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American Dreamer aired on NBC from September 1990 until June 1991.
Robert Urich starred in this half-hour sitcom as Tom Nash, a high-powered, globe-trotting network reporter who, following the death of his wife, decided to chuck the job, pack up the kids and pursue his own version of The American Dream. He moved to a small town in Wisconsin where he could write a philosophical column about " real people" for a Chicago newspaper. Tom found plenty of subjects for his musings. Joe Baines ( Jeffrey Tambor), his dour editor, drove into the boonies ( which he detested )every week to try to pursuade Tom to come back to the rat race and chase " real" news. Replied Tom " why do you torture yourself by coming up here once a week? You know the fresh air and the general decency of the people upset you." Tom's winsome kids were Rachel and Danny( Chay Lentin, Johnny Galecki), who wouldn't have minded a return trip. Lillian( Carol Kane) was his dippy but not so dumb secretary and Holly( Margaret Walsh) the earthy waitress at his favorite roadside diner.
A certain reflectiveness permeated this series with Tom sometimes addressing the viewer directly, or seen in free-form daydream sequences that illustrated his thoughts and fears.
Susan Seeger created the series and with Gary David Goldberg, was it's Executive Producer.
An Article from The New York Daily News
Sitcom Life Suits Robert Urich's Fancy
September 4, 1990|By Kay Gardella, New York Daily News
If Robert Urich is smiling these days, it's because he has finally discovered happiness, Hollywood style: a half-hour situation comedy.
''I met Ted Danson of Cheers the other day and he promised not to give away the secret,'' said Urich, who stars this fall in NBC's American Dreamer. He plays Tom Nash, a former network-news journalist, a widower with two kids who has given up the fast track to live and write in a small town in Wisconsin.
Urich, who's thrilled with his co-stars, among them Carol Kane (who plays his character's secretary) and Jeffrey Tambor (who plays a cynical editor), insists he never had it so good. He's back in Los Angeles, for one thing, and realizes that's where he belongs. And he's finally getting a chance to play a character, he says, that's close to himself.
He, too, has two kids, and when he made Spenser: For Hire a few years back he moved to the outskirts of Boston and bought an old home that he refurbished. At that time he was sure that was the life for him, far from Tinseltown.
''The house is still there,'' he says with a sigh. ''I poured a year's salary into it, remodeling it, which is the kind of work I enjoy doing. But the real estate market isn't good today, so I haven't been able to sell it.''
Urich, married 17 years to actress Heather Menzies, has worked with his wife in theater and will be working with her again. He chuckles when he says it. ''She plays my dead wife in the series,'' he reports, then hastens to explain there are memory flashbacks in which his wife appears.
''She (Menzies' character) was a camerawoman, part of Nash's news crew, who was killed while we were covering the war in Lebanon. That's when he decided to move to Wisconsin and write a human interest column for a Chicago newspaper.''
One of the reasons the actor, who first starred on TV in 1978 in Vegas, decided to return to Los Angeles for another series was the man behind American Dreamer, executive producer Gary David Goldberg. Plus, he loved the script by Susan Seeger, who also functions as a producer.
In American Dreamer, Urich's character will be making a personal odyssey, of sorts, each week. In the pilot, for instance, he thinks it could make a good column if he looked up the girl he stood up the night of his high school prom. He's certain she'll still be furious with him, but it turns out she hardly remembers him.
A Review from The LA Times
TV REVIEWS / The New Season : 'American Dreamer' a Cuddly Comedy
September 20, 1990|HOWARD ROSENBERG
NBC's "American Dreamer" is part of the new season's new look, a sweet, gentle, cuddly little comedy series whose hero periodically recalls his youth while speaking to the camera from a darkenened stage a la "Our Town."
Although its premiere is at 9:30 tonight (on Channels 4, 36 and 39), "American Dreamer" resumes in its regular time slot at 10:30 p.m. Saturday.
Robert Urich plays likable protagonist Tom Nash, a former network news correspondent who now lives in a small Wisconsin town from which he writes a column (called "American Dreamer") for a Chicago newspaper.
A widower, Nash has two kids (Chay Lentin and Johnny Galecki) and a cynical editor (Jeffrey Tambor). Best of all, tonight he hires a neurotic assistant named Lillian, who is hilariously played by Carol Kane
"American Dreamer" has a nice, self-effacing wit, and a distinct, thoughtful tone, thanks to those dream-like sequences that return Nash to his past as a way on commenting on the present. Tonight, he looks up his high school girlfriend for a column, and Saturday he frets about men friends not bonding the way women do. Obviously, he hasn't seen "thirtysomething."
Both episodes have some amusing moments, and all of the major characters get some crisp one-liners. However, it's obvious almost from the outset that this series tends to run in place when Kane is not on the screen in her supporting role. One of those rare comedic actresses able to surpass her material, Kane could be funny reading the phone book.
She is very funny as Lillian, a mercurial, unpredictable, emotionally unstable character who is right on the edge. With her in front of the camera, "American Dreamer" is on the edge of something very good.
A Review from Entertainment Weekly
American Dreamer (1990)
By Ken Tucker
American Dreamer was created by Gary David Goldberg, who, ever since the huge success of his Family Ties, has specialized in American dreams of the chucking-it-all, leaving-the-rat-race variety. Goldberg's short-lived 1988 sitcom Day by Day, for example, was about a businessman who quits his job to start a day-care center in his home. Now, in American Dreamer, Robert Urich plays a network foreign correspondent who quits his globe-hopping to move to a small Wisconsin town and write a newspaper column.
Urich is paired with Carol Kane, who plays his ditsy assistant. As actors, Urich and Kane come from different universes he is of the stolid, ''acting is reacting'' school; she specializes in hilarious, neurotic jabbering. You'd think their styles would clash, but in fact it's this contrast that gives American Dreamer what little energy it possesses. The jokes are standard stuff, but it's fun to watch Urich and Kane eye each other warily; this is a TV relationship that could develop into something interesting. B-
A Review from The Baltimore Sun
Carol Kane, Robert Urich: making 'American Dreamer' come true
September 20, 1990|By David Zurawik | David Zurawik,Sun Television Critic
"American Dreamer" is one of the funnier and smarter sitcoms of the new fall season. It also introduces one of the most off-the-wall but engaging new characters anywhere on television Lillian Abernathy, played by Carol Kane.
Kane is not the star of "American Dreamer." Robert Urich is. Urich plays Tom Nash, a former foreign news correspondent who quit television three years ago when his wife died.
Nash is now living in rural Wisconsin with his two teen-age children and writing a weekly lifestyle column for a Chicago newspaper. He mainly writes about middle-aged men (like himself) trying to get in touch with their feelings (like he is) and relate in more meaningful ways with women and each other (like he wants to do).
Nash explains the column this way while interviewing Abernathy for a job as his assistant. "The columns I write are really human interest pieces," hesays. "They're about things that are very personal to me, things I wonder about, things that touch my life."
Kane has been listening with a look of puzzlement. Suddenly she brightens, "Oh, you mean fluff."
"Well, one man's fluff is another man's fire," Nash says.
"Oooohh, I have chills," she replies.
That kind of bright, snappy dialogue permeates tonight's pilot, which airs at 9:30 on WMAR-TV (Channel 2). The job interview scene between Nash and Abernathy is a delight. The delight is generated more by Kane than Urich -- though together they are a nifty comic couple. Kane -- perhaps best known as Simka, the girlfriend of Latka on "Taxi" -- plays a woman recentlydumped by her husband. She has great anger toward men, but she's trying to be all sweetness and light during the interview. She plays the tension like a comic version of Linda Blair in "The Exorcist," one minute a smiling little applicant, the next screaming that she can't "even walk by a men's room." It is great stuff.
Tonight's show is about Nash going back and looking up the woman he stood up more than 20 years ago at their senior prom. He wants to apologize, because he fears he ruined her life. She is a successful attorney who barely remembers him.
"American Dreamer" will grow on you. Next week, Nash organizes a men's encounter group. Abernathy is helping him put out snacks before the men arrive. "I'm not sure about the soda," she says. "What do men drink when they're bonding?"
To watch an episode of American Dreamer go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrbrccdXwog
For more on American Dreamer go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Dreamer_(television)
For some American Dreamer-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/shows/american-dreamer
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zPpT6HMdso
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Keywords: The Cast of American Dreamer (Links Updated 7/23/18)