December 11, 2018

Retro Rerun Review: Kate and Allie

The Show: Kate & Allie 

Ran for:  122 episodes— 6 seasons from 1984 to 1989.

What it’s about: Two lady detectives? I really don’t know. I assume they were detectives. And possibly lovers.

My relationship with it: None, clearly. I’m sure I’ve seen bits and pieces of episodes, but it was when I was young and not the target audience for lesbian detective shows. 

This Episode: Season 4, Episode 6— “Halloween II”

Original Air Date: October 27, 1986

Kate and Allie are walking down the street and there is a very fancy car parked at the curb. They stop and talk about it for a long period of time like normal people do when they see a nice car. They are mad that the car owner— who they assume is a man— spent this much on a car when he could have given the money to charity. This is a weird hill to die on. Anyway, they walk off and the car phone rings, then goes to the answering machine and it is a woman on the message. “You have reached the phone of Dr. Walker…” So, I’m not sure if this is funny because they thought it was a guy and it’s a woman or if it’s funny because it’s a doctor or if, in fact, this is funny at all. I also wonder if this will be mentioned again or if it was totally pointless.

Now the doorbell rings and Kate-or-Allie (whichever one is Jane Curtin) answers and it is trick-or-treaters. The woman WITH the trick-or-treaters is Gloria Greenley, someone who Kate-or-Allie apparently knows. Then they leave and some other trick-or-treaters come. Then they leave and two older guys show up. One of them says, “we’re here for your daughters,” then he introduces himself as Dr. Frankenstein, then he shakes her hand and his fake hand comes off. Kate-or-Allie calls up the stairs for “Jenny” and “Emma” who might be her daughters, I guess? Two boys come down instead, one of whom is Kate-or-Allie’s son, and one who looks like a discount AC Slater. Dr. Frankenstein says, “which one of you is Jenny,” which is creepy. Kate-or-Allie stops the boys and searches their persons. She finds eggs, presumably for mischief-making. Expositionally, we learn that there is a parade on the street just outside.

Allie-or-Kate comes down the stairs, and she is dressed as Peter Cottontail. Okay, she calls Jane Curtin “Allie,” so I can stop with the ___-or-___ nonsense. Everyone leaves except for Kate and Allie. Allie says, “why do I feel a lecture coming on?” Kate is mad that Allie isn’t dressed up or seemingly even into Halloween. She tells her she’s going to make her into a ghost.

In the next scene, we’re going BACK into the house and Kate is talking about how she really has to pee, so will Allie  (now dressed as a ghost) help her out of the costume and the ghost responds AND IT’S A MAN NOT ALLIE! Kate shrieks and he takes off his sheet and he explains that he is Bill and Kate basically dragged him into her house. He came along, he continues, because he “wanted to know if it’s true what they say about rabbits.” Yikes. She tries to kick him out on account of him probably being a rapist and then he casually mentions that he’s a widower. Pretty cool thing to throw at strangers, if you ask me. Anyway, she’s sympathetic for a second, then tries to throw him out again, then he starts talking to his dead wife. Haha, what.

Allie shows back up and then Kate introduces her to Bill and to Bill’s dead wife, Elaine. The confer and decide— reasonably— to get rid of him. Bill claims that Elaine won’t leave, but they’re like, that’s cool, she can chill, we’ll make her some tea. He reluctantly agrees to let his dead wife hang out in Kate and Allie’s house to cool down. Kate finally has someone unzip her, so she goes upstairs to pee and stops when she sees that someone has written “YOU ARE NOT ALONE” on her mirror in lipstick. SHE IS BEING HAUNTED BY THE KING OF POP.

Downstairs, Allie is debating about eating something— it doesn’t look like any candy I’ve ever seen— and she says, “oh, what the hell, it’s only cellulite,” only she pronounces it cell-u-LEET and not cell-u-LITE and I’m confused.

  1. Can you pronounce it both ways?
  2. Have *I* been saying it incorrectly for 37 years?
  3. Did she flub the line and they just left it in?
  4. Who should I contact about this? Jane Curtin? My congressperson?

Kate comes down and says, “come see what your kid did.” They go upstairs, and wouldn’t you know it, the mirror is clean. They start looking for Chip, but OK, they saw him leave earlier. Then a noise starts and they go downstairs to investigate. The lights are going on and off and the blender is blending what looks like a salmon smoothie and the electric can opener is electric can opening. It all stops and then the older kids show back up. Turns out, Chip and Discount Slater were with THEM the whole time. Dun-dun-DUNNNNN!

We go to commercial and when we come back, they are explaining to the teens that a ghost named Elaine is in the house. The lights go out, then come back on. There is a lot of back and forth and a Ronald Reagan joke. They all go down to their spooky-ass murder basement to check the circuit breaker, but it’s fine. Dr. Frankenstein says, “why don’t we just look around.” I’m not sure why, though. Then they hear spooky organ music upstairs, so they go to check it out.

Upstairs, there is a smoke machine and a bunch of burning candles and a very, very plastic human skull. Bill shows back up and wonders where Elaine is and then says, “oh, candles— Elaine likes playing with matches. Well, goodnight.” Everyone agrees to search the house again to kill some time in the episode. It feels like writers forgot to write parts of this episode.

Anyway, Chip and Eddie (that’s Discount Slater) are in the basement and one of them says, “I wish we coulda seen their faces,” so I guess this was the work of Chip and Eddie. Then Dr. Frankenstein and one of the teen girls comes downstairs and they’re looking for Chip and Eddie so maybe they’re in on it, too. As the four discuss next moves, Allie peeks her head around the murder basement door and hears the plotting. So now she knows. She runs off to tell Kate that a seance is being planned and Kate says “maybe it’s time we came up with a few tricks of our own,” and Allie slyly says, “silly rabbit, tricks are for kids,” and the audience is really tickled by that, despite the fact that this slogan had been around for 27 years when the episode aired.

They gather around the table for a seance being lead by Igor, whose real character name I can’t remember, and who looks really familiar but has only been in 9 things so I promise you don’t know him.

Anyway, he chants some spooky spell, and the hall closet door opens and Chip and Eddie come out, one of them on the other’s shoulders, covered in a really long sheet. Then Allie starts acting possessed and Gloria Greenley from earlier comes out of a different closet in her vampire costume. The teens all look at her and say, “whoa,” but I can’t really tell if they’re scared or not. Kate and Allie start laughing and Mrs. Greenley goes back into the closet. Allie turns the lights on and Dr. Frankenstein says, “who was in the closet?” They explain who it was and then the doorbell rings and IT’S MRS. GREENLEY!!!

Kate and Allie and the teens and the pre-teens all go to the closet to open it together, and it’s empty. Then the back door opens and slams shut and the doorbell rings again. It opens, and it’s widower Bill Wells, still wearing his ghost sheet. He says that Elaine wanted them to know that she had a hell of a time. He leaves, Allie proposes another seance, and that’s basically it. So, I guess it was Elaine the whole time? Hmm.

After, Kate is trying to figure out how Allie snuck Mrs. Greenley out without anyone noticing and Allie is trying to figure out how Kate made the door open and close and neither one wants to cop to anything and that’s about it.

Would I watch another episode?: Yeah, totally. I wasn’t quite right about them being no-nonsense lesbian detectives, but Jane Curtin and Susan St. James had a nice chemistry. The writing was pretty good by average mid-80s sitcom standards and overall, the show had a few quality time capsule moments.

Grade: 7/10