As we begin week three in our blog series looking at some of our favorite families, today we are heading to Los Angeles to check in with the Warners and the Hughes.
Created by Alan Kirschenbaum and Gregory Garcia, Yes, Dear was on CBS for five seasons from 2000 to 2006.
Greg (Anthony Clark) and Kim (Jean Louisa Kelly) Warner have a son Sammy (Anthony and Michael Bain); he is a film industry businessman and she is a stay-at-home mom. They have a peaceful, although maybe somewhat boring, life. Then Kim’s sister Christine (Liza Snyder) and brother-in-law Jimmy (Mike O’Malley) Hughes move into their guest house with their two overactive boys, Dominic (Joel Horman) and Logan (Christopher and Nicholas Berry, Alexander and Shawn Shapiro, Brandon Baerg). One of the gags of this show is Greg recalling Logan’s childhood; when he reflects back on it, we see all the different Logans.
The Warners and the Hughes have very different lifestyles and views on life and parenting. Kim and Greg are a bit neurotic and try to hard to be the perfect parents. Christine and Jimmy, on the other hand, are down-to-earth and less concerned about doing everything perfectly.
For example, in one scene, the script is:
Dominic: Can I have some coffee, so I don’t fall asleep in school again?
Jimmy: Dominic, you are six years old, you can’t have coffee. Here, drink these Mountain Dews.
Rounding out the cast was Tim Conway and Vicki Lawrence as Greg’s parents Tom and Natalie, Jerry Van Dyke and Beth Grant as Jimmy’s parents Jimmy and Kitty, and Dan Hedaya and Alley Mills as the girls’ mother Jenny and father Don.
The theme song, “Family is Family,’ written and performed by Bill Janovitz summarizes the plot:
1,2,3! You got a wife and kid in love with you. Yes, Dear.
You swear to God they’re poking fun at you. Yes, Dear.
You live your life the best you can. Yes, Dear.
Until your family screws up the plan. Yes, Dear.
But family is family is family is family. Yes, Dear.
Yes, Dear. Yes, Dear.
Despite its decent ratings, critics never seemed to appreciate the show at all. The only Emmy award the show was nominated for was for Betty White as a guest star in 2003. Nominees that year included Georgia Engel, Betty Garrett, and Cloris Leachman; the winner was Christina Applegate for Friends. According to Nancy Tellem, president of CBS Entertainment, “there was a huge difference between the critics and mainstream America.”
On June 23, 2021, thewrap.com posted the 37 worst sitcoms of all time. While I can get behind My Mother the Car and Two Broke Girls, along with about 30 sitcoms I never heard of, I thought the inclusion of Yes, Dear was unfair. I can’t say this was ever a “must-see” for me, but there were plenty of worse sitcoms on the air.
The show held a steady 24th place for the first four seasons and then ratings increased, and the show placed 11th and 15th for the last two seasons. So, with ratings going up, why was the show canceled? CBS canceled the show after season four and then brought it back. However, after season six, Clark took an offer to host Last Comic Standing. With one of the four stars gone, CBS decided to be done with the show.
Although the show was on the air for six seasons and was in syndication for a while, DVDs have never officially been released. I was not able to find out why that is the case.
When Kelly thought back to her time on the show, she said it was a fun show. “They gave me a lot of fun stuff to do. There was so much silliness.” Fun and silly doesn’t sound so bad. Maybe the show will become available on DVD or in syndication again soon, and you can judge for yourself.