1 9 9 2 – 1 9 9 5 (USA)
67 x 30 minute episodes
Jack Stein (Jay Thomas) was a cynical, rather insecure columnist for the New York Post. Opinionated and aggressive, he was a regular at the seedy Blue Shamrock, a restaurant/bar where he hung out with his buddies and let off steam.
Into the Blue Shamrock – and Jack’s life – walked Wally (Susan Dey), recently divorced from egocentric would-be actor Kip (Michael Nouri) – a classy uptown woman with champagne tastes.
After exchanging heated words with Jack and downing one too many vodkas, Wally impulsively bought a share of the bar from grumpy bartender and owner Ike (John Hancock) and declared she would turn the “joint” into a chic restaurant.
Jack was both aghast and excited. He loved the grubby familiarity of the Shamrock and hated what Wally was doing to it, but, at the same time, he was falling madly in lust with her.
The other regulars – similarly disturbed by the proposed conversion – were shy sanitation worker Ray (Joel Murray) and outspoken sports reporter Meg (Suzie Plakson).
Needing a waitress, Wally hired Nadine (Joanna Gleason), a suburban housewife with two kids in college and a husband in jail for stock fraud, who needed the job to make ends meet while she worked on a degree of her own.
After Ike died from a heart attack (as had actor John Hancock), his surly brother Abe (Charles Robinson), an out-of-work auto worker from Detroit, showed up to claim his inheritance of Ike’s share of the Blue Shamrock. He stayed on and took over as bartender, mellowing ever so slightly over time.
As the love affair between Jack and Wally got more serious, they kept questioning what was developing between them, musing directly to the viewing audience.
As the 1993-1994 season opened, Jack was moping over being dumped by Wally, who had left for Paris.
In reality, Dey had been fired from the series by the producers because there was “no chemistry” between her and co-star Jay Thomas).
Into the Blue Shamrock walked his new love, Dana Palladino (Annie Potts).
Dana was a gourmet chef who had quit her job at a fancy French restaurant when the executive chef position had been given to a man.
She became the new chef at the Shamrock and – more outspoken and less tolerant than Wally – became Jack’s new verbal sparring partner.
Although there was an undercurrent of growing sexual tension, it was a full year before they ended up in bed together. Having been burned by Wally, Jack took everything more slowly the second time around.
On 18 August 1995, more than six months after the show had left the air, a single original episode was telecast.
Wallis ‘Wally’ Porter