- Wings (TV series)
show_name = Wings
runtime = 30 minutes per episode
David Angell Peter Casey
Thomas Haden Church
Amy Yasbeck Tony Shalhoub Farrah Forke
April 19, 1990
May 21, 1997
num_seasons = 8
num_episodes = 172
list_episodes= List of Wings episodes
imdb_id = 0098948
tv_com_id = 161 |
"Wings" is an American
sitcomthat ran on NBCfrom April 19, 1990to May 14, 1997. Starring Timothy Dalyand Steven Weber as brothers Joe and Brian Hackett, the show was set at the fictional Tom Nevers Field, a small airportin Nantucket, Massachusetts, where the Hackett brothers operated Sandpiper Airlines. Exteriors of Nantucket Memorial Airportwere used for the show. Interior scenes were filmed on a sound stageat Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California, before a live studio audience.
Other regulars include
Crystal Bernard, David Schramm, Rebecca Schull, Thomas Haden Church, and Tony Shalhoub. Farrah Forkelater joined the cast for a two seasons. When Forke left, Amy Yasbeckjoined the cast for the remainder of the show's run. Church left the show in Spring 1995 to star in the Fox sitcom " Ned and Stacey".
"Wings" was created and produced by
David Angell, Peter Casey, and David Lee, who had been writer-producers on " Cheers" and later created " Frasier". Characters from "Cheers" occasionally made guest appearances on "Wings".
In the United Kingdom, the series aired on Sky One and Paramount Comedy Channel in 1997.
Joe is a highly responsible but mildly neurotic and compulsively neat pilot who owns the one-plane airline Sandpiper Air, on
Nantucket Island. He dreamed of becoming a pilot as a child, and became the de facto head of his family after he and his brother's mother disappeared and their father lost his mind. He had initially intended to launch Sandpiper Air with his fiancee Carol behind the ticket counter, but his brother Brian ran off with her, causing a falling out between the brothers. The Hackett family moved to Nantucket when Joe and Brian were children. He was played by Timothy Daly.
Brian is the more carefree of the Hackett brothers. His irresponsibility is often a source of consternation to older brother Joe: he had a "free ride" to Princeton and dropped out, was accepted into the astronaut training program at
NASAand was soon expelled, and has lost other lucrative opportunities due to his reckless nature. He moved to the island of Mustiquein the Caribbean and ran charter flights there after he eloped with his brother Joe's fiancee, Carol, which caused a rift between the brothers. When Carol left Brian, he returned to Nantucket, and Joe was eventually persuaded to allow him not only to move into his house but to give Brian a job at Sandpiper Air. Brian is a shameless ladies' man for most of the series, but has two significant relationships: the first with helicopter pilot Alex Lambert, and then with Casey Chappel-Davenport, Helen's older sister. He was played by Steven Weber.
Helen Chappel Hackett
Helen is a petite blond who, despite having lived on Nantucket for most of her life, speaks with a
Texasdrawl. In real life, this is due to the actress being Texan. In the series, it is explained that Helen's family moved to the island from Texas when she was a child. Her mother does not have an accent, nor does her elder sister, Casey. It is mentioned that Casey once had one but lost it, possibly deliberately. Though Helen dreams of playing the celloin a large symphony orchestra, she runs the lunch counter in the airport terminal and never really manages to get a music career off the ground until the final episode. Occasionally Helen would also earn money teaching children the cello. A running gag in regards to her music is that bad luck would always seem to follow her in her playing. Examples of this bad luck would be her having to join a string quartetof neurotic individuals as that was the only group at the time who would accept her. Other parts were Helen getting accepted to a state-run symphony, only to soon learn the state legislature eliminated the funding, and getting a chance to play with the Boston Symphony Orchestraonly to have the plane crash en route. Yet another example of Helen's bad luck was that one symphony appreciated a cassette of her cello playing, but they lost the label and had no way to contact Helen. Helen also constantly battles a compulsive eating habit which caused her to be morbidly obesein her youth. Though successful at losing the weight sometime after Brian eloped with Carol, it is still a specter in her life and a blight on her self-image. She has been a lifelong friend of both Hackett brothers and dreamed of marrying Joe from a young age. She was briefly married to Antonio to prevent him from being deported, but divorced him and finally married Joe at the end of the sixth season. She was played by Crystal Bernard.
Fay Evelyn Schlob Dumbly DeVay Cochran
Fay, Joe's only employee besides Brian, is an former
flight attendantwho handles the ticket counter, baggage check, and flight announcements for Sandpiper Air. Fay has buried three husbands, all with the first name George, and half-jokes of a curse in which, if she marries a man named George, he dies. She is a generally sweet and motherly, though slightly, batty woman who looks after the younger members of their circle as her own children, with the possible exception of Roy Biggins, for whom she often has little patience due to his generally contemptible behavior. She can, however, be sweetly manipulative. She was played by Rebecca Schull.
Roy is the owner of Aeromass, the only other airline on Nantucket, and with seven planes a larger business than Sandpiper, although Roy had been unable to break into the lucrative business of
charter flights. Generally competitive, arrogant and unpleasant, Roy often belittles Joe for having a small-time operation and mocks Joe's business skills. Despite this, Roy feels threatened by Joe's presence as a competitor, and makes numerous attempts to either buy Sandpiper or put it out of business. Roy was married to a woman named Sylvia; for several years he claimed that she died, but it was later revealed that actually she had left him and is now living in Boston and married to a wealthy plastic surgeon. Sylvia was played by Concetta Tomei. The couple had one son, R.J. (Roy Junior), who is a homosexual. Roy is a dishonest man. Examples included him forcing a customer on a plane who just ordered a large meal from Helen. The customer leaves his meal and the money for Helen; Roy promptly steals both. He also established false charities to include one for his "late wife" and using the proceeds for fly-fishing trips or to subscribe to the Playboy Channel. He has an autographed picture of Richard Nixonin his office and was once arrested for trying to sneak aboard Air Force Oneto have a picture taken of himself shaking hands with President George H. W. Bush. While normally conniving and arrogant, Roy does have a sense of fun: Since his birthday was on February 29, 1948, a leap year, he celebrates it only once every four years as if he were only a quarter of his real age. He drives a purple El Camino, to which he claims he can disconnect the brake lights in order to engage in insurance fraudby being unintentionally rear-ended by people in luxury cars. Roy is played by David Schramm.
(Season 3-8) He is an Italian immigrant who provides taxi service to and from the airport. Antonio is mild-mannered, deferential, and hopelessly romantic; he falls head-over-heels for Helen's older sister Casey when she returns to Nantucket, though his feelings are not reciprocated. Antonio was originally a waiter, and made a guest appearance in the second season in this role before becoming an official cast member in the third season (by which time he had changed professions). He is often seen wearing a
bow tiewhen in more formal clothes. Antonio is played by Tony Shalhoub, also known for his leading role on "Monk".
(Season 1-6) Lowell is a dim and eccentric mechanic/handyman who works at the airport and is available to everyone when repairs are needed. Lowell claims that, while he is not an orphan, his brother is. He was married to a woman named Bunny with whom he had several children, but they
divorced when Lowell learned that Bunny was sleeping around. After Brian sank the houseboatLowell lived on, Lowell lived with Joe and Brian for a time, where Lowell revealed a surprising talent for cooking. After about a year, however, his eccentricities became unbearable to the Hacketts, and they kicked him out to find his own place. Eventually, Lowell is forced to leave Nantucket and enter the Witness Protection Programafter witnessing a mob hit. Although it was hard for him to leave Nantucket and the people he knew all his life, Lowell decided he would prefer to go into hiding than let a guilty man get away scot-free, knowing he could murder again. Lowell was played by Thomas Haden Church.
(Season 4-5) Alex is a
helicopterpilot who moves to Nantucket to start her own helicopter tour business. She had previously flown U.S. ArmyApache helicopters in Desert Storm. [Episode "Two Jerks and a Jill", season four] Though she initially rebuffs the amorous attentions of both Hackett brothers, she eventually falls for Brian's boyish charms. She and Brian live together briefly, but after Brian spends a wild night in New York with Joe and an old friend, Alex throws him out of the apartment and leaves Nantucket for good. She returns a season later to resolve some of the bitterness in their breakup; she and Brian briefly get back together before they both finally decide it best to go their separate ways. Alex was played by Farrah Forke.
Casey (Davenport) Chappel
(Season 6-8) Casey is Helen's older sister. She returns to Nantucket after being abandoned by her husband, Stuart Davenport, but though having grown up there has difficulty adjusting her
upper crusttastes and sensibilities to a working classlife on the small island. Though Antonio falls madly in love with her, Casey takes little notice of him. After she and Brian spend the better part of a season sniping at each other, they end up having sex the night before Joe and Helen's wedding. Afterward they find themselves unable to stay away from each other, having a passionate affair; while Joe and Helen are on their honeymoon, Casey's bra lands on the hearth of the lit fireplace and leads to Helen's house burning down. Her relationship with Brian cools after that, but they maintain a friendship. When she first appears in the show, Casey goes by her married name of Davenport, but after she and Stuart divorce at the end of season seven, she reverts to Chappel. She was played by Amy Yasbeck.
(Season 7) Budd is a retired US Marine who is hired to replace Lowell. He is extremely jumpy and insecure, and haunted by an incident in his past in which an aircraft he worked on crashed, resulting in his facing a
court martial. Though the military cleared him of charges, Budd continued to blame himself for the incident until Brian convinces him to let it go. Occasionally Budd would astonish everyone with magic tricks, but otherwise had difficulty adjusting to the social scene. After being introduced early in the seventh season, Budd disappears toward the end of the season and is never mentioned again. It is largely believed by fans that the character of Budd Bronski was reciting lines intended for Lowell Mather and that the script writers had written in Lowell's charcater ahead of time. He was played by Brian Haley.
Bunny Mather: Lowell's wife at the beginning of the series, from whom he separates and eventually divorces when he learns she sleeps with other men. Bunny's promiscuity is her primary gag; she flirts with nearly every man she encounters, and ends up sleeping with many of them. Not even the divorce was enough to convince Bunny to stay away, as the episode that showed the divorce had Lowell and Bunny sleeping together that very same night. Bunny was played by
Carlton Blanchard: He is an old man with a high-pitched nasal voice whose outwardly meek yet privately demanding behavior causes everyone who meets him to shudder at his coming. He is also known for asking bizarre questions such as "If you were to carpet
Florida, how long would it take to vacuum?" and "If a monkey were to bite you, what kind of drugs do you suppose they'd give you?". He annoyed Joe, Brian, Lowell and Antonio when he won a charity contestsponsored by Sandpiper and demanded he be flown to Las Cruces, New Mexico, way beyond the scope of Sandpiper's routes. In another episode, he tricked Helen into throwing him a birthday party and then faked falling down her stairs in order to force her to take care of him for a week. Though none of the regulars care for Carlton, he is especially disliked by Antonio, a situation made worse by the fact that Carlton repeatedly calls him by the wrong name, "Angelo". Carlton was played by William Hickey.
Lewis Blanchard: Carlton's equally irritating nephew. He is very rude and abrasive, and makes only the slightest of attempts to hide his wish for Carlton to die so he can inherit his money. He seems to have crushes on Casey, Helen, and Alex, who are all completely repulsed by his lewd remarks. Lewis was played by
Davis Lynch: Davis is a businessman whom Joe flies to Nantucket to invest in the airline. Though he rejects Joe's offer (and ends up investing the money in Roy's airline), he ends up dating Helen, and eventually proposes to her. Helen accepts, but ends up leaving him for Joe. Toward the end of the series, Helen reveals she never broke off the engagement. She had figured he was gone after he was skirted off to
Burmain the wake of a coup d'etatto salvage major investments he had in the company. He was then placed under house arrestby the military junta. Upon his release, Davis returns to see Helen, but while she is trying to work up the courage to tell him she has married someone else, Davis announces that "he" will be unable to marry "her", having fallen in love with a lady who worked for the State Departmentand had risked her life to secure his release. Davis was played by Mark Harelik.
Sandy Cooper: Sandy is a friend of Joe, Brian, and Helen from high school. She has an insane obsessive crush on Joe, but he is unable to convince anyone else of this because she acts completely normal except when she is alone with Joe, who gives her the nickname "Psycho Sandy". She would appear at different points and carefully plan her "life with 'Joey Bear'" at points when he is alone. Such life points included a reenacted high school
prom, wedding, and first baby. In one episode, she is shown to be dating Brian, but the relationship is ultimately never pursued by the show's writers, indicating that it was merely a vehicle to bring her back into Joe's life. Sandy was played by Valerie Mahaffey.
Roy Biggins, Jr. (a.k.a. R.J.): Roy's only son, and the pride of his life. Roy had trained R.J how to do "guy stuff" such as playing football. The first time he is shown is when he is a
high schoolstudent taking cello lessons from Helen as an extracurricular activity. R.J. reveals to everyone he is a homosexual. Roy does not take this news well and challenges him to a game of one-on-one basketballon the condition that if R.J. wins he is allowed to be homosexual, but if Roy wins R.J. is not allowed to be homosexual. R.J. wins game after game against Roy, but Roy refuses to give up. R.J. would return much later in the series after being estranged from Roy for a long time. He had since graduated from law school and was looking to take the Massachusetts Bar Exam. Roy is proud of R.J and his accomplishments, but only so long as R.J.'s homosexuality isn't discussed. R.J. was played by Abraham Benrubi.
Kenny McElvey: Kenny is an 18-year-old who becomes Sandpiper's backup pilot during a second season story arc where Joe is grounded for
hypertension. The comedic focus of the character was his youth and relative inexperience, but he was the most qualified out of the applicants for Joe's replacement (which did not consist of a very large pool). When Joe began flying again in the third season, Kenny disappeared from the series without explanation and was never mentioned again, although it is assumed that given his young age, Kenny attended college in order to prepare himself for a better paying airline job. One episode showed Kenny also working at a fast foodjoint to supplement his meager income from Sandpiper. Kenny was played by Michael Manasseri.
Mr. Hackett: Joe and Brian's deceased father who had taken it hard when his wife, and the boys' mother, walked out on the family. He was committed to a mental institution and had died just prior to the beginning of the series. He had a good sense of humor, and in the series premiere had his will required to be read to both Brian and Joe together, which required them to reunite after their six year estrangement. He willed them a key which opened up the lockbox to another key, then another, which had Joe and Brian go to
Bostonthen back to Nantucket airport where they ended up finding a suitcase full of spring snakes and a photograph of them as children, encouraging them to always value their kinship. After Brian and Casey burn down Joe's house, Joe, fed up with Brian's string of irresponsible behavior, fires him from Sandpiper and orders him never to speak to him again. The ghost of his father appears and uses reverse psychologyto convince Joe to make peace with Brian. Mr. Hackett was played by Don Murray.
Gail Scott: Joe's girlfriend during the first part of Season Three. They began dating while Helen was in New York. When Joe persuaded Helen to move back to Nantucket when she was unhappy in New York, he did not tell her about his relationship with Gail because of his worry that it would prevent Helen from moving back to Nantucket. Helen, convinced that she and Joe would pick up right where they left off, did come back, but soon discovered the truth about Joe and Gail. Believing that Joe intended to hurt her by not disclosing his relationship with Gail, Helen drove her jeep through Joe and Brian's office. Gail is in three episodes, but is mentioned in several others, including phone conversations. She is a journalist who constantly travels. She and Helen eventually become friends briefly, but Gail leaves Joe when she catches Joe and Helen kissing in his kitchen. Gail was played by
Lou: Lou is a feisty old man who is introduced in Season Seven's "The Lyin' King". In that episode, Joe, in order to assuage his guilt over going to a strip club later, volunteers at the senior citizens' home, where he is assigned to spend time with Lou. After spending a moment complaining about how lousy nursing home life is, Lou manages to guilt trip Joe into taking him to the strip club with him. Though Joe is somewhat tolerant of Lou, Brian is decidedly less so, referring to him derisively as
Yoda(due to Lou's shrivelled physical appearance). Lou, in return, makes it clear he does not care for Brian either. Lou is also prone to talking about a rift he had in the past with his brother Harry, prompting his catchphrase, "He screwed me blue!" Lou was originally intended as a one-shot appearance, but proved so popular that he was brought back in the show's final season, where we are also introduced to his brother Harry, played by Abe Vigoda. Lou was played by Phil Leeds.
CBS Home Entertainmenthas released the first seven seasons on DVDin Region 1for the very first time. The seventh season was released on September 9, 2008.cite web|url= http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/news/Wings-Season-7/9722 |title=Wings Season 7|accessdate=2008-05-28|publisher=TVShowsondvd.com]
The theme was a short version of a
Franz Schubertpiece, Piano sonata No. 20 in A Major, D. 959, IV. Rondo. Allegretto. Schubert received screen credit as the theme composer in every episode.
The opening theme heard during the first two and a half seasons was a fairly straightforward arrangement with piano and strings; a jazzed-up version of the theme was heard during the closing credits. The slow opening theme was dropped in January 1992 as episodes began using a
cold open, though it returned for the series finale in 1997.
* "Wings" takes place in the same universe as "
Cheers", and by extension, its spin-off " Frasier". Several episodes had tie-ins with " Cheers"; Kelsey Grammer, Bebe Neuwirth, George Wendt, John Ratzenberger, and Kirstie Alleyall appeared on "Wings" playing their "Cheers" characters.
Cliff Clavinand Norm Petersonvisit Nantucket in the season two episode "The Story of Joe". Their goal is ostensibly to go fishing, but the two never seem to get any farther than the island's drinking establishments.
Lilith Cranewere the focus of the season three episode, "Planes, Trains, & Visiting Cranes." In the episode, Frasier and a skeptical Lilith come to Nantucket to put on a motivational seminar, but run into opposition from Helen Chappel, a dissatisfied former customer of Frasier's program. In the "Cheers" episode "License to Hill", which aired the same night as that particular "Wings" episode, Frasier even mentions that he and Lilith are going to Nantucket, foreshadowing their crossover appearance. (An additional note: Nine years later, at the beginning of the "Frasier" episode "Bla-Z Boy," Niles plays the "Wings" theme on the piano.)
Rebecca Howehas a cameo appearance in the season four episode "I Love Brian", whose plot revolves around Brian's attempt to infiltrate a post-concert party in Clint Black's hotel room. As Rebecca is seen being asked to leave by Black's bouncer, she begs Black to come to the bar in Boston where she works so she can prove to the others there that she knows him. Black responds, "Maybe next year", causing Rebecca to exclaim right before she is kicked out of the party, "But none of you know where we're going to be next year!", a reference to how "Cheers" was in its final season on television.
* Tim Daly was originally considered to play
Jack Torrancein the 1997 miniseries "The Shining". Due to contractual obligations he was unable to accept, and instead recommended his "Wings" costar Steven Weber, who was awarded the role. Two years later, Daly himself would star in another Stephen Kingminiseries, " Storm of the Century".
* A number of episodes featured guest appearances by relatives of the cast.
** Tim Daly's wife, Amy von Nostrand, made an appearance in the season-six episode "Have I Got a Couple for You" as a wife in a married couple who meets the Hacketts. His sister
Tyne Dalyappeared in season three's "My Brother's Keeper" as a wealthy woman who attempts to make Brian a "kept man".
Amy Yasbeck's husband John Ritterguest starred in the season-seven episode "Love Overboard" as Casey's estranged husband Stuart.
** Brooke Adams, wife of Tony Shalhoub, guest starred in season eight's "All About Christmas Eve" as a nun who looks to Antonio for help completing a mission.
** Crystal Bernard's father Jerry Wayne Bernard had a small role as a bank customer in season three's "The Bank Dick".
Cessna402 seen in the opening credits is owned and operated by Cape Air, an airline based in Hyannis, Massachusetts.Fact|date=August 2008
NBC aired the final episode of the show on
May 21, 1997. The episode's plot was a callback to the first episode of the series, in which Joe and Brian are left a suitcase by their father containing a picture of the two as boys and a note reading, "You're rich". In the finale, the brothers discover that not only does the lining of the suitcase contain money, but it sets them off on a treasure hunt which ends up making them $250,000 richer. They argue over what to do with the money; Joe wants to put it into the airline while Brian wants to use the money to retire and move away. Joe's resolve to stay on Nantucket is further tested by the news that Helen has been offered an opportunity to go to Vienna to study music.
The finale featured no guest stars. Most of the extras in the episode were writers and members of the production crew making cameo appearances.Fact|date=August 2008
In the final moments of the episode, Brian offers to run the airline for one year while Joe and Helen are in Europe. With Joe's portion of the money, they order a second airplane, doubling the airline's size and rebuffing Roy's desire to "tear down this lemonade stand of a business", as Joe had initially agreed to sell him Sandpiper Air. Helen leaves her lunch counter, while Casey, Helen's sister, having told off everyone on the island, has nowhere to work and no means of supporting herself. Helen steers her toward her old lunch counter, a fate Casey cannot believe.
References in other media
* In the animated sitcom "
Family Guy", "Wings" is Glenn Quagmire's favorite television show (appropriate, for an airline pilot). He becomes outraged in the episode " Whistle While Your Wife Works" when his friends Peter Griffin, Cleveland Brown, and Joe Swansonexhibit unfamiliarity with the show or claim never even to have heard of it or Tim Daly.
* On the "
Late Show with David Letterman", Peter Griffingave his top ten list, and one said, "Shouldn't Crystal Bernardbe in Playboy by now? I mean, we already sat through seven seasons of Wings". Quagmire tells him "Wings" lasted 10 season; in reality, it lasted eight.
* In the "
The Simpsons" episode " Brother from the Same Planet", Homer is watching a television advertisement in which the announcer cheerfully opens with "Tonight on "Wings"!" and then utters an apathetic, "Ah, who cares?" In a later episode, Homer claims to have loved the show.
* In the "Scrubs" episode "
My Unicorn", guest star Matthew Perry sits at his workplace, an airport, and watches "Wings", commenting, "I'll tell you something about "Wings": They "really" got it right.'
* In the "Sopranos" episode "University", Meadow meets with the father of her then-boyfriend Noah, who says as an entertainment lawyer he recently represented Tim Daly, to which Meadow excitedly asks "The man from "Wings"?" Daly would later appear on "The Sopranos" as J.T. Dolan.
* In an episode of "
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air", when Will is asked by Carlton if he is gonna be watching him while he handles money, Will says "like white folks watch "Wings"!" Will Smithalso did some promotional material in voice overs for NBC during some of the closing credits of "Wings" episodes, which showed the Sandpiper plane flying into the sunset, to which he would end by saying, "This is Will from inside the plane, over and out!"
* In an episode of "
The Critic", Satan is asked if "Wings" can have another season, to which he responds, "Tell them there are limits to even my power!"
* In the "
Mr. Monk and the Airplane" episode of "Monk", which stars "Wings" alum Tony Shalhoub, Monk's assistant recognizes Timothy Daly on the plane, identifying him as an actor who was on "that show "Wings"," to which Shalhoub's character promptly replies, "Never saw it; was it good?" To which his assistant replies "Well, he was."
* In the "
Corner Gas" episode "Grad '68", Lacey's concept of "wing night" confuses Wanda, who believed it to be related to the TV show. When no one knows the reference, she describes the series as "the " Dharma & Greg" of its day".
* On the short-lived comedy series "The Winner", main character Glen Abbot mentions "Wings" in four of the six episodes aired, referring to the show as the best on television and actor
Steven Weberbeing like a chameleon, as he could slip into any role.
* During the 1990s, cable's
USA Networkwas well-known for rerunning episodes of "Wings" several times each weekday as well as weekends. The show's heavy rerun schedule made it a target of humor for several other shows including:
Saturday Night Live": In the October 2, 1999 episode, host Jerry Seinfeldgives a monologue in which he lists the things he has been doing to keep busy since " Seinfeld" went off the air; "watched "Wings" appears in the list several times. A poster for "Wings" can even be seen in the "Seinfeld" season four finale, "The Pilot".
Married With Children": In the episode "Dial B for Virgin", Al gets an illegal link to his neighbor's cable channels and all he can find while channel-surfing are episodes of "Wings" non-stop.
The King of Queens": Doug's (a character played by Kevin James) friends are channel surfing in his garage and name off different shows that were on at that time including "Wings" being said several times (as if to let viewers/audience know that it's aired on a lot of different channels).
**In an episode of "
Becker", when Becker said he was watching "Wings" as an alibi, a police officer cop says, "You'll have to be more specific than that; that show's on six times a day."
**In an episode of the sitcom "
American Girl", there is a scene where the father of star Margaret Cho's character is watching TV and finds "Wings" airing on at least three channels at once.
* [http://episodeguides.blogspot.com/search/label/Wings%20Transcripts Wings Transcripts]
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