ABC sitcom I Married Dora did not last long but had a memorably unusual premise: it told the story of Peter Farrell, an architect and single father who relied on Dora, his Latin American maid, to take care of his home and his children Kate and Will. Unfortunately, Dora was an illegal alien and was in danger of being deported by the federal authorities. Peter saved Dora from this fate by entering into a marriage of convenience with her.
Life in the Farrell home got a little awkward, to say the least, as Peter and Dora started to wonder whether the whole husband and wife thing might mean more than just a way to keep a good housekeeper/surrogate mom in the country. That touch of possible romance kept viewers in teased suspense, while the laughs were aided by supporting characters like Hughes Whitney Lennox, Peter’s boss, and Dolf Menninger, one of Peter’s co-workers. Rosa’s sister Marisol occasionally appeared as well.
The show was also memorable for its often-bizarre sense of humor. For instance, when it was pointed out to the producers that Peter’s marriage scheme broke a federal law, they put a disclaimer on the front of the debut episode, admitting what Peter did was illegal and telling viewers “You should not try this in your own home.” I Married Dora is also probably the only show to ever to have a character announce the show’s cancellation on the air (something that happened during the final episode).
USA / ABC / x25 minute episodes / Broadcast 22 September 1987 – 8 January 1988
Daniel Hugh-Kelly as Peter Farrell
Elizabeth Pena as Dora Calderon
Juliette Lewis as Kate Farrell
Jason Horst as Will Farrell
Henry Jones as Hughes Whitney Lennox, Peter’s boss
Evelyn Guerrero as Marisol Calderon, Dora’s mother
Peggy McCay as Lucille Farrell, Peter’s mother
Alley Mills as Janice Desmond
Sanford Jensen as Dolf Mennenger