I absolutely love the series "Alice" but I didn't start watching it regularly until around 1983, two years before the series finale. A plot about a widowed mother of one relocating to find a better life for she and her son, was not new to t.v., movies or literature. But that type of plot was easier to digest in a time when a woman found it very difficult to be accepted as independent and capable of making it on her own, without a man, unless she was forced into it because of a death, divorce or because she had to leave an abusive relationship. Another truth of that time was you didn't see a lot of single female characters getting employed for work other than lower paying and/or menial jobs such as waitresses, maids, housekeepers, nannies or clerks. Season one's pilot episode, that aired August 31rst, 1976, had casted Alfred Lutter as "Tommy Hyatt" (Lutter also portrayed the character "Tommy Hyatt" in the movie entitled "Alice doesn't live here anymore" which this series is based upon). For some reason Lutter's portrayal of "Tommy Hyatt" ended after the pilot episode and he was replaced by Philip McKeon beginning with episode two, "Alice Gets A Pass", which starts out with a controversial "bang" by having a gay character. The third episode "A Piece Of the Rock" deals with Alice's late husband's last will and testament and an unknown female beneficiary. It's a very charming and heartfelt episode and one of my season one favorites. Linda Lavin plays the title role of "Alice Hyatt". A fairly young widow ,with a 12 year old son, who decided to move from New Jersey to California to pursue her dream of a singing career but their car breaks down and they end up stranded in Phoenix AZ. Alice gets a one bedroom apartment and then finds a waitressing job at "Mel's Diner". Philip McKeon is well casted as "Tommy Hyatt". Tommy is a charming, self proclaimed, precocious 12 year old and though his on screen appearances aren't as numerous as the other four main characters, he makes an indelible mark on the series. "Melvin Sharples" is played by Victor Tayback. "Mel" is a cook and a "slightly" obnoxious guy who, underneath it all, has a really big heart (to go along with his big mouth and voice). Polly Holliday, who couldn't have been better casted, plays waitress "Florence Jean Castleberry" aka "Flo". A small town, Texas girl living in Phoenix Az in a small trailer. She is tall, attractive, flirty, down-to earth and boisterous and introduces the catch-phrase "Kiss my grits" to the viewing audiences. Beth Howland plays "Vera Gorman". A loveable, skinny, naive and neurotic waitress who can barely make it through a day without some crisis or another. This series deals with various situations. Some are light, some are heavy and others controversial. Although the show features a lot of situations for the title character "Alice" it does disperse plots somewhat equally among the other main characters and their daily lives. I'm so happy that this series became available on DVD. "Alice" is a definite must have for your collection. I very highly recommend this series!!...... (There is an actual "Mel's Diner" in Phoenix AZ . It's hidden away in an industrial area just (correction is) East (not West) of the I-17 freeway, off of Grand Ave, between McDowall and the Papago freeway.)"RIP Philip McKeon"