Two Star! A forgotten 1990s Fox sitcom…


This is the photo they used for the criminally short-lived Two Star sitcom Fox put together in the early 1990s. They fucked up the scheduling FOUR DISTINCT TIMES, each time putting it opposite absolute juggernauts from the legacy networks (e.g., at one point, CHEERS), and so only 6 episodes aired. More’s the pity, Fox has refused to release it on home video or streaming, so even those six are really only available on grainy dubs from VHS. There are RUMORS of a Halloween special, but even 30 years later no footage has leaked.

KNOWN EPISODES (fall, 1992)

1.01 PILOT: A trio of string musicians busking on a nameless city corner are harassed by the local constabulary, and meet some other targeted musicians en route to court — leading to a supergroup! The only episode to feature the character JERRY onscreen, though he appears as a voice-only role from offscreen occasionally in later episodes. ANTHONY BARILLA guest stars as a musician’s rights activist.

1.02 “Shy One Girl” When DEBRA goes missing under mysterious circumstances, the gang must rescue her or lose their gig playing a live score to Harold Lloyd’s 1924 film “Girl Shy.” Peter Falk cameos, but not “in character” due to rights issues.

1.03 “Two Bass Hit” CHRIS has trouble when his upright bass is wrongfully accused of assault. Clearly the nadir of the (available) episodes, the thin plot’s issues are compounded by a offensively casual treatment of the underlying crime. Rumor has it this script was retooled from a completely different property, but no real details are available. BARILLA appears again, but this time as a prosecutor, which is jarring given that both characters play the accordion.

1.04 “Sins You Been Gone” During a workshop for a new work based on the Seven Deadly Sins, MARGARET discovers her cello can open a portal to hell, but only if out of tune in one specific way. ANDREW SHUE, later of “Melrose Place,” guest stars as an inexplicably upbeat and bumbling Satan obsessed with Beanie Babies.

1.05 “Titus Gone Mad!” Attempting to cram the plot of Titus Andronicus into a 22-minute sitcom proved a worse misstep than episode 3,. Deprived of creative control, the stars were prisoners of their contract and give it a try (though the knowing looks from JOHN and CATHY make it clear they’re not happy), but the resulting mess marks the point when the network started getting cold feet. Ironically, the soundtrack here proved one of the groups’ bigger hits at the time, and has eclipsed the memory of the episode entirely. Paulie Shore guest stars as Titus.

1.06 “Man or Muppet?” After a confusing altercation at an east side diner, KIRK is transformed into a muppet by a disgruntled waitress who dabbles in the occult (Fairuza Balk). The gang seeks reconciliation with her coven, but KIRK isn’t entirely UNHAPPY as a thinly-veiled analog of Henson’s Animal.

Man, what I wouldn’t give for a print of the Halloween, variety-show-style special!

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