In the realm of family sitcoms, My Two Dads is sort of ahead of its time. While sitcoms today break stereotypes with ethnic and racial diversity, this show was the first to cover same-sex parenting. Premiering the same year as the film Three Men and a Little Baby, this Michael Jacobs (Boy Meets World) creation chronicles the struggles of two single, hetero fathers (Mad About You’s Paul Reiser and B.J and the Bear’s Greg Evigan) sharing custody of their teenage daughter, Step By Step’s Staci Keanan. Financial advisor Michael (Reiser) is the more conservative of the two; Joey (Evigan) is the artistic lothario. Their conflicting ideologies present them with a few comical communication breakdowns along the way.
The show debuted in September of 1987 and lasted for three seasons on NBC. The second season continues daughter Nicole’s emergence as a young woman entering the dating world while her fathers seek advice from friends—Judge Margaret Wilbur (Florence Stanley) and football legend Dick Butkus as café owner Ed Klawicki—to help raise her along the way.
The 16 episodes that make up this second season collection touch familiar sitcom topics such as adolescent dating, parental dating, unemployment, teen drinking and drunk driving. But the show also finds the humor in idolatry, witnessing parental sexual encounters, and stalkers. That’s not to say the show isn’t predictable—any conflict that arises within the first five minutes of the show is invariably solved by the time the show reaches its 22-minute end.
Despite these after-school special subjects, the show seldom comes off feeling preachy. Chalk it up to the chemistry between Reiser, Evigan and Keanan, which is a large part of the show’s overall charm. The ways each actor’s individual characteristics play off each other give you the impression that they could actually exist as a dysfunctional family somewhere in the real world. Stanley’s no-nonsense portrayal of Judge Wilbur is one of the show’s clear highlights. She adds a sarcastic voice of reason to cut through the 80s cheese when it gets too thick. A reoccurring role from a teenage Gionvonni Ribisi, vying for the affection of Nicole, offers a few aw-shucks laughs along the way.
There are also some guest appearances that provide for some nostalgic moments: Richard Moll brings his dim-witted Night Court character Bull Shannon to the episode “Playing With Fire.” Crystal Bernard also guests as Liz Schaefer, the new tenant in the building and a potential love interest.
Video is presented in full screen. The color here comes off flat and dull. It really doesn’t pop like you’d expect a multicolored 80s sitcom to. The picture itself is lacking in contrast and sharpness.
Season 2 of My Two Dads is presented in 2-channel audio. The presentation is not very impressive here. While the dialog is always front and center, there’s quite a bit of hiss in the background and not a lot of atmospheric ambience. Then there’s the dreaded laugh track that completely dominates the sound mix. Other than the saxophone and bass-line groove of the show’s theme song, there isn’t too much music to test the audio’s legs.
There are no extras with this DVD.
If you love reliving the geometric awesomeness of the 80s or just enjoy family situation comedies, you’re probably going to enjoy having My Two Dads in your collection. If you’re looking for a clean, vibrant presentation and sharp audio, you’ll probably want to pass.