One of the more fondly remembered shows from the late '80's, "My Two Dads" aired on NBC from 1987-1990. While the series never really lit up the ratings during its three-year run, the show's fan base certainly remained strong throughout the years - eventually resulting in Shout Factory starting to put the show out on DVD in 2009.
The series started with Marcy Bradford (Emma Simms) leaving her child, Nicole (Stacey Keenan) in the custody of two men who had previously known Marcy - Michael Taylor (Paul Reiser) and Joey Harris (Greg Evigan). One of the two men may be Nicole's father (at one point in the series, there is a DNA test taken to determine which of the men may be her father, but she chooses not to find out the result.) The "family" is watched over by a judge (Florence Stanley, who also voiced the Grandmother on "Dinosaurs" and whose gravely, deadpan delivery is always deeply funny.)
The two men are polar opposites of one another (and couldn't have been any better cast as such) - Michael is a conservative financial advisor, while Joey is a liberal artist. The different personalities of the two men and different perspectives of the two come together to try and teach Nicole about growing up in the world. While the show was "The Odd Couple" crossed with a family comedy, the occasional emotional moments also worked surprisingly well, as the cast had great chemistry with one another and both Reiser and Evigan seem genuine. Of course, the bizarre '80's-style (what's with the neon?) apartment and genuinely hysterical opening credits/theme song also add to the charm. Giovanni Ribisi (playing a neighbor with feelings for Nicole) and Dick Butkus (as the owner of a restaurant in the same building, whose banner outside gets right to the point ("Eat Here Now.")
The episode-to-episode plots are nothing out of the ordinary - the two fathers have to deal with Nicole throwing a party, the two fathers restart an old bet to see if they can take out their old high school flame, teen drinking, love and peer pressure. Still, the series manages to use formulaic plots as a starting off point, and the combination of solid performances and fine writing make for a show that - while certainly dated in the looks department - still entertains years later.
While the writing is dated and a little cheesy at times, the writing overall is above-average for the time period, as some of the jokes are sharp and funny (Chuck Lorre, of "Dharma and Greg", "Two and a Half Men" and other shows, is credited as a writer on some episodes, such as the enjoyable "Macho, Stupid Guy Time".)
"My Two Dads" may look dated and have more than a few corny moments, but the series remains genuinely sweet and entertaining, as Reiser, Evigan and Keach provide a terrific set of lead performances. Years later, the series has held up better than I'd expected.
Edited to add: Keach's character on the cover is wearing a sweater that just has the letters N,U,S,R,O,U over and over again (!?!?!). Just crappy '80's fashion nonsense, or grand, "Da Vinci Code"-like secret? You be the judge.
• Season 2
23 2-01 11/Jan/89 Blast from the Past
24 2-02 18/Jan/89 Who's on First?
25 2-03 01/Feb/89 Macho, Stupid Guy Time
26 2-04 08/Feb/89 The Man in the Pink Slip
27 2-05 15/Feb/89 Fallen Idol
28 2-06 22/Feb/89 Story with a Twist
29 2-07 01/Mar/89 Playing with Fire
30 2-08 08/Mar/89 Dirty Dating
31 2-09 15/Mar/89 The God of Love
32 2-10 22/Mar/89 In Her Dreams
33 2-11 29/Mar/89 Together We Stand
34 2-12 05/Apr/89 The Courtship of Nicole's Fathers
35 2-13 12/Apr/89 Crushed
36 2-14 19/Apr/89 Basket Case
37 2-15 07/May/89 You Love Me, Right?
38 2-16 29/Jul/89 Getting Smart
VIDEO: The series is presented in 1.33:1 full-frame by Shout Factory Home Entertainment. Almost certainly taken from a video copy, the presentation looked moderately soft, although never to the point where the image appeared hazy or blurry. The elements looked to be in fine shape, with only some minor wear seen on the elements. Colors looked fairly fresh (gotta love the neon) and the presentation will likely satisfy fans.
SOUND: Reasonably clear, crisp stereo soundtrack. The old-school laugh track shines through.
EXTRAS: None. A production/costume design featurette would have been nice.
Final Thoughts: "Two Dads" may get a few unintentional laughs now (the opening credits sequence is priceless), but the series remains a beloved gem from the '80's because the cast made for characters that weren't one-dimensional and "sitcom" and the writing - while not classic - was consistently solid. The second season DVD set doesn't offer any extras, but offers adequate audio/video quality. Recommended for fans.