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Norm aired from March 1999 until April 2001 on ABC.
Big goofball Norm Henderson ( Norm MacDonald) was a former professional hockey player who had been booted out of the league and sentenced to five years of community service after being caught cheating on his income tax. His service consisted of serving as a New York social worker-one reprobate counseling others, as it were. Norm wasn't very interested, but it was either that or go to jail, so he put in his time and somehow managed to wind up helping his clients, despite himself. Danny ( Ian Gomez) was his bald, nerdy friend at the agency, who was just as self-centered as Norm, and Laurie ( Laurie Metcalf) the exasperated coworker who was perpetually indigant at Norm's scams and schemes. Molly ( Amy Wilson) was another social worker at the agency seen only during the first season. As for Mr. Curtis ( Bruce Jarchow), the officious boss, his attitude perhaps reflected what a lot of viewers were thinking, when he told Norm, " I can never tell if you're joking or you're just stupid." After a few weeks Curtis tried to kill Norm, and was replaced by Mr. Denby ( Max Wright). Weiner dog was Norm's dog.
During the next two seasons Norm continued to get into trouble. In one episode he caused a prison riot , which resulted in a law being passed called " The Norm Law"requiring social workers to be better trained. Joing the cast in the fall of 1999 was Norm's jealous half-brother Artie ( Artie Lange); Taylor ( Nikki Cox), an ex-hooker whom Norm hired to be the new receptionist without his boss's knowledge and Norm's new probation officer Shelley ( Faith Ford) whom Norm was wildly attracted to. They eventually started to date but she left town for a new job which caused Norm to start gambling again temporarily. Then in early 2000 Norm fell in love with a lovely lady named Jenny ( Kate Walsh) who was engaged to Marry a millionaire Kevin Fitzpatrick ( Mitch Roush). A number of misadventures followed.
Despite being taken off the air in March, Norm was renewed for a third season. In the summer of 2000 ABC began an unusual campaign to advertise Norm; placing talking billboards over urinals in public bathrooms in New York and Los Angeles. The spots featured the voice of star Norm MacDonald cracking such thigh-slappers as " Oh my God, look at the size of that thing" and Hey watch your shoes."
When the series returned to the air in the fall of 2000, Danny and Taylor had started dating and he was going to propose to her but Laurie found out that Taylor had a crush on Norm and she left town ( Nikki Cox had gotten her own series Nikki on the Wb that fall). To pick up the slack, Shelley returned to the series after being away for a year but she was not ready to restart her relationship with Norm. At the end of the 2000-2001 season it appeared that Norm would be released from community service, and he and Shelley might get married, but the series was canceled so viewers never found out where this amiable slacker would cause trouble next.
The series was originally called The Norm Show, then changed in September 1999 to simply Norm.
A Review from Variety
The Norm Show
((SITCOM; ABC, WED. MARCH 24, 9:30 P.M.))
By RAY RICHMOND
Powered By Filmed in Burbank by Mohawk Prods., Inc. in association with Warner Bros. TV. Executive producers, Bruce Helford, Deborah Oppenheimer, Bruce Rasmussen, Rob Ulin; producers, Norm Macdonald, Al Lowenstein; director, Andy Cadiff; writers, Helford, Macdonald.
Norm Henderson.....Norm Macdonald
Mr. Curtis.....Bruce Jarchow
Big Guy.....Robert Roy HofmoMan With Dog.....Robert Dolan
All together now: Norm Macdonald had a show, e-i-e-i-o, and on this show hehad some twits, e-i-e-i-o; with a lame joke here and a trite quip there... well, you get the idea. In centering his first network sitcom, the "Saturday Night Live" alum plays a fallen professional hockey drone who has taken his sophomoric act to the world of social work, because we know how well wisecracks go over with the delinquent and the less fortunate.
"The Norm Show" is one of those comedies where the grown-ups suffer from arrested development --- their maturity having ground to a halt at roughly age 12 --- and everyone orbiting around the lead character is consumed with that distinctive emperor-has-no-clothes brand of denial. Were Macdonald's character Norm Henderson operating in the real world, you'd simply tie a rock around one ankle and dump him from the nearest cliff. Otherwise, you might have to slap him every 10 seconds.
As the show opens, Henderson has been out of pro hockey (presumably the NHL) for six months, having been booted in shame. Seems the league frowns on its athletes gambling and evading their taxes. So he was given a choice: face a jail term or pay his debt to society by pulling five years' worth of community service as a social worker. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Screw up, and then preside as an authority figure over fellow screw-ups.
Norm is firmly ensconced as the office clown/rebel, a loveable lummox with dimples and a thick mane of wavy hair. He shares this space with Laurie ("Roseanne's" Laurie Metcalf), a by-the-book worker who has more diplomacy than her life-challenged office mate, but little more tact. The closest she's going to get to meeting Mr. Right is a night baking with the Pillsbury Doughboy.
Rounding out the office is Norm's jittery pal and prime defender Danny (Ian Gomez) and Mr. Curtis (Bruce Jarchow), who would can Norm's butt if the guy didn't present such an inviting target for venting hostility.
Numbingly silly premiere script co-penned by exec producer Bruce Helford and Macdonald (who also has a producer credit) charts Norm's handling of a curvy client who quits her job at a pizza joint to work at a massage parlor. Like all good social workers, he immediately hits on the idea of becoming one of her customers. Gotta love the '90s. Second seg continues to play up the lighter side of social isolation and emotional distress, hitting on such nuggets as client body odor, shyness and how a social worker can boff a client in the building and still hang onto his job.
Despite his penchant for cavalier oafishness, Macdonald has a certain likeability, a little-kid charm that meshes well with his smooth timing, and a decent chemistry with Metcalf. He has some funny moments in the opener under helmer Andy Cadiff's tutelage, but most of them involve a motionless Yorkshire Terrier. Might have been a better idea to just call this "The Dog Show."
A Review from The New York Times
TELEVISION REVIEW; Plot of New Sitcom: Adventures in Social Work
By ANITA GATES
Published: March 24, 1999
''You can't take my dog,'' insists a man who had left his dachshund at the pound but has now changed his mind.
''We're social workers, pal,'' replies Norm Henderson, who has adopted the dog. ''We can take children.''
It takes a brave comedy writer to pen that exchange (of course the National Association of Social Workers isn't that thrilled with it), and that's a good sign for ''The Norm Show,'' which has its premiere tonight on ABC. Norm is played by Norm Macdonald, formerly of ''Saturday Night Live,'' who is also one of the new show's writers and executive producers. The bad signs for the series are a strained gag early in the premiere about a dog who does nothing but sit and stare (Moose, who plays Eddie the Jack Russell terrier on ''Frasier,'' could sue and win) and one of the most annoying, overinsistent laugh tracks in recent memory.
The track becomes less disturbing as the gags get funnier, and luckily they do. When Norm, a former professional hockey player now doing court-ordered community service in social work (oh, sure, that's realistic), first thinks about getting a dog, he explains, ''I love the idea of having a friend that I can lock up when I'm not using him.'' When it turns out that the teen-age boy he is counseling had only stolen a comb, Norm dismisses him with words of wisdom: ''You come back when you stab somebody, all right, Billy?''
Laurie, a real social worker, is played by the fabulous Laurie Metcalf, who started with the Steppenwolf Theater Company and went on to win three Emmys for her role as the failure-prone but determined sister in ''Roseanne.'' In the second episode of ''The Norm Show,'' Ms. Metcalf manages to bring intelligence even to a story line about a male client who smells really bad because of his fear of physical contact with water.
''The Norm Show'' could go either way, depending on the scripts ahead. At its best, it proves that jerky-guy characters and actual humor can co-exist.
THE NORM SHOW
ABC, tonight at 9:30
(Channel 7 in New York City)
Created by Bruce Helford and Norm Macdonald. Produced by Mohawk Productions in association with Warner Brothers Television. Bruce Rasmussen, Rob Ulin, Deborah Oppenheimer, Mr. Helford and Mr. Macdonald, executive producers.
WITH: Norm Macdonald (Norm Henderson), Laurie Metcalf (Laurie), Ian Gomez (Danny) and Bruce Jarchow (Mr. Curtis).
An Article from Entertainment Weekly
Published on March 24, 1999
Beyond the Norm
As his new sitcom debuts, he tells EW about acting tips he learned from Roseanne and why he loves to work dirty
By A.J. Jacobs, Josh Wolk
Norm Macdonald was booted off ''Saturday Night Live'' last year because NBC president Don Ohlmeyer didn't think he was funny. Now Macdonald is testing the sense of humor of executives at a whole new network, ABC, where he's debuting his sitcom ''The Norm Show'' (Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m.). Macdonald, 36, plays an ex-NHL player charged with tax evasion and sentenced to work as a social worker. But don't let the words ''social worker'' make you worry that Macdonald has become cuddly now that he's moved to prime time. EW Online talks with him about acting tips he picked up from his old boss Roseanne (he wrote for ''Roseanne''), his passion for dirty jokes, and his deep love for the word ''whore.''
How would you describe ''The Norm Show''?
It's a combination of ''The Dick Van Dyke Show,'' ''The New Dick Van Dyke Show,'' and ''Diagnosis Murder.'' We should have gotten Dick Van Dyke.
How do you like it over at ABC?
I like ABC because it's the American Broadcasting Company. I think that's nice. NBC, they don't tell you what nationality it is. And CBS...that's a bunch of f---ing Colombians. (Note: CBS stands for the Columbia Broadcasting System.)
How are you adjusting to sitcom life?
On ''Saturday Night Live'' they put a giant cue card a foot from your face, and you just read it directly into the camera. On this you have to memorize the script. And they're rewriting it, so you can't memorize it. On show night, (costar) Laurie Metcalf's struggling with what she'll do, where her character is and all this. I'm just trying to remember the words.
How's your acting technique coming?
Roseanne once said (the secret of acting was) if you're supposed to be sad, you frown. If you're supposed to be happy, you smile. I watched her, and it was true. But I can't frown, I can't do sad. I'm halfway there -- I smile when I'm happy, plus when I'm sad. But that gives me somewhere to go in year eight.
Are you getting plenty of opportunities to say your favorite word: ''whore''?
In the first two shows, I said whore and it got a big laugh every time I said it. Then the producers go, you don't want to do that every show. I say, why don't we wait till the audience stops laughing, and then we'll stop doing it.
Well, you could always turn it into a famous catchphrase. Fonzie had ''Ayyy,'' and you could have ''Whore.''
Good idea. ''Where's the whores?'' Something like that. I just don't want to use any of those words that nobody uses but they use on TV, like ''tush.'' Remember on ''Hill Street Blues,'' that one character was supposed to talk like he was from the street? He'd say, ''Look, you dirtball. You scuzzy dirtball.''
Why didn't you do a show for cable, where you can swear all you want?
I was either gonna go to HBO or do a sitcom, but I found out you make way more money on a sitcom. I love ''Dennis Miller Live,'' because you can be as dirty as you want. I'm always amazed that some people go on his show and don't be dirty. It's like crazy, y'know?
Why is being dirty so funny?
It's just with stand-up, you can talk about anything you want to. So it's weird you would talk about losing your luggage.
An Article from The New York Times
THE MEDIA BUSINESS: ADVERTISING; It's going to prove more than a little difficult to escape from ABC's campaign for its fall lineup.
By BILL CARTER
Published: July 18, 2000
ABC will begin a campaign for its fall lineup that seems intent on all but stalking viewers, forcing them to be aware of ABC shows in almost every waking moment of their lives -- when they withdraw cash from an A.T.M., shop in the supermarket or use the urinal at the local bar and grill.
And if the network does not find viewers in those places, it may leave a message about its new comedy, ''Madigan Men,'' starring Gabriel Byrne, waiting on their answering machines when they come home.
ABC, part of the Walt Disney Company, is the network that has promoted itself for several years with ads described by Madison Avenue as ''the yellow campaign,'' after the predominant color of the TV and print pitches. For the 2000-01 season, ABC is changing its theme from ''America's broadcasting company,'' used during the 1999-2000 season, to ''ABC . . . definitely.''
Originally, the ''yellow'' ads, which sought to create an identity for the entire network as well as encourage viewership of specific shows, were derided, but they have eventually gained widespread recognition.
Among the elements of the new campaign are a tie-in with KFC restaurants, where yellow ABC promotions will be wrapped around seven million buckets of fried chicken; floor ads in supermarkets with yellow ABC squares promoting shows; and yellow placards on bank machines with Regis Philbin of ''Who Wants To Be a Millionaire'' using lines like, ''It's a shame you can't withdraw more.''
But surely the parts of the campaign, created in-house, that will draw the most attention are the decision to call viewers at home in the 10 biggest cities, leaving messages to watch the ABC Friday night lineup of comedies, and the plan to display pictures of Norm MacDonald of the comedy ''Norm'' behind urinals in New York and Los Angeles, with catchy copy phrases like ''Another fine use of the color yellow.'' Meanwhile, a motion-activated device will crank up his voice uttering invitations to watch his series between comments appropriate to the locations like, ''Hey, watch your shoes!''
Michael Benson, the senior vice president for marketing at ABC, said the network believed the yellow campaign had made ABC ''the most recognized brand in television.'' The new campaign is designed to reinforce the playful image of ABC's promotions, he added, as well as what he called ''our uniqueness.''
In the past, ABC has placed ads on the tops of taxi cabs and in the sand on beaches as well as in unexpected places like candy bowls at restaurants, as well as on bus benches and pizza boxes.
The urinal ads are the work of Los Angeles-based Zoom Media, which has been posting ads and promotions in bathrooms for 10 years. Zoom sells ads in about 15 cities in the United States and Canada, with signs in stalls in women's bathrooms and behind urinals in men's rooms. (ABC is sticking to men's rooms, at least for the moment.) The ads are mainly aimed at young adults between 18 and 35, and thus are concentrated in places like bars, nightclubs and health clubs.
ABC plans on running the urinal ads only in New York and Los Angeles, according to Alan Cohen, executive vice president for marketing and advertising at ABC. They will start about four weeks before the new episodes of ''Norm'' appear, which is now expected to be in October, he said.
As for the plan to call viewers at home to push ''Madigan Men,'' Mr. Cohen said that ABC would use a form of technology that only activates when it reaches an answering machine. Thus if someone actually picks up the phone, the lines will go dead -- just the way your average movie stalker might do.
Asked if that does not qualify as overt harassment, Mr. Cohen and Mr. Benson defended the plan by saying that they would be, in Mr. Cohen's words, ''sensitive about it if we get that kind of feedback,'' adding ''we are certainly open to hearing consumers' comments.'' Mr. Cohen specified he meant feedback in the form of calls and e-mails from viewers, not comments from reporters.
''We don't see it as harassing,'' Mr. Cohen said, adding that it was merely another step in the aggressive ''brand campaign that got us noticed.''
Mr. Benson said of the overall campaign, ''We like to find unique ways to talk to people.''
To watch clips of Norm go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=the+norm+show+full+episodes
For Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20130406180140/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/norm.html
To look at a crossover between The drew Carey Show and Norm go to http://www.poobala.com/drewandnorm.html
To look at The Lost Roles of Norm Macdonald go to http://www.vulture.com/2012/04/the-lost-roles-of-norm-macdonald.html
For a Website dedicated to Faith Ford go to http://www.faithford.com/
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ChZFgnWFXI
� Date: Tue January 24, 2006 � Filesize: 103.9kb � Dimensions: 435 x 580 �
Keywords: Norm: Cast Photo (Links Updated 8/1/18)