The Fanelli Boys
Created byBarry Fanaro
Terry Grossman
Mort Nathan
Kathy Speer
Written byRobert Bruce
Michael Davidoff
Barry Fanaro
Howard Gewirtz
Terry Grossman
Tom Maxwell
Mort Nathan
Treva Silverman
Kathy Speer
Martin Weiss
Don Woodard
Directed byGary Brown
James Burrows
Jim Drake
J.D. Lobue
Jack Shea
David Steinberg
Andrew D. Weyman
Steve Zuckerman
StarringAnn Morgan Guilbert
Ned Eisenberg
Joe Pantoliano
Christopher Meloni
Andy Hirsch
Richard Libertini
Vera Lockwood
Opening theme"Why Should I Worry?"
ComposerThomas Pasatieri
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes19
CinematographyVincent Contarino
Running time30 minutes
Production companiesKTMB Productions
Touchstone Television
DistributorBuena Vista Television
Original networkNBC
Original releaseSeptember 8, 1990 (1990-09-08) –
February 16, 1991 (1991-02-16)

The Fanelli Boys is an American sitcom television series that aired on NBC from September 8, 1990 to February 16, 1991, as part of its 1990-91 prime time schedule.[1] The series was created by the team of Barry Fanaro, Mort Nathan, Kathy Speer, and Terry Grossman, all of whom previously worked on The Golden Girls.


Following the death of her husband, Theresa Fanelli (Ann Morgan Guilbert) is prepared to sell the family business (a funeral home) to her son Anthony (Ned Eisenberg) and move from Brooklyn to Florida. Thwarting her plans are the arrival of her younger sons Ronnie (Andy Hirsch), who had just dropped out of school, and Frankie (Chris Meloni), whose engagement has just been broken. Another brother, the slightly disreputable Dom (Joe Pantoliano), is between hustles. Anthony learns that the funeral home is about $25,000 in debt, which he had not counted on. Soon, all of the boys are back at home with their mom, just like the old days. Advising the family, somewhat dubiously, are Theresa's brother, a Catholic priest known as "Father Angelo" (Richard Libertini), and fortune teller Philomena (Vera Lockwood).

The Fanelli Boys showed fairly strong Italian-American ethnic stereotyping; there was even an Italian flag in the program's logo. The series garnered low ratings and was cancelled in February 1991 after airing nineteen episodes.


Title sequence

The show's original opening sequence was filmed footage of a dining room table (presumably the Fanellis') as it was set by its family, followed by them sitting down and serving pasta and wine, which culminated in everyone toasting. Only the family's hands were seen during the entire sequence. This was accompanied by an instrumental, old-world Italian tune.

In January 1991, a month before The Fanelli Boys was cancelled, the opening changed to featuring videotaped scenes from the show with the cast, along with an in-house rendition of Billy Joel's "Why Should I Worry?" as the new lyrical theme.


No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1"Pilot"TBATBASeptember 8, 1990 (1990-09-08)
2"You Can Go Home Again"TBATBASeptember 12, 1990 (1990-09-12)
3"Pursued"TBATBASeptember 19, 1990 (1990-09-19)
4"The Hex"TBATBASeptember 26, 1990 (1990-09-26)
5"Heart Attack"TBATBAOctober 3, 1990 (1990-10-03)
6"Take My Ex-Wife, Please"TBATBAOctober 10, 1990 (1990-10-10)
7"Poetic Justice"TBATBAOctober 24, 1990 (1990-10-24)
8"Father Smoke"TBATBAOctober 31, 1990 (1990-10-31)
9"Tarnished Angel"TBATBANovember 7, 1990 (1990-11-07)
10"The Two Doms"TBATBANovember 14, 1990 (1990-11-14)
11"An Italian-American Gigolo"TBATBADecember 1, 1990 (1990-12-01)
12"A Fanelli Christmas"Jim DrakeBarry Fanaro & Mort Nathan and Kathy Speer & Terry GrossmanDecember 8, 1990 (1990-12-08)
13"Oh My Papas"TBATBADecember 15, 1990 (1990-12-15)
14"Accidents Will Happen"TBATBAJanuary 5, 1991 (1991-01-05)
15"Doctor, Doctor"TBATBAJanuary 12, 1991 (1991-01-12)
16"Rope a Dope"TBATBAJanuary 19, 1991 (1991-01-19)
17"The Undergraduate"TBATBAFebruary 2, 1991 (1991-02-02)
18"The Wedding: Part 1"TBATBAFebruary 9, 1991 (1991-02-09)
19"The Wedding: Part 2"TBATBAFebruary 16, 1991 (1991-02-16)


  1. ^ Cotter, Bill (1997). The Wonderful World of Disney Television. Hyperion Books. pp. 392–394. ISBN 0-7868-6359-5.