A greasy-spoon diner in Phoenix, Arizona is the setting for this long-running series. The title character, Alice Hyatt, is an aspiring singer who arrives in Phoenix with her teenaged son, ...
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Lara Jill Miller
A greasy-spoon diner in Phoenix, Arizona is the setting for this long-running series. The title character, Alice Hyatt, is an aspiring singer who arrives in Phoenix with her teenaged son, Tommy, after the death of her truck-driver husband. Alice is hired at a diner owned by Mel Sharples, a gravel-voiced, male-chauvinist fry cook. She works at Mel's Diner as a waitress while awaiting her big break at fame. Alice's fellow waitresses are the raucous, red-headed Flo and the naive, temperamental, less attractive Vera. Flo is later replaced by Belle, a Southern blonde, who is herself soon replaced by the spunky, curly-haired Jolene. Alice and her friends experience several interesting years together at Mel's Diner, which is frequented by quirky truck drivers, repairmen, and other blue collar types and by several Hollywood celebrities, who appear as themselves. Written by
Kevin McCorry <email@example.com>
When Diane Ladd left the series, her absence was explained by having Belle finally sell one of her songs and moving away to become a professional songwriter. See more »
The diner works using three waitresses all of whom start at the exact same time of day. If Mel's is open early for breakfast and stays open to serve dinner that means that all three waitresses work 10-12 hour days, at least SIX days out of the week.
Even for a 1970s restaurant those types of hours would be excessive. Yet none of the waitresses complain about it in more than a comedic fashion. See more »
This is a show which started very strong created upon the concept of the book & the movie Alice Doesn't Live here Any More. It originally aired on CBS starting in the middle of the 1970's. The cast & the material were both very strong.
Linda Lavin was an ideal Alice, divorcée with a young son played by Philip Mekeon. She worked at Mel's (Vic Tayback's) diner out somewhere on the highway near Arizona. She worked with Vera & Flo (Polly Holiday). Vera was a classic case of a neurotic trying to make sense of why she was there without too much in the upstairs department except enough sense to stay out of trouble.
Flo early on, made this show a success. She was the wise woman with no virtue who could rarely say no to any man who came on to her who she found at all appealing. She did say no to Mel often because his character & hers were in constant conflict at work & their war, though friendly was sharp as it is Mel who usually would poke fun at Flo & then flow would retort with the famous "kiss my grits, Mel."
The first few seasons, the show scripts were sharp & would focus on issues between the characters. The last year or two, the scripts got terrible & when they brought in major guest stars like Art Carney, even the guests has trouble with the poor material. Alice's son disappeared the last season or so which took an edge away from the scripts too.
Another thing is that "there's a new girl in town" theme really wore out it's welcome the last season. Flo's novelty had worn out by then too.
This is why the series ended as the ratings lagged as the series weakened the last season.
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