Townies (1996– )

TV Series   |    |  Comedy

Episode Guide
Townies (1996) Poster

Three friends have been stuck in their East-Coast fishing community forever. No matter how badly they want to leave for the big city, something is always tying them down.


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Matthew Carlson

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25 July 2018 | VinnieRattolle
| Why isn't this on Netflix or Hulu?!
Townies centered on a group of 20-somethings stuck in a New England fishing town. Carrie (Molly Ringwald) was a good but sometimes outspoken Catholic girl who turned her back on religion despite the urgings of her mother and priest, and she kept Kurt (Ron Livingston), her sadsack best friend who vied for her affections, at arm's length. Pessimistic Denise (Lauren Graham) had a baby before marrying childish high school sweetheart Ryan (Bill Burr). Free-spirited Shannon (Jenna Elfman) wasn't looking to settle down, though she'd already run out of guys her own age to date. Carrie, Denise and Shannon worked as waitresses at The Pelican, a diner run by Marge (Conchata Ferell), whose dimwitted son Jesse (Joseph D. Reitman) was the busboy.

Molly Ringwald returned to the screen after a long hiatus and was touted as the star (which probably didn't help, since she was deemed a has-been) but this was really an ensemble show. And what an ensemble it was - not only did everyone have terrific chemistry, but all of Ringwald's costars were total unknowns at the time and they've each gone on to find success. The writing was a little wobbly at the start (as with most every sitcom), but they'd already begun to find their groove when ABC inexplicably dropped the show from the schedule. It wasn't "Friends" (which EVERY comedy of the day was compared to and vilified for not being), but frankly, it had a little more soul.

Scheduled on Wednesday nights where there were a whopping 16 sitcoms to choose from, most every show on that night did not return for another season - except for the ABC hits that surrounded this one (Ellen, Grace Under Fire & Drew Carey). Expectations were high, ratings weren't as good as they hoped, and instead of giving the show time to build an audience, the newly Disneyfied network pulled the plug without bothering to air the final 5 episodes.

The show got a supposed new lease on life in 2001 when Yahoo began offering them for free on their video streaming service, but online video quality was poor at the time and the site closed within a year. Since then, Townies has been relegated to oblivion, which I find very odd. A few jokes are dated 20-odd years later, but for the most part, the show still holds up remarkably well. And with the cast of familiar faces, this one seems like a perfect contender for sites like Netflix and Hulu... now that streaming video isn't tiny, pixely and continuously buffering.

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