The Series in Retrospect
“Empty Nest,” the acclaimed comedy series now in its fifth season on NBC, will celebrate its 100th episode this fall.
When “Empty Nest” debuted in September 1988, America was introduced to the Westons. The only television family to reflect the current trend of America’s adult children moving back home in record numbers.
Like many families whose grown children have returned home, Harry Weston’s (Richard Mulligan) life has had its share of ups and downs since his two grown daughters moved back into his house. Carol (Dinah Manoff), a walking bundle of neuroses, has battled a variety of phobias, ranging from fear of flying to guilt about feeling good. Policewoman Barbara (Kristy McNichol) has not only had to don a range of disguises from going undercover as a nun to a lady of the night, she has taken part in stakeouts, and once even accidentally shot Carol’s boyfriend.
Even Dreyfuss (Bear) has had his share of problems, from taking the blame for fathering a neighbor’s puppies to battling the affections of a stray dog taken in by the family.
Also like many such families, the Westons have rediscovered each other as adults and support each other through trials big and small, whether it is Barbara’s latest irrational episode about quitting the police department to become head of Garth Brooks’ security, or Harry’s dealing with a former patient who wants him to father a child out of wedlock.
The Westons’ neighbor and perpetual guest, Charley (David Leisure), is always on hand to raid the refrigerator, make disparaging comments and share his latest adventures in womanizing. Charley once even managed to charm his way into Carol’s bed, even though she can’t stand the sight of him.
Often Harry’s office is as tumultuous as his home. The Miami-based pediatrician and his nurse Laverne (Park Overall) are both so strong-willed that they once resorted to a marriage counselor when their office relationship became intolerable.
Over the past four years, “Empty Nest” has featured a wide variety of guest stars ranging from all four “Golden Girls” (Beatrice Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty) to country-western music superstar Garth Brooks.
Other notable guest stars include Lee Grant, Shirley Jones, Jerry Orbach, Angie Dickinson, Harold Gould, Louise Lasser, Jack Carter, Renee Taylor, Danny Thomas, Barbara Billingsley and Mayim Bialik.
“Empty Nest” is a Witt-Thomas-Harris Production in association with Touchstone Television.
Touchstone Television is a part of Walt Disney Pictures and Television.
Part of the show’s fifth season press kit, released August 1992.