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Bosom Buddies

Bosom Buddies is an ABC network sitcom series created by Robert L. Boyett, Thomas L. Miller & Chris Thompson.

The show aired from November 27, 1980 to March 27, 1982, lasting for two seasons & 37 episodes.

Plot

The series centered on the misadventures of Kip Wilson and Henry Desmond, two single men who work in creative advertising and disguise themselves as women in order to live at the Susan B. Anthony Hotel (which is the only place that they're able to afford).

Cast

  • Tom Hanks as Kip Wilson/Buffy (when in drag)
  • Peter Scolari as Henry Desmond/Hildegard (when in drag)
  • Wendie Jo Sperber as Amy Cassidy
  • Holland Taylor as Ruth Dunbar, their boss
  • Donna Dixon as Sonny Lumet
  • Telma Hopkins as Isabelle Hammond (season 2)
  • Lucille Benson as Lilly Sinclair (season 1)

Production

"Bosom Buddies" was conceived by Miller and Boyett as a male counterpart to their hit sitcom,"Laverne & Shirley". They originally pitched it as a straightforward buddy comedy done in what they described as "a sophisticated Billy Wilder kind of way."

When ABC executives asked Miller and Boyett to explain what they meant by the comparison to Wilder, the producers mentioned "Some Like It Hot" and ABC bought the show on condition that it would include men in women's clothing, just like that movie.

According to Miller: "We weren't there to pitch that and they jumped on it! We drove back to the studio in the car saying, "Oh my God, what are we gonna do? We have to do something in drag"."

After the cast had been chosen, Miller and Boyett asked Chris Thompson, one of the writer-producers of "Laverne & Shirley" to write the pilot and be the series showrunner. Thompson (who would go on to executive-produce such shows as "The Larry Sanders Show") said later that he took the job purely for the money, but unexpectedly found it to be "my completely favorite experience in show business" because the network left him and his young cast free to experiment.

He recalled: "We were left alone. Nobody was paying attention to us. We were all really young, but it was like we had daddy's Porsche. We had $500,000 to play with every week."

Cancellation

Like many other sitcoms that aired during the 1980-81 television season, "Bosom Buddies" felt the effects of a strike by the Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists that occurred in 1980. As a result, the show had an abbreviated first season.

At first, the ratings for "Bosom Buddies" were strong. However, ABC kept switching the show's day and time slots, which hurt the first season's overall standing.

The show's second season (with its revised premise) fared even worse, and after more time slot changes by the network, it was canceled in the spring of 1982.

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