Austin Stories, MTV's 1997 sitcom, ran for only one season and produced just 12 episodes. It starred (and was written by) three young local Austin comics - Laura House, Howard Kremer, and Brad "Chip" Pope. Conveniently, their character names were the same as their real life names.
Laura is a writer for the Austin Weekly, a fictionalized version of the Austin Chronicle; Howard is a late '90s slacker with a different girlfriend each episode; and naive Chip bounces from one pathetic job to another while still living with his ex-girlfriend.
Austin Stories incorporated various Austin locations and landmarks into the show, although it never incorporated a laugh track. That felt odd at the time, so conditioned are we viewers to being told what's funny and when to laugh.
And, in the end, I wonder if the lack of a laugh track may have had the effect of making the show somehow seem less funny than it really was.
But it really was a very funny show. The writing was sharp and witty and there were plenty of memorable one liners.
See for yourself. Kick back and enjoy some of the actual episodes of Austin Stories currently available on YouTube, compliments of Dingle Television. [please note: each episode is divided into two separate parts.] Here are seven of the twelve:
Synopsis:Howard suffers from "oldaphobia" but his current girlfriend insists that he visit her grandmother in a nursing home; Laura gets hit on by a former teacher with a secret; Chip turns goth with some underage kids.
Synopsis:Howard returns from a trip to New York with a bad case of Austinitis ("New York is filet mignon and Austin is rat steak"); Chip's floozie, self-centered mother visits from Dallas with her new redneck husband; Laura learns, sort of, to be a good sport. [Hilarious episode - one of my favorites.]
Synopsis: The group plans a day tubing on the river; Howard tries to set Chip up with Neva, a childhood friend from New Jersey who's now a student at UT, but there are complications. [Another good episode - the line about changing diapers toward the end is brilliant.]
Synopsis: Chip searches Austin for "Hula Girl" after discovering her home movie in a video rental mix up; Laura assumes control of the Austin Weekly while her boss is out mourning his deceased cat; Howard's current girlfriend and hustling business partner take turns backstabbing each other.
Synopsis: Laura investigates a local sex club; Howard confronts his hatred of plants; Chip manages to get a date with Chloe which is complicated by all the wine he drinks. [A pretty good episode - Chip plays a great drunk.]
Synopsis: Howard gets a job babysitting; Chloe gives Laura an unstylish makeover; Chip breaks into children's theater as Nopey the Naysaying Turtle.
Synopsis: Laura gets drunk and sleeps with a co-worker; Howard's brother from New Jersey pays a visit and has his own agenda; Chip's living arrangements are thrown into a state of turmoil.