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Grounded for Life aired from January 2001 until January 2005 on Fox and The WB.

Sean and Claudia ( Donal Logue, Megyn Price) were a married couple in their early thirties trying to raise their three kids on Staten Island, New York, while holding onto their youth. They had married when Sean got Claudia pregnant during the summer after they had graduated from high school. Over the years she had matured while, unfortunately, he had never grown up. Chunky, gross Sean , a subway worker meant well but wasn't very reliable, a trait that irratated Claudia and frequently got him in trouble. The kids, all of whom went to St. Finnian's school , were insecure: Lily ( Lynsey Bartilson), just starting to date boys and prone to overreact to almost anything; quiet Jimmy ( Griffin Frazen), the good student , and energetic Henry ( Jake Burbage), who had a devilish streak. Adding to their problems were Sean's opinionated father , Walt ( Richard Riehle), the supervisor of a garbage landfill, and Sean's ne'er-do-well kid brother, Eddie ( Kevin Fitzgerald Corrigan), who was not above bending the law if he could make money doing it. Brad ( Bret Harrison), the boy next door , had a crush on the totally disinterested Lily. She was more interested in Dean ( Mike Vogel), a hot guy from a nearby public school. Sister Helen ( Miriam Flynn) was also seen occasionally as the Nun in charge of St. Finnian's school and who was responsible for talking with Sean and Claudia about their children when they did something wrong..which seemed to be quite often.

At the start of the 2002-2003 season Sean quit his job and , with Eddie , bought the Red Boot Pub, an old Irish bar on Staten Island. Claudia, who had enrolled in college, wasn't thrilled that he had given up his Union job to work with Eddie, especially since they weren't making much of a profit, but she was willing to give it a try. In the spring Lily began to warm to Brad's advances and in the spring they had sex. When the fall season began Sean found out and had dificulty accepting it. Although Lily broke up with Dean, she was still embarrassed to be seen in public with Brad. She eventually got over it and in February 2003 he asked her to marry him. Meanwhile despite their best efforts , and a number of silly promotions , the bar continued to struggle.

That fall Lily and Brad broke up after finding out that they had both been unfaithful to each other over the summer but they eventually got back together and Henry , although referred to occasionally was gone from the cast. Claudia discovered she was pregnant, but got upset when she found out that exuberant Sean had spread the news to everyone he knew and Eddie , who had been evicted from his apartment moved into their basement. After the first of the year Sean sold the failing Red Boot Pub to one of Eddie's former girlfriends, and Eddie moved in with her. In the series finale, Lily and Brad graduated from high school and were preparing to head off to college in New Haven-he to Yale and she to Southern Connecticut State University. Sean and Claudia missed their daughter's graduation, however , when Claudia went into labor and was rushed to the hospital. Meanwhile, the Finnerty boys learned that Walt had a new girlfriend... his cleaning lady! Finally as the series came to a close, Claudia gave birth to a daughter Rose, and then changed her name to Gracie and Walt announced that his girlfriend ( who was young enough to be his daughter) was going to have a baby as well. Grounded For Life Indeed.

Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner were The Executive Producers.

A Review from variety

January 9, 2001 11:00PM PT
Grounded for Life

By Phil Gallo

Adding to the endless stream of shows centered on whacked-out Baby Boomers attempting to raise their kids, midseason replacement “Grounded for Life” aims a little higher on the technical end by employing a bit of time-twisting to give itself an immediate signature. First two episodes take a simple plot point — in the pilot, it’s the hurling of a bucket of fried chicken at a car — and examine the turning point from the p.o.v. of all involved. Action is fast-paced, and the writing is humorous without being ridiculous, aided by Donal Logue’s sharp portrayal of a dad in over his head.

The show’s calling card, at least initially, will be the quick spin back in time, a gambit used well in the current Broadway play “Proof.” Technique hits its comic stride in episode two, “In My Room,” in which 14-year-old Lily (Lynsey Bartilson) feels overshadowed by her “hot mom” (Megyn Price as Claudia). Several goofy vignettes follow, demonstrating how funny cliches can be when used properly.

Logue (looking less burly than when he starred in “The Tao of Steve”) has a sharp presence as Sean, the father of three who isn’t quite prepared for the job. Sean’s dad, Walt (Richard Riehle), applies his military training to parenting and sends up more flares than the young Finnertys can handle.

Adding to the melee is Sean’s slacker brother Eddie (Kevin Corrigan), who does little more than swipe cable service and autographed celebrity stills.

Price is underutilized in the first two episodes, suggesting “Grounded” will be the parental reverse of “Malcolm in the Middle,” the show to which it is most easily compared. It has all of “Malcolm’s” mayhem yet it allows the parents to have something of a clue about what their children are getting into and going through.

Show will need to grab “Millionaire’s” male audience to succeed, particularly if the writing continues to capture the male parallel universes of wanting to be a good dad and getting cable porn for free.

Grounded for Life

Fox, Wed. Jan. 10, 8:30 p.m.

Production: Taped in Los Angeles by Tujunga Prods., distributed by Carsey-Werner Prods. Executive producers, Bill Martin, Mike Schiff, Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner, Caryn Mandebach; co-executive producers, David Israel, Jim O'Doherty; producers, Ned Goldreyer, Tyrone Finch, Tom Purcell, Chris Kelly, Tracey Ormandy; director, Gary Halverson; writer, Bonnie Kallma.

Crew: Camera, Victor Goss; production designer, Garvin ddy; casting, Cami Patton. 30 MIN.

Cast: Sean Finnerty - Donal Logue Claudia Finnerty - Megyn Price Eddie Finnerty - Kevin Corrigan Walt Finnerty - Richard Riehle Lily Finnerty - Lynsey Bartilson Jimmy Finnerty - Griffin Frazen Henry Finnerty - Jake Burbage

A Review from The New York Times

TELEVISION REVIEW; Young Parents Meet Their Match: Their Children

Published: January 9, 2001

Finally, somebody got it right. Children aren't vulnerable creatures to be raised with a ''Seventh Heaven'' firmness. They aren't bundles of joy to be raised with Cosbyesque humor. They are unstable life forms to be feared by their parents, with the fearsomeness increasing as the child ages.

This truth is at the heart of ''Grounded for Life,'' a flaky comedy that has its debut tomorrow on Fox. The focus is the Finnerty family: two young boys, a 14-year-old girl, parents, a weird grandfather and a weirder uncle. But this isn't your average drab family comedy. The creators, Bill Martin and Mike Schiff, are part of the ''Third Rock From the Sun'' team, and they have injected some ''Third Rock'' incongruity into the proceedings.

The first wrinkle is that Sean and Claudia Finnerty (Donal Logue and Megyn Price) are a notch younger than most sitcom parents. They had Lily (Lynsey Bartilson), their oldest child, when they were teenagers, meaning they are now in their early 30's. This puts them on an awkward cusp, feeling that they should be saying ''When we were your age'' yet still thinking they are that age.

Ms. Price and especially Mr. Logue catch the resulting befuddlement nicely; they, of course, not their children, are the ones who are grounded for life. And the writers put the parents' youth to good use in their plotlines.

In the opening episode, for instance, just when you think you're watching yet another (albeit very funny) treatment of the ''father distressed because his daughter is getting interested in boys'' theme, things take an unexpected turn. Lily, it turns out, is irked not by her father's semi-psychopathic behavior but by the fact that the boys all lust after her good-looking mother. The slow-motion parody of a Playboy video that follows -- Mom sashaying through the schoolyard, Mom washing the car on a hot day while boys leer from the curb -- is hysterical.

The interplay between Lily and the parents is the heart of the Finnerty family dynamic, and rightly so: Lily is one scary 14-year-old. Aren't they all? Her parents know they're supposed to be exercising some kind of authority, but they lack the backbone, and -- the crucial ingredient that makes the comedy work -- they know they lack the backbone. ''She is in so much trouble,'' Dad tells Mom after finding a fake ID in Lily's room. Mom answers, ''I just wish we could tell her.''

This inspired nonsense is served up in an inventive time-jumping format that takes some getting used to. Each of the first two episodes begins with a crisis, then backs up to show how it evolved. But nothing in this evolution is predictable. Just when we think we've got the story straight via a Dad flashback, we get a Lily flashback that shows us we had it all wrong.

Sometimes even the flashbacks have flashbacks. After finding the fake ID, Sean and Claudia jump back to their own fake-ID days in 1985. They're shown trying to buy beer and condoms, except they don't have enough money, so they just buy the beer. Left unsaid is that this is roughly the time Lily would have been conceived.

Add to the mix a grandfather (Richard Riehle) who thinks that there's not enough discipline in the household and an uncle (Kevin Corrigan) who, like Harry in ''Third Rock,'' chimes in just often enough to make the rest of the characters seem normal, and you've got a high-energy midseason surprise.

A Review from The New York Daily News



Wednesday, January 10th 2001, 2:15AM

GROUNDED FOR LIFE. Tonight, 8:30, Fox. 2 1/2 Stars.

Watch tonight's premiere of "Grounded for Life," and you'll catch a scent of desperation wafting off this new midseason Fox family sitcom as pungent as a plate of pasta with an olive oil and garlic sauce.

As with pasta, a strong aroma is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is cause for concern.

Tonight's pilot episode tries sooooo hard to be edgy and unconventional that the effort is too obvious and, thus, ineffective. There are times, in fact, when "Grounded for Life" labors so strenuously to be a mixture of "Malcolm in the Middle" and "Titus" that it loses any identity of its own.

Next week's better second episode, focusing on parental authority and teenage privacy, finds a more distinctive voice and shows signs of the kind of controlled chaos that worked so well for series' creators Bill Martin and Mike Schiff on "3rd Rock From the Sun," their most notable previous assignment.

"Grounded," as Fox' barrage of on-air promos has emphasized, is a would-be "outrageous family comedy" about the Finnerty family of Staten Island:

• Sean (Donal Logue), the 32-year-old father, considers himself a cool, young-thinking dad. He thinks he bears no resemblance to his own irrationally (and stereotypically) authoritarian father, Walt (played by Richard Riehle). Sean's wrong about this, as he is about many things.

• Claudia (Megyn Price) married Sean shortly after they graduated from high school and she got pregnant. She's more grounded and sensible than her husband, which isn't hard, but she's still plenty immature - even with, now, three kids.

• Their 14-year-old, Lily (Lynsey Bartilson), is clearly "an emotional power keg," one of many phrases used to describe her in the two "Grounded" episodes Fox made available for screening.

• Lily's younger brothers, Jimmy (Griffin Frazen) and Henry (Jake Burbage), are rambunctious, annoying, out-of-control and admirably un-cute.

• Sean's younger brother, Eddie (Kevin Corrigan), is a layabout who steals signed celebrity photos from small local businesses. He hangs around Sean and Claudia's house, rigging it to get porn channels through a stolen cable box.

The jury may be out for some time on "Grounded."

A Review from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

TV Reviews: New Fox family sitcom 'Grounded' in silliness

Wednesday, January 10, 2001

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

When Fox first announced "Grounded for Life" (premiering tonight at 8:30 p.m.), I thought it was about a family "grounded" in dysfunction. After seeing umpteen previews on Fox, I realized it could also mean "grounded" as in "You're grounded -- for life!"

After watching the premiere and an additional episode, I'm still not sure how the creators intend the title to be taken. Regardless, "Grounded for Life" wants desperately to be this year's "Malcolm in the Middle," a break-out midseason hit about a wacky family.

But where the family on "Malcolm" is an absurd cartoon of reality, the Finnertys of "Grounded" act crazy, but there's no sense of absurdity. And that makes them pathetic.

Unlike "Malcolm" and its horrid NBC clone, "Tucker," "Grounded" doesn't come from a kid's point of view. Instead, it's the parents who are in the middle of things and their 14-year-old daughter (Lynsey Bartilson) who talks back. If she were my kid, she would be grounded for life, but these are sitcom parents and they have no control over their household. Or themselves.

When Sean (Donal Logue) sees his daughter making out with a boy in a car, he throws a bucket of fried chicken at them. When he stumbles across her fake I.D., he breaks into her e-mail to see how she plans to use it. "Grounded" once again sends the rather unhelpful message that parents are dumb, their kids are smarter.

"Grounded" benefits from some details that are realistic -- the Finnerty boys bounce from one sofa to the next, pretending the floor is lava (a game I remember playing as a child); rather than logging into a fake Internet service provider, the Finnerty parents hack into their daughter's America Online account by guessing the password.

Some of the dialogue also hits the mark. Sean's wife, Claudia (Megyn Price), argues they can't confront their daughter with the fake I.D. because Sean found it in her room.

"It's tainted evidence," she says. "A parent cannot go into a teen-age girls' room, cannot go through her stuff. Anything he finds is inadmissible."

It's a cute little play on police procedure by way of "The Practice," but smart details like this can't cover up the lack of smarts in typically over-the-top sitcomy stories made slightly more circuitous by an over reliance on flashbacks. That works for "Titus," but in "Grounded" it's just a rip-off.

I can't let this review end without noting the complete lack of believability that a woman as beautiful as Megyn Price would marry a shlubby guy like Donal Logue. That isn't grounded in any sort of reality.

An Article from The New York Times

COVER STORY; Exploring the Darker Side of Dr. Spock

Published: November 11, 2001

THERE is a time-honored tradition in family-oriented situation comedy that requires the vast majority of children to crack wise beyond their years, to the point that they sound more like editors at The Harvard Lampoon than fifth graders. Lately, though, another trend has emerged that seems to be taking television families in the opposite direction: sitcom parents, particularly fathers, are becoming more childish.

The father on ''Grounded for Life'' (Donal Logue), overjoyed to be getting erotic-movie channels on his illegal cable hookup, tells his three children: ''I'm not like a dad. I'm like a whoo-hoo dad.'' The father on ''Titus'' (Stacy Keach) lets both his sons ''camp'' in a Las Beas parking lot while he goes into the casino. The father on ''Malcolm in the Middle'' (Bryan Cranston) takes two of his boys bowling but gets so involved in his game that he doesn't even notice the trouble they are getting into. In the new series ''Undeclared,'' a recently separated father (Loudon Wainwright) hangs out in his son's college dorm room drinking beer. And on ''The Bernie Mac Show,'' which has its premiere on Wednesday night at 8:30, the title character becomes adopts his sister's three children but warns them up front they had better not mess with his stereo equipment or CD's.

These shows have two things in common: their fathers clearly do not know best, and they are all on Fox. Other networks are a small part of the trend (CBS has the popular ''Everybody Loves Raymond'' and ''Yes, Dear''), and to be sure, juvenille parenting is not an entirely new phenomenon (Archie Bunker and Roseanne Conner have traveled this road before), but there has never been such an organized effort by one network to pin its ratings hopes on the darker side of Dr. Spock.

''Our philosophy is that you don't have to come at family comedies straight down the middle,'' said Gail Berman, Fox's president for entertainment, adding that the sitcoms ''hold up a mirror to show us who we really are.''

Of course, that's more like a funhouse mirror. Everything is slightly askew, and it's been that way since the later 80's, when the network became a sort of anti- ''Cosby Show'' channel with the introduction of ''Married... With Children'' and ''The Simpsons.''

''Homer comes out of all the dumb thins that all of our dads did,'' said Al Jean, an executive producer of ''The Simpsons.'' ''I remember once reading a quote about our show that said, 'The Simpsons are actually more real than most real families.' ''

While traditional TV parents could mess things up, more often than not they still provided some sort of valuable lesson in life to their children at the end of every episode. Real parents are seldom quite as lucky.

''With older shows, there were simpler lessons to teach. Now the world is more complex,'' said Brian Hargrove, a creator and executive producer of ''Titus'' with Jack Kenny and Christopher Titus. ''The lessons can be harsh and cruel, and that's what kids need to know.''

But can any sitcom handle the cruel events of Sept. 11?

Larry Wilmore, executive producer of ''The Bernie Mac Show,'' aid that while series like his did want to reflect real life and real trauma, they wouldn't tackle current events directly, because first and foremost, a comedy show had to be funny. ''That's not to say that we wouldn't deal with it,'' he said. ''We'd just do it metaphorically, not specifically. We might take on a theme that has come out of everything. The themes the tragedy has evoked are universal. For instance, the theme is terror and feeling powerless. So we might do a show where somebody breaks into Bernie's house. We'd explore the emotions within the reality of our show.''

Fox has made ''a conscious effort to get different things for their network,'' said Mr. Wilmore. ''We've got a show where the parent figure is imperfect, and so are the kids. He's unapologetically crotchety. Other networks would have made me cut that out because it makes him unlikable.''

Of course, Fox's desire to be different isn't always family-friendly. After all, this is the network that married off Darva Conger to an alleged millionaire and has just sent another crew of beautiful single people to tempt one another on a tropical island. The grownups in those ''reality'' shows, however, are often more like cartoon characters than the fictional, all-too-human parents in its comedies.

''There is an American illusion that parents, particularly dads, are wise and sage. And let's face it, that's not entirely true,'' said Todd Holland, executive producer of ''Malcolm in the Middle.'' ''Television has helped create that illusion. People who have children when they are youn, like our parents on 'Malcolm,' haven't let go of their own childhoods. I think there's a tremendous humanity to fathers who are still connected to childhood and their own silliness.''

In fact, many of the mothers and fathers on the Fox shows are still married and, while often acting like sel-absorbed teenagers, are not bad or neglectful parents. ''When you think about it, families like the one in 'Malcolm' are very functional,'' said M. Berman. ''The mother and father may not have the most sophisticated parent in skills, but every night, that family comes together for dinner. They talk about whatever is on their minds.''

Other producers agree that the parenting they showcase isn't necessarily bad. In the new series ''Undeclared,'' the father who likes to hang around at his son's college dorm parties has just separated from the boy's mother and can't figure out how to cope with the situation. ''Both father and son are starting over,'' said Judd Apatow, executive producer of the show. ''The kid had his eyes on the prize, getting to college and redefining himself with no parents around. Meanwhile, his dad has lost everything he worked for and is anxious to hold onto that positive energy. It's hard for him to look at his son living this youthful life and not want to participate in it.''

Mr. Hargrove said that when Papa Titus gets plastered and has his pubescent son drive him home, it shows ''that parents make mistakes without glorifying them.'' ''After all,'' he said, ''they had to get home somehow, and having the son drive was better than having a drunken dad drive.''

Mr. Kenny said that he and others working on ''Titus'' hear a lot from people who say, ''My dad is just like that.'' ''People recognize that life's problems can't always be resolved in a half-hour,'' he said, ''and that's why they like shows like ours. They relate to what we're saying. Which is, to quote Ken Titus, 'Quit being a wussy and move on.' ''

And that is what the producers intend to do. One of the outcomes of the terrorist attacks, said Mr. Wilmore, is that ''this country now feels like a big family.'' ''People in L.A. are wearing New York hats,'' he said. ''We've come together the way all families do in a crisis.'' That's mother theme he might explore - in a ''Bernie Mac'' episode in which ''it takes something bad happening to make Bernie's family appreciate each other.''

An Article from The New York Daily News



Tuesday, November 19th 2002, 8:37AM

Fox's "Grounded for Life" has landed at the WB.

In what appears to be a first in recent years, "Grounded for Life," which started the season on Fox, will end it on the WB.

The WB has picked up all the existing episodes of the sitcom, and has the option to produce six new episodes.

"Certainly in modern times I can't think of anything that has done this in season," said Tim Brooks, Lifetime's head of research and co-author of "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows."

"Grounded for Life" is a family comedy that was launched as a midseason series in January 2001. The show stars Donal Logue as a 32-year-old husband who finds himself in a constant struggle between being a responsible husband and being one of the guys.

Fox aired two episodes of "Grounded for Life" in the early going this season and then shelved the show.

Now, with "American Idol" on the horizon, there's a sense that Fox may not have room for "Grounded" anymore.

To that end, WB programmers were drawn to the strong performance of the show with younger audiences, a group the WB targets.

One hitch in the deal is that the WB can't air the show until after the February sweeps, a key ratings period used by local stations to set advertising rates.

WB programmers are expected to use "Grounded for Life" as part of the network's Friday-night comedy block.

"I think we're going to see more of this," Brooks said. "Networks are looking for texture and fit. A show that may not fit at one network may fit at another."

To watch some clips from Grounded for Life go to

For Tim's TV Showcase go to

For a Megyn Price Picture Gallery go to

To watch the opening credits go to
Date: Sun January 29, 2006 � Filesize: 40.4kb � Dimensions: 480 x 688 �
Keywords: Grounded For Life: Cast Photo


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