Mill Creek Entertainment // 1987 // 235 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // January 30th, 2011
You can count on me!
My Two Dads: You Can Count On Me!
Just that title conjures images of classic '80s television. If you're anything like me you remember the idea of the show more than the actual content. Two men (remember: They're not gay! Not gay! It was the '80s! They weren't ready for that yet!) co-parent a 13-year-old child, Nicole Bradford (Stacy Keanan, also a staple in the '90s sitcom Step by Step), neither knowing which one is the actual biological dad. On one end of the spectrum you have Paul Reiser (Mad About You) as Michael Taylor -- the fastidiously anal retentive financial advisor -- and on the other side is Joey (Greg Evigan, BJ and the Bear) -- the freewheeling, lady loving artist (AKA, the 'cool dad'). Because one of the cardinal laws of television is that you cannot have two adult characters co-existing in the same apartment with the same kind of personality, Michael and Joey are complete opposites who must learn to work together to help Nicole grow up to be a well adjusted woman. Overseeing this unorthodox family of three is Judge Margaret Wilbur (Florence Stanley, Fish), a hard nosed but fair family services employee intent on making Joey, Michael and Nicole's situation work -- no matter what! Throw in football great Dick Butkus -- for no better reason than he's freakin' Dick Butkus -- and you've got yourself a recipe for classic comedy!
If you haven't seen My Two Dads since its original broadcast run (I'm pretty sure it isn't in reruns anymore), then this ten episode disc is a real treat. I went in expecting to groan at the dated fashions and stale joke -- this is, after all, an almost cookie cutter example of standard TV fare -- and came out a minor fan of the show. I smiled more often than not and actually laughed at some of the jokes and delivery. The storylines are all mostly predictable (although that isn't always a bad thing when you want the equivalent of comfort food), if sometimes more brazen than what you'd expect from this kind of show (at one point Nicole walks in on Joey attempting to bed a woman and the rest of the show is devoted to Nicole's friends thinking Joey is a sex God). Most of them have to do with Joey and Michael trying to raise their little girl right, usually with the help of Judge Wilbur.
Speaking of which, what truly makes this show is Florence Stanley as Judge Wilbur. If the world were truly a fair place, Stanley would have been considered a national treasure -- her dry, droll delivery makes even the most innocuous joke amusing. Her performance alone is worth the seven dollars this disc will put you back. The other standout here is Paul Reiser. I can't be counted as one of his biggest fans (I found Mad About You to be complete drivel), but here he's got a youthful exuberance that is likable and funny. Much like Stanley his jokes are saved by his stammering and pointed delivery. The rest of the cast is serviceable if at times forgettable. Football legend Dick Butkus runs a diner that never seems to have customers (except when it's convenient to the plot) and his approach to acting is about what you'd expect from a football player who decided to try his hand at acting. Greg Evigan as Nicole's 'other' dad can't hold a candle to Reiser's delivery, so he tends to fade into the background at times (although usually his well trimmed beard is the last to follow). Of note, a young Giovanni Ribisi shows up for multiple episodes as Nicole's pining boyfriend-to-maybe-be.
Your enjoyment of this show may hinge on if you watched it during its initial run. I did, and to that extent it was a nice walk down memory lane (which crosses right near nostalgia avenue). Even more surprising is the fact that the show was actually pretty well written for its genre and, well after two decades, still holds up as a funny little rumination on parenting and teenagers.
Recommended to anyone who is dealing with a sarcastic teenager or who grew up in the '80s.
My Two Dads: You Can Count On Me! features 10 episodes from the show's run, including:
* "My Two Dads" (Pilot Episode)
* "Crime and Punishment"
* "Advice & Consent"
* "Michael's Sister Comes Over and Visits"
* "She'll Get Over It"
* "Nicole's Big Adventure"
* "The Family in Question"
* "Dirty Dating"
* "The God of Love"
* "Playing with Fire"
My Two Dads: You Can Count On Me! is presented in a decent 1.33:1 full frame transfer. There isn't a whole lot to report here -- the image is clear and looks slightly better than what it looked like on TV over 20 years ago. Colors are evenly saturated and the black levels are solid. The soundtrack is presented in what appears to Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono in English (no mention is made on the packaging or disc). The soundtrack is serviceable and gets the job done -- you can hear the music, dialogue and sound effects clearly and that's about it.
No extra features are included on this disc. Unless you count a DVD Menu as an extra feature; which I don't.
You can count on laughs! Well, maybe not a ton but at least a few mild chuckles.
Review content copyright © 2011 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2013 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 235 Minutes
Release Year: 1987
MPAA Rating: Not Rated