1 9 9 3 – 1 9 9 7 (USA)
98 x 30 minute episodes
Dave Barry (Harry Anderson) writes the daily newspaper column ‘Dave’s World’ for the Miami Record Dispatch. He is married to Beth (DeLane Matthews) and is the father of Tommy (Zane Carney) and Willie (Andrew Ducote). They live “West of Maple Street” in Dade County and have a female dog named Ernest.
Dave was working as a reporter when a story came across the wire about a woman being trapped in her car by an elephant which had escaped from the zoo. Dave and a fellow reporter rushed out for the story. Dave had a banana left over from lunch in his pocket and disabled his competition’s car by shoving the banana into the exhaust. Dave got the story and began his career.
In a later episode, Dave states that before he became a humorist, he wrote romance novels for Pinafore Publishing under the pen name Letitia DeVore (his heroine was ‘Lady Millicent’).
Dave is always late with his articles and enjoys snacking on peanut butter ice cream and beer. When it comes to giving advice to the kids, Dave does what he does best – nothing.
When he is alone with Tommy and Willie, he serves them soft foods “to avoid choking incidents”. Dave writes “about funny things in an odd way”. He grew up in the small town of Pewuckatucket and had a cat named Mr Stubbs.
Beth, born in Texas, is a teacher. When she and Dave have to get away from the kids, they retreat to a bed and breakfast called the Spanish Moss Inn. They see movies at the Multiplex Cinema and order take-out food from the Crispy Hen. As a kid, Beth had a pet iguana named Boris.
When Beth gets upset with Dave, she over-moisturises and her temper often gets Dave in trouble (like the time she gave the finger to a truck driver and Dave was the one the truck driver tried to take out of the car through the exhaust pipe).
Tommy and Willie attend the Collins Street Elementary School. Dave and Beth buy the kids their pets from A Friend for Life. Willie had ants (Mr Motto, Sloppy Joe, Bruiser), crickets (Jiminy, Gorg, Buster, Moon Unit), a turtle (Donald), a fish (Mr Fish), a rabbit (Puffy) and a gerbil (Jerry).
Tommy has a plush dinosaur (Rappie) and suffers nightmares about “the slimy creature living under my bed”.
Kenny Beckett (Shadoe Stevens) and Sheldon “Shel” Baylor (Meshach Taylor) are Dave’s best friends. They grew up together in Pewuckatucket and attended school together. Shel is a noted plastic surgeon who works at Central Hospital.
In college, he was a member of the SDS (Students for a Democratic Society). He is divorced and constantly has problems finding the perfect woman.
Kenny first worked as Dave’s editor at the paper, then as a reader for Books on Tape. He is called “The Voice”, his first audiobook was The Three Musketeers and he later became a TV weatherman for Channel 5.
Mia (JC Wendel) is Dave’s assistant. She believes she has psychic powers and eats Cream of Wheat – “the rejuvenation food of all psychics”. She doesn’t take shorthand (“I write real fast”), wants to be a children’s storybook writer (she wrote an unpublished book called Dillon the Dinosaur’s Really Big Day) and she also wrote an unpublished romance novel called Walk the Plank of Passion.
Mia has a parakeet (Wesley), a plant (Vince), and a dog (Scruffy), and as a kid had a gerbil named Scooter. Mia invented the unsold board game ‘Circus People’ and takes vacations in her backyard by pretending to be somewhere exotic.
Mia is engaged to Eric (Patrick Warburton), a handyman who was a former professional wrestler named ‘Bongo, the Jungle Man’. Eric does the repairs needed around the Barry home and is carving a living sculpture of Mia on a coconut tree he calls “Cocoa Mia”.
The series was based on books called Dave Barry Turns 40 and Dave Barry’s Greatest Hits by a real-life American author and columnist called – wait for it – Dave Barry.
Sheldon “Shel” Baylor