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Rules of Engagement is a Dom Com that debuted on CBS on February 5, 2007, as a midseason replacement, immediately following Two and A Half Men, in the time slot that was occupied by The New Adventures of Old Christine (9:30-10 p.m.). The series is produced by Adam Sandler's Happy Madison Productions and is distributed by Sony Pictures Television.

Two couples and their single friend deal with the complications of dating, commitment and marriage. It looks at different relationships in various stages, starring Oliver Hudson (Adam Rhodes) and Bianca Kajlich (Jennifer Morgan) as newly engaged sweethearts, Patrick Warburton (Jeff Bingham) and Megyn Price (Audrey Bingham) as a long-married couple and David Spade (Russell Dunbar) as their still-single friend. A sixth character, Timmy, who is Russell's assistant at work, was introduced in Season 3, played by Adhir Kalyan.

The show features writers from the Emmy Award-winning Everybody Loves Raymond. Not to be confused with a 2000 film of the same name.

This show contains examples of:

  • Adult Child: Adam has devolved to this, especially in non-work related scenes, thanks to Flanderization.
  • Ambiguously Gay: One episode had a friend of Jeff appear, and both women concluded he was gay, whilst both guys did not.
    • The boyfriend of Jeff's gay friend appears in other episodes, and he's very much Camp Gay.
  • Beta Couple: Adam and Jennifer.
  • British Stuffiness: Timmy. Granted, he's from South Africa, but his professionalism starkly contrasts to Russel's antics.
  • Broke Episode: Russel's mom cuts off his trust fund, which only affects him in a couple episodes in that he temporarily moves in with Timmy and has trouble getting women to sleep with him. But his financial problems only last for about two episodes.
  • Butch Lesbian: Brenda, Jeff and Audrey's surrogate.
  • Brilliant but Lazy: Russel when he's not devoting all his time on getting laid.
  • Butt Monkey: Russell is treated like this by the rest of the cast, although most of the time, it's because of his single status. Russell considers it complimentary most of the time.
    • Timmy is Russel's personal Butt Monkey, though he doesn't get it as badly in newer episodes.
  • Catch Phrase: Russel saying "Nurtz!"
    • "I kinda did!"
  • Character Development: Russell has been the subject of multiple episodes where he gains development and backstory, such as enjoying theatre/musicals because as a child, his nanny would sneak him out and it was one of the only places that he felt alive in.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Jennifer gets this when Adam's ex-girlfriend comes to stay due to a hotel mix-up.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Audrey's friend Liz.
  • Directionless Driver: Conversed when Audrey makes a joke about men not asking for directions, and the couple she's talking to has never heard of this trope as the husband always asks for directions.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Russel designed a children's hospital that looked like a naked woman.
  • Drop in Character: Russell's apartment was unseen until season 2.
  • Friends Rent Control: Is probably averted for Jeff and Audrey, who have one huge living space/lounge room area, 1 small kitch, a bedroom, a guest bedroom and 1 medium size bathroom. They also own it. However, the apartment Adam and Jennifer live in was lived in by just one of them before the other moved in, and is just as big. Russell's place is amazing and huge, but he's a trust fund baby, as well as having a high paying job at his father's property development firm.
  • Girl of the Week: Russell is very fond of these.
  • Grandparental Obliviousness: Jeff's father doesn't realise his 50's style behaviour is pissing off Audrey. He ends up being called out for it, and apologises.
  • Hands-Off Parenting: Adam was raised by hippies.
  • Hidden Depths: Russell has a few of these, one being his love of theatre/musicals.
  • Hipster: Timmy's intern. Russel tries to be like him and hangs out with him, but gives up because of how exhausting it was to keep track of what he was supposed to like and what he was supposed to like "ironically."
  • Hot Mom: Averted, there are no children on this show. Audrey and Jeff are trying though.
  • Insane Proprietor: Jeff only buys electronics from stores like owned by them, because crazy store owners offer the best deals.
  • Improbable Food Budget: They eat at the diner a lot. It doesn't appear to be an especially expensive diner though, and they are all professionals, they can probably afford to eat lunch and breakfast there.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Russell occasionally usually acts like a jerk, but is generally a good guy.
  • Lesbian Jock: Brenda.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Audrey and Jeff. Unsurprisingly, because they are an old married couple. Adam and Jennifer point out this trope to each other during a fight.
  • Local Hangout: The diner. It also averts the usual "they have one spot, and one spot only", by having them use more than just the central booth in the middle of the set (ie, the Seinfeld table). Although nowhere near as often as they use that single central booth.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Jeff gets smashed and ends up crashing a wedding because after realising he was being stupid by not going to it like Audrey wanted him to.
  • Lysistrata Gambit: Jennifer threatens to withhold sex from Adam to get a pet dog instead of a bird. Turns out neither has the willpower to do that, so they end up getting a dog and bird.
  • Men Are Uncultured: Jeff.
  • Mistaken for Pregnant: Happens to Audrey as the result of a poorly phrased remark about a pregnant co-worker. Finding she enjoys the special consideration being pregnant brings her at work, she tries desperately to actually become pregnant. When she eventually comes clean and tells her co-workers that she is not pregnant, they mistakenly interpret this to mean that she has had a miscarriage.
  • Mistaken Nationality: Russell continually thinks Timmy is English. He is actually South African.
    • Russell also thinks Timmy is Indian (the Native American kind).
  • Moebius Neighborhood: Well, moebius apartment building.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: Adam posted the following on Missed Connections for a drum circle he saw in the subway station (and gets arrested):

 30 year old man seeking young ethnic boys: We hooked up yesterday for some sweet banging and jamming. Let me know if you want do it again.

  • Mrs. Robinson: Russell's first sexual experience was with an older woman.
  • My Friends and Zoidberg. I'd like to share it with all my friends. And Russell.
  • Noodle Incident: Not so much an incident as a proposal from Russel to Allison, who Timmy has a crush on ... but it involves watching her 'do this' with a 'jar of that'.
  • No Pregger Sex: Jeff tries to impose this on Brenda, despite the fact that she's a lesbian, and the concerns regarding penetration would be mostly out of the question.
  • Not Wearing Pants: Jeff has a "Jeff was right" dance which involves him taking off his pants.
  • Office Sports: Jeff and Adam invent a sport called Mannequin Head Ball when they have to clean out an old clothing store Audrey wants to use to start a business.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Russell has an almost literal One-Hour Work Week, due to being the son of the owner of the company. Adam works there as well. Audrey's work is only mentioned in most episode (but one episode had her running a photoshoot for the magazine she works for), Jennifer is a freelance/work from home graphic designer. Jeff is a financial planner/economist of some sort.
  • Out of Focus: The first season focused mostly on Adam and Jennifer. From season two forward the primary couple became Jeff and Audrey and now Adam and Jennifer are lucky to get a B-story.
  • Out of Order: The network switched around the order of a small ongoing Story Arc involving Timmy, his arranged marriage fiancée, and Russell. This ended up having the fiancé being taken around NYC by Russell (and having him fall for her), the episode before she actually arrives at the airport.
  • Only Sane Man: Audrey and Jennifer are generally this for their husband/fiancée.
  • The Pornomancer: Russell.
  • Pun-Based Title.
  • Pretty in Mink: Russell's rich mother when she shows up.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Timmy.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Russell has a few of these. One ended up working at their diner, and had everyone spit in his food.
  • Really Gets Around: Russell.
  • Real Men Eat Meat: Jeff.
  • Running Gag: Russel's shortness, Adam's stupidity, Jeff being built like a tank.
  • Sensei for Scoundrels: Russell acts as one to an Amish boy on his Rumspringa in the episode "Twice".
  • Special Guest: Joan Collins as Russell's mother.
  • Straight Man: Audrey. Jennifer takes this role occasionally.
  • Self-Induced Allergic Reaction: Jeff eats a strawberry to get out of an interminable dinner date with an annoying co-worker of his wife Audrey.
  • Studio Audience / Laugh Track: Constantly. There's a few specific laughs that anyone who watches more than a couple episodes in a row will come to recognise in every episode.
  • That Came Out Wrong
  • Those Two Guys: Russell and Adam at their work.
  • Three Amigos: Russell, Jeff and Adam.
  • Upperclass Twit: Russell.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Russell was recently revealed to be one, doubles as a Freudian Excuse for his womanizing.
  • When You Coming Home Mom: Russell's mother. The show zig zags with this.
  • Zany Scheme: Adam and Jennifer host a engagement party just for people in their building and work friends (whilst still planning for one for their real friends and family), because they need new toasters and other domestic equipment. Jeff finds out, and blackmails them into taking about half the items. It backfires because they realise they are now obligated to attend and purchase presents for multiple parties of the people they invited.
    • Adam proposing to Jennifer in restaurants so they can get free food despite having been engaged for a while. Even when Jennifer gets tired of doing it and storms out, it still works because the waiter feels sorry for Adam.
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