charlie kaufman the sitcom writer


Could there be a project less suited for Kaufman then 1995’s Ned & Stacey? The ultra-generic sitcom centers on a couple named (wait for it) Ned and Stacey who have a sham marriage of convenience. The only thing they have in common? They irritate each other. And those last two sentences aren’t my purposefully hacky pitch of the show’s premise, that’s an actual quote from the voice-over that opens every single episode. (Every. Single. Episode.) It’s the ultimate mid-90s show, low on creative ambition but elevated by charismatic performances from leads Debra Messing and Thomas Haden Church. Kaufman was a producer on the show, but it’s not too hard to imagine that he was simply biding his time as the script for Being John Malkovich slowly gathered momentum. (Spike Jonze finally agreed to direct it in 1996.) Kaufman’s voice is nearly absent from Ned & Stacey, with one notable exception: The character of Ned’s best friend, Eric “Rico” Moyer.

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