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Series / My Two Dads

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You can count on me.

"This is me, Nicole Bradford.
This is my dad and this is my dad.
How did I get two dads? They inherited me.
One dad who's down to earth and one dad with his head in the clouds."
(Edited) opening narration

My Two Dads is a comedy series that ran on NBC from 1987 to 1990.

Marcy Bradford, mother to twelve-year-old Nicole, passes away, leaving Nicole (Staci Keanan) to live with her father. Trouble is, Marcy was dating two different men when Nicole was conceived, and she never knew which was the father. DNA testing was not yet commercially available, and the blood typing was inconclusive.

The obvious solution is for Nicole to live with both men. This is suggested to be what Nicole's mother wanted, so that Nicole could benefit from each dad's best traits: Michael (Paul Reiser) is sensible and organized, while Joey (Greg Evigan) is artistic and carefree.

A few years into the series, DNA testing became available. Nicole got tested, but decided not to look at the results, preferring to live with both dads and never knowing which was biologically her father.


  • Actor Allusion: Variation In one episode, Klawicki intimidates a shady character that owes him money by showing him footage from his (Klawicki's) pro football days of him destroying people with hard tackles. Klawicki was played by NFL Hall of Famer Dick Butkis, and it was his own real-life highlights Klawicki was showing.
  • All Work vs. All Play: The two men initially. Michael is extremely uptight, anal retentive and serious while Joey is carefree, relaxed and irresponsible.
  • …And That Little Girl Was Me: Subverted. Nicole is worried about going to the prom, and Judge Margaret tells her about another teenage girl who was teased at her prom. When Nicole asks what the girl did, the judge says she destroyed the other girls with her psychic powers.
    Nichole: Wasn't that Carrie?
    Margaret: It's all I've got. I was really popular at school.
  • Blessed with Suck: In the episode where Nicole is jealous of a classmate's early breast development, Judge Margaret tells her that she had been the first in her class to develop breasts, and that it was actually this trope. Sure, she was popular, but it was not the kind of popularity that Nicole would want.
  • Character Development: Over the course of the show, raising Nicole means Michael learns to relax and enjoy himself a lot more while Joey learns responsibility and becomes fiercely protective of Nicole - both of them became better people through the experience.
  • Children Raise You: Both men, but especially Joey, have to grow up and try and be responsible parents to Nicole.
  • Christmas Episode:
    • "Tis the Season" (Season 1): Michael and Joey go a little overboard celebrating Nicole's first Christmas with them - until they realize that her gloomy mood is because it's her first Christmas without her mother. Meanwhile, Judge Margaret plays a very unenthused Mall Santa.
    • "I'm Dreaming of a Holiday Episode" (Season 3): Christmas decorating leads to Michael and Joey to clash over their contrasting parenting styles. Each then has a nightmare about their futures: Joey's free-wheeling nature leaves him an elderly failed artist; Michael is shown almost everyone is better off for not listening to his rigid rule-abiding ways. Both nightmares also end with Nicole's life being ruined in ways that relate to the dreamer's given parenting style.
  • Clip Show: "Thanks for the Memories" is both this and a Thanksgiving Episode. On the way up to dinner after some food shopping, Michael and Joey get stuck in the elevator. Waiting for the repairman, they think back on old times and the people in their lives. Meanwhile, Nicole holds up the dinner for the other guests until her dads can attend.
  • Crossover: Multiple times, with Night Court.
  • Daddy DNA Test: They throw it away without looking at it.
  • Daddy's Girl: Nicole. Having only father figures around makes it sort of hard not to be a Daddy's Girl.
  • Dead Artists Are Better: Joey decides to take advantage of an erroneous report of his death to mass-produce a bunch of paintings and sell them at huge mark-ups.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: Greg Evigan (see "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune) sang it on screen in "The Wedge."
  • Disguised in Drag: In the third-season episode "Kind of a Drag," Michael poses as Joey's wife to get rid of a pesky woman and accidentally becomes the object of desire for one of Nicole's male teachers.
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: Greg Evigan (Joey) co-wrote and performed the theme song "You Can Count On Me."
  • Have a Gay Old Time: In the episode where Nicole is jealous of a classmate who has developed breasts, the Judge is talking to Joey and Michael:
    Judge: What she needs is a couple of boobs. (Beat) That's you.
  • Luke, I Might Be Your Father: Either man might be Nicole's biological father as her mother was dating and sleeping with both of them around the time she was conceived.
  • Not What It Looks Like:
    • One episode has the dads walk in on Nicole and Cory (the geeky one of her two not-boyfriends). Cory shouts out "It's not how it looks!" then adds: "Actually, how does it look?"
    • This trope was used a great deal with Joey and Michael, also. The writers seemed to really enjoy throwing them together in homoerotic situations that someone could easily misinterpret.
  • Odd Couple: Michael and Joey.
  • Platonic Co-Parenting: Nicole is raised by Michael and Joey, who, despite appearances, aren't gay, and in fact don't even like each other at first. They gradually become friends, and they both genuinely love Nicole, to the point where she decides not to find out which of them is her biological father because it really doesn't matter—they're both her dads.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: The season one finale, "Friends of the Family", introduced Cory and Roy's mother, Karen, in an attempt to give the family of three their own spinoff with Ed as her love interest.
  • Prison Episode: In one episode, Joey gets sent to prison for a protest and Michael joins him because he insulted the judge.
  • Prison Rape: Invoked by implication during the above Prison Episode, where Joey and Michael's cellmate, a stereotypical thug, reacts with discomfort to the pair's bickering Like an Old Married Couple. When they reveal that they are raising a daughter together, the cellmate frantically calls out "Guard?!".
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: One episode has a typo in an obituary causing everyone to think Joey was dead.
  • Sink or Swim Fatherhood: Both men are thrown in at the deep end when Nicole comes into their life as a complete surprise, twelve years after they both dated her mother.
    Nicole: Congratulations, it's a girl!
  • Special Guest: Davy Jones and baseball legend Willie Mays, among others.
  • Stage Names: Anastasia Sargorsky was told by the producers that her existing stage name "Anastasia Love" sounded like a call girl. Adopting a nickname for Anastasia and the surname of a friend she became Staci Keanan.
  • Starving Artist: Joey, as Michael will remind him.
  • The Unreveal: As mentioned above, Nicole got DNA tested but chose not to view the results, the viewers never did find out who was her biological father, and apparently there was never any plans to reveal it.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Judge Margaret uses this in the Prison Episode.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Michael and Joey develop into this over the course of the show from an initial truly antagonistic relationship.
  • Who's Your Daddy?: The show's central concept.