Cast: 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 | Bear as Dreyfuss
Ratings: #23 (14.17 million viewers)
Having dominated the Saturday lineup last season, Nest moves to the nine o’clock slot and The Golden Girls to eight as the series enters its fourth year.
The show itself continues much the same as the previous year, with a new, more upbeat version of the theme song, some crossover episodes and celebrity guest stars. With the success of both Nest and Girls, creator Susan Harris takes us to our beloved Miami neighborhood a third time with Nurses, which debuts this season. Centering around the third floor nurses station at Community Medical Center, the show premieres after Nest and gains a loyal following, running for two more seasons.
At the start of the season, the Westons babysit for Laverne’s runaway cousin, and the event sparks hopes of motherhood in Barbara. Harry is a wreck when she announces her plans to be artificially inseminated. But her plans change when she is promoted to sergeant. Her police career plays a big part in Barbara’s storylines this season. She saves a man from drowning and is up for a medal of honor, goes undercover to catch a computer hacker at a college sorority and tries to fool Harry with an array of disguises while undercover at the hospital.
Carol reaches a breakthrough in her therapy but backslides when her therapist dies during their session. After the Westons get robbed, the former anti-gun Carol gets trigger happy and almost shoots Charley. In need of extra money, Harry encourages her to find more work, but regrets his words when she quits her library job and opens her own catering business, the Elegant Epicure.
Carol and Barbara’s head-butting relationship is again the focus of several episodes. When finding out that Carol stole her boyfriend several years ago, Barbara vows to get revenge, which drives a paranoid Carol up the wall. Carol begins dating Barbara’s ex-boyfriend, but Barbara’s feelings for him resurface. Other fun episodes find the two going head to head in a chili cook-off and all tied up when an escaped convict takes them hostage.
In other episodes: Fed up with everyone saying his feelings for his new girlfriend are lust instead of love, Harry impulsively proposes marriage to the lady. Later, he becomes the host of a call-in radio show and ends up saving a child’s life while on the air. Laverne is left alone when Nick files for divorce after meeting another woman. Charley tries to impress his unloving parents by telling them he is captain of the ship. The Westons fear the worst when Dreyfuss goes under the knife for a risky operation.
NBC makes some attempts at ratings boosting by staging two crossover nights between Nest, The Golden Girls, and Nurses. As a hurricane pounds Miami, stars of the three shows pop up on the others in entertaining cameos. The Westons bear the brunt of the storm as far as hurricane damage. This episode gives Nest its highest rating spot ever, coming in at number 3 for the week of its original airing. In the second theme night, strange things begin happening on the night of a full moon: Harry begins suffering wild mood swings and acting foolishly, and Barbara thinks the new handy man she hires is actually Dreyfuss. The former features an appearance by Estelle Getty as Sophia Petrillo and the latter features Betty White as Rose Nylund.
Nest strikes ratings gold when country music superstar Garth Brooks makes his acting debut in the episode “Country Weston.” The plot finds Barbara on the road with Brooks as his chief of security on tour. Brooks isn’t the only famous face that pops up this season. Dinah Manoff’s Oscar award-winning mother Lee Grant appears as globe-trotting philanthropist Aunt Susan, who visits the Westons and persuades Carol to join her on her travels.
Other fun episodes find Harry and Laverne spending the night together in a hotel room while en route to a seminar; Carol driving a planeload of passengers nuts on a flight to New York; Laverne competing with Harry’s old nurse for her job; and Charley running for president of the local home owner’s association.
The Westons travel to the castle of their ancestors in England for the season finale when Harry, set to receive the Sword of Weston, gets trapped in the dungeon. Richard Mulligan does triple duty in this episode not only as Harry but also the castle’s sarcastic butler Basil and sex-starved cousin Baroness Daphne Weston.