|Joseph "Joe" Longo|
|Family & Friends|
|Spouse|| Mel Burke (wife)|
|Portrayed by||Joseph Lawrence|
'I'm a Freelance'
Joseph "Joe" Paul Longo was a Commodity Trade Advisor (ie. commodities broker) and recently promoted Vice President of Scanlon Financial, a company owned and headed by Mel's brother-in-law, Lewis Scanlon. When the company was revealed to be ponzi scheme, Joe was absolved of criminal charges but he lost his reputation and trading license due to negligence in selling unregistered securities and was subsequently sued for an undisclosed amount of money. Bankrupt, unemployed and recently served with divorce papers from his trophy wife, Joe crosses paths with high-powered local politican and career woman, Mel Burke. Realizing she is struggling with her new found responsibility as legal guardian to her troubled teenaged niece and nephew and having no other job prospects himself, Joe convinces her to hire him on as a 'manny' in a desperate bid for employment and a place to live.
At first, it takes some time for everyone to get acclimated to this new arrangement, but for a former white collar worker and business man, Joe shows a remarkable aptitude for domestic management. He is highly organized, surprisingly handy around the house, and not to mention, an amazing cook. In addition, his no nonsense attitude and strong moral fiber seem to be exactly what the kids need to balance Mel's more laid-back parenting style. Before long, Joe ends up moving into Mel's basement (and later, after the renovations, the room above the garage) and carving out his place in this odd new family unit.
Even though he is fond of Lennox and Ryder and he's grateful to Mel for taking him in, Joe makes it no secret that he finds this new lifestyle a bit demeaning given his previous job and level of education. He hates the word 'nanny,' preferring 'domestic manager' instead and insists on being considered 'freelance' whenever someone refers to Mel as his boss. He is very eager to get back on his feet and on top of the financial world again. Many episodes feature him taking on side-projects and other hair-brained schemes that always end up backfiring.
Still, there's no denying that Joe is great at his new job. After spending years in corporate management, it's only natural that he would demonstrate a speciality in implementing structure and efficiency. He not only keeps the house immaculately clean, he cooks gourmet meals for the family every night and still finds plenty of time to help the kids and Mel with their work and personal problems.
Compared to his bubbly, high-energy and somewhat impulsive employer, Joe is much more tightly wound and strict. He is extremely well-organized and self-disciplined and as a result has acquired a large array of impressive skills and talents, such as ballroom dancing, cooking and speaking Japanese.
However, Joe sometimes demonstrates bit of an ego-streak. He can be smug and self-congratulating (he loves to gloat) and also quite vain too. He puts a lot of work into his body, doing 500 pushups every morning in addition to running and weight-training on his breaks. Appearances mean a lot to him and he can be shallow, especially when it comes to women. He frequently dates very hot, good-looking girls with questionable intelligence and/or sanity and doesn't seem to see that as much of a problem.
Despite this, it's clear that Joe has a big heart and cares about the family. He considers himself their protector and doesn't hesitate to take on a fatherly role when needed, especially when it comes to Lennox and her boyfriends. He is a strong, male role model and mentor for Ryder and Ryder frequently goes to Joe for advice about women and dating and help with school work. He also cares strongly for Mel, though he seems to hesitate to let her know this and prefers to revert back to their playful antagonism when things get too personal.
Mel Burke is a local politician and Joe's very loud, outgoing and dramatic current employer. The two are obviously attracted to one another, but for whatever reason they choose to retain their playful love-hate relationship. In the season one finale, both of them seemed to be contemplating the prospect of taking their relationship to a new level once Joe moves out of the house, but after a hasty kiss and an abrupt change in Joe's living and money arrangements, both of them acknowledge that 'it would be kinda weird.' In season two, its back to the status quo though the viewer will note that they've grown more affectionate with one another. In season three, Mel Burke starts wanting Joe to quit trying to find another job and stay working for her, implying that she doesn't want him to leave and desires to continue the odd relationship. They start dating in "The Decent Proposal." Mel and Joe become engaged in Right Time, Right Place, and are now married. He has a sister named Teresa, who grew up with him in New Jersey, and a nephew, her son, Marco.
- "What kind of a guy comes into work wearing t-shirts that tight? You know what I mean. Muscles hanging out everywhere. Frankly, it's gross, ok? Clearly the guy is overcompensating for something." - 2.02
- "You can run but you can't hide, kid. I know where you live. I dropped you off once." 2.03
- "I'm just saying that one day you'll start doing everything right and then you'll start to know what it's like to be in my world."
- "I thought I was wrong once. Turns out I was mistaken." 2.05