Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Bearing traces of such films as The Graduate and Orange County, the half-hour Fox network sitcom Free Ride (original title: Freebirds) starred Josh Dean as UC Santa Barbara student Nate Stahlings. Forced by circumstance to briefly drop out of college (only for five months -- or at least that was what he told himself!), Nate returned to his hometown of Johnson City, MO, moving back in with his parents, Margo (Loretta Fox) and Bob (Allan Havey), whose marriage was in deep, deep trouble. As if he didn't have enough to worry about, Nate was also coping with the fact that his long-time girlfriend, Amber Danwood (Erin Cahill), was now engaged to someone else. Endeavoring to raise Nate's spirits -- usually to no avail -- was his wacky, party-animal best bud, Dove (Dave Sheridan). The humor on Free Ride was laced with cynicism, irony, and angst, so much so that the producers decided to dispense with a laugh track, allowing the viewers to judge for themselves whether they should be laughing at or empathizing with the beleaguered protagonist. The series began its initial six-week trial run on March 1, 2006.