Episode 408--"never better"


Joseph Dougherty


Ann Lewis Hamilton

Air Date


Guest Stars

Erich Anderson as Billy Sidel; Jill Novick as Claire; Frank Diels as Ellyn's therapist


Ellyn and Gary become friends as she meets up with Billy Sidel again.


Ellyn comes to the conclusion that she wants to leave therapy, and to her surprise, her therapist agrees with this. While Gary is at the grocery store, trying to get out of the checkout line without Emma having a fit, the checkout girl shows an interest in him.

Ellyn arranges a sitter for Emma so she and Gary can go to the movies. Both seem a litle lonely what with Susannah out of town and Jeffrey gone. Gary runs the incident in the checkout line by Ellyn who concurrs that some women think that men with babies are sexy. As the lights dim, she spots someone in the theater who looks familiar and after the movie, they run into each other in the lobby. The man is Billy Sidel, the man that she had one date with a few months ago just before she began having the affair with Jeffrey. The introductions are nervous and humorous as she tries to make it clear that she's not really on a date with Gary.

That night Susannah calls and has to cancel her plans to return from New York that weekend, leaving Gary alone again. Later that night, Ellyn goes looking for Billy's number, but she can't bring herself to leave a message. She finally does leave a message and he picks up quickly, they talk for a long time, and agree to meet each other. She takes him for lunch to the garage where she's having her car worked on and she manages to blither on in classic Ellyn fashion while being very amusing. Back at the grocery store, the same checkout girl runs into Gary while he's looking for environmentally friendly laundry detergent, and when she discovers he's a college teacher, she pretty much drops him.

Ellyn tries to inform Hope and Michael that she's seeing Billy Sidel again, which they take out of proportion in a very funny way. Gary comes over to Ellyn's to cook dinner for her and have a little company while they analyze why Hope and Michael want to set up Ellyn so much. The germ of an idea is born to make Hope and Michael believe that Ellyn and Gary are actually having an affair, just to watch it annoy their friends.

So, while Michael, Elliot, and Gary watch basketball on TV, they begin to discuss what makes a woman beautiful. Gary waxes rhapsodic about the sexy quality of a woman's voice, especially Ellyn's. Meanwhile, as Ellyn tours the unfinished downstairs, she comments on the nice bookshelves to Hope and gets goopy about how Gary built her a set.

In bed that night, Hope and Michael argue about the possibility of Gary and Ellyn having an affair. Hope calls Ellyn and gets the machine, which only creates more doubt. Ellyn is over at Billy sidel's, just getting acquainted, and she finds out that he draws comic books. and she agrees to stay for a beer. Billy shows Ellyn how to draw while she protests that she can't. Hope blackmails Michael into calling Gary quite late at night in order to fish for information. Gary figures out that their ploy is working, so he goes to some lengths to lay out some red herrings and makes Hope and Michael believe that Ellyn is in the shower there at his house. Back at Billy's, Ellyn has done a halfway decent job of drawing the picture he gave her to copy and they end up kissing, but Ellyn freezes up and leaves in a rush.

At the playground, Gary and Ellyn discuss whether or not she could work things out with Billy. Somehow this leads to Ellyn telling Gary not to make any stupid mistakes with women (like the checkout girl) now that Susannah lives in New York, and they get into a fight. Ellyn goes back to see Billy and apologize for the other night, and she ends up explaining the Jeffrey situation to him, trying to explain how this makes her confused about relationships. He gets angry (in an extremely low key way) with Jeffrey for what he did and the fact that he didn't get to see Ellyn before when he really wanted to. Ellyn ends up kissing him passionately instead of asking more questions.

Gary shows up at Ellyn's apartment to apologize, bearing string cheese. Gary, Ellyn, and Emma show up at Hope and Michael's, looking for Ellyn's overnight bag which sends the married couple into even higher flights of fancy. However, Billy is waiting outside and it is he and Ellyn who are going on the trip to Atlantic City while Gary returns home.

The final shot closes with Gary singing "Mr. Sandman" to Emma while Ellyn and Billy dance slowly and she sings the same song.




  • Much is made of Gary not having a clean shirt because of Emma. He also wears the Knights jacket, the gloves with no fingers, and that sweater with the white diamond design around the edge.
  • Ellyn wears a Philadelphia Phillies T-shirt with the collar cut out, looked kind of flaky.
  • Quotes

    "Y'know Gary, in certain circles you would even be considered attractive." --Ellyn, with some humorous sarcasm.

    "It's like there are three sexes: men women, and people with babies." --Gary

    "For a minute there you were channeling for Gracie Allen." --Gary to Ellyn after meeting Billy in the lobby

    --"What do you mean by seeing each other?" --Ellyn

    --"Being in the same place, at the same time, on purpose." --Billy

    "Well, I thought [Jeffrey] left his wife for me, but it turns out he's one of those guys who just leaves." --Ellyn


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