'Til Death

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Dom Com about Eddie Stark, a high school history teacher, and Joy, his wife of 23 years. A newlywed couple, Jeff and Stephanie Woodcock, move in next door and Hilarity Ensues. Originally, the show was meant to be a satirical/comedic take on the differences in the relationships of married couples when they are newlyweds and when they are more mature. However, Jeff and Steph were later written out altogether and the show became an Everybody Loves Raymond clone.

'Til Death is notable as as one of the few series that, rather than cancel after one season because it didn't get Seinfeld ratings in that period of time, FOX kept pumping money into it and tried everything to make it work. Unfortunately, the show worked originally, and Fox messing with what the show was about is what ultimately did it in. Good job, Fox. In later seasons, Fox kept buying the show from the production company because they offered it for a pittance, hoping to get enough episodes for syndication.

Tropes used in 'Til Death include:
  • Breakout Character / The Artifact: Eddie and Joy's daughter, Allison, was a minor recurring character in seasons 1 and 2. She was promoted to a regular for season 3, then demoted back to a minor recurring character in season 4. One of the many examples of this show being the king of Executive Meddling.
  • Break the Cutie: The whole point of the show (originally) was how marriage changes a couple, and in the case of the wife, this is implied to be one of the changes. Joy is the finished example, and Steph is "in the process", so to speak.
  • The Cameo / Shout-Out: In the first episode, Ray Romano makes a guest appearance as an old friend of Eddie's. When asked by his acquaintance who Eddie was, Ray remarks "I dunno, some guy I used to work with."
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Jeff and Steph, who of course took the show's original premise with them.
  • The Couch: Played straight, though the easy chair to the left of it was used just as often.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Eddie Stark. Hell, his last name rhyming with 'snark' probably isn't a coincidence.
  • Executive Meddling: Jeff and Steph were written out of the show, killing the whole premise and ultimately the show itself.
  • Medium Awareness: Bizarrely obtained by son-in-law Doug in the final season. Todd VanDerWerff has more here.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Several examples, notably a whole episode devoted to Eddie and Joy arguing about whether or not a toaster uses enough electricity when plugged in but not toasting to warrant unplugging it when not in use.

Eddie: If you think I'm plugging this thing in every time I want a slice of toast, you're high.
Eddie: This wood is... MY wood!

"Fox kept ordering new seasons of ’Til Death because the production company sold it to them for a steal, hoping to get the series to syndication. But by the end of season four, the ratings had become practically non-existent. Knowing no one would watch freed the show’s producers to wander into off-the-charts insanity. That included making one character aware he lived in a sitcom, recasting a part with a rotating wheel of actresses, and throwing in an animated episode for absolutely no fucking reason whatsoever." This made the show a hit with television critics, who had previously paid little attention to the show.

  • Techno Babble: Eddie tries to show off his knowledge of power tools to a hired handyman by spouting random questions and comments about a power drill. It backfires.

Eddie: Left or right handed? Full torque? Upside-down capable?
Handyman: ...you're saying words, but... they don't mean anything.

  • The Other Darrin: Ally has 4 different actresses, with the change to the fourth being seen by Doug during his Medium Awareness. He becomes ok with it only after he realizes Ally 4 is friskier.
  • Toilet Humor: With the name 'Woodcock', you'd better believe Eddie had plenty of fun at the expense of Jeff and Steph.

Eddie: I bet with the name "Woodcock" it must be pretty hard for you to get through email filters.