View Smaller Image
Poster: Mr. Television
(see this users gallery)
Suddenly Susan aired from September 1996 until June 2000 on NBC.
Young San Francisco copy editor Susan Keane ( Brooke Shields) led a too-perfect life until she dumped her rich but boring fiance at the alter and decided to try making it on her own in this bright workplace comedy. "Suddenly, Susan, you're interesting," growled her demanding boss Jack ( Judd Nelson), promoting her to columnist at the hip local magazine, The Gate. Jack, interestingly, was the brother of her ex-fiance. In her column, "Suddenly Susan," eagar innocent Susan wrote about her exploits in the singles world, including disastrous dates and the strange people she met. Vicki ( Kathy Griffin) was her spunky neurotic coworker with whom she shared many adventures; Luis ( Nestor Carbonell) the darkly handsome photographer who was very protective of Susan; and Todd ( David Strickland) the horny but harmless young music critic whose fixation with MTV had given him an extremely limited attention span. Susan's conservative parents Liz and Bill were aghast that she had walked away from all that money, but her wise, salty grandmother , Nana ( Barbara Barrie), said "Go for it!" egging her on. There was continuing sexual tension with Jack, an eccentric boss who had a rock climbing wall in his office, and after he divorced his shrewish wife Margo, he and Susan began an off-and-on relationship. Joining the gang in the third season was investigative reporter Maddy ( Andrea Bendewald She had previously been seen in a recurring role ), who was Susan's high school rival and continued to irk her.Maddy later became Luis' love interest. Pete ( Bill Stevenson) was the gay mailboy ( this was SF afterall) , and Susan's rarely seen parents were played in most appearances by Swoosie Kurtz and Ray Baker.
The third season finale ( May 24, 1999)was a tribute to actor David Strickland, who had committed suicide ; in it his character Todd was missing, and in searching for him the gang discovered many heartwarming facts about him they did not know. At the end of the episode they got a call from the police, but it was not clear what had happened to him. The fourth season broght many changes. The Gate was sold to eccentric former publishing whiz kid Ian ( Eric Idle), who was determined to turn it into a sleazy men's style magazine. He belittled everybody, especially Susan ("The modesty of your talent"), causing her to quit, and brought in star sportswriter Nate ( Currie Graham), bad-boy celebrity photographer Oliver ( Rob Estes) and young black assistant Miranda ( Sherri Shepherd). Susan came crawling back and was rehired, thanks to the intervention of Oliver, whom she later began dating. Their off-and-on romance lasted throughout the season.
In the series finale Oliver proposed but Susan was torn between marrying him and taking a glamorous New York job offer. She decided to stay but although she was preparing for her wedding , she regretted rejecting the New York job and blamed Oliver for her missed opportunity. Susan's coworkers gave her small gifts to express their friendship. Susan then viewed an old video tape of her absent friends, Jack, Maddy and Todd on a television set. Finally for the second time Susan walked to the alter and for the second time she started to flee before completing the ceremony. However, she returned and asked Oliver to forget about getting married for now and to join her in New York instead. She regained the broadcasting job and the couple promised to stay together forever, wedding or no wedding. The finale was not initially seen due to NBC's abrupt cancellation of the show. It finally aired ,unbilled, on Christmas night, 2000 at 2 a.m. with three other previously unseen episodes.
This was a first series for famous actress Brooke Shields, who mined comedy by mocking her own glamorous image ( and tall stature) in a manner reminiscent of Cybill Shepherd ( Moonlighting, Cybill) and Candice Bergan ( Murphy Brown)>
A Review from Variety
By JEREMY GERARD
Cast: Brooke Shields, Nestor Carbonnell, Kathy Griffin, Judd Nelson, David Strickland, Barbara Barrie. Guest stars: Anthony Starke, Kurt Fuller, Caroline McWilliams, Bryan Clarke, Claudette Sutherland.
Filmed in Los Angeles by Warner Bros. Television. Executive producers, Gary Dontzig, Steven Peterman; co-executive producer, Dan O'Shannon; supervising producer, Ian Praiser; co-producer, Perry Rogers; consulting producers, Mimi Friedman, Jeanette Collins; producer, Frank Pace; director, Andy Ackerman; creative consultant, Marc Flanagan; executive story consultants, Rick Singer, Andrew Green; executive story
The good news about Brooke Shields' series debut is that after some well-publicized retooling, "Suddenly Susan" has been packaged as a fairly hip ensemble show built around a star with a genuine comic flair. Like most freshman efforts, the writing and production push too hard and in too many different directions. But "Suddenly Susan" has keeper potential, if Warner Bros. only lets the story of a young woman striking out on her own for the first time have some room to grow.
The show opens with Susan (Shields) fleeing her wedding to the rich kid who happens to be the brother of her boss at a San Francisco weekly. Though her parents are dumbfounded, her knowing grandmother (wonderfully played by Barbara Barrie) is all for the declaration of independence.
Susan begs the boss (Judd Nelson) for her job back as a copy editor; instead, he tells her that, "Suddenly, Susan, you're interesting," and assigns her a column. Soon she's getting drunk, smoking cigars and singing karaoke.
OK, so it sounds dreadful, and some of it is. But in addition to Barrie and Nelson, the producers have surrounded Shields with an appealing ensemble that seems to have migrated west from the Chicago magazine at which Jamie Lee Curtis and Richard Lewis worked in "Anything But Love" a few years back. There's plenty of story potential in this crowd.
Of course, Shields will be the primary attraction. Like Cybill Shepherd and Candice Bergen, Shields has been foiled in the past by her beauty (not to mention some terrible career choices). It took "Moonlighting" and "Murphy Brown" to prove that Shepherd and Bergen not only had comic talent, but that they were game enough to send up the very qualities that had worked against them in the past.
Shields is luckier, having won or grabbed her opportunity earlier. Shepherd and Bergen were blessed with directors who gave them great confidence in their abilities. Andy Ackerman isn't that director for Shields, at least not on the initial evidence, in which the actress seems too often to be fighting the camera. Nevertheless, she puts both her imposing height and her beauty in the service of some classic slapstick business. As a result, she's easy to root for. The editor is right Susan is interesting.
A Review from The New York Times
When Life Turns Goofy, Glamour Is a Real Asset
By CARYN JAMES
Published: September 19, 1996
In the first episode of ''Suddenly Susan,'' Brooke Shields smokes a cigar, sings karaoke, slides to the floor behind a bar and accidentally clobbers herself on the head with her television's remote control. She relies on an ancient concept: a glamorous woman taking a pratfall is inherently funny. Ms. Shields is no Carole Lombard, but she reveals a genuine flair for physical comedy and a game attitude. Now all she needs is a character and a show to go with them.
One of the most hyped new series of the season, ''Suddenly Susan'' has been given one of NBC's magic Thursday night time slots. It is good to remember why such slots came to be considered golden. Last year, two lame sitcoms, ''The Single Guy'' and ''Caroline in the City,'' flourished because they were nestled among ''Friends'' and ''Seinfeld.'' Ms. Shields's winning presence has already made ''Suddenly Susan'' more appealing than either of last year's new series.
Like ''Caroline,'' (which got better over time and has moved to Tuesdays), ''Susan'' is about a single woman heading into her 30's. At the start, she is at the altar about to be married. Cleverly, the camera assumes her point of view, listing dizzily from behind her bridal veil. When Susan races out of the church, her skirt gets caught in the front door and is torn off, employing the show's favorite comic tactic: undermining Ms. Shields's poise while leaving her glamour intact.
Determined to survive on her own, Susan tries to get back her old job as a copy editor at a trendy San Francisco magazine. Her boss (Judd Nelson), who happens to be the jilted groom's brother, reminds her that she has just humiliated his whole family. ''After that, you deserve a promotion,'' he says. Susan becomes a columnist.
A similar scene worked better years ago on ''The Mary Tyler Moore Show,'' when Lou Grant gave Mary Richards a raise because she had insulted Ted Baxter on the air. Freshness is scarce in ''Suddenly Susan,'' which borrows freely from sitcoms as old as ''Mary Tyler Moore'' and as recent as ''The Naked Truth.'' But throughout, Ms. Shields makes the most of her opportunities, gliding through the show with a smoothness that never strains for effects. When Susan goes out for a drink with a colleague, Vicki (Kathy Griffin), the evening turns into a spree that is an obvious excuse to showcase Ms. Shields looking gorgeously goofy.
Later, sitting in bed watching television, Susan hears the ''Mary Tyler Moore'' theme song and tosses her remote control in the air, imitating Mary gleefully tossing her hat. The remote lands on Susan's head, more like Rhoda's misfired hat toss in the opening of her spinoff series. It is a telling moment. Like its lead character, ''Suddenly Susan'' has no identity of its own. The beauty of the magic time slot is that it gives ''Suddenly Susan,'' with its engaging star and flexible format, a well-deserved chance to grow.
NBC, tonight at 9:30.
(Channel 4 in New York)
Created by Clyde Phillips and directed by Andy Ackerman. Perry Rogers, co-producer; Frank Pace, producer; Ian Praiser, supervising producer; Mimi Friedman and Jeanette Collins, consulting producers; Dan O'Shannon, co-executive producer. Produced by Warner Brothers Television. Gary Dontzig and Steven Peterman, executive producers.
WITH: Brooke Shields (Susan), Barbara Barrie (Nana) Judd Nelson (Jack), Kathy Griffin (Vicki), Nestor Carbonell (Luis) and David Strickland (Todd).
A Review from Entertainment Weekly
C By Ken Tucker
When was it decided that we all had to pitch in and help Brooke Shields have a happening career? The amount of good-will expended by so many of us to give Shields' Suddenly Susan the benefit of the doubt has taken on the air of a national patriotic project, like the way people used to save scrap metal during World War II. By virtue of her show's scrapped first pilot, its can't-fail time period (between Seinfeld and ER), and the sheer, gosh-darned unlikeliness of her success as a wacky sitcom lead, Shields has become one of this season's most publicized TV performers.
Suddenly Susan, it turns out, is a wearyingly self-conscious updating of The Mary Tyler Moore Show: nice girl trying to make it in the competitive workplace of a big town. Shields is Susan Keane, columnist for a San Francisco magazine called The Gate. Her editor, as played by Judd Nelson, is a collection of tics: A high-intensity sports nut who's always fingering a football or literally climbing his office wall for exercise, his Jack is an unhappily married man whose cutting remarks about the unseen ball-and-chain already sound like tired rip-offs of Frasier's Niles-and-Maris routines.
At the magazine, Susan is surrounded by silly people Vicki, a loud, overbearing writer who only in TV land would be Susan's best office friend (she's played with flaming red hair and a sinus-clearing bray by Kathy Griffin); Luis (Nestor Carbonell), a photographer whose punchlines mostly derive from his Hispanic accent; and Todd (David Strickland), the magazine's music critic, who prides himself on being celibate(!).
Appearing to be about a half foot taller than anyone else on the show, Shields plays her own imposing presence for laughs, gazing down at those around her with a winsome helplessness that would be a great comic asset were it not, alas, her only comic asset. Ever since the post-Super Bowl Friends guest spot that instantly hypnotized the entire TV industry into thinking that the star of The Blue Lagoon could do physical shtick, Shields has been asked to execute slapstick so broad it'd make Soupy Sales blush. When in doubt, the producers seem to feel, knock Brooke over. By the second episode, when a motivational speaker (played by Evening Shade's Michael Jeter) tricked her into falling over backward with a loud thump!, this sort of thing had already become not just unfunny but cruel to everyone involved (except, perhaps, Shields' chiropractor).
There's no denying that Shields is an amiable, beautiful, and by all accounts perfectly nice young woman who, after all those years in all those lousy feature films, is more deserving of her own show than this week's batch of freshly signed stand-up comics. And it must be said that as a supporting actor, Judd Nelson is actually a more effective straight man for her than Elizabeth Ashley was in that buried pilot. But is that enough? The lead figure in a solid sitcom must have the ability to put viewers at ease, make them soothed and happy that they've chosen to spend half an hour with these particular folks.
That's what makes Michael J. Fox such a natural television star. But it's also something a stiffer performer can learn. Few people thought, for example, that Candice Bergen was a logical choice for Murphy Brown until she loosened up and eased into the role. For now, ease eludes Shields. Although she's fine at conveying perky pluck, her line readings seem rushed and forced. Suddenly Susan is already smarter and quicker than Caroline in the City; maybe a few months down the line, it'll take on the weight of a solid-gold sitcom. Right now, though, it's more like a big chunk of scrap metal. C
An Article from Entertainment Weekly
Published on September 20, 1996
Star of ''The Breakfast Club'' is now debuting as Brooke Shields' boss in ''Suddenly Susan''
By Dan Snierson
The door to Judd Nelson's dressing room the one marked with a Fun Lovin' Criminals sticker swings open, and there he stands, his impeccably cropped high-'n'-tight 'do rising to the occasion. ''Come on in; hope the air-conditioning isn't too loud,'' the grinning Nelson says. Then, thud! An errant pass from a basketball game next door rattles the walls. Uh-oh, trouble already? Nelson wrinkles his forehead...and smiles politely at his publicist. ''Would you talk to them?'' he pleads. ''I don't want to be the bad guy.''
Judd Nelson? Bad guy? Come to think of it, maybe he has made a career out of playing smirking antiheroes, from the cynical wasteoid in The Breakfast Club to the morally bankrupt elitist of the Billionaire Boys Club. But the 36-year-old Portland, Maine, native whose off-camera behavior provoked a few tabloid headlines (a skirmish with the law here, a romance with the equally infamous Shannen Doherty there) is about to throw a career curveball with his sitcom debut as Brooke Shields' frenetic, miserably married boss on NBC's Suddenly Susan.
''Judd was not somebody who we thought, This guy's perfect for a sitcom,'' says Susan exec producer Gary Dontzig. ''But when he read for us, he had the most off-the-wall, daring, skewed takes. I think audiences will be as surprised as we were by his comedic instincts.''
Call it a surprise if you wish, but not a comeback, or even a new beginning. ''I like to think of it as rounds in a boxing match,'' relates Nelson, an admitted sports junkie. ''You can be knocked down, but it doesn't mean you're out.''
Like fellow Brat Packer Molly Ringwald, Nelson is amused by the hard-to-shake label: ''At the time this whole gang was supposedly cruising the Sunset Strip,'' he notes, ''I was living in New York.'' Also like Ringwald, his mid-'80s career high was followed by a series of box office clunkers (New Jack City excepted) and forgettable TV specials (Harley-Davidson: The American Motorcycle included). Off camera, he was partying till morning's set call.
Then Nelson turned 30. Suddenly, says the actor, ''someone would ask, 'Hey, wanna go out and do this really stupid thing?' and I was like, 'Noooooo....' Maybe it's that prolonged adolescence I went through, trying to be deep as opposed to just letting everything seek its own level. I'm certainly not at peace, but I try.''
Peace and quiet may still be a ways off; in addition to Susan, he's costarring in Shaquille O'Neal's upcoming movie, Steel. What's the part? Nelson smiles almost apologetically: ''The bad guy.''
An Article from The New York Times on David Strickland's death
David Strickland, 29, Actor; Had Role in Television Sitcom
By NICK RAVO
Published: March 24, 1999
David Strickland, an actor who regularly appeared on the television comedy ''Suddenly Susan'' and had a supporting role in the recently released film ''Forces of Nature'' was found dead on Monday in a Las Vegas motel room. He was 29.
The police said the death appeared to be a suicide.
Mr. Strickland appeared to be in good spirits late last week and did not have any known work or personal problems, according to a friend in Los Angeles, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. ''This was out of the blue,'' the friend said.
The Associated Press reported that records in Los Angeles indicated Mr. Strickland had been due in court on Monday in a drug case. Mr. Strickland had been arrested in October for alleged cocaine possession and later pleaded no contest, the records showed. He was put on probation for three years and ordered into a rehabilitation program. His court appearance would have been a progress report. The AP quoted Angela Cheung, a lawyer for Mr. Strickland, as declining comment.
A brief statement released yesterday by the Las Vegas police said that Mr. Strickland, whose full name was David Gordon Strickland Jr., rented a room at the Oasis Motel on Las Vegas Boulevard South early Monday morning.
Peter Napoli, the owner of the Oasis, which he described as an adult-oriented motel, said Mr. Strickland had rented the $64 room at 2:30 A.M. About 10:30 A.M., a call was made to the room by a desk clerk, and when no one answered, Mr. Napoli said, he and a friend entered the room and found the actor hanging from a ceiling beam by a bed sheet, a chair near his legs, a six-pack of beer nearby. Shortly afterward, Mr. Strickland was pronounced dead at the scene.
Lieut. Rick Alba of the Las Vegas Police Department said that there was no suicide note, nor any evidence that anyone else was involved in the actor's death. ''There was nothing to indicate that it was planned,'' he said. ''It just looks like a suicide.''
Mr. Strickland played the writer Todd on ''Suddenly Susan'' and had been on the show for the last three seasons. He also had a small part in ''Forces of Nature,'' as Sandra Bullock's jilted boyfriend. The movie opened last week and over the weekend was ranked No. 1 in box office receipts.
''He was a good man and a truly gifted comic actor,'' said the actor Judd Nelson, who also appeared on ''Suddenly Susan.''
Mr. Strickland was born in Glen Cove, L.I., and raised in Princeton, N.J.; he moved to Pacific Palisades near Los Angeles while he was in high school. Before his role on ''Suddenly Susan,'' he worked on student films; he also appeared on ''Roseanne,'' ''Dave's World,'' ''Sister, Sister'' and ''Mad About You.''
No information was immediately available about survivors.
Correction: March 29, 1999, Monday An obituary on Wednesday about the actor David Strickland described his role in the new film ''Forces of Nature'' incorrectly. He plays the former boyfriend of a character played by Maura Tierney, not by Sandra Bullock.
To watch clips of Suddenly Susan go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=suddenly+susan+tv+show
For more on Suddenly Susan go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suddenly_Susan
For Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20130103113248/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/susan.html
For my day on the set of Suddenly Susan go to https://web.archive.org/web/20001206050000/http://www.apokolips.com:80/frame.asp?Main=susan
For Brooke Sheld's Facebook Page go to https://www.facebook.com/BrookeShields/
For Kathy Griffin on Comedians USA go to https://web.archive.org/web/20011201175150/http://www.comediansusa.com:80/celebs/griffin_kathy.html
For Suddenly Susan's old TV Tome page go to https://web.archive.org/web/20050204031812/http://www.tvtome.com:80/SuddenlySusan/
To find out how Suddenly Susan went From High Ratings To Tragedy go to https://www.trend-chaser.com/entertainment/suddenly-susan-from-high-ratings-to-tragedy/?view-all&firefox=1
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3ILiNMdHww and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrfQXjA4sLM and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qaZUsQrH4io and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLzDVumEFSY
� Date: Thu April 1, 2004 � Filesize: 42.5kb, 233.4kb � Dimensions: 800 x 600 �
Keywords: Suddenly Susan