Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Based on the British comedy series Keep It in the Family and first telecast on November 11, 1980, the ABC sitcom Too Close for Comfort starred Ted Knight as Henry Rush, an uptight, traditionalist newspaper cartoonist who in midlife had found unexpected fame and fortune as the creator of the popular comic strip "Cosmic Cow." Henry was married to former band singer and latterly freelance photographer Muriel (Nancy Dussault), and was the fiercely overprotective father of two knockout college-age daughters, brunette Jackie (Deborah Van Valkenburgh) and blonde Sara (Lydia Cornell). The main source of Henry's vexation was the fact that his daughters had moved into the downstairs apartment of his two-story townhouse. While Muriel welcomed the girls' close proximity and was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt regarding visitors (particularly of the male persuasion), neurotic Henry was terrified that the girls' virtue would be compromised by their steady stream of boyfriends, and thus found all manner of excuses to drop in on the girls unexpectedly, and to eavesdrop. Other characters weaving in and out of the farcical proceedings were Henry's boss Arthur Wainwright (Hamilton Camp); the elder Rushes' semi-permanent house guest Monroe Ficus (Jim J. Bullock), a friend and fellow student of collegiate Sara; Muriel's flamboyant mother Iris (Audrey Meadows), who, in fine sitcom tradition, thought only the worst of Henry; Henry's hippie niece April (Deena Freeman), who briefly moved in with the family; and Jackie's policeman fiancé, Brad Turner (Jordan Suffin). During the series' second season, 42-year-old Muriel unexpectedly became pregnant again, ultimately giving birth to a son named Andrew, played first by twins William Thomas Cannon and Michael Philip Cannon, then by Joshua Goodwin. This was clearly a bid to improve the series' ratings, but ABC decided to cancel at the end of season three all the same. Too Close for Comfort was revived the following year in syndication, maintaining the same cast and basic premise for the next two years. In 1986 the series was retitled The Ted Knight Show, whereupon the format was retooled so that Henry Rush became the owner of a small-town newspaper. The actresses playing his daughters left the series, making room for a whole new supporting cast. The Ted Knight Show remained in production until the star's death in late 1986.