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How I wish “My Two Dads” would’ve ended

My Two Dads was an 1987–1990 TV show that I had never heard of until a just few years ago. It’s a standard multi-camera, limited-set, limited-continuity, laughter-added 22 min, 60 ep sitcom.

The titular dads weren’t in a relationship with each other; they had been in a V triad with a woman; and years later, when she dies, the guys find out she had a daughter and they take her in. So the show is about this girl and her two dads. There aren’t that many gay jokes (compared to something like Three’s Company) and overall the show is presenting their li’l family, an unusual one for the eighties, with a lot of heart. Hopefully it made a good job paving the road for marriage equality to become a reality thirty years later.

The cast is great, too. I’m a big Paul Reiser fan and he plays one of the dads, and Staci Keanan (who’d later go on to play Dana on Step By Step does a great job as the daughter. The other dad is fantastic too. I hadn’t heard of him before, but he also actually made the theme song of the show. His name is Greg Evigan. All three of them have great chemistry and make a believable family.

I’m about to spoil what happens in the series finale, and it was a kind of different episode, so even though this is a no-continuity, problem-of-the-week type sitcom, there is a finale. It was filmed out of order since they didn’t know when the show would end but it was their intention to air it last. If you don’t wanna know what happens, don’t read on.

OK, so spoiler territory here. What happens is that they break up the family. The artist dad (“Joe”, played by Evigan) falls in love with a woman who moves to San Francisco and he moves with her (from the show’s New York setting). Everything the show has had you invested in? To shreds, you say?

Now, I get it. A sitcom of this genre needs to wrap up every episode neatly; in a way, every episode is like a satisfying finale. Every episode is like “Oh, I think our li’l family is gonna make it, after all”. They’re gonna have to do something different for the finale, something to shake up the status quo. So while I bristled at the whole “Joe marries someone and moves to San Francisco” premise at first, and part of that was some misguided “shipping” mentality on my end (as in shipping the two dads with each other, but… that wouldn’t’ve fit the show’s premise unless it had been part of a slow boil throughout the series, and it hadn’t) after I thought about it a bit I changed my mind to thinking it’s actually good. Except: Michael (the yuppie dad, played by Reiser) and Nicole (the daughter, played by Keanan) should’ve moved with him! They could, after an appropriate and dramatic amount of despair and hemming and hawing, have moved into some sort of one-big-happy-family house out there. Unrealistic? Sure. Would it have worked in real life? Maybe not. Would they have hated each other after three seconds? I guess. But in the wish-fulfilment world of sitcoms, it would’ve been perfect.