|Unhappily Ever After|
|Also known as||Unhappily...|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||100 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22–24 minutes|
|Production company||Touchstone Television|
|Original network||The WB|
|Original release||January 11, 1995 –|
May 23, 1999
Unhappily Ever After is an American sitcom television series that aired for 100 episodes on The WB from January 11, 1995, to May 23, 1999, for a total of five seasons. The series was produced by Touchstone Television.
The series follows the Malloy family of Los Angeles, California: father Jack (Geoff Pierson); mother Jennie (Stephanie Hodge); dim-witted eldest son Ryan (Kevin Connolly); daughter Tiffany (Nikki Cox); and "forgotten" son Ross (Justin Berfield). In the first two seasons, storylines featured Jennie's pill-popping mother Maureen Slattery (Joyce Van Patten).
The series was initially written as a starring vehicle for Hodge, whose character Jennie was the focus of the first few episodes. However, the series soon turned its focus to Jack, a schizophrenic who had been kicked out of the house in the pilot episode and was living in an apartment with his only "friend": his son's talking toy rabbit, Mr. Floppy (Bobcat Goldthwait). By the show's third season, Tiffany had become a breakout character, and Cox became the de facto co-star of the show along with Pierson. Stories began focusing more on Tiffany and Ryan's escapades at high school, and later community college.
In the fourth season, producers tried to kill off Jennie's increasingly unnecessary character and return her as a ghost. Negative audience reaction made them quickly reverse this action. The character was brought back to life in a deliberately bizarre sequence in which a network executive wandered onto the set and announced that she was no longer dead. Nevertheless, Hodge decided to leave the show, and several episodes after Jennie's bizarre reappearance, she abandoned her family for a lesbian lover and was never seen again.
The final season focused more on Tiffany, with her rival Barbara Caufield (Wendy Benson) joining the cast. The series wrapped up with a final episode in which Jack finally made enough money to send Tiffany to Harvard University. Once Jack started making money, he no longer needed Floppy, with his schizophrenia seemingly "cured", and Floppy returned to being just a stuffed animal. However, Jack's return to drinking brought Floppy "back from the dead."
Main article: List of Unhappily Ever After episodes
The series was created by Ron Leavitt and Arthur Silver, who also worked on Married... with Children. Unhappily was often compared to Married... with Children as both series had similar themes.
Unhappily Ever After was one of the four sitcoms that aired as part of the original Wednesday night two-hour lineup that helped launch The WB network (along with The Wayans Bros., The Parent 'Hood and the short-lived Muscle).
When the show first began its run, the original opening started with the "wedding photo" (even though they are moving in it) of the Malloys, with their smiles fading, and showed clips of the father leaving and walking through the slum to his new place. While walking, a man runs by him holding a TV, chased by another man who stops, takes a shooting stance, and fires a gun at the thief. The next clip shows the father as he walks past the first man lying face down, TV near his hands, as he enters his apartment. The theme song played over the opening was Bobcat Goldthwait (and possibly others) singing "We married young, because of cupid. And had three kids, but we were stupid. She kicked me out, she's not my honey. But she still wants me, when she needs money. Now I'm alone, come rain or sunny. But who needs love? I've got my bunny." In the final scene of the final episode, this is the song Jack sings with Mr. Floppy, but with slightly modified lyrics. "I married young, because of cupid. And had three kids, but you were stupid. I could've been rich, instead I'm a loser. But at least we're happy, 'cause you're a boozer. Now I'm alone, come rain or sunny. But who needs love? I've got my bunny."
Beginning with the second season, the series' theme song was "Hit the Road Jack" by Ray Charles; the song is a reference to Jennie kicking Jack out of the house. The opening is a sequence of bizarre events from the first season and the male vocals are lip-synced by Floppy while the female vocals are lip-synced by Jennie, Tiffany and Maureen for seasons 1 and 2, Jennie and Tiffany for seasons 3 and 4, and Tiffany, Jack, Ryan and Ross for season 5. In reruns and syndication, the season 1 opening was replaced with the "Hit The Road Jack" opening with clips from the show.
The show was sold into syndication for the 1999–2000 and the 2000–01 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. As of January 2022, the show is not available on any streaming service in the United States. It has also never received a release on physical media.
In Brazil, it was called Infelizes Para Sempre (Unhappy Forever) airing on SBT in 2003.
In Finland, it was called Rakkaat viholliset (Dear Enemies).
In Italy, it was shown on Rai 2 as E vissero infelici per sempre (And they lived unhappy forever) from 2000 until 2003.
In Mexico, it has the same title as the American version.
In Spain, it was called Infelices para siempre (Unhappy Forever).
In the United Kingdom, it was shown on ABC1 between 2004 and 2005.
In Canada, it was seen on Omni Television during the 2006/2007 season.
As of October 2007, it airs on the TV3 network in Estonia as Armastuseta sinu (Yours Without Love).
In Germany, the show first aired on RTL Television in November 1997, was since rerun on RTL II and currently (as of June 2007) airs on Comedy Central on a daily basis. It is titled Auf schlimmer und ewig ("For worse and ever"), a pun on the phrase "Auf immer und ewig" ("Forever and ever").
There were also versions in Bulgaria and Russia.