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Two Guys and a Girl aired from March 1998 until June 2001 on ABC.
Originally called Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, the title pretty well summed up the premise of this happy-go-lucky sitcom, set in Boston. Berg and Pete ( Ryan Reynolds, Richard R. Ruccolo) were the two guys, sharing an apartment and working their way through graduate school as delivery boys for Beacon Street Pizza. Pete was a neurotic worrier, an architecture student trying vainly to stick to a blueprint of life; Berg was the tall, super-smart , easygoing one, coasting through his first year of medical school. The girl was sexy and successful Sharon ( Traylor Howard), who lived upstairs and made big bucks selling chemicals. She worried about the moral implications of her work (" one more client for me, one less species of bird"), but didn't want to give up her Beemer. A true woman of the '90s. In the early episodes Melissa ( Jennifer Westfeldt) was Pete's girlfriend, Bill ( Julius Carry) was their gruff boss and Mr. Bauer ( David Ogden Stiers) the eccentric customer who told stories about his life that sounded suspiciously like scenes from old movies. In the fall Berg began wooing Ashley ( Suzanne Cryer), a smart fellow student, while Pete played the field.
Stories revolved mostly around the threesome's dating antics. Johnny ( Nathan Fillion) became Sharon's boyfriend, his penny-pinching contrasting with her free-spending ways. Pete had a crush on her too, but Johnny and Sharon were married in 2000. Meanwhile both Berg and Pete quit the pizza place, Berg to pursue his medical training and Pete to become a fireman. Pete had a long-running relationship with his close-to-insane ex-girlfriend Irene ( Jillian Bach), who had a tatoo of a tiger that covered her entire back, and who sometimes placed remarkably effective curses on people. He also dated Marti ( Tiffani Thiessen), a fellow fireman. Johnny also became a fireman. Germ ( Guiseppe Andrews) was a dense teen who worked at the pizza place.
In the series finale it appeared that Sharon, Ashley or Irene might be pregnant. Viewers were invited to vote on-line to determine which one it would be, and the winner was Ashley ( who was pregnant with Pete's child). Four different endings had been taped for the episode, one for each of the women and one in which no one was pregnant; just before the credits viewers saw the other three. The title of the series was changed to Two Guys and a Girl effective September 1999.
A Review from Variety
Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place
((Wed. (11), 9:30-10 p.m., ABC))
By RAY RICHMOND
Powered By Filmed in Los Angeles by Infront Prods. in association with 20th Century Fox Television. Executive producers, Danny Jacobson, Marjorie Weitzman; producers, Kenny Schwartz, Rick Wiener, Jan Siegelman; director, James Widdoes; writers, Wiener, Schwartz, Jacobson.
Cast: Traylor cq Howard, Ryan Reynolds, Richard R. Ruccolo, Jennifer Westfeldt, Julius Carry, David Ogden Stiers.
Continuing the midseason network trend toward sitcoms that center on young men with stunted social development and the attractive professional women who are inexplicably drawn to them, this jaunty spring comedy from "Mad About You's" Danny Jacobson tends to make up in quirky personality what it lacks in genuine cleverness. As a bonus for Disney/ABC, this sub for the limbo-locked "Ellen" fairly revels in its heterosexuality. And what goes better with straight people than pizza --- unless it's pizza in Boston?
As the title "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place" strongly implies, the comedy is set inside a Beantown pizzeria where longtime pals Berg (Ryan Reynolds) and Pete (Richard R. Ruccolo) are working their way through grad school as delivery guys. They share an apartment and regularly hang with their neurotic upstairs neighbor, Sharon (Traylor Howard of NBC's "Boston Common"), a textbook passive-aggressive who has mixed feelings about her big-money job selling chemicals. She loves driving the Beemer but tends to get guilted-out over all of the wildlife she contributes to killing.
"One more client for me, one less species of bird," she says ruefully.
The other primary characters here are the ebullient Melissa (Jennifer Westfeldt) --- Pete's girlfriend, whom he spends the pilot trying to dump --- the gruff pizza joint boss, Bill (terrific work from Julius Carry), and the delusional, yarn-spinning Mr. Bauer (a spirited David Ogden Stiers).
Stiers, a "MASH" alum, very nearly steals the opener outright as a pizzeria regular who spends his hours weaving tales of his personal adventures that bear a striking similarity to famed film storylines ("When I fired the bullet into the shark's mouth, the tank exploded!"). It's supremely entertaining farce.
Premiere teleplay by Jacobson and producers Kenny Schwartz and Rick Wiener tends to harp too long on Pete's angst over what to do about his girlfriend and not enough building up of the odd-couple relationship between the boys. Pete is the buckle-down architecture student. Berg is the devil-may-care eccentric who earns extra money testing asthma medicine for a condition he doesn't have.
Both Reynolds and Ruccolo are appealing leads, Howard somewhat less so. But characters aside, it won't help the chances of "Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place" that it lands on ABC's sked already sounding dated --- detailing as it does the fact that Britain's lease on Hong Kong "is running out." It actually ran out last July, right around the time the first six episodes of this show were being produced for Fox (they never aired, allowing Jacobson to shop the series around and find a willing taker in ABC).
Whether the series, bolstered by Mark Vogel's peppy score, has the goods to seal the fate of "Ellen" --- whose future evidently hangs on the performance of "Pizza Place" --- is anyone's guess. But it's got some potential. Sometimes, you want to go where everybody knows your favorite toppings.
A Review from the New York Times
'Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place'
By CARYN JAMES
Published: March 9, 1998
Nothing is more cloying than a sitcom that works overtime to be cute and zany, and the strained title of this charmless comedy gives it away. This time three former college friends live in Boston. Berg (Ryan Reynolds, whose comic energy is better than his material) is a graduate student in philosophy who moonlights in a pizza place and as a guinea pig for new products (one week he tests nasal spray, the next talking shoes). His roommate, Pete (Richard Ruccolo), an architecture student, also works at the pizza place, where supposedly wacky characters hang out. Their upstairs neighbor, a saleswoman for a chemical company, is Sharon (Traylor Howard, unaccountably perky though her character is whiny).
The show was originally bought by the Fox network, then sold to ABC. Decisions like that may help explain why Fox's fortunes are rising while ABC's are not.
A Review from Entertainment Weekly
Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place
C-By Bruce Fretts
Among this spring's spate of two-guys-and-a-girl shows (House Rules, Significant Others, et. al.), only one has gobbled up a sizable slice of the Nielsen pie: Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place, a Boston-set sitcom that's just as generic as its title suggests. So what's the recipe for its success? Like one of Mama Celeste's frozen 'zas, it warms over all the old familiar ingredients.
You start with a tomato Traylor Howard (Boston Common) as Sharon, a too-short-skirted, inexplicably hostile career woman who can't seem to hold on to a boyfriend. This character is so derivative, they should have named her Elaine McBeal.
Add plenty of saucy humor, courtesy of Sharon's neighbors and Pizza Place waiters Pete (Richard Ruccolo) and Berg (Ryan Reynolds). Single-thin-and-neat Pete attempts to break up with his girlfriend because she laughs maniacally during sex (as Newman might put it: ''Hello, Jerry!''). Hipster doofus Berg earns quick cash by participating in medical experiments (can you say ''Kramer''?).
Now for the extra cheese: M*A*S*H vet David Ogden Stiers plays Mr. Bauer, the pizzeria's most irregular customer, a guy with no life but loads of useless information (think of Cheers' Cliff Clavin). In this case, his head is stuffed with movie scenes, which he's constantly confusing with his own memories. The gag grows old faster than an unrefrigerated slab of mozzarella.
Finally, put it all on top of a thick layer of crusty pop-culture references. Pizza Place strains to be a fresh twentysomething sitcom a la Friends, but its scripts, overseen by Mad About You cocreator Danny Jacobson, are chockful of stale allusions to Linda Ronstadt and the Apple Dumpling Gang.
And voila: Fromage a trois! C-
An Article from The Michigan Daily
Published on September 30, 1998
Sitcom creators discuss boys, girls, pizza and TV
By Michael Galloway
TV/New Media Editor
"Well, it was supposed to have been poetic."
That was how series creator Rick Wiener justified the cornball description on ABC's web page of how he and Kenny Schwartz came up with the idea for "Two Guys, a Girl & a Pizza Place." A mid-season replacement last year, this show about two college grads who work at a pizza place and their female neighbor enjoyed a mild success and was renewed for this season.
Although it wasn't far from the truth that these former writers for "Mad About You," as the Website says: "looked at each, looked at themselves, and the idea was born," Wiener and Schwartz explained how they came up with the ideas for Berg (played by Ryan Reynolds), Pete (Richard Ruccolo) and Sharon (Traylor Howard).
"We figured it would be easier if we were rewriting if (the show) was based on us. We'd know what we'd say," Wiener said.
"We'd come up with a Berg line," Schwartz said, "and say, 'OK, Rick, what would you say there, tough guy?' 'Uhh, I guess I'd say this.' 'Perfect.' We'd put it down. So on some level we did draw from our own lives, because you write what you know and we know ourselves."
The characters of Michael "Berg" Bergen, an arrogant student who never studies and still is at the top of his class, and his roommate Pete Dunville, an architecture student who stresses enough for both of them, are based on Wiener and Schwartz respectively. There's a great comic chemistry between the two of them, with Pete more the straight man and Berg giving the punchlines, which Reynolds does extremely well.
Wiener and Schwartz didn't meet in college like Pete and Berg, though.
"Actually, we met on 'Mad About You,'" Schwartz said. "That was our writing job before this ... We met first season, and we were both writing assistants working for our boss, Danny Jacobson. Then we both became staff writers, and we started hanging out. When Danny got a deal at 20th Century Fox, he just told Fox, 'You know, I got these two writers at "Mad About You" I wouldn't mind bringing over.' We're like, 'Alright, we'll go. We'll go for the ride. Why not?' We went over, and they made a little development deal for us. Then they kind of said, 'Okay, see you guys later,' and Rick and I wondered what the hell we were going to do now ... Rick has this fantastic place on Manhattan Beach, and we'd sit on his back stoop and try to figure (it) out. And we were thinking about it on the back stoop," Wiener said. "We said there had to be a stoop on the show, where people sit and talk."
"We threw a thousand ideas out," Schwartz said. "But then we asked ourselves what would be the easiest thing to do. The easiest thing to do would be to write about us. And Berg's very much ... Rick's very much Berg-like, and me, more Pete. We have a best friend out here whose name is Sharon."
The two still hang out with Sharon Strauss, who comes for every filming and upon whom Traylor Howard's character is based, the quick-tempered Sharon Carter, who loves the money she makes selling chemicals but has to live with the knowledge that her company is destroying the planet. So what do Schwartz and Wiener think of their fictional counterparts?
"The actors on the show are great, and we found out that in real life they're both similar to us," Wiener said. "It's really funny because Rich, who plays Pete, is so much like me. And Ryan is very Berg-like. They're both great guys, and we actually hang out with them when we're not shooting," Schwartz said.
Hanging out with Reynolds, Ruccolo and Howard also has given the two writers some prime material. "When you're out with your buddies, they screw up. And then we're like, 'That is so funny. We're going to put that in the show," Schwartz said. Now, last season had two characters in addition to Berg, Pete and Sharon. Bill, the owner of the Pizza Place, and the loveable Mr. Bauer, played by "M*A*S*H*" star David Ogden Stiers, a regular patron who believed he was living out a movie role each week. Stiers performance was a highlight of most every episode that'll be missed.
"Bill is basically vacationing in Florida. We're centering the show on the three (main characters)," Schwartz said.
"ABC wanted us to focus strictly on them. So that's what we did," Wiener said. Mr. Bauer also seemed to meet his end by the corporate axe.
"We miss Mr. Bauer as well, but it was thought that the character had run his course by the forces that be," Wiener said.
The cast has had a new addition, a love interest for Berg named Ashley (Suzanne Cryer, known for her "yada, yada" on "Seinfeld").
"We wanted to bring people into their lives and get them all into relationships," Wiener said. "So we thought for Berg, who's someone who has always been a real lady's man, that he should meet his match and get someone who was unacceptable to him. And that would keep things interesting."
"Cause Berg loves a challenge," Schwartz added. Both Schwartz and Wiener are happy with the creative freedom and opportunity they have with "Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place," although they were both really thankful for their start on "Mad About You."
"'Mad About You' was our start," Schwartz said. "It was a great place to work. I mean, shit, you're working with Helen Hunt."
To watch clips of Two Guys and a Girl go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=two+guys+and+a+girl+tv+show
For more on Two Guys and a Girl go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two_Guys_and_a_Girl
For the Unofficial two Guys and a Girl Website go to https://web.archive.org/web/20050528234811/http://oddkid.virtualave.net/pizza/index.html
For Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20130406165447/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/twoguys.html
For the old Two Guys and a Girl and the Internet fan Club go to https://web.archive.org/web/19991005050858/http://www.geocities.com:80/TelevisionCity/studio/2497/
To look at the show's revamp go to http://poobala.com/twoguysandagirl.html
For an article on two Guys and a Girl go to https://tv.avclub.com/10-episodes-of-two-guys-and-a-girl-that-mirrored-the-se-1798280116
To watch the opening credits go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAlXfK182OM and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkvojGAiG-0
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Keywords: Two Guys Girl Cast (Links Updated 8/4/18)