Unhappily Ever After (often shortened to Unhappily... in promotional advertisements) was an American sitcom that aired for 100 episodes on The WB network from January 11, 1995 to May 23, 1999, for a total of four and a half seasons.
"Hit the Road Jack" by Ray Charles was the show's theme song.
The Malloy family
The show was about Jack Malloy and his dysfunctional family.
- Jack Malloy (Geoff Pierson): A schizophrenic, alcoholic father who works at a wholly unsatisfying job as a used car salesman, his daughter Tiffany is his only real hope in his otherwise depressing life. He converses with a stuffed bunny (Mr. Floppy) that only he can hear.
- Jennifer "Jennie" Malloy (Stephanie Hodge): Jack's shrewish, ill-tempered, sex-crazed wife. She gets along with no one in particular and is prone to jealousy, particularly toward her daughter Tiffany (since she's everything Jennie never was.) She tends to be selfish and hypocritical and acts as she trul rules the household and apparently can surpass Jack. It should also be noted that Jennie's role in the show from a plot standpoint sometimes remains inconsistent and/or difficult to explain intelligibly. She is killed off and amazingly comes back to life in season 4 but abandons her family in season 5 with her lesbian mistress.
- Ryan Malloy (Kevin Connolly): born May 1978, The eldest son of Jack and Jennie, Ryan maintains a positive happy-go-lucky attitude despite being unpopular, stupid, and unsupported emotionally by anyone (including his parents.) His inability to attract girls and his parents' overt derision of him are recurring themes throughout the show.
- Tiffany Malloy (Nikki Cox): born 1979, The "favorite" child of Jack, Tiffany is seemingly perfect: smart, ambitious, popular, sexy, and still a virgin. Despite this, she is not really pure-spirited and is often self-serving. She has a large number of recurring friends and rivals throughout the show.
- Ross Malloy (Justin Berfield): born 1986, the youngest and arguably the most normal member of the family, despite having only average intellegence, Ross is often the voice of reason, common sense, and enlightenment in an otherwise dysfunctional family. However, it becomes clear from certain episodes that Ross has issues of his own. He is also the child that is most ignored in the family and unlike Ryan and Tiffany, tends to be treated indifferently by Jack and Jennie.
- Mr. Floppy (voice of Bobcat Goldthwait, puppeteer Allan Trautman): A smoking, drinking, and perverted gray stuffed bunny who lives in the Malloy basement, often discussing his life in "the toy bin," his success stories with women, or ranting about cynical topics. A large part of the show revolves around Jack consulting Mr. Floppy for advice, as only Jack can hear him (Mr. Floppy doesn't actually speak, but in Jack's warped mind he does.) While both Jack and Mr. Floppy often have differing views on things, they have similar mindsets and thus, Mr. Floppy is best seen as a sort of alter-ego of Jack.
- Maureen Slattery (Joyce Van Patten): Maureen is Jennie's somewhat delusional, alcoholic and overbearing mother, who clearly disapproves of Jack. She is disliked by both Jack and Jennie who see her as an annoying nuisence.
- Barry Wallenstein (ANT): Tiffany's main guy friend at Priddy High who is flamingly homosexual.
- Amber Moss (Dana Daurey): Tiffany's best friend at Priddy High. She is an underachiever unlike Tiffany.
- Patty Le Gurst (Elizabeth Harnois): Tiffany's rival who like Tiffany dresses scantily yet she is stupider than Tiffany.
- Sable O'Brien (Kristanna Loken): A beautiful and popular girl who becomes Tiffany's arch rival at Priddy High.
- Barbara Caulfield (Wendy Benson): Tiffany's on and off friend who is sometimes her enemy. She attends Northridge Junior College along with Tiffany and Ryan.
In the beginning, the show was actually developed as a starring vehicle for Stephanie Hodge
, whose character of Jennie was the focus of the first few episodes. However, the series concept was soon re-worked. The character of Jack (who had been kicked out of the house and was living in an apartment) was brought back home, and began living in the basement. Soon, Geoff Pierson
's weary, mentally-unbalanced but straight-talking character of Jack was clearly the star of the show, along with Mr. Floppy. Also in season one, Joyce Van Patten
played Jennie's mother, Maureen Slattery, who despised Jack.
By the show's third season it became apparent that Tiffany (Nikki Cox) was becoming a breakout character and the de facto co-star of the show along with Pierson. Stories began focusing on Tiffany and Ryan's high school (and later community college) escapades, and the producers attempted to kill off the increasingly unnecessary character of Jennie.
After doing so, however, they quickly reversed their decision due to negative audience reaction. On the show, the character was brought "back to life" in a deliberately bizarre sequence where a network executive wandered on to the set and announced Jennie's character was no longer dead.
Nevertheless, Jennie was soon gone again, as several episodes later, the character abandoned her family and was never seen again.
Nikki Cox was already signed to star in a new series for the WB when Unhappily... ended, and the final season focused more than ever on her character of Tiffany. Wendy Benson was added to the cast, playing Tiffany's rival Barbara Caufield.
The series wrapped up with a final episode in which Jack finally made enough money to send Tiffany to Harvard University.
Married... with Children connection
is sometimes called an imitation of the FOX
network's hit Married... with Children
, because the characters and their relationships to each other were very similar. Even the sets of the two shows looked extremely similar. However Married... with Children
was usually much more extreme in sexual themes and humor. Both shows were co-created by writer Ron Leavitt
, and several writers worked on both shows. Additionally, Geoffrey Pierson appeared as Roland Squab in the episode "Just Married... with Children
" where Al
and Peg (playing as Steve and Marcy Rhoades) trade zingers on a game show.
Syndication and DVDs
The show was sold into syndication
for the 1999
and the 2000
seasons, but was not re-offered the following fall due to lackluster clearance rates and low ratings
. It has been off the air in America ever since, though it was shown on the UK channel ABC1
. In Canada
, it was seen in syndication on Omni Television
during the 2006/2007 season.
In Germany, the show first aired on RTL Television in November 1997, was since rerun on RTL II and presently (as of June 2007) airs on Comedy Central on a daily basis. It is titled "Auf schlimmer und ewig" ("For the worse and ever"), a pun on the phrase "Auf immer und ewig" ("For always and ever"), which is the German equivalent of the English final phrase in fairy tales ("Happily ever after").
As of October 2007, it airs on the TV3 network in Estonia as Armastuseta sinu (Yours Without Love).
To date, there are currently no plans to release DVDs of the series, and no site currently offers online viewing.