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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>
All right! All right already! I admit it! I used to watch this show because I had a crush on Linda Lavin as a kid! There, the world knows it now! Satisfied!? Now, I watch the reruns because I think the show provides humour that is light and clean and that doesn't make you think too much. Based on the movie "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore," Alice Hyatt (Lavin) plays a broke, recently widowed mother of Tommy (Philip McKeon). Her car broke down in Phoenix en route to Hollywood, leaving her stranded in Phoenix. Working for Mel (Vic Tayback) the penurious tubby tyrannical proprietor of Mel's Diner, she befriends fellow waitresses Vera (Beth Howland), an innocent simpleton, and Flo (Polly Holliday), a high octane nymphomaniac whose homespun Texas manner provides the perfect foil for the street tough, New Jersey-bred "new girl in town." Flo is an even better foil for Mel, and never hesitates to retort him with some valuable advice..."Kiss my grits!" The show definitely had a split personality: funny until 1980 when Flo left, and then it went straight downhill for the next five years. Cameo players such as Andy (Pat Crenshaw), Travis (Tom Mahoney), and Henry (Marvin Kaplan) were valuable to the show, as were George Burns, Telly Savalas, Art Carney, and Martha Raye. Equally memorable were some of the one-liners, including "Can you read lips? [Raspberry!]," "Don't be rational when I'm hysterical," and "If we get out of this alive, I'm going to kill you!" One of my favourite episodes revolved around an ex-gangster wanted by the FBI and the mob, coupled with a whiny truckdriver whose rig full of peaches broke down outside the diner. Not the basis of a James Joyce or a Henry Roth novel, but entertaining nonetheless. At least the early episodes were.
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