because he realizes his son's going to the Ivy League and he's going to the crapper. Addy is too understated for the former, and ''Still Standing'' is too apathetic for the latter. I say disassemble this EZ Chair of a show and sell it for parts. Somewhere there's a sitcom scribe thinking ''If only Jami Gertz were available...''
A Review from enterrtainyourbrain.com
"Still Standing" Review
By Shawn McKenzie 10/29/2002
In the last few years, CBS’s Monday night lineup has been their equivalent of NBC’s Thursday night “Must-See TV” lineup. With the big hits shows “The King of Queens” and “Everybody Loves Raymond” anchoring the first two hours, Monday night has been a big hit night for the network. The rest of the lineup varies. The show that ends the first hour, “Yes, Dear,” is funny in my opinion (and I know I’m one of the only TV critics who feels that way) and “C.S.I.: Miami” is a worthy follow up to the show that it spun off from. Then we come to the new show “Still Standing.” It’s the one spot on the CBS Monday night lineup that is darkening an otherwise great night.
“Still Standing” is a comedy about a blue-collar Chicago couple with three kids. High school sweethearts Bill (Mark Addy) and Judy Miller (Jami Gertz) have been married 15 years. Judy's unmarried sister, Linda (Jennifer Irwin), has constant run-ins with Bill, Their intelligent teenage oldest daughter, Lauren (Renee Olstead), thinks her parents are extremely lame. Their tense, bookish son, Brian (Taylor Ball), is just discovering girls and doesn’t know how to talk to them. Their youngest daughter, Tina (Soleil Borda), is just the innocent little kid who would rather just run around without any clothes on. Bill likes to be the kids’ buddy rather than their dad, so his parenting style is a little different than Judy’s, who knows she is the mother, sometimes to Bill too.
To call this show stupid would be too much of a compliment. The show it pushed out, “Becker,” was itself the weakest show of the night, but at least it was tolerable. I can’t say that much for “Still Standing.” This is one the worst attempts to try and portray a working-class family I have ever seen.
Let’s start with the biggest reason why this show is so bad. The actors chosen for the characters in this show were horribly miscast, and therefore, their performances are very unbelievable. Addy does a terrible job of trying to cover up his British accent with a fake Brooklyn accent. When the casting director was originally considering Addy for this role, did they happen to stumble upon the awful job he did as Fred Flintstone in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas? Gertz is a good actress, but she cannot convincingly pull off blue-collar.
The writing is bad in this show too. When Bill is giving his son Brian advice on how to talk to girls, he asks him if he wanted to be in the “wanna-touch-a-boobie club.” That line actually sounded funnier coming from my friend who happen to get a chance to preview the scene before it aired then when I actually saw the scene. I’d give you more examples, but I gave up on the show after the second episode.
“Still Standing” is second only to “Family Affair” to earn the title “worst new show of the season.” There is nothing redeeming about the show, and its biggest crime is that you now have to either suffer through it or find something else on until “C.S.I.: Miami” starts.
An Article from USA TODAY
Published on March 7, 2006
'Still Standing' readies for its final bow
By Bill Keveney
STUDIO CITY, Calif. — Last month's taping of the fourth-season finale of the CBS comedy Still Standing felt like closing night.
Most likely it was, given the series' lackluster ratings this season (ranking 93rd, with about 7 million viewers) and the network's decision to cut the standard 22-episode order by three. The last two original half-hours will run Wednesday (8 ET).
After the taping, producers, cast and crew hugged a little harder and lingered a bit longer on the set of Bill and Judy Miller's Chicago home, whose construction was detailed in a 2002 USA TODAY series on the making of a sitcom.
"We'd love to be back for another season," says Joey Gutierrez, who created and supervised the series with fellow executive producer Diane Burroughs. But "we have to think that it might be the end."
They may not know definitively until May, when the broadcast networks, including CBS, announce their fall 2006 schedules. Still Standing's fate, as that of some other middling series, depends on how well midseason replacement series perform, such as CBS' The New Adventures of Old Christine, and what the network thinks of new pilots that will be screened this spring.
Nevertheless, the people who make Still Standing had to treat the February episode as if it were the last. With family and friends who had been invited to the CBS Studio Center, they stayed for a party after the taping. Some ate sushi in a tent set up outside Stage 20; others hung out at star Mark Addy's dressing room, dubbed Club Addy.
Jami Gertz, who plays Judy, expressed sadness about the probable demise. She thinks the show has been at its best lately. "It is very emotional," she said, between hugs with her TV and real families after the taping. "I'm so proud of the product we put out."
If Still Standing ends Wednesday, it will finish with 88 episodes, the equivalent of four seasons and the bare minimum needed for syndication. The show's studios have a cable syndication deal with Lifetime.
The season finale, which will be tonight's second episode, features the high school graduation of the Millers' oldest child, Brian (Taylor Ball). It was written to punctuate a season, as many shows do, but could stand as a series bookend, since Brian was starting high school when the show premiered.
One factor working against higher ratings, Gutierrez and Burroughs say, is that the show changed time slots in each of its four seasons. This season, it moved from CBS' high-rated Monday comedy lineup to Wednesday, where the network has had difficulty establishing comedies.
They also feel it's a difficult time to attract attention to traditional studio-audience sitcoms (CBS' Two and a Half Men was the only sitcom in last week's Nielsen top 10.). Much of today's buzz surrounds comedies that are shot like films, such as NBC's My Name Is Earl and The Office.
But the pair, in charge of their first show after having written for Yes, Dear and The Drew Carey Show, aren't complaining. Their idea actually got a rare second life, when CBS picked up the show in 2002, after Fox rejected it. "No matter what happens, we consider ourselves fortunate," Burroughs says.
For more on Stll Standing go to http://www.wbnx.com/shows/ss/
For more on Still Standing go to http://www.tvacres.com/char_miller_bill.htm
For SS's Page at Lifetime go to http://www.mylifetime.com/on-tv/shows/still-standing
For a Website dedicated to Jami Gertz go to http://jamigertz.org/
For a Website dedicated to Renee Olstead go to http://www.reneeolstead.com/
For more on Still Standing go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judy_Miller_(Still_Standing)
For a Review of Still Standing go to http://www.commonsensemedia.org/tv-reviews/Still-Standing.html
· Date: Sat January 22, 2005 · Filesize: 51.2kb · Dimensions: 356 x 372 ·
Keywords: Still Standing: Cast Photo