Original Art by Emily Dow
Original Art by Emily Dow

Ed: The Greatest Show You’ve Never Seen

Now that tests are over and people are getting ready to relax for the summer, it’s the perfect time to start a new show. Ed is a fantastic comedy-drama show that ran for four seasons on NBC from 2000-2004 and is unfortunately very difficult to watch today. It centers around Ed Stevens, a lawyer who was fired from a prestigious New York law firm for misplacing a comma in a 500-page document and costing the firm 1.6 million dollars. He comes home to find his wife sleeping with a mailman (not THE mailman) who she met at Starbucks. With his life in shambles, he does what any sane person would do: get really drunk and pop open his high school yearbook, where he sees a picture of his old high school crush (Carol) and thinks “Wow, She’s Hot.” He books a flight back to his hometown of Stuckeyville, Ohio, to ask out the girl of his dreams less than a week after his wife cheats on him. Unfortunately, Carol is already in a relationship with Nick Stanton, who both Ed and Carol had as an English teacher in high school. (so you know he’s going to be a bad guy). 


Now things start to get wacky. With Carol’s committed 7-year relationship not deterring him in the slightest, Ed continues trying to ask her out. When he, Carol, and several mutual friends go bowling, Ed ends up bowling a strike backwards and no girl can resist that. One thing leads to another and Carol kisses him, leading him to buy Stuckeybowl (the bowling alley) as an excuse to stay in town and get closer to her. After Phil, a Stuckeybowl employee, gives him the idea, Ed opens a law practice inside the bowling alley and becomes the world’s first bowling alley lawyer. Each episode of the show centers around Ed representing a client in a zany small-town court case, all while he tries new ways to woo Carol, including dressing up in a knight suit and hiring a skywriter. 


Not only does this show have a thrilling main plot, but it also has fantastic subplots and side characters, including Ed’s childhood friends, Mike and Nancy, the Stuckeybowl employees: Phil, Kenny, Shirley, and later Eli, Carol’s best friend Molly, and high school students Warren, Mark, and Diane. They all have great stories and character arcs that cannot be properly described here. You have to watch the show for yourself to fully appreciate these characters, especially Molly, whom I wholeheartedly believe is the best character. These characters all also contribute to several running gags, such as Mike and Ed’s embarrassing ten-dollar bets, and every character making fun of Arbor Day and those with the misfortune of being named Godfrey. 


This show is a masterpiece, so why has it faded into obscurity? Why has nobody seen it? The reason is simple: there’s nowhere to watch it. Ed is not on any streaming service, was never released on DVD, and never airs on cable. This is because the show is co-owned by two companies, NBC and Paramount, which complicates the profits, and because it has issues with music copyrights. It uses a lot of well-known music that no one wants to pay for, which makes it very difficult for it to be released on DVD or a streaming service. Even Ed’s theme song, “Next Year,” by The Foo Fighters had some copyright issues that prevented it from being used for the show’s second season. That’s why most clips of this show online edit the music out, creating very awkward silent montages. The only way a person can watch this show is if they taped it when it was airing live and kept those tapes for twenty years, or if someone who taped it posted those videos to YouTube. If a person tries hard enough, they might be able to find the entire series online. It’s worth the effort, I promise. 

If you are looking for an enjoyable summer, this is the show for you. It is heartwarming, comedic, and fun, with surprisingly good continuity for a sitcom. The continuity is actually amazing as they make one throwaway joke early  in season 2 that Ed takes his coffee with an unholy amount of sugar and for the rest of the show’s runtime continue to subtly reference it whenever he has coffee. It’s this level of attention to detail that makes watching Ed so rewarding. It deserves more attention, so please, watch this show.

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