‘Melissa & Joey’: Mel Burke’s Real Name Isn’t Melissa

Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence spent several years playing the title characters on Melissa & JoeyThe ABC family show was canceled after four seasons, much to the chagrin of fans. During its run, fans learned a lot about Mel Burke and her nanny turned love interest, Joe Longo. Still, it took writers almost three full seasons to reveal that Mel was not actually named after the actor who portrayed her.

What was ‘Melissa & Joey’ about?  

Melissa & Joey followed city councilwoman Mel Burke as she navigated life as a public figure. Mel’s life is complicated when her sister and brother-in-law are arrested for their involvement in a Ponzi scheme. The arrest leaves their two children, Lennox and Ryder Scanlon, with no place to go. Mel takes in the two teens who are still grappling with having their world completely flipped upside down.

Joe Longo and Mel Burke confront Ryder Scanlon, Lennox Scanlon and Lewis Scanlon at a Halloween party during season 1 of 'Melissa & Joey
The cast of ‘Melissa & Joey’ | Eric McCandless/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images Family

In the earliest Melissa & Joey episodes, Joe Longo approaches Mel to find out where her brother-in-law has absconded to. Joe, a former investment banker who worked for Mel’s brother-in-law, Lewis Scanlon, lost everything in the scandal and assumes Mel has information. She doesn’t, but he finds a job as Mel’s housekeeper and nanny, regardless of her objections.

Mel and Joe’s wedding episode revealed Mel Burke’s full name

Mel and Joe’s will-they-won’t-they storyline enticed fans for most of the series. They married in the show’s elongated third season. Then, and only then, did fans find out that Mel’s full name was not Melissa, like the actor who portrayed her.

During a wedding scene, the judge calls Mel by her full name. Instead of hearing the name Melissa, viewers learn that Mel’s real name is Melanie Alison Burke. Joe’s full name is Joseph Paul Longo. Hart once explained that the show’s title had nothing to do with the characters’ names but rather the actors’ names. Joey Lawrence has played four characters who share his name in some form. Hart has never portrayed a character named Melissa.

How long would it take to binge-watch ‘Melissa & Joey’?

While Melissa & Joey did amass a small but loyal following during its run on ABC Family, the show didn’t air for an especially long time. The cast celebrated its 100th episode during its final season. In the end, the network produced just 104 episodes of the show. That means a binge-watch of the entire series is an easy feat.

Joey Lawrence and Melissa Joan Hart sit at a resturant while filming 'Melissa & Joey' episodes
Melissa & Joey | Alice Hall/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images Family

According to Binge Clock, it would take just two days and four hours to watch the series from start to finish. The series is available to stream for free via Freeform. Viewers who don’t want to endure commercials can catch Melissa & Joey episodes on Hulu, commercial-free.