'Grace Under Fire' follows the life of Grace Kelly, a former alcoholic who has left her abusive husband. She tries to balance work, her three children and rebuilding her life while her past actions are constantly brought up reminding her of where she came from. Her relateable struggles, quick comebacks, supportive friends and open door to anyone needing to talk made her home a place you wanted to stop by to vent your issues.
The series follows Grace taking whatever jobs she can to keep the bills paid while juggling attempts at relationships. Her high school best friend/neighbor Nadine is always available to help out. Nadine's husband Wade is a military vet who loves to tell stories about it when not modeling clay. Russell, a divorced pharmacist, goes on a single date with Grace before they realize they would make much better friends (who can verbally bash their exes together). Grace's kids are Quentin, a troublemaker who wants to idolize his father Jimmy but also has memories of the abuse his mother endured; Libby, academically perfect, optimistic but stresses when Grace is stressed; and Patrick, whose birth is what finally encourages Grace to leave Jimmy. Recurring characters include Vic and Dougie; who work with Grace at the oil refinery; Faith, Grace's older sister; Jimmy, Grace's ex; Jean, Jimmy's religous mom and Grace's ex-mother-in-law who defends her son in everything but trashes Grace when possible; Floyd, Russell's womanizing father who reconnects with his son by going to work alongside him at the pharmacy. Over the course of the show they covered alcoholism, domestic abuse, money troubles, family drama, adoption, infertility, divorce, bad co-workers, dysfuntional neighbors, regrets, ambitions but with small town humor anchored by Grace's southern attitude.
Unfortunately, what made the show entertaining was also what slowly spoiled it. Grace's perseverance and struggling finally does what it is supposed to, as she is eventually able to graduate from college and seek better employment, alienating her blue collar fan base. Jimmy was an unseen villain during season one, but when he was finally introduced in season two there was a slow build of redemption to where Grace actually apoligizes to him in season four for how she treated him when he was abusing her. Nadine and Wade's marriage is always struggling, as when one of them wants something the other doesn't. And when one finally gets what they claim to want, something else goes wrong to make one or both unhappy. Once Russell breaks up with Faith in season two, his character flounders and no longer serves a function, so Floyd is introduced for him to have someone to interact with. Then there were behind the scenes problems, where Brett Butler's recurring drug problems led to shortened seasons, the departure of two cast members and the network pulling the plug during the fifth year.