I Married Dora

I Married Dora is an American sitcom that aired on ABC from September 22, 1987 to January 8, 1988. It was created by Michael J. Leeson.

I Married Dora
Created byMichael J. Leeson
Written byChris Cluess
Stu Kreisman
Michael J. Leeson
Directed byLee Shallat-Chemel
Peter H. Hunt
StarringDaniel Hugh Kelly
Elizabeth Peña
Juliette Lewis
Jason Horst
Theme music composerGlenn Jordan
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Executive producersMichael J. Leeson
Coleman Mitchell
ProducersWendy Blair
Jace Richdale
Vic Rauseo
Linda Morris
Running time22 mins.
Production companiesReeves Entertainment Group
Welladay Inc.
DistributorSony Pictures Television
Original networkABC
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseSeptember 22, 1987 (1987-09-22) 
January 8, 1988 (1988-01-08)


Los Angeles architect and single father Peter Farrell (Daniel Hugh Kelly) was dependent upon his housekeeper Dora Calderon (Elizabeth Peña). However, she was an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador and the United States government's Immigration and Naturalization Service was about to deport her. To prevent her from being arrested upon her return home, and to be able to continue to employ her services as a housekeeper, the two married. As marriages under false pretenses were (and still are) violations of federal law, the first episode included a disclaimer notifying viewers of this fact and adding, "You should not try this in your own home."

Two important aspects of the stories were the threat of their sham marriage: being discovered by authorities and the possibility that they might fall in love, normalizing and legitimizing their marriage. Farrell's children were 13-year-old Kate (Juliette Lewis) and 11-year-old Will (Jason Horst).

The opening titles and closing credits were filmed, but the episodes themselves were shot on videotape.

Series finale

The show had low ratings and was canceled halfway into its only season. The final episode ended with a scene, known as "breaking the fourth wall," that ranked number 49 on TVLand's list of The 100 Most Unexpected TV Moments. Peter received a two-year job offer in Bahrain and the final scene featured him boarding a plane headed overseas, leaving Dora and his children behind despite their pleas. A few moments later, Peter reappeared:

Peter: Hold on, hold on. Calm down here.

Dora (surprised): Mr. Peter?
Peter (looking at the airline ticket in his hand): It's been canceled.
Dora: The flight?

Peter (throwing the ticket over his shoulder): No, our SERIES![1]

The cameras pulled back to show the entire stage as the cast and crew waved goodbye and performed curtain calls.


Episode list

Title Air date
1"I Married Dora"September 22, 1987 (1987-09-22)
2"My Parents Are Coming"September 25, 1987 (1987-09-25)
3"Where There's a Will, There's No Way"October 2, 1987 (1987-10-02)
4"Our Little Girl's Growing Up"October 9, 1987 (1987-10-09)
5"God's Waiting Room"October 16, 1987 (1987-10-16)
6"Happy, Happy Birthday, Dora"October 30, 1987 (1987-10-30)
7"A Matter of Moulding"November 6, 1987 (1987-11-06)
8"Club Montez"November 13, 1987 (1987-11-13)
9"Dora Steps Out"November 20, 1987 (1987-11-20)
10"West Coast Story"November 27, 1987 (1987-11-27)
11"The Thirty-Five Year Itch"December 11, 1987 (1987-12-11)
12"Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Forever?"December 18, 1987 (1987-12-18)
13"The Millionaire's Club"January 8, 1988 (1988-01-08)

Award nominations

Year Award Result Category Recipient
1988Young Artist AwardNominatedBest Young Actress Starring in a New Television Comedy SeriesJuliette Lewis
NominatedBest Young Actor Starring in a New Television Comedy SeriesJason Horst


  1. "Television Obscurities - 10 Of The Most Outlandish TV Concepts Ever". tvobscurities.com. 2004-01-01. Retrieved 2008-08-29.
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