- Add Too Close for Comfort: Season 01 to Queue
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A mere eleven months after the ITV debut of the British sitcom Keep It in the Family, the American version of the series, Too Close for Comfort, made its bow on ABC. Actually, the latter series might have arrived on the scene even earlier but an actors' strike delayed the start of the 1980-1981 TV season by two months.
Ted Knight starred as Henry Rush, a San Francisco-based cartoonist and creator of the popular comic strip "Cosmic Cow." Prudish and conservative, Henry was extremely overprotective of his gorgeous college-age daughters, brunette Jackie (Deborah Van Valkenburgh) and blonde Sara (Lydia Cornell). Henry's wife, Muriel, who prior to her marriage had led a freewheeling (but respectable) existence as a band singer, now worked as a freelance photographer. Less strict and strait-laced than Henry, Muriel tended to allow her daughters a freer reign, though she still made sure that they didn't make too many mistakes. Season one began as Jackie and Sara moved into the downstairs apartment of dad Henry's two-apartment town house, recently vacated by the death of tenant Mr. Rafkin (who, much to Henry's dismay, turned out to be a transvestite). Having reluctantly agreed to this arrangement, Henry agonized over what might have been going on in the lower apartment, especially considering the steady stream of attractive young men who paid regular visits to his darling daughters. (He had nothing to worry about, of course, but that didn't stop him from doing so.) During the series' first 19 episodes, Jackie worked at a bank while Sara attended college -- where she met and befriended that walking mass of neuroses and insecurities known as Monroe Ficus (J.M. J Bullock), who from episode four onward was a more or less permanent house guest of Henry and Muriel. A handful of other recurring characters were introduced during the series' maiden season. Among these were Mr. Wainwright (Hamilton Camp), Hamilton's short-statured, dictatorial publisher; Mildred Rafkin (Selma Diamond), the abrasive and insulting sister of Henry's deceased tenant; and Henry's libidinous 75-year-old father Huey Rush (Ray Middleton). Also given prominence was another "character," the Cosmic Cow hand puppet with whom Henry "consulted" in moments of crisis. Scheduled as part of ABC's virtually unbeatable Tuesday-night sitcom lineup (which in 1980 included Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, and Three's Company), Too Close for Comfort emerged from its inaugural season as America's 15th most-watched program, with a Nielsen rating of 20.8. ~ Rovi
- Ted Knight, Nancy Dussault, (more)