Actress is magnificent and exudes a hypnotic screen presence in this affecting drama.
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I absolutely loved this show! Although I did not see it's debut in 1976,I did start watching it around the end of that 1st season. Since it was teamed up with other CBS '70s favorites,how could one miss it? I had no knowledge of the related movie,"Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore", but it didn't matter,I just knew it was funny! There were two 70s TV mom's that reflected my mother's situation at that time,Alice Hyatt and Ann Romano of "One Day At A Time". Like Hyatt my mother moved our family out west but it wasn't due to losing a husband, it was a divorce like Ann Romano's. So,I could relate to what Tommy,Alice's son,was going through being raised by one parent. Alice was a wanna-be singer and never said no to a chance to belt one out. Similar to other sitcom leads back then,she was always the one that everyone asked advice from. (Others were Benson & Alex Reiger of TAXI).Flo was of course,the first female on TV (aside from possibly Rose Marie on Dick Van Dyke) to be totally open about the fact that she fools around and is middle aged and single. Vera was the almost unbelievably naive' woman in her early 30s,who seems to not have to good a grip on reality sometimes. Like when she thinks George burns is actually God,like he played in the movie "Oh,God".Vic Tayback does a great comic turn as Mel (he played him in the film) and showed that he could be funny. A big change from all the "heavies" he played in movies and TV cop shows. My favorite show was,"Good Buddy Flo",where Flo has Alice teach her to drive a rig to impress her trucker boyfriend. Only to end up driving right smack through the front door of Mel's Diner! I saw this in a rerun a few years ago on the now defunct "Nashville Network".After Flo left yes,the show lost a very funny character. Then came Belle (played by Diane Ladd who had played Flo in the movie),she lasted a season and was replaced by yet another Southern accented waitress Jolene. In the last few seasons it was moved all over the schedule (sometimes Wednesdays!)but I still kept watching until it's end in March 1985, when Mel sold the Diner. Alice in her early to mid-40s, finally getsthat big break as a singer she's been waiting all her life (and 9 years as a waitress) for. Vera & Husband Elliot (a policeman) were expecting a baby and told Mel it would be named after him. Jolene's future was uncertain but she and the other waitresses received $5,000 farewell bonuses from Mel. They all left the diner in the final scene with Mel,turning off the lights,putting the closed sign in the window one last time and locking up.10 stars for this show,a classic,which is now (2008) being rerun on ION-TV.P.S.: I still live in Phoenix and 1130 Bush Highway where the diner is supposed to be is actually stretch of road on an Indian Reservation, although...there was a Mel's Diner near downtown Phoenix but it's long gone. (END)
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This was one of the funniest shows of its time, at least for the first few years when Polly Holliday was still on. People may call it trashy, but I look at it as a comedy about everyday people and didn't rely on politics or lots of slapstick like a lot of other shows that were around when this one was. The characters all blended nicely. You had working mother Alice, man hungry Flo, dim bulb Vera and gruff on the outside, but tender on the inside Mel. Also, you had the diner patrons in Earl and Henry who helped to make this show what it was. The only thing I didn't like about the show were the constant attempts to try to replace the person who was the one breakout character on the show, Flo. She pretty much invented one of the most memorable catch phrases of the 1970's in kiss my grits and she was the main reason people tuned in every week to watch the show. Dianne Ladd was okay as Belle, but once Celia Weston came in as Jolene, that pretty much ended my love for this show.
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I thought this was such a great show. It always made me laugh and I thought that Flo's "Kiss My Grits" was a great line. I might not have enjoyed it had I been an adult when it was on, but I was a kid and I thought it was SO funny. I wish it was in reruns somewhere!! I remember that the cast was great and they seemed to compliment each other because each was funny in his or her own way. Mel was always saying something smart alecky to Vera or Flo or Alice and he had some great lines. I really think that Mel should win a TV Land Award next year for the meanest boss. And this show had the best theme song that is STILL stuck in my head after all of these years. I still remember every word of it to this day.
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Yes, everyone, there is a real reason why "Alice" was on the air as long as it was. Anyone in their late twenties and older can probably remember that for many years, this show was broadcast either before or after "The Jeffersons," a "legitimate" hit. Both shows ironically had their best ratings when paired together. I think most of us remember them coming on back-to-back on Sunday nights for several years. "Alice," as a lead-in or follow-up show to "The Jeffersons," rode the ratings wave and the results were phenomenal.Sure, the show was trashy, with elements of south[west]ern humor, but I actually thought it was genuinely funny with Polly Holliday onboard. To be truthful, if Holliday and Vic Tayback had done the show without Linda Lavin, I wouldn't have been upset. I have always believed Lavin was responsible for Holliday's departure. Was hasn't E! done a "True Hollywood Story" on a show that can rival "Three's Company" on cast changes? Surely if they have the budget to profile porn stars, a one hour "Alice" special can't hurt.Diane Ladd was a good replacement as Belle on the show, however, she was terrific playing Flo in the movie "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore," which the show is loosely (and I do mean "loosely") based on. When Celia Weston first appeared as Jolene in 1981, I changed the channel. It's amazing that the show went on for more four years before being cancelled in 1985. Not even pairing with "The Jeffersons" could have helped the show by the time Jolene came aboard. Somebody must have been lying to Nielsen.