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  • If any comic in the last ten years stood out as the potential source of a possible hit sitcom -- like Bill Cosby, Roseanne, Andy Griffith, and others before him -- it would be Jeff Foxworthy. He's a likable presence and his humor appeals to a wide range of Americans. Yet instead of taking a cue from these past successes and building around him a world inspired by his humor, the producers instead transplanted him to suburban Illinois. It was a fish-out-of-water comedy set in a Northern college town (without actually embracing his distinctly rural Southern humor), and complicated his life with snobby, intellectual in-laws who always misjudged him. It was well done, for what it was, but it wasn't what his fans were expecting and it didn't stand out for the rest of the audience. It got lost, the ratings tanked, ABC cancelled it.

    But someone wisely saw Foxworthy's potential, and brought the production to NBC...with changes. New producers who were more in tune with Foxworthy's strengths built a new world for him. Gone were the snobby in-laws and curvy, sexy Anita Barone as his wife, Karen, to be replaced with willowy, neurotic Ann Cusack (younger sister to John and Joan). Foxworthy was uprooted from the North and planted back in the South, in his small fictitious Georgia hometown. No longer would the show be taped in a studio with a laugh track, it would be filmed before a live audience. And no longer was pre-"Sixth Sense" Haley Joel Osment an only child; he now had to contend with sibling rivalry from Jonathan Lipnicki, fresh off the set of "Jerry Maguire". Add the always fun G.W. Bailey as Foxworthy's womanizing get-rich-quick-scheming father and Bill Engvall as his best friend, and you've got the kind of riotous yet heartwarming comedy that harks back to "The Andy Griffith Show".

    Unfortunately, retooling any show to this extent seems to doom it. Cusack played off Foxworthy better (with Barone, he always seemed a little henpecked, although that was due to the writing, not the actress), but the addition of Lipnicki felt like stunt casting. The fictional Foxworthy's friends were essentially the same doomed losers as in the first version, but they fit better, had more heart and were a lot funnier. Viewers who had stuck with it on ABC felt lost -- even though the past "incarnation" of the show was referenced early on, there were too many structural changes in the Foxworthy family to accept a continuity between the two versions of the show. Foxworthy's stand-up fans had largely tuned out during the previous version and weren't likely to give it another chance.

    If the second version of the show had been the first, this show might still be on the air, and Foxworthy would be retiring it soon after ten successful years. Unfortunately, it wasn't.
  • 4-Kane28 March 2001
    I actually started watching The Jeff Foxworthy Show soon after it switched to NBC. It's no secret that it didn't do very well in the ratings during its first year (when it was on ABC); then when it was on NBC for its second year, the ratings were somewhat better, but it still got cancelled. That's very unfortunate. I found it to be a funny series. If it had only been renewed for a third season, it might have become a hit. (I mean, the same thing happened with Cheers, Seinfeld, and Everybody Loves Raymond: they all initially gathered poor ratings, but gradually climbed to the top.) This show deserved a long run on prime-time. But, I guess, if you have ever been cancelled by two or more networks, then you might be a redneck!
  • I guess when they started filming the first season, the network executives at ABC didn't know that Jeff Foxworthy had already sold more comedy albums than Carlin, Cosby, or Pryor. Instead of going with Foxworthy's proved style of comedy, they decided to juxtapose a Southern, rural, redneck Jeff against his Midwestern-intellectual-snobbish in-laws, his neighbor Craig, and his wife Karen. Perhaps the suits thought the in-laws and others would act a foil against which Jeff's Southern persona could be displayed. It never really worked. Jeff's existing fan base, myself included, did not recognize Jeff Foxworthy in his own show; "Who's this guy?" - it was nothing like his comedy - totally alien. In an interview years later Foxworthy explained that for the first six months of filming he wasn't even allowed in the writer's room.

    ABC tried to retool the show by dumping the characters Russ and Walt, who worked at Jeff's HVAC business and bringing in Jay Mohr as Jeff's wild brother, Wayne. Still didn't work. Eventually the ABC suits cancelled the show.

    But it was resurrected and retooled by NBC. Jeff's business tanks and he returns to his hometown, the fictional Briarton, Georgia, but his wife is played by a different actress, Ann Cusack. I don't know why Anita Barone left, maybe NBC thought she was too saucy to be believable as Jeff's wife, so they brought in whiney Cusack. They also have another son, Justin, played by Jonathon Lipnicki.

    The move to the South provided Jeff's character with a history from which Foxworthy's comedy could flow. The setting and characters allow more of the familiar Foxworthy comedy to come out – professional wrestling, big hair, trailer parks, mud boggin', cousins marrying and so forth. Jeff's high school best friend, Bill Pelton, played by real life friend and comedian Bill Engvall, Jeff's dad Big Jim Foxworthy played by G.W. Bailey are central characters that add so much more to the show than the ABC version's peripheral characters ever did.

    But even NBC couldn't leave the show alone. The biggest changes were at Jeff's place of employment, Pitt's Trucking. Bosses came and went, so did truck drivers and dock workers. The second season had strong episodes and weak ones, but overall was a vast improvement. Unfortunately the network suits didn't want to invest another season in hopes of improved rating, and the show was eventually cancelled, this time for good.
  • I never even knew this show existed until last week. I tried one episode and loved it so I immediately watched the whole first season. Jay Mohr and Debra Jo Rupp were both hilarious. Then came the second season. Those two were replaced by the comedic genius of Bill Engvall, ugh. That man has never said a funny thing in his life. Anyway, they don't even explain what happened to Jeff's brother, their business or his wife's sister. For the entire first season Jeff's wife was pregnant and many times they said it was a girl. Turns out it was a 4 year old boy. Seven stars if there hadn't been a second season.
  • I happen to like that redneck comedian Jeff Foxworthy, yet I can't tell which TV show is better, "The Jeff Foxworthy Show" or "Blue Collar TV." Both are good comedies, however, "The Jeff Foxworthy Show" is more of a family-oriented comedy while "Blue Collar TV" seems to be a redneck version of "Saturday Night Live." I just purchased a copy of "The Jeff Foxworthy Show: The Complete First Season" on DVD, which is pretty funny, but I think Sony Pictures Television (formerly Columbia-Tristar Television) should release the complete second season on DVD because I would like to purchase a copy. Besides having the show on DVD, the only other way to watch this show is via Saturday nights on Nick @ Nite (I like to call this Nick @ Nite's Saturday Night "Redneck Hour"). Very good show, and should have had a longer run. Bill Engvall (second season "The Jeff Foxworthy Show"), is very good as well.
  • The original series on ABC had some funny moments, but most of the scripts seemed forced. It's also generally never a good idea to have the female lead get pregnant one or two shows in to the series.

    The series on NBC was a good one, and should have gotten at least another year to build up an audience - which I think it would have. I didn't care for Cusack as the new Karen, but that version of the show was a lot more "Foxworthy" than the ABC version.

    Jay Mohr... was just awful. Bill Engvall was a better (and funnier) foil for Jeff. The addition of his character (and Michelle Clunie as Dee Dee Landreaux) was a vain attempt by ABC to boost up the ratings on the show.

    The only thing that could have saved the original ABC show was different writers - but by the time that happened, it was on a new network. NBC was just as forgiving as ABC was.

    This show doesn't taint Jeff's comedy at all, but I can only imagine that he didn't care much for the ABC storyline.
  • joed166715 September 2010
    I have the first season on DVD and started watching it again last night. I thought this was a very good clean show that the family could watch instead of the garbage we see today. It wasn't dealing with the dysfunctional family like we saw on Roseanne, The Simpsons and Married with Children. It's just too bad the networks didn't give it a chance to build an audience and bring in the people needed to tweak it. But then again, these same networks got all panicky and wanted to can shows like All in the Family, M*A*S*H, and Seinfeld because they weren't doing so good in their first few seasons. Big mistake on the networks part and the reason you see so many people watching more shows on networks like The Discovery Channel than are watching the major networks.
  • The reason why this show was a flop was this: 1) The only people who watched it were fans of his comedy acts. 2) Those people knew all his redneck and other jokes by heart already 3) The show was just another forum for him to tell these same jokes.

    Now I noticed the second season they actually started trying. But it was too late.
  • Jeff Foxworthy gets the title of a redneck comedian because of those "You might be a redneck...." jokes. What a lot of people don't realize is that his best stuff is about family and his wife. In this show they tried to get him to far away from his roots to work. I liked the show, i thought it was a good family sitcom maybe his target audience were those who already liked his stand up (but he is one of the top selling comedians of all time so that target audience is pretty vast) maybe the target audience were those that had never heard of him, regardless ABC dropped the ball, NBC did a little better, but still if you want a family friendly show, take a peak, it's a pretty cheap DVD set.
  • SanteeFats29 June 2013
    Warning: Spoilers
    I watched this show when it first aired and I liked it. I guess I am a redneck at heart. It was funny, self deprecating, and poked fun at a lot of time honored, stereotypical, country images. Season 1 sets the stage for everything that follows. There are many changes in season two Jeff's father appears, played by G.W. Bailey, he is a great character as an irresponsible, womanizing but loving and proud grandfather. He teaches the kids to play poker and tries to teach the older boy, played well by Haley Joel Osment , a bit about the ladies. Of course this usually comes back to bite him in the behind. Jeff has apparently moved back to his home town and is now a manager at a transport company, Bill Engvall shows up as Jeff's old buddy and is fantastic as the main side kick. The hot wife from season 1 is replaced by one of the Cusack's. I didn't even know Ann Cusak was part of that clan. In her own way she is pretty hot. The Foxworthy's second son has grown up very quickly from season one, he is now about three, maybe four. the introduction of the young con artist is very nice. I really liked this show and can not understand why it was cancelled after only two seasons.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I liked the show a lot. I watched it every Saturday. The cast was good and I really liked it when they brought on Bill Engvall. I didn't start watching the show until it came on Nick @ Nite. They made a mistake taking of Anita Barone... her show The War At Home is hilarious. My only problem is the ending. When they come up from the basement and the house is gone... what kind of ending is that? What I think happened is they meant for it to be an end-of-season cliffhanger, expecting there to be a third season. I also liked the first season better. In the first season, his son is eight and his baby is 0. They are eight years apart. In the second season, his son is ten and his baby is six. They are only four years apart. Anyway, I think Jeff Foxworthy is a great comedian, but not the best. That is Larry the Cable Guy or Bill Engvall. If you've never seen the Blue Collar Comedy Tour movies, you are insane. They are freaking hilarious. I even have season one of Blue Collar TV, a hilarious show, on DVD!!