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Short summary

Major John MacGillis is a conservative, by-the-book, die-hard Marine. Polly Cooper is a pacifistic, liberal journalist. Nonetheless, when the two meet, there's instant and intense chemistry between them. With the permission of Polly's 3 daughters, the two get married within weeks. Now Polly (and her kids) have to learn how to deal with being a Marine family, while Major MacGillis has to learn how to be a Dad...

Polly's middle name is "Esther" (making her "Polyester").

The building shown at the opening of the show when they lived on Camp Holister Marine Base is actually Lejeune Hall, the headquarters of Quantico Marine Base in Virginia. It is across from the military lodging on the main road.

The opening credits originally showed young Chelsea Hertford removing Gerald McRaney's Marines cap and putting it on her own head. But after the producers heard from the Marines saying Chelsea's actions were disrespectful, the credits were changed to show Chelsea starting to reach for the cap but then stopping.

Ended its run in 1993, canceled alongside Designing Women and The Golden Palace.

User reviews


  • comment
    • Author: Kakashkaliandiia
    For an 80s/early 90s show, Major Dad was amusing. It is only a sitcom; it's not supposed to be taken that seriously. If you enjoyed shows like Coach or Cheers, then you'll enjoy Major Dad. People always talk about how hard it is to make a good military show. I think they never watched an episode of M*A*S*H in their sheltered lives. Likewise, this was fairly successful. It was a show that the family and I could sit around and watch, and that's saying something. Family TV has hit rock bottom unfortunately. So if you're looking for a family favorite, tune into Major Dad. It's not the funniest show you'll ever watch, but it's really cute. Enjoy!
  • comment
    • Author: Golden Lama
    Major Dad was a wonderful show !! Funny and lovable !! I love Gerald Mcrainey and everything he has done. Polly and the girls are pleasant and cute. A very wholesome and family oriented show, wish it was still on !!!! They depicted the US Marine Corp with respect and admiration, which was wonderful. TV nowadays is very lacking in positive wholesome entertainment. They were able to deal with several issue like child abuse and family issues such as step children etc in a very tasteful way. Lt Holowachuk is hilarious and Sgt Alba Bricker is a scream !!! I particularly enjoyed the episode that Holowachuk revealed that he didn't drink, and he gained the respect of his fellow Marines regardless.
  • comment
    • Author: Adokelv
    "Major Dad" takes a humorous look on the challenges facing typical military families, in this case the family of a US Marine Major. The characters are credible, the acting is above average for these kinds of TV-series, and most importantly, it`s funny. Despite the fact that the series is a comedy, it also shows the difficulties and sacrifices necessary to combine family life and faithful dedication to the military way of life. The series is very pro military(which is good), and is hereby recommended.
  • comment
    • Author: Pemand
    This was one of my fav TV shows, and a favourite with my family too. We could quote the lines and even now "I twinkled, Sir!" is a guaranteed laugh with my cousin and me. I loved the silliness, the seriousness, the general humour and the Marine stuff... wholesome and fun for all the family but still tackling some sensible issues.

    Yes some of the episodes were a bit cheesy and full of that shouty one liner talking that is prevalent in US sitcoms which always gets good old predictable canned-sounding laughter - especially with the 'stage school' style children's performances, but that didn't detract from the overall enjoyment of the show. It was comedy, from a more naïve and family-suitable time; no bad language, no sleaze, no overt sexual innuendo or content. Nice. Laugh out loud funny.

    Gerald McRaney was superb... oh I just loved everything about this show. Is there really nowhere you can buy it on DVD?
  • comment
    • Author: Gadar
    This was a series about our finest fighting forces, the United States Marines. However, it showed a funny softer side of those very tough heroes. That made all the more reason to watch as they found themselves in some pretty strange situations. As with all Marine leaders, the Major would resolve each and every problem with leadership, compassion and honesty just as real Marines do all the time. Therefore, this made TV watching enjoyable for the entire family. We need shows like that today that portray those type of ethics and values. I can not wait for this series to come out on DVD. As far as I am concerned, the sooner the better.
  • comment
    • Author: Zeus Wooden
    This show, in my opinion, is a pure CBS hit! Despite the fact that I've never seen every episode, I still enjoyed it. There are many episodes that I enjoyed. One of them was where the girls (Chelsea Hertford, Nicole Dubuc, Marisa Ryan) perform "Side By Side" in some competition. If you want to know why, you'll have to have seen it for yourself. I will say that I did laugh at the last lines of that episode. Before I wrap this up, I'd like to say that everyone always gave a good performance, the production design was spectacular, the costumes were well-designed, and the writing was always very strong. In conclusion, even though it can be seen on USA now, I strongly recommend you catch it just in case it goes off the air for good.
  • comment
    • Author: Invissibale
    Always a fun show to watch. Still available on HULU!
  • comment
    • Author: Velellan
    I started watching Major Dad when it first aired in 1989 I liked it because it showed the Military in a positive light, and it was good family entertainment not like some shows on like M.A.S.H. I could not stand that show! all they could talk about was how wrong they thought the war in Korea was and we should not have been there It slapped at all the brave men & women who sacrificed there lives in that war.
  • comment
    • Author: Felhann
    Major Dad was a dull and boring show. Ocasionally the show had its moments and you would catch yourself smiling. Most of the time, though, when this show came on you had to scramble for the remote. Most military shows are bad, and this was a prime example. Hogan's Heroes and MASH were good shows, Major Dad was a major dud.
  • Complete series cast summary:
    Gerald McRaney Gerald McRaney - Major John D. MacGillis 96 episodes, 1989-1993
    Shanna Reed Shanna Reed - Polly Cooper 96 episodes, 1989-1993
    Nicole Dubuc Nicole Dubuc - Robin Cooper McGillis 96 episodes, 1989-1993
    Chelsea Hertford Chelsea Hertford - Casey Cooper McGillis 96 episodes, 1989-1993
    Marisa Ryan Marisa Ryan - Elizabeth Cooper McGillis 96 episodes, 1989-1993
    Matt Mulhern Matt Mulhern - Lt. Eugene 'Gene' Holowachuk 96 episodes, 1989-1993
    Beverly Archer Beverly Archer - Gunny Sgt. Alva Bricker 70 episodes, 1990-1993
    Jon Cypher Jon Cypher - Gen. Marcus C. Craig 69 episodes, 1990-1993
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