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"What About Joan" Episodes

First Season

1. Pilot

Debut: Two-time Oscar nominee Joan Cusack ("Working Girl," "In & Out") stars as manic Chicago high-school teacher Joan Gallagher, who's in an odd sitcom situation: her banker boyfriend, Jake (Kyle Chandler), is more committed to their relationship than she is.

He's so committed, in fact, that, in the opener, he proposes to her in a restaurant. That freaks Joan out, and mystifies her as well. "I'm not the girl who sweeps guys off their feet," she wails to her friends Betsy (Jessica Hecht), a fellow teacher, and Ruby (Donna Murphy), a psychiatrist. "I'm the low-maintenance, dependable one guys call when they've been dumped by the girl who swept them off their feet."

Cast: Joan Cusack, Donna Murphy, Jessica Hecht, Wallace Langham, Kellie Williams, Kyle Chandler, Greta Honold, Mitchell Fain, Mala Madison, Bruce Jarchow

2. Sex Talk

Joan (Joan Cusack) gets down to the nitty-gritty with Jake (Kyle Chandler) in the second episode of the midseason sitcom.

She wants them to discuss "everything" to clear the air for their "perfect relationship." The first topic, religion, is a breeze. Then comes sex, which is not a breeze---especially after Jake foolishly tells Joan that she's not the best sex partner he's ever had. Meanwhile, Joan's psychiatrist friend, Ruby (Donna Murphy), decides to do a favor for their mutual friend Betsy (Jessica Hecht). She'll engage Betsy's noncommittal boyfriend, Mark (Wallace Langham), in some furtive therapy in hopes of getting him to commit. Commit he does, but not in the way Ruby intended.

Cast: Joan Cusack, Donna Murphy, Jessica Hecht, Wallace Langham, Kellie Williams, Kyle Chandler

3. The Proposal
It appears that Betsy is getting very antsy to have Mark propose, which he is a long way from doing. So she takes some of Jake's advice: act like you don't care and watch him come crawling. Betsy follows through and gets the reaction she was hoping for! Ruby gets a book deal to spread her wisdom, and a pesky publicist along the way.

4. Joan Meets the Parents
Jake's reluctant to introduce his parents (Ron Dean, Stefanie Powers) to Joan. "They're the most judgmental people alive," he tells her after they do meet (and hit it off badly). So she invites them to dinner in a frenzied effort to make a good second impression. But it's Alice (Kellie Williams) who makes the good impression. Jake: Kyle Chandler. Betsy: Jessica Hecht. Ruby: Donna Murphy. Mark: Wallace Langham. Sergei: Misha Kuznetsov.

Cast: Joan Cusack, Donna Murphy, Jessica Hecht, Wallace Langham, Kellie Williams, Stefanie Powers, Ron Dean, Misha Kuznetsov

5. Free Speech
Just as Joan's high school Speech Team wins the Illinois Speech championship and gets ready to head to San Francisco for Nationals, word comes down that the school board is cutting funds for all of their teams and clubs. A competition among club sponsors, including Joan, Mark, Betsy and Alice, ignites with everyone trying to pitch to the board why their club should not suffer the loss. When the dramatic and charismatic basketball coach has his turn at the podium, it's obvious by his "presentation" that the rest of them don't stand a chance - until he realizes others are just as deserving of the money and he instead gives it to Joan.

6. Joan's Sister Visits
Joan's nerves are going at full-speed with the thought of Jake meeting her sister Ann who is due to come into town for a visit. The pair meet and hit it off, but all good moods come to a crashing stop when Joan realizes Ann is having problems at home. Ruby gets pleasantly distracted by a "silent cowboy type" and Betsy can't stand to be away from Mark any longer and works for a reunion between the two. NOTE: Ann Cusack is Joan's real-life sister.

7. Maeve
Joan and Jake's relationship is tested when a sultry seminar leader comes onto Jake while on a business retreat. When Joan finds out that Jake may face temptation, she falls apart at the thought of his infidelity. Ruby, Betsy and Alice come together to get her through her "breakdown" until Joan realizes there is nothing to worry about. She's got a good thing

8. Ruby Doobie Doo
Sensing that Jake is in a "funk," Joan encourages him to get some professional counseling, a la Dr. Ruby Stern. Against his better judgment, he agrees to go and talk to Ruby, although it feels strange to divulge his most intimate thoughts to Joan's best friend. During their session, it's Ruby who has a breakthrough, realizing that somehow along the way, she never pursued her first love of singing, for fear that she would fail. Concerned that she would never be the best, she never tried. In an effort to push Ruby past the point of fear, Joan sets up an opportunity for her to perform at an open mic club.

From this episode: "Hit Me With A Hot Note" performed by Donna Murphy (Ruby) hitmewithahotnote.mp3 (1,81 MB) and "Up, Up And Away" performed by Joan Cusack (Joan) and Kellie Williams (Alice) upandaway.mp3 (939 KB)

9. Betsy's Wedding
The big day arrives for Mark and Betsy, who have planned to finally
walk down the aisle. However, a massive snowfall in Chicago sets out to destroy their dream day, until Joan intervenes to make it all work out, as usual. With Mark stuck at the church with Jake, Alice, Mark's half-brother Herman and the minister, and with Betsy stuck at Joan's with Joan and Ruby, they incorporate new methods to make their union happen at all costs: THE PHONE. It's not the most romantic way, but it gets the job done!

unaired episodes of the first season:

Quid Pro Quo
Joan and Mark find themselves in trouble with the police. Due to Joan's pushing, Mark drives faster in order to get to Joan's niece's recital on time and ends up getting pulled over. Thinking he's doing the smart thing, Mark slips a twenty in with his license and registration and is promptly arrested for attempting to bribe a police officer. After spending a rough night in the slammer, Joan's guilt at pushing him to drive fast gets the better of her and it's now her goal to find Mark good representation to get him off the hook. She then realizes that not only is Jake a smart investment banker, but he also passed the Bar and can practice law!

Mr. Roboto
Having felt that she lost Mark to Ruby, Betsy goes into a depression that the girls work to get her out of. Ruby decides to throw Betsy a party that is filled with fabulous, eligible men that can swoon over her and remind her of what a catch she is to SOMEONE out there. The party works. Joan unintentionally offends Jake with the comment that he's "dry and stuffy" and that his job probably is what makes him that way. That comment irks Jake and they go several days without talking. It doesn't take long for Joan to realize that Jake really isn't stuffy and in fact, he's perfect for her!

Joan Sets Up Alice
Jake introduces Joan to his friend, Ben, who happens to be a chef looking to open his own restaurant. Realizing what a great adventure this could be, Jake and Joan decide to invest in Ben's dream and start the ball rolling on making his dream come true. Meeting Ben also sparks an idea in Joan...to set him up with Alice who hasn't had the best of luck with men lately. Ben and Alice meet, only to find they have a lot in common, and set off on a whirlwind courtship that suddenly comes to a halt when Ben realizes he has too much to battle right now as it is without having to worry about a new relationship. The news devastates Alice, until Mark, in all of his wackiness, intervenes and turns things around!

The Curse of the Sweater
After going through old photo albums, Jake learns that Joan used to make hand-knitted sweaters for all of her past boyfriends. He pushes her to make one for him but she adamantly refuses. After much pushing, Jake finds out the real reason she won't make him one is because when she did in the past, she'd end up having a huge fight with the boyfriend, which resulted in their breakup. Not wanting to repeat history, she thinks it's better to avoid altogether. In typical Joan style, we learn that it wasn't the sweater that broke up those relationships, but Joan's insecurities.

Second Season

My Dinner with Jake
Joan is surprised when Jake stops by her classroom to drop off some papers that were left in his car. Joan’s students see this “near perfect” man and find it hard to believe that Jake is Joan’s boyfriend. In an attempt to convince them, she recounts the details of their first meeting. It seems that Joan and Jake were seated near each other having drinks at the same restaurant when Penelope, Jake’s then-girlfriend, arrived. Joan witnessed their breakup after a heated discussion and decided to take advantage of the opportunity. Joan and Jake hit it off and end going back to his place for coffee and more. Just as Joan finishes recounting the night, class ends and the students leave. Jake returns to get papers that he left in Joan’s folder which leads the next group of students to once again question his identity.

Quiet Time
Joan is feeling a little insecure when Jake decides to re-sign his lease for another two years, wondering why he wants to re-sign since he basically lives at her place anyway. Is he going to leave her? Joan thinks the only thing to do is to move in with Jake. Steinie convinces Jake that he should take advantage of the attention and special treatment Joan is giving him. After talking it over, Joan and Jake decide that they like things the way they are going…slow and steady. Elsewhere, Mark asks Joan if he knows what he is doing to bother Betsy, and Joan jumps at the opportunity to answer. It’s Mark’s tone, which sounds sarcastic even when he is sincere, that seems to be causing the problems. The next day Mark shows up with a Dear John note from Betsy. While Joan and Alice are trying to comfort Mark, Ruby busts in and announces that Betsy has left Mark to go to Australia with a guy that she met while on her honeymoon with Mark. Mark is devastated, but Alice is excited, because she thinks she will be able to take over Betsy’s position as a fulltime teacher. After cleaning out Betsy’s things from Mark’s apartment, Joan arrives at The Black Sock with an expensive glass tankard that was Mark’s birthday present from Betsy that she was storing. After Mark gets the tankard, he fills it with beer and lets it slide off the counter where it breaks. The group finds out that had it not been broken, it would have been worth $25,000.

No Bar is an Island
Joan has planned a post-marathon party for Jake at a local café. While waiting for Jake to finish his marathon, Joan strikes up conversation with their waitress, Jennifer. Jennifer tells Joan about the bad luck she has been having just as her boss walks up and fires her! Joan makes it her mission to find a job for Jennifer and suggests that Steinie hire Jennifer to work in The Black Sock. Steinie agrees to hire her if Joan can arrange a real date with Alice or Ruby - knowing this will never happen. Just as Steinie thought, Joan was unable to talk her friends into going on a date with him. Instead she brings Jennifer to the bar and Joan suggests that Steinie hire Jennifer if she can fill the bar with patrons. Jennifer and Steinie reluctantly agree. After realizing that Jennifer doesn’t know anyone that can fill the bar, Joan calls all of her service professional “friends” to fill the place. In the end, Jake and Steinie realize that they had been “Joaned” because all of the bar patrons are ringers, but Jennifer still ends up getting the job. Jake confesses that he was upset at the thought of Jennifer working at The Black Sock because it is the only place he can be himself. He tells her that everytime he is around Joan, he feels like he is on a date and has to be on his best behavior. But in the end, they agree that he doesn’t always have to be on his best behavior and can just be himself.

Family Matters: Main | Photos | Cast | News | Episodes | Songs | Links | DeutschBook: Sign | View
Kellie Williams: Main | Bio | Photos | News | Links | DeutschNavigate: Updates | Search
What about Joan: Main | Cast | Plot | Photos | News | Episodes | Links


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