Dear John (TV Series 1988–1992) Poster


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Straight man to scene stealers
drystyx22 August 2012
This is a funny TV series, because the title character, played by Judd Hirsch, is willing to be a straight man to the other characters in a support group he attends.

In essence, much as "Good Times" is Kid Dynamite's show, this is really Jere Burns show as he portrays the rogue, Kirk. Kirk is just enough of a rascal to cherish and laugh at, both at the same time.

The others put in a dash of humor, too, one of them without ever saying a word.

The standard for comedy in the eighties was a comedy that would make people laugh. That's what this show did. It din't try to be too "situational", and hope for a smile, the way most comedies of the nineties and naughts do. It reached for the guts, and pulled them out.

This wasn't "slapstick", but just a bit shy of it. It jumped the shark a bit at the end, and that didn't work. It was best when staying true to its character of the support group.
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So Close...
Bolesroor1 August 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I was just a kid watching TV one night when a promo came on... a new series called "Dear John" was premiering tonight with Judd Hirsch! I didn't know who Judd Hirsch was or what the show was about but I tuned in anyway.

"Dear John" is about a man who comes home to find his wife has left him, leaving a standard "Dear John" letter on the mantle. He then joins a divorce support group at a community center, and the show revolves around these meetings and the characters who attend. The show has one of the most maudlin, sappy theme songs in the history of television, with a morose woman crooning "DEEER JOHNNNN..." The opening was lame too, with John coming home to find the letter EVERY WEEK with a heartbroken sigh. Somehow Judd Hirsch makes it work. He's that great. I started watching the show regularly.

Dear John was actually very funny, and Judd Hirsch was once again the rock that grounds the show and allows the other actors to shine (SEE: Taxi). The only problem on this show was the dreaded Jere Burns. His Kirk character was supposedly a smooth-talking, chauvinistic womanizer (think Sam Malone meets Fonzie) but Jere over-played the role to the point of nauseating me and probably millions of others. He had his hair greased up in a pompadour and he walked with a swagger and he talked like a 50's greaser. It was clear the producers decided he would be the breakout star of the show- they all but renamed it "Kirk!"- as Jere got more and more stories, hamming his way into the history books. It eventually became unwatchable.

Is there any TV cliché more grating than the sex-addicted lady-killer? I've known guys who were real ladies men, who had more sex in a week than I have had in my lifetime, and they never, ever behaved like obnoxious, aggressive braggarts. They were quiet and unassuming and almost reticent about their exploits. Unfortunately there was no subtlety to Kirk, who became more of a cartoon every week. Jere Burns was running wild with this cringe-worthy character, and he threw off the balance of this once-sweet show.

The cast also included a nerdy guy and a British woman whose catchphrase was: "Were there any (pause) SEXUAL problems?" It probably doesn't seem like much of a catchphrase if you haven't seen the show but there it is. (It helps if you say it in her pronounced British accent and really hit the word "Sexual")

Since this show Jere has played a nauseating husband and father in "Something So Right" and a pathetic groveling misfit in "Good Morning Miami". Judd Hirsch has gone on to greater things. In conclusion "Dear John" was good, and could have been great. It's worth a look if they ever re-run it.

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good functional sitcom
SnoopyStyle17 May 2017
In every week's opening, teacher John Lacey (Judd Hirsch) gets his Dear John letter, gets cleaned out in court, and loses his home all to that catchy little diddy. His wife and his best friend took everything including his son. He attends the One To One Club, a support group for divorcees and widowers. Louise Mercer (Jane Carr) is the Brit group leader divorced from her kinky husband who keeps asking everyone, "Are there any sexual problems?" The group includes sleazy Kirk Morris (Jere Burns), sweet Kate McCarron (Isabella Hofmann), clueless pushover Ralph Drang (Harry Groener), silent Tom (Tom Willett), elderly fox Mrs. Margie Philbert (Billie Bird), and starting midway in season two, southern belle Mary Beth Sutton (Susan Walters).

This is a solid network sitcom of its era. It's led by some solid TV stars. Hirsch has played this character well arguably since his Taxi days. Burns is a fantastic comedic sleaze. It's a wacky group of friends who serve more as family. Everybody is great. It tackles divorce with a little humor. It's good-nature with some bite. This is not going on any top TV lists but it functions well for what it is. It's a good middling sitcom while it lasted.
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Great until the end
MidNYteStorm10 August 2003
I loved this show from the moment I saw it. It was about a man who's wifes leaves him and attends a support group. The show was great until cast members left. From there on the show lost its humor.
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I dont get it!
dbrockskk17 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
His wife left him he comes home and finds a letter she left him telling him. so why does he leave the house? why doesnt he stay there and keep it? after all she's the one that left him. what am I not understanding about this?
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DragonMasterHiro26 June 2003
This was such a sad show. A guy comes home one day and finds a letter from his wife. The theme song, also sad, it is sung from the perspective of the wife. You see him happily arriving at home, walking in the front door and then the trauma begins.

"Dear John, Dear John.

By the time you read these lines, I'll be gone.

Dear John, Dear John.

Life goes on, Right or wrong.

Dear John..."

It gets stuck in your head for some reason. Maybe it's because her voice is so sappy. In any event, it supposedly began as a British show, and they made an American version with it's own cast. John Lacey comes home to find out his wife has left him by reading a typical "Dear John" letter. Doesn't that scream sitcom? John then goes to a support group where all the comedy lies. The other members of the group have their own quirks. John also has little encounters with random singles. Not that great of a show although I like Judd Hirsch.
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Best show of the 80'S!
Lho332337012 July 2001
My buddy Chris likes the shows on channel 6 so this has got to be one of them. Well After Wendy leaves John he joins the 1-2-1 club. John has problems so it is up to Kirk to help him. Well John is the smartest in the 1-2-1 club. Ralph is the dumbest. Louise thinks Kirk is bad at giving advice.
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Review of Dear John
jjcardella5 April 2016
I give this a three because I have always been a fan of Judd Hirsch. I feel that whoever did the casting did Judd an injustice. Maybe the show could have been more of a success with better casting. I think the English woman would have been better as a member of the group rather than the counselor, and the red head Jere Burns was always after (was she also a member of Taxi?) would have been better as the counselor. Please do not consider this a spoiler as I am just trying to be honest because as I said I have always been a true fan of Judd Hirsch; I feel greatly that he deserves a successful series. The show was done a true injustice by casting Jere Burns. IMHO he is by far one of the worst actors ever. To me he did nothing but ruin what had the potential to be a good show. Not to mention the character he played was also terrible. I am half Italian. Mr. Burns played what I would call an "Americanized" version of a "Guido." An as far as Italians go he did a terrible job playing a "Guido." No offense to Mr. Burns; He may be a very nice guy in person, but a good actor he is not. He did absolutely nothing in developing the character. None of the cast did well developing their character. Think of Seinfeld. It was not a great show in the beginning, but the actors did such a stupendous job developing their characters that it ended up one of the all time greats of history. To me that is a critical element of a successful show: The actors must bend over backwards developing their character. Not to focus on Mr. Burns, but he was just awful. I have to be honest: I have insomnia and every night I have to suffer through an hour of Dear John, mostly because Mr. Burns is nauseating, waiting for a show that was a true comedic genius, ahead of its time, and that is The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. Sometimes I scan the channels looking for something else so I do not have to watch Dear John. I feel bad for Judd Hirsch especially if he had to put up any of his own money for what I consider one of the worst shows of all time. Judd deserved better. Besides the awful character played by Jere Burns probably the number two cast member that ruined the show was the scullery maid who played the counselor. One last comment, I despise shows that resort to making use of a character that is pregnant and/or has a baby. Dear John made use of this at least twice. A show that makes use of a character that has a baby in some unorthodox manner on the episode is even worse (the episode of Dear John in which his ex-wife had a baby at the wedding). A way overplayed plot in my opinion. To me it is just nauseating. So apologies to Judd Hirsch. You are a great actor, casting for Dear John really gave you the screws, and if anyone deserves a hit show it is you.
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Only four seasons for a reason.
zuitsuit22 July 2018
Dry and listless. Cliche and morose. Obnoxious casting. These are the type of people who hold up the line because they want to complain at the deli counter. No wonder his wife left him.
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