Poster: Mr. Television
(see this users gallery)
Judith Light, Jay Baruchel, Lindsay Sloane and Robert Klein (from left)
The Stones aired from March 17-31, 2004 on CBS.
After 25 years of marriage wisecracking Stan and bossy Barbara ( Robert Klein, Judith Light) had decided that ,although they still loved each other, they no longer worked as a couple in this divorce-as-a-joke sitcom. The news of their planned divorce came as quite a surprise to their two grown children. Winston ( Jay Baruchel), a klutzy uptight geneticist with a crush on Audra ( Kimberly McCullough), one of his colleagues at work, had been living with his parents, and Karly ( Lindsay Sloane), a free-spirited freelance photographer was moving back into the family's Sherman Oaks home because she had been evicted from her apartment. The two kids were determined to keep their parents together, even though Stan and Barbara both seemed happy with each other and their decision to seperate. Although Stan moved out of the main house and into the guest room above the garage, they still had the hots for each other and maintained a physical relationship.
Viewers were not impressed. Low ratings prompted CBS to cancel The Stones after only three episodes.
A Review from Variety
(Series -- CBS, Wed. March 17, 9:30 P.M.)
By BRIAN LOWRY
Filmed in Los Angeles by KoMut Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television. Executive producers, David Kohan, Max Mutchnik, Jenji Kohan; producer, Tim Kaiser; director, James Burrows; writer, Jenji Kohan.
Barbara Stone - Judith Light
Karly Stone - Lindsay Sloane
Winston Stone - Jay Baruchel
Stan Stone - Robert Klein
Audra - Kimberly McCullough
While NBC's "Happy Family" tackles empty-nest syndrome from the perspective of parents chafing at grown kids who won't leave, this CBS sitcom reverses the equation -- identifying with kids suddenly grappling with their folks' divorce. Both shows derive minor charms from a well-chosen cast but lack the distinctiveness necessary to stand apart from the crowd. Then again, knowing CBS announced "The Stones" with considerable fanfare and then yanked it from the fall lineup, those associated with the series can at least celebrate it seeing daylight before the Fourth of July.
Viewers might not entirely share that enthusiasm, but they won't feel compelled to run screaming from the living room either, which hasn't been a given with this season's comedies.
Beyond old pros Judith Light and Robert Klein as the squabbling couple, the producers have shrewdly cast Jay Baruchel and Lindsay Sloane as the kids -- two pretty good actors who cut their teeth in better if equally canceled comedies, Fox's "Undeclared" and the WB's "Grosse Pointe," respectively.
Baruchel plays an awkward science nerd who fears he'll suffer "permanent emotional scarring" from the breakup and invites a female colleague to a panel titled, "The twisted world of RNA: One molecule, many functions." (Hey, it beats the level of discourse normally heard in the last half-hour of "The Bachelorette.")
The daughter, meanwhile, is a slacker with a penchant for tight-fitting tops that inspire even her mother to make tramp jokes.
Having seen two episodes, it's still hard to get a firm handle on this show, which comes under the aegis of producers David Kohan and Max Mutchnik, who already have one post-"Will & Grace" disappointment under their belts in "Good Morning, Miami." (The former's sister, Jenji Kohan, created "The Stones.")
The pilot intros the characters and the fact that couple is splitting up, while Klein -- reluctant to leave the house -- moves into the garage in the second episode. Unfortunately, that's the kind of living arrangement reasonably upscale suburbanites only agree to when they live in a sitcom world and the producers are too lazy to build a second set.
Everyone is trying to get along, but in that second half-hour the elder Stones transform an exchange of anniversary gifts into a hostile game of one-upmanship. No offense, but if half the population truly wants to see divorced parents bicker, they can turn off the TV and organize supper with mom and dad.
While the series possesses a polished feel thanks to director James Burrows' steadying hand, the premise is difficult to overcome, especially since the kids' lives at this point revolve almost entirely around their parents. Granted, that approach has worked well enough for "Everybody Loves Raymond," but the character interaction here isn't interesting enough (yet, anyway) to sustain the series within those narrow confines. If either of them have any friends, they'd better drop in soon.
Scheduled to follow "The King of Queens," which has been surprisingly potent since its move to Wednesdays, "The Stones" finds itself in an interesting position. The drama and reality competition in that hour is fierce -- especially with an "American Idol"-powered "The OC" now in the mix -- but the CBS sitcom has only "Becker's" well-worn shoes to fill and has the laugh biz all to itself. Now, if it could just generate a few more of them, everyone could settle in for a nice, long, painful divorce.
A Review from The New York Times
TELEVISION REVIEW; Senior Moments Involving Divorce
By VIRGINIA HEFFERNAN
Published: March 17, 2004
On ''The Stones,'' a sitcom that starts tonight on CBS, Winston and Karly Stone (Jay Baruchel, Lindsay Sloane) give their parents an audiovisual presentation on why they should not get divorced. Along with family photos from happier times Winston and Karly, who are adults, offer statistics about the positive effect of marriage on the immune system. The senior Stones, Barbara (Judith Light) and Stan (Robert Klein), are unmoved. They can't stand each other in an old-fashioned way that predates today's immune concerns.
Or so we're supposed to believe, more or less. After all Barbara and Stan bicker, denouncing each other in no uncertain terms. (She's a nag; he's sarcastic.) But the Stones' way of divorce is so charming and idiosyncratic that they can't go through it without coming closer. And while in transition they decide to keep sharing a house -- Stan lives above the garage -- with their children. Winston's a cute bumbler. Karly's a sexy slacker. Did such situations even exist before sitcoms?
After the premise is established pre-credits, the laughs ought to keep coming, and certainly the show's barking laugh track sounds ready to roll. But ''The Stones'' ultimately misses the potential in the clash of idioms it establishes; most of tonight's jokes are too good-natured. What is incipiently funny in the rapport between Ms. Light and Mr. Klein is their shared facility for jaded, Carson-era humor about alimony, happiness being a dry martini and so forth. They occasionally play that off against the earnestness of their children who, in their early 20's, missed the heyday of divorce jokes.
Certainly Ms. Light, who is excellent as always, and Mr. Klein, who, though muted, is appealing, could make this work, and if the show finds its rhythm, they will deserve the credit. Alas, for now, CBS may be trying to court young viewers, dressing Barbara (by the second episode) in the same jeans as Karly, and attending far too closely to the love lives of the kids. These subplots are uninventive filler that can serve only to hedge the show's bet that a comedy team of a certain age can succeed in prime time.
So Winston clumsily tries to woo a scientist at a lab where he works, and Karly goes from one bad boyfriend to the next. Winston, in an annoying voice, delivers nerdy lines, the kind with elaborate scientific terms, which are expected to be funny. Karly flicks off lifeless comebacks of the ''No, Mother, I'm doing heroin'' variety.
By the time Barbara gives Stan a gift, saying, ''Happy divorce,'' and Stan says world-wearily, ''Oh, Barbara, divorce was gift enough,'' it's clear that the lines of an amusing divorce have been obscured by far too much attention to the sincere needs of the children.
CBS, tonight at 9:30, Eastern and Pacific times; 8:30, Central time
Jenji Kohan, David Kohan and Max Mutchnick, executive producers. Directed by James Burrows; story by Ms. Kohan. Produced by Warner Brothers Television in association with KoMut Entertainment.
WITH: Judith Light (Barbara), Robert Klein (Stan), Lindsay Sloane (Karly) and Jay Baruchel (Winston).
A Review from USA TODAY
'Stones' lands with a thud
By Robert Bianco, USA TODAY
Some stones are better left unturned.
Though it rolls in tonight in the midst of the worst midseason in memory, The Stones originally was announced for CBS' schedule last fall. The network replaced this sitcom, however, with Becker, which should tell you right there how much faith and interest CBS has in The Stones. When you're dumped in favor of a network's fall-back fall guy, you're dumped hard.
Not content to suffer its mistake in silence, CBS is now throwing The Stones at us. Perhaps the network saw this show as a way to defuse the "indecency" crisis it provoked with its Super Bowl halftime show. If the constant, snickering sex jokes in The Stones don't bore you off the subject, nothing will.
When it comes to sex, The Stones takes the Coupling approach: to repulse us early and often. Tonight's premiere ends with the show's divorcing parents being caught getting friendly in the tub. The next episode available for preview opens with those parents sharing a childish innuendo that is supposed to make us confuse moving a box with having sex and then segues into a sister asking her brother, "Why do I always walk in on you handling a small package?"
This barrage of sullen sex jokes are a family affair in more ways than one. The show was created by Jenji Kohan, the sister of Will & Grace's David Kohan, who serves as a producer here, along with Will partner Max Mutchnick. Yes, Will's humor is equally sex-obsessed, but at least the jokes are generally clever and celebratory. The Stones' jokes are shallow, stupid and often a bit creepy, which pretty much describes the show.
A salute to bad marriages and worse parenting, The Stones is the story of two loser adult children still at home, sponging off their about-to-be-divorced parents. Judith Light and Robert Klein are Mom and Dad; Jay Baruchel is their nerdy scientist son, and Lindsay Sloane is their trampy, lay-about daughter. They make up one of those happy TV families in which Mom comes on to the daughter's boyfriend and the daughter advises Dad to get Mom some breast enhancement surgery.
Light and Klein are pros; Baruchel and Sloane show promise. None of them can save a show that basically asks audiences to refight The War of the Roses every week. I'd ask why CBS thinks anyone wants to see that, but odds are the network already knows we don't.
Please, CBS, next time you drop a stone like this, just let it sink.
A Review from The Los Angeles Times
They work hard to hold this family together
By Robert Lloyd
March 17, 2004
Having cooled its heels since fall, The Stones premieres tonight on CBS. It stars Robert Klein, the comedian; Judith Light, who played opposite Tony Danza on Who's the Boss? for a thousand years (and did we ever find out who the boss was? I don't believe we did); Lindsay Sloane, who totally rocked on the underloved Grosse Pointe ; and Jay Baruchel, the wide-eyed protagonist of the equally underappreciated Undeclared, who is possibly the best reason for turning this thing on, though all four actors are pulling hard at the oars.
It is neither the best nor the worst sitcom you will ever see. It won't have you taking notes for tomorrow's water-cooler recap, but neither will it burn the eyes out of your head, send you screaming from the room or spur you to challenge the network's license when it comes up for review. (You can do that, you know.) James Burrows ( Mary Tyler Moore, Cheers, Taxi and on and on) directed the pilot, and he is one of the best friends a sitcom ever had. Creator Jenji Kohan was a producer on Tracey Takes On and Gilmore Girls, and has written for Friends, Mad About You, Sex and the City and Will & Grace, which is nothing to sneeze at.
On their 25th anniversary, in a Chinese restaurant in the San Fernando Valley, not-so-old married couple Stan and Barbara Stone (Klein and Light) tell their young adult (though not exactly grown-up) children that they're getting a divorce, leaving Winston (Baruchel) panicked and Karly (Sloane) brashly unimpressed. (He brings her around to his panic eventually.) Mom and Dad are still fond of each other, they admit, yet are driven as if by some offstage team of writers to trade rude remarks.
Mother also habitually denigrates daughter, who replies with light sarcasm:
Karly, your hair looks greasy.
It's not grease. It's chicken blood from my satanic rebirthing ceremony.
No one will watch this show for insight into the dissolution of a modern marriage. In fact, given that the first episode ends with all of them living under the same roof again or almost, with Dad billeted over the garage it would seem not to be about divorce at all. The main idea, after all, is to keep these characters in close proximity, so that they may be funny at one another (in theory) while evoking some sort of realistic family dynamic, which it pretty well does.
Though their antipathy is less convincing than their affection which is to say, they're better between the jokes than during them Klein and Light are such seasoned pros that they would have to actually work at not being at least moderately entertaining.
Sloane has gone from being the slightly chunky, low-self-esteeming, best-friend type to kind of hot and tough she shows a lot of skin here, relatively speaking. Her Karly is a somewhat hard-edged slacker who seems to mess up just to annoy her mother, and it isn't at first glance the best fit. But she isn't bad.
As Winston, a graduate student in science ill at ease in his long-limbed, uncooperative body as if trapped in an extended physical adolescence, Baruchel is funny all the time. In some ways, he does have the easiest job of it: He gets the widest range of comic attitudes. The others get jokes based on wisecracks and pique and still more wisecracks, where his contain elements of sweetness, distress and hope, with a component of light physical comedy, and he gets the pique and wisecracks too.
When his sister insists that freelance photography is a job, in response to her mother's suggestion she get one, he cuts in, Yes, and you should try doing it. Of the hopelessness of his crush on another grad student, he sighs: I work in molecular phylogenetics and genetic linkage analysis and she works on structure reactivity correlations and absolute asymmetric synthesis I mean, we're worlds apart.
A minor work, overall, but not without moments of pleasure. Compliments are due also to the set designer and dresser, who have created a Sherman Oaks living room that really says Sherman Oaks.
When: Premieres tonight, 9:30-10
Rating: The network has rated the show TV-PG (may not be suitable for young children).
Creator, Jenji Kohan. Executive producers, Kohan, David Kohan and Max Mutchnick. Director, James L. Burrows. Writer (tonight's episode), Jenji Kohan.
For more on The Stones go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Stones_(TV_series)
For the Official Site of Judith Light go to http://www.judithlight.com/
� Date: Wed May 8, 2013 � Filesize: 192.4kb � Dimensions: 720 x 540 �
Keywords: The Cast of Stones