Once and Again

Jim 1990s

Aired: 1999-2002 (ABC)Once and Again

DAD’S JOB: Architect

KIDS: Eli (Shane West)(16),Jessie (Evan Rachel Wood)(12)

WHERE’S MOM?: Divorced

STAND-IN “MOM”: Lily Manning (Sela Ward)/girlfriend

First out of the box for the last fall of the 90’s. Here’s an almost-Brady Bunch situation – ‘cept that they’re not married quite yet…

Oh, this gets tension-filled. Okay – see if you can track with this: Single Dad Rick has a son and a daughter, 16-year-old Eli and 12 year-old Jessie. Mom Lily has two girls: 14-year-old Grace and 9-year-old Zoe. Grace has a crush on Eli, Zoe wants Mom to remarry the bio-dad, and Rick and Lily just fell in love. Wacky hijinks are certain to ensue.

A quote from the press blurb:

From the creators of “thirtysomething” and “My So-Called Life” comes an endearing story of two families (from left to right, Julia Whelan, Sela Ward, Meredith Deanne, Billy Campbell, Evan Rachel Wood and Shane West) coping with the challenges of divorce, teenage angst and finding love…again, in “Once and Again,” a new one hour series for ABC.

Billy “The Rocketeer” Campbell is the TV Single Dad of this show. I talked with his publicity folks, but they say he’s too busy for interviews right now. Quite an interesting tactic for a brand-new show, don’t you think?

I’ve watched the first episode. Darn, I actually LIKED the show. And I was expecting it to be waaay too Lifetime Network for my tastes. It was funny and subtle, instead.

One big discrepancy with Real Life is: these people have WAY too much money for single parents. How on earth do they afford California-styled houses (loaded with Mahogany/teak furniture) in Chicago after divvying up their marital assets? Sela Ward’s character should be living in a One Day At A Time – style apartment, rather than the mansion she seems to own. Oh well, that’s TV living.

Here is what will kill this show: when the main characters get married. Actually, it’ll be either the last episode or the third-to-last episode: last, if the show is successful, third-to-last if the show is struggling to stay on the air and the writers are Jumping the Shark

Update- June 12, 2001: Speaking of shark-jumping, the principals got married in the season closer. Yes, fans, we’ve started the ever-popular Mike Brady Clause Clock, so expect this show to either drop off the TV Single Dad list, or just drop off the air, sometime in 2002.

Stick-A-Fork-In-It Update- March 28, 2002: Just in time to be saved from the Mike Brady Clause, ABC did the honorable thing and put a bullet in this puppy. So long, Sammler-Manning Clans!.

Thanks to Alert Viewer Colleen Gielskie for the info on Rick’s occupation and the Chicago location of the series.