What About Joan: Season 1 (2001)

SEASON:

Season 1
What About Joan

Critics Consensus

Despite Joan Cusack's winning personality, What About Joan falters due to its terrible writing, flat jokes, and lackluster casting.

38%

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Critic Ratings: 16

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Episodes

Air date: Mar 27, 2001

In the series pilot, Jake (Kyle Chandler) proposes to Joan (Joan Cusack). Ardor that intense freaks Joan out, so for advice and counsel she seeks out her friends Betsy (Jessica Hecht), a fellow teacher, and Ruby (Donna Murphy). Alice: Kellie Williams. Mark: Wallace Langham.

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Air date: Apr 3, 2001

Joan (Joan Cusack) wants to discuss "everything" with Jake (Kyle Chandler) to clear the air for their "perfect relationship." The first topic, religion, is a breeze. Then comes sex, which is not a breeze. Meanwhile, Joan's psychiatrist friend Ruby (Donny Murphy) decides to do a favor for their mutual friend Betsy (Jessica Hecht). She'll engage Betsy's noncommittal boyfriend Mark (Wallace Langham) in furtive therapy in hopes of getting him to commit.

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Air date: Apr 10, 2001

Betsy, tired of waiting, decides to propose to Mark (Wallace Langham). So Jake suggests she treat it as a business proposition, and gives her "a quick lesson in the art of negotiation." Meanwhile, Ruby's book ("Solid Food for Thought: A Midwestern Guide to Mental Health") is published; and the kids in Joan's Shakespeare class cheat on a test. John: Weston Mueller. Bob: Bruce Jarchow. Brad: Craig Cackowski.

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Air date: Apr 17, 2001

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.

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Air date: Apr 24, 2001

Joan's speech team wins the state championship---and a trip to San Francisco. But then the School Board cuts its funding, and the funding for all other school activities, and the teachers vie with each other to get their money back. Meanwhile, a student (Aaron Himelstein) develops a crush on Ruby (Donna Murphy), and isn't shy about letting her know. Coach: Cedric Young. Chairwoman: Meg Thalken.

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Air date: May 1, 2001

Joan's older sister, Ann (Ann Cusack, Joan Cusack's real-life sister), visits, and Joan wants to make sure she and Jake hit it off. "I don't want to get you nervous," Joan tells him. "Her judgment is everything to me." Meanwhile, Ruby is dating a "cowboy" (Joe Petcka); and Betsy and Mark, who had broken up, "start clean" as a couple. Student: Aaron Himelstein.

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Air date: May 8, 2001

Joan is consumed by jealousy while Jake is off at his company's weekend retreat. It seems that the motivational speaker (Rose McGowan) has her eye on him, and she's anything but shy about it. In fact, she tells her friend Alice that she intends to have "freaky sex" with the clueless Jake. Alice: Kellie Williams. Russ: Rich Talarico. Jennifer: Maia Madison. Betsy: Jessica Hecht. Ruby: Donna Murphy. Mark: Wallace Langham.

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Air date: May 15, 2001

Jake's down in the dumps so Joan has him see a shrink---Ruby (Donna Murphy), who, it happens, is more depressed than he is. Her problem: her lifelong drive for academic success caused her to abandon her desire to be a singer. Steve: Daniel Allar. Piano Man: Scott Rankel.

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Air date: May 22, 2001

It's "I do" time, but it's not Joan who's getting married. It's Betsy and Mark (Jessica Hecht and Wallace Langham), a match few think is made in Heaven. Meanwhile, the heavens seem to have doubts as well: a blizzard is keeping Betsy from getting to the church on time. Herman: Adam Tanguay. Minister: Howard Platt.

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Tv Season Info

Cast & Crew

Joan Cusack
Joan Gallagher
Wallace Langham
Mark Ludlow
Kyle Chandler
Jake Evans
Donna Murphy
Dr. Ruby Stern
Frank Bucaro
Khallid Shabazz
Laura Scheinbaum
Scott Markwell
David Richardson
Executive Producer
James L. Brooks
Executive Producer
Richard Sakai
Executive Producer
John Levenstein
Executive Producer
Ed. Weinberger
Director
Michael Price
Writer
Robin Epstein
Writer
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Critic Reviews for What About Joan Season 1

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (10)

What About Joan looks and feels way too much like every other lame sitcom. It doesn't have the energy or the chemistry of a Will & Grace breakout, and it's definitely nowhere near as spastic or original as Malcolm in the Middle.

Sep 19, 2019 | Full Review…

There's room for improvement in What About Joan, but Cusack is the right star at the right time in what may turn out to be the right show.

Sep 19, 2019 | Full Review…

What's not so great about the show is that [Joan] Cusack is so neurotic that everything she says seems to carry with it the threat of sudden self-immolation.

Sep 19, 2019 | Full Review…

The show is smart and sweet, and [Joan] Cusack is adorably down-to-earth.

Sep 19, 2019 | Full Review…

What About Joan is full of clever and cute touches, smart dialogue, believably zany characters and a sense of being very contemporary even though few if any topical names are dropped.

Sep 19, 2019 | Full Review…

I just found [Joan] Cusack's character, meant to be kooky and charming, mostly offputting. She blurts out words like "charlatan," and it's funny. And she certainly suggests a rich inner life. But she doesn't know when to pull back.

Sep 19, 2019 | Full Review…

What About Joan boasts some bright writing and an appealing ensemble, which comes together like H2 and O.

Sep 19, 2019 | Full Review…

What About Joan has a good sense of its lead character, but the supporting cast is not quite up to muster.

Sep 19, 2019 | Full Review…

[Joan] Cusack is surrounded by people with whom she has no chemistry, and the writing seems to get worse with each episode.

Sep 19, 2019 | Full Review…

[Joan] Cusack is certainly an appealing actress and she does her best mugging her way through the thin material in the first two episodes. Chandler, however, plays such a dull guy that he makes Thomas Gibson (Greg) seem like Gilbert Gottfried.

Sep 19, 2019 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

There are [James L.] Brooks touches here, but while they were brilliant and seminal when they first appeared, they've been recycled too many times.

Sep 19, 2019 | Full Review…

Joan Cusack is an enormously gifted comic actress. And this new series is nothing if not a showcase for the star's talents. Yet there were times during the first two episodes when I wanted to tell her, "Relax -- you passed the audition already."

Sep 19, 2019 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for What About Joan: Season 1

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