1 9 8 6 – 1 9 8 7 (USA)
22 x 30 minute episodes
Alvin “Bully” Stevenson (Jack Elam) and Ricardo Williams (Lee Weaver) are roommates at the Shady Grove Retirement Home in Los Angeles. The place has a nice view – if you like watching bag ladies at work.
Bully is so thrilled with his life in general that he’s about to drown himself in his bathtub when he is interrupted by the arrival of L.K McGuire (Loni Anderson), a gorgeous blonde who turns out to be Bully’s niece.
She looks at the dreary surroundings and asks, “are you happy here?”. Bully hems and haws. Ricardo, who is black, says, “Oh yes Ma’am. It’s always been sort of a dream of mine to live with a large group of elderly white people”.
L.K. (her first name was never revealed) invites them to spend a weekend with her.
It turns out she’s a rich widow with a Beverly Hills mansion at 4163 Hillcrest Drive, complete with tennis courts, a butler (Bobby), a maid (Angelica), a gardener (Ravenskeep) and all.
The glamorous former Las Vegas blackjack dealer inherited the mansion following the accidental death of her husband, Ned, in a plane crash. To maintain a controlling interest in the estate, L.K. must share it with her snobbish sister-in-law, Eleanor, and her wimpy husband, Quentin Standard.
She has such fun watching these two old geezers puncture the pretensions of her snooty in-laws that she pops the question: “Would you and Ricardo consider living here with me?”.
Broadway actress Dana Ivey and future-Oscar-nominee James Cromwell shone as the rich in-laws who were constantly trying to oust Anderson’s character from their midst.
A lot of expectations were riding on Loni Anderson’s ability to score a hit after leaving WKRP in Cincinnati and when the show failed to deliver the numbers that were expected (due in part to poor scheduling and inadequate promotion by the network), the show went into a rapid downward spiral.
Uncle Alvin ‘Bully’ Stevenson