Stresed Eric

(Above and right: "Stressed Eric" ad from the 8/8/98 issue of "TV Guide" (MediaOne - Metro Boston Edition) ©1998 NBC / Klasky-Csupo / Absolutely Productions / BBC)

Stressed Eric, a 6-episode mini-series animated comedy about the trials and tribulations of Eric Feeble, a divorcé with his 2 children and his irresponsible maid, made its US debut Wednesday, 8/12/98 at 9:30PM ET on most NBC stations. This is K-C's first animated series produced for a market other than the US, produced in Britain by K-C in association with Absolutely Productions and the BBC (which shown Eric to British viewers in early 1998). Eric's part, who had a heavy British accent, is now voiced by Hank Azaria (The Simpsons), with Eric now an American living in London. This, by the way, was NBC's first prime-time animated series since the short-lived Hanna-Barbera Joke Book in 1982 (though many claim either Mr. Magoo in 1965-66 or Flintstones reruns in 1981 as NBC's last prime-time animated program), as well as their first animated program in general since 1993, when NBC cancelled almost their entire Saturday morning lineup (except Saved By The Bell, a live-action program).

After the show's premiere, public reaction to the show has been lukewarm. A lot of people praised the show for its impressive animation (which is K-C's trademark), but at the same time, chided it for its lackluster plotline, made worse with NBC replacing the original voice with Azaria, so the character can be more understandable (NBC did not consider the viewers' constant exposure to Monty Python, Dr. Who and Benny Hill the past several years). In light of this, some people thought that Eric is better off in its original form on Comedy Central, rather than the redubs on NBC. Many people changed channels midway to watch another British import, Whose Line Is It Anyway?, the ABC version hosted by Drew Carey. Finally, some affiliates chosen to pre-empt Stressed Eric outright, thinking that it'll be "spicier than South Park" (as the TVG ads promised), despite Eric's [TV-PG] rating. In Salt Lake City, the Mormon-owned KSL ch.5, Utah's only NBC affiliate, decided in advance to replace Eric with Mad About You reruns.

A victim of low ratings (constantly being clobbered by "Whose Line...?"), Stressed Eric's final episode on NBC was 8/26/98, after 3 episodes; 3 episodes (out of 6) go unaired in the US. NBC's cancellation was so abrupt, they're were 2 episodes scheduled in TV Guide on 9/1/98 & 9/8/98, but were never seen (including a TVG Close-Up on 9/1, featuring Eric's visit to a hospital). NBC had planned on showing the remaining 3 shows later during the 1998-99 season, but these plans were never realised; since then, no other US network has stepped forward to show Stressed Eric.
Eric's most recent appearance on North American television was on 11/27/99, when in Canada, YTV (a children's channel that has also carried other Klasky-Csupo shows in the past) has shown all 6 episodes in a 3-hour marathon. After the marathon, YTV presented an episode of Eric once a week.

(Right: "Stressed Eric" ad from the 11/27/99 issue of the Canadian TV Guide (CANCOM Edition) ©1999 YTV / Klasky-Csupo / Absolutely Productions / BBC)

The Episodes:

1. Brian, Eric's son, takes part in his school's Nativity play.

2. Eric's daughter dreams of getting a pony, so he tries to get one.

3. Eric visits the hospital.

4. Eric tries to keep a difficult client entertained.

5. Eric's former girlfriend calls him, giving romantic hopes to Eric.

6. A Japanese client stresses cleanliness, so Eric gets stressed out over his messy office, which may end up having the Japanese say "Sayonara" to Eric's company.

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