by pat howard

DVD Wish List | “Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place”

In DVD Wish List on April 1, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Remember the ’90s, when networks programmed sitcoms on more than one night each week? In fact, sitcoms were once so ubiquitous that they were grouped into theme nights. ABC had runaway success for a number of years with its teen-targeted TGIF block on Friday evenings. NBC briefly tried counterprogramming Monday Night Football with a ladies night of comedies, which included such inoffensive driftwood as Suddenly Susan and Caroline in the City. It was a different time.

It was only during such a time that a show as generically titled as Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place would ever have seen the light of day. In fact, the cookie-cutter title was mercilessly derided in the press during the show’s early seasons. Pete, Berg, Sharon, and Beacon Street Pizza were the referents of the title’s pronouns. All told, this Boston-based buddy show lasted four seasons, surviving a name change (to Two Guys and a Girl), several unrealistic career changes among the leads (pizza parlor employee to career counselor to cosmetics company VP to firefighter), and a complete turnover of the supporting cast. Another relic of the ’90s was network patience for dramatically retooling a series, as you may recall.

The show was entertaining without being particularly substantive, despite Berg’s (Reynolds) adventures in medical school and the various romantic entanglements the characters wove. But it was easy to get the sense as I watched these characters interact that they were stars in the making and Two Guys was a stepping stone on their way. Ryan Reynolds has gone on to star in countless movies, far and away the most successful Pizza Place alum. Traylor Howard went on to replace Sharona as the assistant on USA’s OCD detective series Monk. Richard Ruccolo has done some film work and current plays Nicole Sullivan’s husband on the Lifetime sitcom Rita Rocks.

As for the supporting cast, Nathan Fillion continues to be a familiar face to television viewers, most notably as the lead in Joss Whedon’s space drama Firefly. Suzanne Cryer (Seinfeld‘s yadda yadda girl) has also popped up all over TV since Two Guys ended, even landing a regular role on the unfortunate series version of The Starter Wife. Jillian Bach, who played insane neighbor Irene, has gone on to series work in Courting Alex and a story arc on dearly departing ER.

The show was notable as an early adopter of audience interactivity, allowing viewers to vote online for possible outcomes of a pregnancy-themed fourth-season finale. I always enjoyed its Violent Femmes-esque original theme song (audio link), and even the shorter composition that replaced it after the name change. Of course the music was butchered beyond recognition during the homogenization process that preceded the show’s brief syndicated run on women’s cable channel WE.

DVD status: Unknown

Prognosis: Negative. This one might be better suited to distribution on Hulu or another streaming outlet than physical DVD, though it would be a decent candidate for DVD-on-demand if that technology proves to be viable.

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