tek's rating: ½

Major Dad, on CBS
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This is probably the first example I can recall of seeing a pilot episode that was billed as a "sneak preview," awhile before the actual "series premiere," but of course the whole premise of the series was established in the pilot, so it doesn't make sense for that not to be the premiere. I've seen other shows do the same thing, since then, and I still don't get it. But anyway, there's this major in the Marine Corps, named John D. McGillis (Gerald McRaney). In the pilot, he meets a divorced, liberal reporter named Polly Cooper. And within the first few episodes, they've gotten married. Why the two of them fell in love never made sense to me, but I suppose it's just an extreme case of "opposites attract" (a phenomenon I've never understood in real life, but it does seem to happen a lot), and I'm capable of suspending disbelief for the sake of a good story. Anyway, Polly had three daughters: a teenager named Elizabeth, the middle child was Robin, and the youngest, adorable moppet, Casey. Naturally, it was hard for John to get used to living in a house full of fairly free-spirited females, and it was hard for them to get used to living with a highly disciplined Marine.

Meanwhile, there were other Marines in the show. John worked at Camp Singleton, an infantry training school, in the first season. I hardly remember that at all. There was a kind of goofy 2nd lieutenant named Eugene Holowachuk, and a sort of hippie dippy secretary named Miss Gunderson. I don't remember any other characters from season 1. In season 2, John was transferred to Camp Hollister, which was commanded by a fairly clueless general named Marcus Craig. Holowachuk happened to be transferred there, as well. And there was a gunnery sergeant named Alva "Gunny" Bricker, who was a highly efficient, no-nonsense kind of Marine (at least when on duty), who was surprisingly good at accepting the ridiculousness of people like the general, almost like she didn't notice it. But off duty, she had a surprisingly wild side (which we hardly ever saw; in fact I only remember seeing it once).

Anyway, in spite of a premise I found somewhat unbelievable and totally sitcom-y, I always found it to be an amusing show, with likable characters. I remember a few scenes quite fondly, particularly in the second season episode where Holowachuk is promoted to 1st lieutenant. But for the most part, I don't remember anything too specific about the show. I should try to watch it all again sometime, since it's on Hulu....

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