Show Type: Sitcom

First Telecast: September 22, 1987

Last Telecast: August 19, 1988

Broadcast History:

September 1987, Tuesday 9:30-10:00 on ABC

September 1987 – January 1988, Friday 8:30-9:00 on ABC

May 1988 – August 1988, Friday 9:30-10:00 on ABC


Peter Farrell..... Daniel Hugh-Kelly

Dora Calderon..... Elizabeth Pena

Kate Farrell (age 13)..... Juliette Lewis

Will Farrell (age 11)..... Jason Horst

Hughes Whitney Lennox..... Henry Jones

Dolf Menninger..... Sanford Jensen

Marisol Calderon..... Evelyn Guerrero


This short-lived sitcom wins the Trivia Award both for the most outrageous premise of 1987, and for the most bizarre final episode. The idea was that busy Los Angeles architect and single dad Peter was faced with the loss of his efficient young housekeeper, a Central American refugee named Dora. The feds had discovered that she was an illegal alien and were about to deport her. So Peter, ever the practical type, married her – so that she could continue to be his maid. “No love,” he kept reassuring her, “this is just a formality.” Dora, a feisty young woman who assumed she would be shot if she were sent back to her native country, went along.

When it was pointed out to ABC that marrying an alien for the purpose of avoiding deportation was a direct violation of U.S. law, the network nonchalantly inserted a full-screen announcement in the premiere episode; it stated that what the series was depicting constituted a federal offense, and then helpfully added "You should not try this in your own home"! Peter (who apparently did not see the notice) then proceeded to marry Dora, while the laugh track roared. So much for love and legality.

Looking on were Peter’s young kids Kate and Will, who really liked Dora and thought it was all a neat idea, legal or not. Mr. Lennox was Peter's doddering boss at the office, and Marisol was Dora's occasionally seen sister.

I Married Dora had a short run, and one of TV history’s most surprising final episodes. In the last original telecast, Peter received a lucrative offer for a two-year job in Bahrain, packed his bags, and prepared to leave Dora and the family. Dora pleaded with him not to go and couldn't believe he’d actually get on the plane, but he did. Then, to everyone's surprise, he got off again.

Peter:  "It's been canceled."

Dora:  "The flight?"

Peter:  "No, our series!"

The camera then pulled back, revealing the stage and crew as everyone waved goodbye to the few remaining viewers. Now that’s how a failed sitcom should end!