Carol finds out that love is blonde!
Original Air Date:
May 1, 1993 – Season Five
Richard Mulligan as Dr. Harry Weston / Kristy McNichol as Barbara Weston / Dinah Manoff as Carol Weston / David Leisure as Charley Dietz / Park Overall as Nurse Laverne Todd / Paul Provenza as Patrick Arcola / Lisa Rieffel as Emily Weston
Joey Lawrence as Wade / Art Metrano as elevator repairman / Renee Humphrey as Kerry
When her nephew, Wade, is accepted by Florida State University, Laverne assumes he’ll be living with her. She doesn’t want Wade to end up like his brother Billy who went wild when he went away to college and flunked out of vet school. Accepting her responsibility in typical Laverne fashion, she goes overboard and is soon advising his clothing choices and monitoring his social life. Laverne asks Harry to look at Wade, who seems a little despondent. Wade asks Harry for help, “Do you know what it’s like having Aunt Laverne bossing you around every minute of the day?” Harry, of course, does know. He advises Wade to move into the dorm. After some doubts, Laverne and Wade agree that it would be best for him to move into the dorm.
At home, Carol realizes that she and Patrick are on the verge of their six-month anniversary. She is convinced that six months is the end and begins to see the doom of their relationship everywhere. Carol decides to reinvent herself. A new blonde wig and an interrupted kinky trip in an elevator do little to enliven their romance – and that’s fine with Patrick. He tells Carol he loves her, just as she is. Besides, it’s their seven-month anniversary. Also, Dreyfuss is having trouble with the neighbor’s cat, Spike.
Despite remaining in the opening credits throughout season five, Kristy McNichol does not appear in this episode.
Joey Lawrence, guest starring as Laverne’s nephew Wade, was a popular teen star at the time this episode was filmed. Lawrence was starring on the series Blossom, which was produced by the same company behind Empty Nest. Perhaps his appearance was meant to bolster ratings for Empty Nest, which had suffered since the departure of Kristy McNichol earlier in the season. Lawrence’s Blossom costar, Mayim Bialik, had previously appeared on Empty Nest in a recurring role as one of Harry’s patients. Michael Stoyanov, another Blossom cast member, also appeared on Empty Nest in the season two episode “Lessons.” Finally, Ted Wass, who played Blossom’s father on that series, was a costar of Richard Mulligan and Dinah Manoff on Soap.
Park Overall appears on crutches in the episode. Park, an avid roller skater, would often skate around the studio lot. She broke her leg in a skating accident, missed some episodes of the show and appeared with the crutches in others.
Teen Idol Joey Lawrence Guest-Stars as Laverne’s Henpecked & Hog-Tied Nephew on “Empty Nest” – Official production company press release about the episode.
Variety Review: “Aunt Verne Knows Best” – Variety‘s Griffin Gilbert offers a postive review of the episode.