Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Standup comedian Christopher Titus was the titular star of this FOX network sitcom, which could be described as "Seinfeld Dark"--very, very, VERY dark! Opening each episode with a vitriolic, self-deprecating monologue (taped in black in white, in contrast to the dingy colors prevalent during the rest of the proceedings), Titus was cast as "himself"--not a comedian, but instead the owner of Titus High Performance, a garage catering to the sportscar and racing crowd in Southern California. Most of the episodes were inspired by the well-publicized dysfunctional family life endured by Titus in his pre-stardom days, with special emphasis on the fractious relationship between Christopher and his drunken, disreputable, much-married father Ken (Stacy Keach). Christopher's coworkers included his brainless younger brother Dave (Zach Ward) and his obnoxious best friend Tommy Shafer (David Shatraw). Dropping in on occasion was the hero's girlfriend Erin Fitzpatrick (Cynthia Watros), whose primary function was to prevent the various members of the Titus family from killing each other. She nearly failed in this endeavor when Titus' manic-depressive mother Juanita (played at one time or another by Christine Estabrook, Frances Fisher and Connie Stevens), who'd been driven into a mental institution by the overbearingly nasty Ken, escaped from bondage and attempted to murder her loved ones. Ken's reprehensible attitude towards the opposite sex was further demonstrated when, after suffering a heart attack, he inaugurated an affair with his nurse Kathy (Mary Lou Rosato), who proved to be every bit as repulsive and alienating as Ken. Christopher's own love life was scuttled first by an explosion which briefly rendered him brain dead, and then by Erin's terrified reaction to the news that Christopher's mom Juanita has recently bumped off her new husband (Juanita later committed suicide. Boy, that Titus was sure a barrel of laughs!) Near the end of the series, Christopher himself displayed his family's lunatic streak by inciting a riot that resulted in the arrest of practically everyone he knew. In addition to his monologues and various asides to the audience, Christopher would frequently flash back to his miserable childhood, in which was played at various ages by Adam Hicks and Dylan Capannelli. Given the morbid nature of these and other series setpieces, it should not be surprising that Titus was more of a cult favorite than a howling ratings success. Popping up in no fewer than five different timeslots, the series managed to remain on Fox's schedule from March 20, 2000 through August 12, 2002.
alcoholism, childhood, dysfunctional, comedian, stand-up-comedy