1 9 9 3 (USA)
14 x 22 minute episodes
In arguably the most repulsive TV pairing of all time, Richard Lewis starred as recently divorced psychiatrist and single dad Steven Mitchell, whose retired car salesman father, Al (Don Rickles,) moves in with him when his wife leaves him.
Rickles’ material consisted almost entirely of fat jokes, ethnic jabs and ‘humorous’ remarks about mental retardation. The problem wasn’t that his routine was “politically incorrect” (the shield behind which every insulting moron hides), it’s that it was stupid and hackneyed and ugly.
Meanwhile, hunched over and over-acting, Richard Lewis let his nervous tics overwhelm his comic persona. Once he used head-slapping and forehead scratching as punctuation but in Daddy Dearest it was his whole act.
As if to complete the dysfunctional family, the producers brought in Renée Taylor, who screeched her way through her role as Mom. Apparently, they wanted to ensure audiences never found a moment of respite.
In the first episode, we got to see Mom and Dad fight about orgasms. In the second show, we got to see Dad show his grandchild how to drive a bully’s nose into his brain.
Daddy Dearest was hack sitcom writing at its worst – a minute of sentimental purging that was supposed to make up for 21 minutes of insults. And guest appearances from Don Rickles’ pals Angie Dickinson and Frank Sinatra did nothing to help.