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This is a whole new brand of weird.—Ed, to Phil
A seriocomic show about a hotshot lawyer who, following a painful divorce, moves back to his little home town of Stuckeyville, buys the local bowling alley, and opens a bowling alley/law firm. Basically Northern Exposure without the Fish Out of Water elements, this show went for a sense of eccentric whimsy, which was usually genuine and smile-inducing ("Hey! You like sex? Come to the Festival of Ducks!").
Had an odd first episode - the entirety of the Pilot was presented as a "Previously On..." intro and they started with episode 2.
Provides examples of:
- Artistic Title
- Berserk Button: "I am a Lawyer. I own a bowling alley. They are not the same thing." - Ed's standard response to being called 'The Bowling Alley Lawyer'.
- Beta Couple: Michael and Nancy.
- Big Eater: Ed is a proud member of the local restaurant's "Two Pie Club".
- Bowling for Ratings
- Bunny Ears Lawyer: Ed. Mike counts as a Bunny Ears Doctor.
- Given the nature of most of the other characters, though, their quirkiness probably seems tame by comparison.
- California Doubling: New Jersey for Ohio.
- Catch Phrase
- "Ten bucks if you..."
- Cloudcuckoolander: Phil
- Devoted to You: Ed to Carol.
- Disabled Character, Disabled Actor: Daryll Mitchell, who played Eli Cartwright Goggins on the show, was actually paraplegic.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Ed to Carol at times.
- Eccentric Townsfolk
- Hollywood Nerd: Warren (Justin Long), who would go on to date Drew Barrymore and be the Mac Guy in real life.
- Joisey: Exterior Stuckeyville town scenes were filmed in Westfield NJ, some locals - including this troper - were hired as "Stuckeyville Extras".
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: No DVDs have been officially released due to music-licensing issues.
- Lottery Ticket: One of Ed's cases concerned co-workers being sued after they tricked a fellow worker into thinking he had won the lottery - who then told off the Boss and quit his job before he found out that he hadn't.
- Nobody Over 50 Is Gay: Subverted with the elderly and cantankerous Charlie Hudson, who is somewhere in his seventies (and dying). His lover is about the same age.
- Quirky Town: Come on, they named it Stuckeyville.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Phil's actor left briefly to do a candid camera style show, so did Phil himself.
- Real Song Theme Tune: "Next Year" by the Foo Fighters
- Running Gag: The ten dollar bets.
- Phil and his zany schemes.
- The name Godfrey.
- Shout-Out: The name of Ed's old law firm (Farmer & Sheehan) is an in-joke reference to "Late Show with David Letterman" stagehands Pat Farmer and Kenny Sheehan. (The series was produced by Letterman's company, Worldwide Pants.)
- Stage Magician: Stuckeyville Sam.
- The Bet: Ed and Mike's classic $10 bets.
- Unrequited Love Switcheroo
- What Have We Ear?: Stuckeyville Sam does this to Ed at the end of the episode "The World of Possibility".
- Will They or Won't They?: Ed and Carol. They will.