epguides.com presents

Style & Substance

an Episode Guide
by Russell Wodell

Last updated:
Sat, 14 May 2005 03:00

Cast Photo
aired from: Jan 1998 to: Sep 1998 13 eps, 1 unaired CBS 30 min stereo closed captioned

regulars:

  • Jean Smart as Chelsea Stevens
  • Nancy McKeon as Jane Sokol
  • Joseph Maher as Mr. John
  • Linda Kash as Trudy
  • Heath Hyche as Terry

    recurring characters:

  • Alan Autry as Earl, Chelsea's handyman
  • Vyto Ruginis as Bobby, Chelsea's unscrupulous lawyer

    "Chelsea Stevens is a one-woman cooking, decorating and entertaining machine who thinks every crisis can be solved by a decorative centerpiece. But her personal touch never carries into her personal life: She has no trouble whipping up a gourmet dinner for 12, but she doesn't know 12 people who care to eat it with her. Her new producer Jane, who has just broken up with her boyfriend, decides to make the recently divorced Chelsea her project - to make Chelsea more human, and to hang onto her job at the same time." (CBS press release)

    A second attempt to lampoon Martha Stewart during the 1997-1998 season, after The Simple Life, and no more successful. Jean Smart is simply too innately nice to be credible as a schizophrenic bitch, and since Nancy McKeon's persona is equally nice, their conflict comes across as contrived and unfunny.


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      1st Season 1998

      Production credits:
      Executive Producer / Creator: Peter Tolan
      Co-producers: Gary Janetti, Donald Capen
      Executive story editor: Donald Beck

    1. "Pilot"
      gs: Peter Krause [ Steve ]

      rc: Earl

      Chelsea discovers that her new office manager, Jane Sokol, is also recovering from a breakup, and she decides to lend a helping hand.

      b: 5 Jan 98 pc: E701 w: Peter Tolan d: Jay Sandrich
    2. "A Trip to Chelseatown"

      rc: Bobby

      When Chelsea decides to redecorate Jane's apartment for her magazine, she convinces a reluctant Jane to visit her Connecticut home, promising a relaxing weekend in the country. But instead of a cordial hostess, Chelsea proves to be a drill sergeant: waking Jane at the crack of dawn to pluck chickens, shear sheep and perform endless farmyard chores. Jane thinks things couldn't get any weirder until Chelsea reveals her biggest secret - Chelseatown, a miniature town Chelsea has designed in her own honor.

      b: 12 Jan 98 pc: E702 w: Russ Woody d: Jay Sandrich
    3. "The Boss and Other Disasters"
      gs: John O'Hurley [ Mr. Ferber ], John Apicella [ Waiter ]

      A flustered Jane is in a quandary: the boss who's checking up on her has become hung up on Chelsea after a one-night stand.

      b: 19 Jan 98 pc: E706 w: Peter Tolan d: Jay Sandrich
    4. "A Recipe for Disaster"
      gs: Jean Stapleton [ Gloria Utley ], Regis Philbin [ Himself ], Kathie Lee Gifford [ Herself ]

      rc: Earl

      Jane invites Chelsea's childhood idol, TV chef Gloria Utley, to appear alongside Chelsea on Live with Regis & Kathie Lee - unaware that Gloria is a burned-out boozer.

      b: 26 Jan 98 pc: E708 w: Mike Chessler & Chris Alberghini d: Jay Sandrich
    5. "Chelsea Gets an Opinion"
      gs: Dr. Joyce Brothers [ Herself ], Vanna White [ Herself ], Harry Shearer [ Himself ], Christopher Darden [ Himself ], Buzz Aldrin [ Himself ], Peter Tolen [ Carl ], Michael Riley [ Michael ]

      When the press criticizes Chelsea for being shallow and self-involved, she decides to improve her public image by participating in a talk show to discuss current events in the Middle East. Realizing that Chelsea knows absolutely nothing about politics and faces certain humiliation on national television, Jane volunteers to tutor her on the show's discussion topic. After hours of studying, Chelsea is ready for the show - only to discover that the topic has changed to NAFTA.

      b: 2 Feb 98 pc: E707 w: Donald Beck d: Iris Dugow

      NOTE: After the series was cancelled, the remaining episodes were shown during the summer months.
    6. "Terry, We Hardly Knew Ye"
      gs: Robert Gant [ Matthew ], Damon Standifer [ Drag Queen ], Connie Sawyer [ Elderly Woman ], Harley Zumbrum [ Bum ]

      rc: Bobby

      Chelsea gets mugged, blames her assistant, and wants him fired - by office manager Jane.

      b: 22 Jul 98 pc: E703 w: Gary Janetti d: Jay Sandrich
    7. "Office Management for Beginners"

      rc: Bobby

      The adversarial relationship between Jane and Chelsea's underhanded lawyer, Bobby, escalates when Chelsea asks them to find a way to cut costs so she can buy an expensive new computer system. When Jane cuts Bobby's salary to provide the money for the computer, Bobby retaliates by playing a series of practical jokes on her. Jane refuses to stoop to his level by responding to his tactics, until he finally pushes her too far - and Jane proves that she can out-prank the prankster.

      b: 29 Jul 98 pc: E704 w: ______________ d: ______________
    8. "The Plate"
      gs: Kyle Coleridger-Krugh [ Clark ], Gene Pompa [ Tom ]

      Chelsea covets a valuable Chinese dinner plate of Jane's, but after Jane refuses to part with it, an office mix-up places the item in Chelsea's possession.

      b: 5 Aug 98 pc: E710 w: Susan Beavers d: Brian K. Roberts
    9. "Chelsea's First Date"
      gs: Michael Nouri [ Jeff ], Tom Dahlgren [ Minister ], Carol Channing [ Herself ]

      rc: Earl

      After Jane convinces Chelsea to go on her first date since her divorce, Chelsea falls too hard, too fast and winds up engaged to a handsome, romantic man from her past, Jeff. Jane urges Chelsea to use common sense and not rush into marriage too quickly - but Chelsea is having too much fun planning an extremely lavish, extravagant wedding. Meanwhile, Chelsea puts a number of her society guests, including Carol Channing (who guest stars as herself), to work creating elaborate decorations for her nuptials.

      b: 12 Aug 98 pc: E711 w: Donald Beck d: Jay Sandrich
    10. "No Soap Romeo"
      gs: Larry Poindexter [ Dax ]

      Chelsea tries to help Jane wash her hands of a bubble-headed soap star she's been seeing, while an abusive deliveryman bullies Terry.

      b: 19 Aug 98 pc: E709 w: ______________ d: ______________
    11. "Chelsea's Ex"
      gs: Dough Sheehan [ Grant ], Eric Christmas [ Hadley ], Frances Bay [ Elizabeth ], Zack Phifer [ David ]

      When Chelsea sees her ex-husband for the first time since their divorce, she discovers she's still in love with him. Although she still has feelings for him, he rejects her for the final time and Jane helps her mend her broken heart and gain some confidence in herself as a single woman. Meanwhile, Mr. John is too nervous to tell his conservative British parents that he's gay, which puts a strain on his relationship with Guy, his "life partner."

      b: 25 Aug 98 pc: E705 w: Ian Praiser d: Jay Sandrich
    12. "I Went To a Garden Party"
      gs: Christine Estabrook [ Marlene ], Patrick Cronin [ Jack Webster ], Suzanne Spoke [ Maggie ], Sharon Madden [ Receptionist ], Ed Beechner [ Security Guard #1 ], Todd Jeffries [ Security Guard #2 ], Mitch Gibney [ Reporter #1 ], Leon W. Grant [ Reporter #2 ], Larry Cedar [ Sol ]

      rc: Earl

      In hopes of being recognized as a true humanitarian, Chelsea decides to throw a fundraising event for a drug rehabilitation center. Unfortunately, she buys fresh produce from a local farmer and mistakenly serves "magic mushrooms" at the party - leaving her high society guests somewhat dazed and confused. Meanwhile, when Terry finds a wing nut in his candy bar, Trudy convinces him to threaten legal action unless the candy company gives him free food.

      b: 2 Sep 98 pc: E712 w: Chris Alberghini & Mike Chessler d: Jay Sandrich
    13. "Do Not Go Squealing into that Good Night"
      gs: Joel Brooks [ Jerry Lindeman ], Mary Gillis [ Mrs. Oliver ], Bob Goen [ Himself ], Terri Murphy [ Herself ]

      rc: Earl

      Mrs. Oliver, Chelseašs neighbour, accuses Chelsea of killing her pig, which in fact was accidentally run over by Jane.

      b: UNAIRED pc: E713 w: Daphne Pollon d: Peter Tolan

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    NOTES

    Thanks to Ian Johns.


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