Step by Step (TV series)

Step by Step (TV series)

Infobox Television
show_name = Step by Step


caption = Opening Titles
format = Sitcom
runtime = approx. 0:23 (per episode)
rating= TV-PG
creator = William Bickley
Michael Warren
developer = Thomas L. Miller
Robert L. Boyett
executive_producer = Thomas L. Miller
Robert L. Boyett
William Bickley
Michael Warren
Alan Eisenstock & Larry Mintz
(season 1)
Ross Brown (seasons 2-7)
Bob Rosenfarb (seasons 4-7)
starring = Patrick Duffy
Suzanne Somers
Brandon Call
Staci Keanan
Angela Watson
Christine Lakin
Christopher Castile
Josh Byrne
Sasha Mitchell
Patrika Darbo
Peggy Rea
Jason Marsden
Bronson Pinchot
Emily Mae Young
Alexandra Adi
Jeff Juday
country = USA
network = ABC/CBS
first_aired = September 20, 1991
last_aired = June 26, 1998
num_seasons = 7
num_episodes = 160
imdb_id = 0101205

"Step by Step" is an American television sitcom which aired on ABC from September 20, 1991 to August 15, 1997 and with a network change moved to CBS from September 19, 1997 to June 26, 1998. The show starred Patrick Duffy and Suzanne Somers. It was part of ABC's TGIF lineup from 1991 until 1997 before moving to the CBS block party lineup from 1997-1998.

Premise

The premise of the show, which was set in Port Washington, Wisconsin, is about re-building one's life one step at a time after things have fallen apart. Frank Lambert, a divorced contractor who had three children from a previous marriage, impulsively marries Carol Foster, a widowed beautician who had three children of her own. Both of them were residents of Port Washington, and the two met while vacationing separately in Jamaica. In the pilot episode, Frank mentions that he "followed" Carol to Jamaica after speaking with her travel agent, Velma. Their children were surprised and angered when they learned of the marriage.

The title of the show has a double meaning. One meaning deals with the main idea of the show, which is getting re-married after the divorce/death of a spouse, and putting your life back together. The other meaning is that every member of the family is "step-" to half of the rest of the family, such as: stepbrother, stepmother, stepsister, stepfather, stepdaughter, and stepson.

Stories depicted typical situations of a new blended family trying to get to know each other and become friends. This was often easier said than done, especially in the case of J.T. and Dana, who could barely stand each other. In many ways, however, many of the situations mirrored that of "The Brady Bunch".

Production

"Step by Step" was produced by Bickley-Warren Productions & Miller-Boyett Productions in association with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. In the later seasons (1996-1998), the end credits went from being in credit logos to animated logos. The end of the show was followed by the Bickley-Warren "Static" logo and the animated M/B Miller-Boyett logo with a 5 note piano tune. (Also seen on Family Matters)

The show lasted for 7 seasons, and the main cast changed as the storyline progressed. Cody, who Dana liked even less than she did J.T., left Port Washington in 1996 to travel the world. This was done because series star Sasha Mitchell, whose character became a major character during the second season, was forced out following allegations of domestic abuse; he was later acquitted of those allegations. Mitchell returned to the show for one episode in 1998.

In 1997, J.T.'s friend Rich Halke (Jason Marsden, who became a permanent fixture in the opening credits) moved in with the family after becoming Dana's boyfriend; also during that time, Al took a serious interest in acting.

The show's biggest change came in 1995, when Carol announced she was pregnant. In the 1994-1995 season finale, she gave birth to Lilly, the only kid to take both the "Foster" and "Lambert" surnames. Like Chrissy Seaver, Nicky Banks, and Andrew Keaton, Lilly (Emily Mae Young) was suddenly aged five years after one season as an infant.

Along with "Family Matters", "Step By Step" moved to CBS in the fall of 1997, as that network attempted to build its own Friday night lineup of family-friendly situation comedies called "The CBS Block Party". The ratings, which had been declining for several seasons, continued to fall, and the show ended its run in July 1998. There was no official series finale, although the last show was about Frank and Carol considering selling the house.

Josh Byrne (Brendan Lambert) appeared less and less as the show moved on (especially after Lilly was born). When the show moved from ABC to CBS, his character was discontinued (a la "Judy Winslow" from Family Matters), and he was dropped from the show, although producers admitted in a TV Guide interview that despite his absence (which never was explained in the series), the Lamberts would still refer to their "7 children". In spite of that, an episode in the 7th season after Byrne was gone, Carol was having a hard time dealing with all the kids being grown up and moving onto adult lives. Carol was telling Frank how down she was that all of the kids were growing up, then specifically mentioned all of their kids' names except for Brendan's name. Brendan was never even mentioned by name or other kind of reference as to suggest he still existed in the family after he disappeared which is why audiences compare him to Judy Winslow as the exact same thing was done with her character on Family Matters.

Theme song and opening credits

The theme to "Step by Step" is called "Second Time Around", written by Jesse Frederick and Bennett Salvay (who wrote the themes to other Miller-Boyett series, including "Full House" and "Family Matters"), and was performed by Jesse Frederick and Theresa James. As the seasons progressed, the theme song and opening credits became shorter. The full opening sequence was used in the first season only, lasting 1 (minute):46 (seconds). Starting with the second season, the fourth verse and a portion of the sixth verse were cut, and the guitar portion at the beginning was taken out in the fourth season.

The scenes comprising the opening credits were filmed at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California. A CGI ocean is inserted into the space in the foreground where the park's parking lot really is, as the camera pans away from the park. [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0101205/trivia] The closest real theme park to Port Washington would be Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois, an hour-and-a-half drive away. Coincidentally, the Six Flags parks were once owned by Time Warner, which owned the production companies behind "Step by Step": Lorimar Productions and Warner Bros. Television

During the first three seasons, the credits started with the family's Ford Explorer driving passed a sign that read "Port Washington, Wisconsin. Population: 9,338". The background of this first scene was filmed in the city of South Pasadena, California on Meridian Ave (note the museum and antiques shop, nearby the Metro Gold Line station). This scene was cut out after season three, and, after that, the sequence started with the real amusement park's main roller coaster zooming down the track toward the camera. The opening sequence featured the Lamberts and Fosters at the amusement park (J.T. playing a "test your strength" game, Al and Karen sliding into a ball pit, etc.). The names of most of the cast slid from the sides of the screen. In the first three seasons, near the end of the sequence, it featured the entire family, except for Mark and either Ivy or Cody, on a roller coaster, before cutting to a shot of the roller coaster, as the camera zoomed out with the producer credits shown. Another part of the sequence that was cut was when Carol and Frank were standing on a bridge next to a water ride, which splashed them as it came down the track.

By the sixth season (the show's final season on ABC), the theme song was completely scrapped. The names of cast members and the producers' names were shown in the opening teaser. However, when the show was moved to CBS for its seventh and final season, along with "Family Matters", the opening theme song was back, only this time with all but the fifth verse and part of the sixth verse left. This sequence featured the amusement park, but the cast members were shown in still pictures on a picture reel, like one from a photo booth. The only producer credits in this sequence were that of Thomas Miller and Robert Boyett.

Episodes

Cast

Foster family

* Suzanne Somers (Carol) - high-strung wife/mother who eventually learned to "cut loose"
* Staci Keanan (Dana) - smart, but tried to be perfect, almost identical to Carol. She was also known as a "wise-cracker", especially toward J.T. Later in the series, she dated J.T.'s best friend, Rich.
* Angela Watson (Karen) - an aspiring model, who was very vain, yet could be level-headed at times
* Christopher Castile (Mark) - nerd, who was into computers and academics. Later on, he matured to be "a normal teenager" with "manly" friends, and even a girlfriend
* Patrika Darbo (Aunt Penny Baker) - Carol's man-hungry younger sister (only seen in Season 1)
* Peggy Rea (Grandma Ivy Baker) - Carol and Penny's mother, who knew how to speak her mind, especially to Penny White (only seen in Season 1)

Lambert family

* Patrick Duffy (Frank) - chauvinistic husband/father, who was an avid sports fan, especially of the Milwaukee Bucks and Green Bay Packers
* Brandon Call (John Thomas, a.k.a. "J.T.") - slacker, who was into sports, and was academically challenged
* Christine Lakin (Alicia, a.k.a. "Al") - tomboyish All-American girl, who later matured in her own right
* Josh Byrne (Brendan) - shy, carefree youngster (eventually removed from the series after season 6)
* Sasha Mitchell (Cody) - Frank's nephew, whom J.T. looked up to. Eccentric adolescent, who lived in his van in the driveway, although he showed bouts of wisdom on numerous occasions. He had a few catchphrases, such as "Dude!"; "Dude-sy!"; and "Ch-yeah!" (appearance in season 1, seasons 2-5, and 1 episode in season 7).

Other cast members

* Emily Mae Young (Lilly Foster-Lambert) - first child conceived by Frank and Carol together. (seasons 6-7).
* Jason Marsden (Rich Halke) - J.T.'s best friend. He could be both a slacker and seriously devoted. He later dated Dana (to the others' dismay). (appearance in season 5, seasons 6-7).
* Alexandra Adi (Samantha "Sam" Milano) - J.T.'s one-time girlfriend. She worked as a mechanic in a garage. (seasons 6-7)
* Bronson Pinchot (Jean-Luc Rieupeyroux) - a male beautician, and Carol's business partner. He was brought in to replace Sasha Mitchell's character on the series. (season 6).

yndication

In 1995, Step by Step went into off-network syndication, and was distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. It currently airs on ABC Family (joining the network in 2000, when the network was known as Fox Family), and is currently one of ABC Family's longest-running off-network syndicated programs. The show airs once a day on weekdays, and is double-run on weekend mornings.

DVD Releases

Warner Home Video released a 6-episode Television Favorites collection on June 27, 2006.

External links

[http://www.tv.com/step-by-step/show/354/summary.html?q=Step%20by%20Step&tag=search_results;title;1]


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