Here comes a hurricane! There goes the neighborhood.
Original Air Date:
November 9, 1991 – Season Four
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
Estelle Getty as Sophia Petrillo / Ann Guilbert as Mama Todd / Leland Orser as Mr. Mackenzie / Nancy Meue as Mrs. Mackenzie
Harry announces that he has put the house up for sale because the English Tudor they’ve all yearned for is available. The Mackenzies, a yuppie couple, come by for a look and later make Harry an offer to buy the house. All of this happens as Hurricane Gil passes and Hurricane Heidi approaches. The neighbors – Charley and Sophia – don’t want to see the Westons move, but the Tudor is their “dream house.” Hurricane Heidi hits Miami. As Harry battles to save the house and yard from storm damage, he and the girls discover that this is their dream house. Meanwhile, Laverne is forced to entertain her caustic mother-in-law while husband Nick is delayed in another city by the storm. Mama Todd is rude and demanding, and Laverne finally stands up to her. Mama Todd is happy to discover that Laverne has gumption, and they become friends since they are so much alike.
This was part of NBC’s “Hurricane Saturday” stunt. The plots from related shows The Golden Girls, Empty Nest and Nurses all centered around the storm with characters from the shows appearing on the others. Estelle Getty made her second Empty Nest appearance during this episode. She later joined the show as a regular in season six. No one from Nurses appeared in this episode, but Park Overall appeared in the Nurses episode with Golden Girl Betty White.
The themed night of programming scored big ratings for NBC. Empty Nest was the highest rated show of the night with over 20 million viewers. The episode gave the show its highest in-season ranking ever up to that point. (It was the third highest watched show of the week.) It was also the first time Nurses landed in the top ten. Due to the success of the stunt, the network held another themed night later in the season with the central plot being the leap year’s full moon.
This was the first appearance of Laverne’s mother-in-law, Mama Todd, played by actress Ann Guilbert. The character later appeared in season six. Guilbert is perhaps best known for her role as Yetta on The Nanny.
NBC sitcoms storm to 2nd sweeps win – An article discussing the ratings of “Hurricane Saturday”
Hurricane Saturday promo – NBC’s TV spot promoting the crossover special
View the episode on Dailymotion.