Love & War

CBS (ended 1995)


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Love & War

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A former restauranteur buys a bar and turns it into a chic bistro, putting her at odds with an opinionated sports columnist who hangs out there. Love & War was the most popular new sitcom on United States Television in season 1992-93 - jokingly described as Law & Order meets Cheers - owing to the presence of Susan Dey (who played Grace Van Owen in the legal drama LA Law, as well as, years earlier, Laurie Partridge in The Partridge Family) and the ensemble setting in a restaurant/bar. Susan Dey co-starred as Wallis 'Wally' Porter, an attractive and upmarket businesswoman/chef who loses not only her husband but also her swanky New York restaurant, Chez Wally, when she is divorced. Desperate for a few double vodkas after the settlement hearing, she stops by the Blue Shamrock, a downmarket Manhattan bar and grill, and, on impulse, buys the majority share in the place from its current owner, big Ike Johnson (who nonetheless agrees to stay on as manager), vowing to turn it into a chic venue. The Blue Shamrock swiftly brings Wally together with one of the bar's principal habitués, Jack Stein, an intolerant and opinionated reporter for the New York Register newspaper, and, although complete opposites, they waste little time in cementing a relationship, going to bed in the second episode (the sitcom aired in the US after the watershed); their alliance forms the bedrock of the series from this point on. Other bar regulars include timid refuse-collector Ray Litvak; forthright and feminist Register sports journalist 'Meg' Tynan, who disapproves of the Porter/Stein axis; and none-too-bright waitress Nadine Berkus, who needs the wage to finance her own and her children's education because her husband has been sent to jail for fraud. John Hancock, the actor playing Ike Johnson (he had also played opposite Susan Dey in LA Law), died soon after the series began and was replaced by his character's ill-natured brother, Abe, an unemployed auto worker from Detroit who becomes the new Blue Shamrock barman. Also seen regularly is Wally's ex-husband, Kip Zakaris, an egomaniacal B-movie actor. The 'LA Law meets Cheers' scenario ended after one year when the producers failed to renew Susan Dey's contract, reportedly because they felt there was insufficient chemistry between her and co-star Jay Thomas. Replacing Wally - who was said to have gone to Paris - came another chef, Dana Palladino (played by Annie Potts), who stood up to Jack and didn't become his love interest for a year. Wally sold her interest in the Blue Shamrock to Abe.moreless