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Married to the Kellys aired from October 2003 until July 2004 on ABC.

Easygoing New York writer Tom ( Breckin Meyer) and his perky wife Susan ( Kiele Sanchez) were very much in love, but they couldn't agree on where to live. So he promised her that once he sold his first novel they would move wherever she wanted. He did and their next stop was Kansas City , Kansas so she could be near her loony family. Single child Tom was a fish out of water in a big family , and in the heartland as well, but he tried his best to cope. Sandy ( Nancy Lenehan) was Susan's control-freak mother, who ran the Kelly household; Bill ( Sam Anderson), her hefty, earthy dad; Mary ( Emily Rutherford), her up-tight sis; and Lewis ( Derek Waters), her goofball baby brother, who was attending college but still living at home and collecting bugs ( another sibling, Lisa was away at college). Chris ( Josh Braaten) was Mary's big lug of a husband, and Uncle Dave ( Richard Riehle) an eccentric relative who asked blunt questions about Jews. Most challenging were hyperactive Mary, who was working on her master's degree and always trying to prove herself more intellectual than Tom; and Chris who worried that he was no longer the " favorite son-in-law."

A review from variety

October 1, 2003 1:33PM PT
Married to the Kellys

By Phil Gallo

Geographical setting of a sitcom only occasionally affects the humor in a series — “Cheers” was very much about Boston, but popular series from “Friends” to “Frazier” reference their locale only in passing. Take “Hope & Faith,” which follows “Married to the Kellys,” which is apparently set in Ohio, though the state has no role. “Married to the Kellys,” on the other hand, makes a big deal about how this terrif young — and one assumes gritty — New York writer has moved to Kansas City so his wife can live closer to her hayseed family. It’s Big City vs. the heartland. Well, it takes more than a Mets T-shirt and references to barbecue for a fish-out-of-water comedy to work, and creator Tom Hertz shows little aptitude for the people of either locale.

Perhaps unwittingly, the only part of this TGIF sitcom that generates yuks is the positing of writer Tom’s (Breckin Meyer) sibling-free life against the overflowing Kelly family. He’s unnerved by freakish brother and undaunted by the weirdo uncle, but it’s the hyper-competitive sister, Mary (Emily Rutherfurd), who gets under his skin. Causing the tension between the siblings and spouses, apparently, is mom’s doghouse, a magnetic board that keeps track of who’s been naughty and who’s been nice. It’s farfetched.

Tom’s wife, Susan (Kiele Sanchez), is a bubbly sort, and she’s keen on anything that involves her family. So whatever is kooky to viewers — the bug collection of brother Lewis (Derek Waters) — will seem natural to her. It’s a tired formula that’s bound to be repeated ad naseum. In episode two, for example, he’s more adept at following a recipe, and she’s got grill assembly down pat, but god forbid that the family find out. A man doing woman’s work? Unheard of in these parts.

Heart of “Married’s” troubles are a lack of chemistry between Meyer and Sanchez; he never appears happy, she’s giddy about everything. None of their conflicts feels real, and Meyer is such a likable sort, one wonders if the “Kellys” would not have been better served if he were the one from the Midwest.

Rest of the actors are stuck in one-dimensional roles that are meant to annoy. Susan’s mom, Sandy (Nancy Lenehan), is superficially moronic, but somehow in control of the lot; dad Bill (Sam Anderson) appears to be warming up to Tom, which only makes son-in-law Chris (Josh Braaten) feel insecure. Uncle Dave (Richard Riehle) and Lewis are oblivious to it all. Those two have the right approach.

Married to the Kellys

Series; ABC, Fri. Oct. 3; 8:30 p.m.

Production: Taped in Studio City, Calif., and Los Angeles by Grey Television in association with 20th Century Fox Television. Executive producer, Tom Hertz; series co-executive producers, Michelle Nader, David Richardson; producer, John Ziffren; associate producers, Kim Sherwood, Jeffrey Goldstein; director, Ted Wass; writer, Hertz;

Crew: camera, Jim Roberson; production designer, Michael Hynes; editor, Skip Collector; music, Brian Adler; casting, Suzanne Goddard Smythe. 30 MIN.

Cast: Tom - Breckin Meyer Susan - Kiele Sanchez Sandy - Nancy Lenehan Mary - Emily Rutherfurd Chris - Josh Braaten Lewis - Derek Waters Bill - Sam Anderson Uncle Dave - Richard Riehle

A Review from The New York Times

TV WEEKEND; Trying to Adjust to a Kansas City State of Mind
Published: October 3, 2003

Why ''Married to the Kellys,'' which has its debut tonight on ABC, should be anything but another doomed sitcom is not immediately clear.

It's the story of Tom (Breckin Meyer), a short, Jewish New Yorker, and Susan (Kiele Sanchez), his blond Midwestern wife, who move from New York to Kansas City to be closer to her family. Won't it just be fish out of water? Jokes about how you can't get lattes out here, or knishes, or street crimes? What could be funny in that?

Almost everything, as it happens, since the writers and the actors have created robust characters. Each stands in goofy awe before two American totems: New York and the Midwest. To Tom, the Midwest demands more piety, cheerfulness and physical strength than he has in reserve. To Susan's sister, Mary (Emily Rutherfurd), the specter of New York is a standard of intellectual achievement before which she has to prove herself, even at a distance. Susan herself may be the most in conflict: she endeavors to fold Tom into the cozy but inhibiting sensibility of the Midwest, all the while remembering why she fled in the first place.

As this terrific new show makes clear, effective television comedy can come only from complex, three-dimensional comic characters so well wrought that they could even be tragic, but for a show's lighting and time slot.

ABC, tonight at 8:30, Eastern and Pacific times; 7:30, Central time

Directed by Mark Cendrowski; Tom Hertz, writer and executive producer; Produced by Brad Grey Television in association with 20th Century Fox Television.

WITH: Breckin Meyer (Tom), Kiele Sanchez (Susan), Nancy Lenehan (Sandy), Emily Rutherfurd (Mary), Josh Braaten (Chris), Derek Waters (Lewis), Sam Anderson (Bill) and Richard Riehle (Uncle Dave).

An article on the new TGIF from the Michigan Daily

Friday falls short
New line-up lacks family values
By Jaya Soni, Daily Arts Writer on 10/31/03

Though ABC no longer boasts the familiar faces of D.J., Stephanie and Michelle of the ever-popular Full House, a new generation of family entertainment has returned to Friday's prime-time.

The two-hour line-up kicks off with George Lopez, a sitcom that confronts issues of cultural values, assimilation and intergenerational perspectives. Similar to the older programming of TGIF sitcoms, George Lopez includes a cast of younger characters who deal with teenage issues of dating and popularity.

Following George Lopez, the new TGIF line-up departs from the common notion of family entertainment. Married to the Kellys Hope and Faith and Life with Bonnie all center around adult themes of marriage, work and responsibility. The TGIF of the late 80s and early 90s had shows that thrived on young stars and childhood issues such as dealing with pesky neighbor Steve Urkel in Family Matters or living with five other brothers and sisters in Step By Step.

The TGIF today lacks strong child and teen stars. Breckin Meyer ( Road Trip ) of Married to the Kellys is the closest young viewers will get to identifying with characters. Married to the Kellys is based upon the lives of two recently married couples in their late twenties. Breckin Meyer's character, Tom, tries to adjust to living near his new in-laws and humor arises when he can't live up to their standards. The symbolic comedy of Tom's paper dog being placed in his mother-in-law's poster dog house is an issue that viewers under 18 could care less about.

Hope and Faith follows with the adult theme of sisters at odds, despite the juvenile acting skills of Kelly Ripa ( Live! With Regis and Kelly ). The show is reminiscent of TGIF alum Perfect Strangers as Hope (Faith Ford, Murphy Brown ) and Faith (Ripa) are opposites similar to Balki and Larry. Like Balki, Faith's personality is exaggerated and child-like making Ripa's performance seem over-rehearsed and fake.

TGIF ends with the second season of Life with Bonnie. Bonnie Malloy (Bonnie Hunt, Jerry Maguire ) is the host of Morning Chicago, and she finds managing a career and family to be a chaotic task.

The more mature themes in TGIF allow for risky content that wasn't in the original Friday night line-up. In Hope and Faith, Ripa's character is a washed-up soap star willing to do anything to pay off a $5,000 debt. Ripa plays with the notion of earning the money through prostitution, pulling her For Sale Emmy from a bag, while viewers are left to interpret the sexualized physical comedy.

George Lopez, while the most family oriented show of the line-up, still allows for sexual references as well. Lopez's mother Benny (Belita Moreno, Perfect Strangers ), confesses proudly to her granddaughter about early sexual promiscuity.

Whether it is TGIF that has changed its appeal since the 1990s, or the audience that has changed its tastes, viewers are left with confusing and contradictory themes. Today, characters of TGIF attempt to tackle more controversial and mature aspects of life. Even the new slogan Is it Friday yet? has an adult twist, leaving nostalgic viewers longing for the cheesy family scenarios of classic Thank goodness it's Friday.

An Article from the AP

'Married to the Kellys' funny piece of real life
Aug.05.2010 / 10:32 AM ET / Updated Mar.09.2004 / 1:43 PM ET / Source: The Associated Press

Tom Hertz, who created the ABC sitcom “Married to the Kellys,” grew up introverted in Connecticut. Then he married a lively, outgoing girl named Susan Kelly from the Kansas City area.

“My wife’s family is fun, boisterous and does everything together,” Hertz says. “They’ll all go to a movie if just one of them hasn’t seen it.

“I literally did not know how to be part of a big, fun family,” he goes on, somehow conveying a shudder across the phone line. “When we visited, I would have to go upstairs and organize things in my head. Susan would tell me, ‘Now come down and watch TV with my family!”’

Many series have sprung from their creators’ private lives, but seldom anything so faithfully as “Married to the Kellys” (Fridays at 8:30 p.m. EST), for which Hertz has enshrined a parallel universe.

Here you have a young husband, novelist and native New Yorker named Tom (played by series star Breckin Meyer) whose wife, named Susan (Kiele Sanchez), calls Kansas City home and wants to move back there — into the warm embrace of the large, close-knit Kelly clan that’s just waiting to suffocate poor Tom.

Hertz has drawn from the family dynamic he himself married into (though admittedly he never lived within the Kelly constellation, just visited it enough to get the picture).

But going beyond that, he has reproduced his in-laws with their names and (allowing for creative license) personalities intact. Example: Susan’s competitive, college-prof sister Mary (played by Emily Rutherford) is the doppelganger of Dr. Mary Kelly, an associate professor of sociology at Central Missouri State University.

Real Mary
In turn, Real Mary (as she is now sometimes designated) is one of several Kellys who publish a blog, The Real Story of the Kelly Family, to keep the public apprised of what’s what.

This Internet site (linked to ABC’s “Married to the Kellys” page) deconstructs episodes for their authenticity (“Although we don’t have weekly video or charades night,” Real Mary writes, “I do agree with TV Mary that charades night IS more prestigious”) and clears up any flat-out fabrications (Mary’s real husband Chris “never shaved off eyebrows, lived in a frat, or drank heavily in college”).

Plus there are genuine Kelly Family recipes.

While “Married to the Kellys” gets laughs from the family’s simple pleasures and shared customs, Hertz insists the Kellys aren’t meant to be the butt of the joke.

Indeed, on Friday’s episode, Tom is railroaded into appearing on a local radio talk show, where he blurts out comments about his in-laws that hurt their feelings.

“I wasn’t making fun of you, OK?” Tom assures the wounded brood. “I was expressing affection for your quirks.”

That sums up the mission of the series, which makes good on it charmingly.

“I was trying to re-create the world I’ve known for my 14 years of marriage,” says Hertz, who, at 42, counts “Spin City” and “Less Than Perfect” among his prior TV credits. “The key to the humor on this show is my own upbringing, and how it contrasts with the way the Kellys behave.”

Shared experiences
The truth of the show is borne out by Breckin Meyer, who, as it happens, has a lot in common with Hertz.

“We’re both kind of wallflowers,” says Meyer, “and we’re both married to women who at parties say, ’All right, come over here and be normal for 20 minutes, then we can go home.”’

Meyer, 29, is a veteran of several films and sitcoms, most recently the short-lived “Inside Schwartz” (“luckily they killed it,” he says — “it was bad”). He has been married for 2 1/2 years to Deborah Kaplan, who wrote and directed “Josey and the Pussycats” and “Can’t Hardly Wait.”

“She comes from a bigger family than I do,” says Meyer, who grew up in Los Angeles, “but I didn’t realize how many there were until the first time I went home with her to Philly for the big meeting. There were a WHOLE lot of people” — including the grandfather “who doesn’t like any pair of shoes that I wear. Ever. He calls me ’Shoes.’

“When you marry,” Meyer marvels, “you inherit all these new people into your life, this whole new family that you didn’t sign up for. What you signed up for was the girl!”

With the girl he signed up for, Meyer is now a proud parent of a two-month-old daughter, again echoing Tom Hertz, who became the father of twins in November.

Meanwhile, he is hard at work playing the guy he works for under the watchful eye of real Kellys who, from time to time, fly out to L.A. to see a taping of the series — and have even appeared with him as extras.

“I didn’t just sign onto a show,” Meyer notes with a grin. “I signed onto a family.”

To watch clips of Married to the Kelly's go to

For a Review of Married to the Kelly's go to
Date: Tue April 26, 2016 � Filesize: 85.9kb, 310.2kbDimensions: 1040 x 1390 �
Keywords: Married to Kellys Cast


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