Screen: CBS Entertainment

The Glass Is Half Empty When It Comes To Caroline In The City

Let us see how Caroline In The City ended its four-season run!

The Show: Caroline In The City Seasons 3 and 4 (1997-1999).

The Concept: Cartoonist Caroline “Don’t call me Cathy Guisewite!” Duffy lives and works in a giant downtown Manhattan loft with a bevy of wacky friends and co-workers — and a long-simmering, heartbreaking will-they-or-won’t-they relationship with her assistant, pretentious artiste Richard.

Opening Credits Cast: Lea Thompson and her gams as Caroline; Malcolm Gets as the pompadour-rocking Richard; Amy Pietz as long-time Cats chorus member Annie; Eric Lutes as Caroline’s boorish boyfriend; Andy Lauer as roller-skating simpleton Charlie.

Notable Guest Stars: The first two seasons featured Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Elizabeth Ashley, Florence Henderson, and Rose Marie. The third and fourth seasons involved visits from Harriet Sansom Harris, Marvin Hamlisch, Robert Gant, Garry Shandling, Leslie Jordan, Dan Futterman, Jo Anne Worley, a young Drake Bell — and as a yoga instructor: Adrian Zmed!

Why It's In TV Jail: It aired on Lifetime Real Women for a while back in 2005 and 2006 (a real feat, given it’s only only ninety-seven episodes) before Seasons 1 and 2 came out on DVD in 2008 and 2009. I can only assume that those seasons sold so poorly that whatever sadistic monster in charge decided there’s no reason to release the series’s second half in this country (though used Region 2 versions do exist).

Why It Deserves Parole: The rebooted fourth season is pretty terrible, granted. Moving Caroline into an actual office instead of letting her work from home reeks of network notes (and poor Lauer saw his role disappear), but there are still some great moments. What always separated Caroline In The City from the rest of NBC’s now-forgotten heirs to the Must See crown (Union Square? Fired Up!?) was that at its core was a beguiling romance, beautifully acted by Thompson and Gets. Neither are the kind of hammy sitcom actors the scripts demanded (Thompson served almost exclusively as the show’s wry straight man), but both of them knew how to land a moment. Don’t believe me? Watch a newly single Caroline tearfully, drunkenly ask Richard in the second season, if she’s so wonderful, “Why doesn’t anyone stay?” That season ends with Caroline pouring out her heart into Richard’s answering machine — a message that is promptly deleted by Richard’s scheming girlfriend. How will anyone know all of the complications, touching reconciliations, and hilarious misadventures that follow that disaster without the full series on DVD? To add insult to injury, the Wikipedia page for the series only recaps the first two seasons, as if the following two years never existed!

Recommendation: Maybe the first two seasons didn’t sell well, but that’s no reason to not let the series see the light of day on Netflix streaming or even Hulu (where one can watch the American remake of Men Behaving Badly like that’s a thing anyone should do).

Note: The original website is still online. Get into it!