Kate & Allie—Season 1

6.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 6/10
Visuals: 6/10

Fun '80s throwback

Short season, standard generic comedy


It is obviously NYC because we’re wearing winter clothes

Kate McArdle (Susan Saint James) and Allie Lowell (Jane Curtin) have been friends forever.  When they both get divorced, they decide to merge their families and move into Kate’s home in New York City.  Now Kate and Allie and their children Emma (Ari Meyers), Jennie (Alison Smith), and Chip (Fred Koehler) are trying to find their way with their new family and their new lives.

Kate & Allie—Season 1 aired from March 19, 1984 to May 7, 1984 in a partial season replacement.  The series was released to critical acclaim and won Emmys for Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series (“A Very Loud Family”) and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Jane Curtin) with nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Susan Saint James), and Outstanding Video Tape Editing for a Series (“Dear Diary”).

The idea of divorce was a pretty popular topic in the early ’80s, but with a show like One Day at a Time hitting on the idea of a single mother raising kids in 1975, Kate & Allie really wasn’t anything new in that department.  Instead, you get a combination of The Brady Bunch and One Day at a Time with a very ’80s feel.


Suddenly Allie snapped…turning Kate & Allie into a very different show

We watched Kate & Allie when it was on, but like many shows from the period, I don’t really remember it being “appointment TV”.  This season despite the acclaim feels pretty mundane and standard fare comedy.  With a short season, you don’t get much feel for the characters, and Kate & Allie went the route of not much set-up for the series by having them both already divorced and living together when the series began.

Though they do develop strong characters, both Jane Curtain and Susan Saint James get by with the over acting for their characters.  Each line delivered feels like it is punched out and waiting for a laugh.  It isn’t the worst writing I’ve seen, but it feels a bit unnatural.  It is notable that Susan Saint James and Jane Curtain’s date in the first episode is Kelsey Grammer and that Susan Saint James’ ex-husband is played by John Heard in a later episode.

Kate & Allie is one of those totally harmless series that doesn’t really challenge anything.  There was a lot of pressure on the series from the network allegedly to push that Kate and Allie weren’t lesbians and as a result frequently were shown sleeping in separate rooms.  If the series would have been made now, I’m sure that would have either been a plotline or running joke so it is nice to revisit a simpler TV time on occasion…but don’t expect to be wowed by Kate & Allie.

Kate & Allie—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:


“Allie’s First Date”

1.1       Allie’s First Date Airdate:  03/19/84

Kate McArdle (Susan Saint James) and her best friend Allie Lowell (Jane Curtin) are adjusting to life as roommates with Allie’s kids Jennie (Alison Smith) and Chip (Fred Koehler) and Kate’s daughter Emma (Ari Meyers).  When Kate goes on a date with David Hamill (Kelsey Grammer), David finds himself more interested in Allie.


“The Very Loud Family”

1.2       The Very Loud Family Airdate:  03/26/84

Emma decides to make a film about the changing family by shooting a film about Kate and Allie.  With the camera in their faces, Kate and Allie decide Emma can’t keep filming while they try to live their lives.


“Odd Boy Out”

1.3       Odd Boy Out Airdate:  04/16/84

Chip finds himself being beaten up at school for living with his mother and Allie.  When Allie gets Charles (Paul Hecht) to take out Chip and his friends, Chip decides he wants to live with his father.  When Charles bails on a camping trip, Kate and Allie decide to take Chip and friends camping.


“The Family Business”

1.4       The Family Business Airdate:  04/23/84

When Kate is passed up for a promotion at the travel agency for the boss’s son-in-law and decides she needs a change.  When Allie decides she needs a job too, Allie sets out to start her own business as a baker.  As Allie finds success, Kate struggles for work…but success in the cake business could be problems.


“Dear Diary”

1.5       Dear Diary Airdate:  04/30/84

Allie wants to feel more at home in Kate’s home and gets permission to move in some of her things…leading to a battle over the space with Kate.  When Kate reads Allie’s old diary, she learns about a betrayal committed years ago.


“A Weekend to Remember”

1.6       A Weekend to Remember Airdate:  05/07/84

Kate decides on a getaway weekend with her ex-husband Max (John Heard) leaving Allie home alone for the first time in her life.

[easyazon-block align=”center” asin=”B000EGDAO8″ locale=”us”]

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

Leave A Response