|The Drew Carey Show|
|Created by||Drew Carey
John Carroll Lynch
|Opening theme||"Moon Over Parma"
"Five O'Clock World" by The Vogues
"Cleveland Rocks" by The Presidents of the United States of America
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||9|
|No. of episodes||233 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Bruce Helford (entire run)
Deborah Oppenheimer (both; seasons 4–9)
(seasons 4–5 and 7–9)
Richard Day (season 4)
Robert Borden (early season 6)
Holly Hester (mid-late season 6)
Les Firestein (seasons 6–9)
David A. Caplan
Dan O'Keefe (both; seasons 8–9)
|Camera setup||Film; Multi-camera|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Mohawk Productions
Warner Bros. Television
|Picture format||480i (SDTV; entire run)
720p (HDTV; seasons 7–9)
|Original run||September 13, 1995– September 8, 2004|
The Drew Carey Show is an American sitcom (set in Cleveland, Ohio) that aired on ABC from 1995 to 2004 and was known for its "everyman" characters and themes. The show revolved around the character of Drew Carey, an office worker who has had a long-life working experience, and the highs and the lows of his romances and his relationships to long-time friends Lewis, Oswald and Kate.
The show was created by comedian Drew Carey, who had both stand-up and writing experience, and Bruce Helford, who was once a writer for Roseanne. It was the first television show to have an episode simulcast on the Internet.
Based on the real-life experiences of Carey's life, the show debuted on the ABC network on September 13, 1995, and was highly-rated for five years before sliding in popularity. Because the network had few hits on the schedule in 2001, it renewed the show for two additional seasons. However, the show further sank in ratings the following season, not unlike many other live sitcoms. Even its series finale's ratings were lower than otherwise would have been expected. The final two episodes aired on September 8, 2004. The show was produced by Mohawk Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.
In addition to his job Drew, along with Oswald, Kate, and Lewis, had a small beer business that sprung from Drew's hobby as an amateur brewer. The beer they created was named by Oswald, called Buzz Beer, a concoction of beer and coffee that became extremely popular throughout the area. The beer was brewed and packaged out of Drew's garage.
Drew's boss Mr. Soulard tried to buy Buzz Beer from the circle of friends but Drew eventually reneged on the sale after realizing that he was hurting Kate, Oswald, and Lewis with his actions. He ended up buying the beer back for much more than he was paid for it.
The Drew Carey Show ran for nine years. Like many shows with long runs, the shows run can be broken down into several "eras."
The first season of The Drew Carey Show was significantly different from the rest of the series. Drew and Mimi worked at Winfred-Lauder under Mr. Bell, who existed only as a voice on Drew's speakerphone. Mr. Bell was never seen until the last episode of the season after he was fired by the new owners. Other characters that appeared exclusively in this era were Drew's hillbilly neighbor, Jules, and his family. Drew's first girlfriend, Lisa, was introduced in this season, and she remained with the cast until the early episodes of the second season.
Nine of the episode titles were related to chemistry in some way with names such as "The Joining of Two Unlike Elements Is a Mixture" and "Isomers Have Distinct Characteristics". No explanation for this was ever given, and the tradition was abandoned by the end of the season. After episode 19, "Atomic Cat Fight", the remainder were given names relevant to their story line (such as, "Drew and Mrs. Lauder"). Episode 10's title, "Science Names Suck", pokes fun at the scientific type names.
Buzz Beer, beer that had caffeine and tasted like coffee, was invented by the main characters in the last episode of the first season. The concept stayed with the series until the very end.
The first season's opening credits consisted of a caricature of Carey—consisting of his face (complete with glasses) and a yellow tie—singing the Robert McGuire-penned "Moon Over Parma." The song—actually sung by Carey—was trimmed for the opening sequence, and the reference to Eastlake in the line "Guide her to Eastlake underneath your silvery light" was changed to a reference to Cleveland.
The second season was notably different from the first. The opening theme used in season one, "Moon Over Parma," was replaced by "Five O'Clock World" by The Vogues for episodes 10–22 and 24. The theme song for episode 8 was "What is Hip" by Tower of Power; other episodes contained "Moon Over Parma." The opening sequence was initially shown in full as the cold open of the second-season opener, "We'll Remember Always, Evaluation Day," which used "Moon Over Parma" as the main theme. These themes were then replaced in season three by "Cleveland Rocks", a cover by The Presidents of the United States of America of an Ian Hunter song although the theme did not make its first appearance until episode 3 of that season (the original was later used in a bloopers-filled episode).
Season two also introduced the concept of the music video-like opening as the cast danced and sang around the various sets of the show. In the second episode of the second season Nigel Wick was introduced to replace Mr. Bell.
Lisa and Drew moved in together early in the second season, but it didn't work out. However, this allowed the introduction of Speedy, Drew's dog, whose presence remained until the end of the series. Steve, Drew's cross-dressing brother, was introduced during this period. He eventually fell in love with Mimi and they had one child, Gus.
Drew was promoted several times, taking away Wick's job. However, Wick always managed to return and take Drew's job back from him. At the end of this era, Wick and Drew were co-managers of the Winfred-Lauder department store. Drew was also fired once, but got his job back by "marrying" Wick in Vermont, allowing him to get his green card. This was also the era in which series regular Kate and Drew got romantically involved. They were on the verge of getting married, but they called it off when they realized they didn't feel the same about the prospect of children.
In the episode when Drew lost his job, he remarked: "How am I gonna get my job back? I'm sick and tired of watching game shows. Someone come on down and kill me!" This was a reference to The Price is Right, which is well-known for the catchphrase spoken by all of its announcers. In the wake of Bob Barker's retirement, Carey was named the show's new host in 2007.
The season four premiere featured an appearance from Daffy Duck, a character created by the animation division of the show's main production company, Warner Bros., in 1937. At the time, ABC was also airing a number of post-1948 Looney Tunes cartoons on Saturday morning.
This era of the show was also known for its special events episodes. Virtually every season had two such episodes: "What's Wrong With This Episode?" and "Drew Live". The first contained a large number of deliberate mistakes; the person who could catch them all and mail in the correct answers would win a prize. The second was a live show that was performed three times (Eastern/Central, Mountain, and Pacific Time zones), heavily featuring cast members from Whose Line is it Anyway?. These episodes had very loose plots, interrupted at regular intervals by improvisational games. Brad Sherwood, Wayne Brady, Greg Proops, Chip Esten, Kathy Greenwood, Jeff Davis, and Laura Hall all joined for several games including Irish Drinking Song, Quick Change, a variation on Props, and some new games.
There was also the season 5 finale "A Very Special Drew", in which the cast indulged in intentionally manipulative and syrupy melodrama in a facetious attempt to get an Emmy nomination. This episode also breaks the fourth wall when Craig Ferguson touts the Emmy prospects of Nigel Wick, leading Kathy Kinney to snap "You'll never get an Emmy. Your character is too cartoonish." When the Emmy quest fails, Drew borrows about $50 from his friends, takes some money from his own wallet for a total of $80, and heads out to buy some Golden Globe awards.
By far the most extreme was the Drew Carey's Back-to-School Rock 'n' Roll Comedy Hour which was shown a few weeks before the first episode of the 2001 season. The show was a series of sketches which was far closer in content and tone to Saturday Night Live or MADtv than The Drew Carey Show.
This tradition of bizarrely themed episodes was parodied by Carey's friend "Weird Al" Yankovic in his song "Couch Potato" (itself a parody of Eminem's "Lose Yourself"), which referred to "a special all-Pig Latin episode of Drew Carey".
Another noteworthy episode was "Never Been to Spain", but solely for behind-the-scenes occurrences. The episode saw Lewis and Oswald becoming airport security guards and – unsurprisingly – proving quite incompetent at it. As the public learned, ABC threatened to pull the plug on the episode – claiming fears of insensitivity after the 9/11 attacks. The network was widely criticized for this and the production staff was reportedly very angry with them.
In the fall of 2002 the show returned. The concept of Winfred-Lauder and the characters' jobs there was abandoned completely. Show openings alternated with a total of nine different re-recordings of the previous theme songs, accompanied by remixes of the credits and logo; however, the opening was still a montage of various moments from past seasons of the show. The new concept involves Drew getting a job at the company that rented the building occupied by Winfred-Lauder, an Internet start-up department store called "Neverending Store," a possible pun on the novel Neverending Story. Mimi gets a job as well, and Mr. Wick gets the only job he's qualified for; janitor. However, Wick stopped appearing altogether after a few episodes; it has been said that Craig Ferguson—who portrayed Wick—was away filming a movie at the time, so this would be the reason for Wick's disappearance. Steve was also phased out in the same way. The most notable change, however, was when Kate O'Brien, played by Christa Miller, one of the show's main cast, left to have a recurring guest-star role on her husband Bill Lawrence's show Scrubs. She was quickly replaced with Kellie, an old high school friend of Drew's who had been working as a stripper.
Drew's bosses were a set of twenty-something Internet geeks. The combination of high intelligence, low social skills, and hacker naïveté created a very different sort of humor for the show. However, they weren't the main focus. Like in the first season, Drew's life outside the office took center stage once again.
The show began featuring cameos from reality-TV participants in the final two seasons, such as former Road Rules star Timmy Beggy, The Real World alumna Cara Khan, and The Amazing Race winner Reichen Leikmeuhl.
Tony the Bus Driver (Bill Cobbs) became a main fixture, appearing in virtually every episode of the last two seasons. He typically played a role similar to a smart-alecky bartender that Drew could tell his problems to. (One of the first lines he uttered in the series: "There's only one reason a man doesn't want to go home at the end of the day: ugly children.")
In the eighth season Drew decided that he would get married a year from the date he set; a day which would coincide with the last episode of the season. Drew made the deadline by marrying Lily, but he would realize in the process that he was in love with Kellie. The eighth season was put in a dead timeslot on Monday nights, frequently clashing with Monday Night Football. It was pulled mid-season and the remaining episodes were shown during the summer 2003. ABC was forced to finance a ninth season, even though they had effectively canceled the show. The ninth season did not show during the fall 2003, but ended up getting shown in the summer 2004, with some of the episodes out of order.
The last season's tone changed radically from the previous seasons. The directors started experimenting with one-camera set-ups, showing that the sets were completely built, there actually were four walls in most rooms, and the rooms were actually linked together. The writers were equally brazen, as they had Gus burn down Mimi's house, forcing her to move in with Drew after Steve left her. Drew and Mimi's mutual hatred of each other finally vanished and they became friends.
The season ended with Drew getting Wick's help to open up a department store, using the vacated building that Neverending Store left behind. However, Drew is quickly kicked out of his job as store manager by Wick, who has been given his job by the project's sole investor: his father-in-law. Mimi is also relieved of her vice-presidency and made Mr. Wick's assistant, Drew becomes the assistant director of personnel. Drew goes and sits at his desk, the surroundings are now the same as the Winfred-Lauder set that hadn't been seen for two years, and Barry Manilow's "Looks Like We Made It" starts up.
The actual final episode follows as Drew and Kellie's first child is born, scant moments after the two are married. The final scene is Drew playing pool in his backyard in the rain; the same scene that ended the first episode. He looks up at the camera and thanks the audience, saying it has been fun. The series ends with a montage of the actors on Hollywood Boulevard with fans at Drew's "star" and the cast at a bowling alley and, finally, at a party on the set of the Warsaw set to "You Can Still Rock in America".
The show finished its first season (1995–1996) barely in the Top 50, placing 48th in the Nielsen ratings, with an average rating of 10.1. The second season did considerably better, making it into the Top 20 finishing the 1996–1997 season 18th in the Nielsen ratings with an average rating of 11.5. Viewership increased 13.9% from season one.
The show finished its third season at a higher place in the ratings, placing 16th with an average rating of 11.1 during the 1997–1998 season; however, the ratings share was a drop of 3.5% from the second season.
During season four (1998–1999), the series finished the season in the Nielsen ratings higher in the Top 20 making it to 14th place but with an average rating of 9.9, a decrease of 10.8% from the third season.
The show finished the 1999–2000 season 24th in the Nielsen ratings, the first time since season one that the show was not in the Top 20, with an average rating of 9.5, a decrease of 4% from the fourth season. This was a much smaller drop than many series suffered (given the erosion of network audiences). This was also a smaller drop than it suffered the season before. The shows 2000–2001 season finished 41st with an average rating of 8.23, a decrease of 13.4 percent from the fifth season.
ABC signed a new contract to keep the show on through a ninth season, even though the show had yet to enter its seventh season at that time. The 2001–2002 season saw one of the show's biggest drop in ratings, finishing 57th with an average rating of 5.9, a significant drop of 28.3% from the sixth season. The show finished the 2002–2003 season 119th with an average rating of 3.29, a drop of 44.23 percent from the seventh season. This caused ABC to put the series on hiatus, airing the rest of the season in the summer of 2003. Unable to get out of their contract, ABC was forced to allow the show to film a ninth season, paying three million dollars per episode. Not doing well enough to make a slot in the fall, the ninth season was aired during the summer of 2004.
|Season 9||2004 (summer only)||n/a||n/a|
The Drew Carey Show entered off-network syndication in September 1999 and continued until 2006. During the early 2000s, The Drew Carey Show was seen on TBS. ION Television aired reruns of the show from 2007–2009, premiering on New Year's Eve 2007, with the station promoting it as "The Drew Year." ION Television did not air all of the episodes as it only aired the episodes that aired from seasons 1–5; the channel also removed references to the male genitalia from certain episodes, the season 5 episode "Do Drew and Kate Have Sex?" being one in particular. The CW Television Network also aired episodes between 2008–2009.
As of February 2010, The Drew Carey Show is not currently being syndicated on any cable channel in the United States.
On April 24, 2007, Warner Home Video released the complete first season of The Drew Carey Show on DVD in Region 1. It is unknown if the remaining eight seasons will be released at some point.
The first season was released in Australia (Region 4) on September 10, 2008. Small distribution company Madman Entertainment, usually known for releasing anime and manga, has picked up the rights to the series.
|DVD Name||Ep#||Region 1||Region 4||Special Features|
|The Complete First Season||22||April 24, 2007||September 10, 2008||
On February 28, 2006, a six-episode release of the sitcom was released on DVD entitled "The Drew Carey Show: TV Favorites". Initially, the DVD was exclusively sold at Best Buy, but later sold at other national retailers as well. The DVD features the episodes Pilot, Playing the Unified Field, We'll Remember Always, Evaluation Day, Drew Blows His Promotion, My Best Friend's Wedding, and DrugCo. However, this DVD has since gone out of print.
The Drew Carey Show (1995-2004) was a television show that chronicled a Cleveland blue-collar everyman's working life, the ups and downs of his romances, and his strong relationship with his long-time friends.