I’m a Big Girl Now (ABC 1980-1981, Danny Thomas, Diana Canova)

Perennial television favorite Danny Thomas, whose past successes included the long-running Make Room For Daddy (a.k.a. The Danny Thomas Show), took another stab at prime time comedy with I’m A Big Girl Now.

Unlike the family-themed comedies he had toplined in past years, this show featured a distinctly modern premise: Thomas played Dr. Benjamin Douglass, a dentist whose wife had just left him to go to Spain with his partner. Douglass moved in with his daughter Diana, who was suffering similar setbacks in her personal life after having just divorced her husband.

Benjamin, being very set in his ways, ended up in a comedic battle of the wills with Diana as he attempted to tell her how to run her life. Diana, determined not to be bossed around, would give back as good as she got. Both periodically dated and thus provided each other with plenty of zinger material.

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The daddy-daughter battle of wills was the show’s trademark, but there was also plenty of interaction with other characters: Diana’s brother Walter and sister-in-law Polly, her boss Edie and co-workers Neal and Karen, and the obligatory cutie pie, Diana’s seven-year-old daughter Becky.

Most likely to stave off cancellation the show completely changed direction from episode 18 with Diana employed at The Arlington Dispatch as a columnist instead of working for the Kramer Research and Testing Company. Rather bizarrely her boss from Kramers was also now the editor of the Dispatch and her former colleagues at kramer, Karen Hawks and Neal Stryker, were now reporters. No explanation was given however. Needless to say with changes like that the show only ran one season, but Danny Thomas returned to sitcomdom one more time in 1986’s One Big Family.

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production details
USA / ABC / 20×25 minute episodes / Broadcast 31 October 1980 – 24 July 1981

Diana Canova as Diana Cassidy
Danny Thomas as Benjamin Douglas
Sheree North as Edie McKendrick
Rori King as Rebecca Cassidy
Michael Durrell as Walter Douglas
Deborah Baltzell as Karen Hawks
Martin Short as Neal Stryker
Joan Wells as Polly Douglas
Richard McKenzie as Preston Kramer

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.