When you think of Alice, people think of the ever-practical Alice Hyatt, Alice's son Tommy,
the hard-hitting and stingy Mel Sharples, the "dingey" Vera, and of course, the three southern third
The thing about Alice is that it shifted for the third waitress. First, there was legendary
Polly Holliday in the role of Flo. With phrases like "Kiss my grits!" and "When donkeys fly!", it seemed
the show would never be at a loss for comical remarks. When Polly went to star in the spin-off, Flo, many
feel that Alice had a big hole that needed to be filled. Also, the spin-off didn't provide much for those
suffering of nostalgia for the sassy Flo - it lasted from March 1980 to April 1981, and hasn't aired
There was an attempt to air Flo on TVLand in July 2000 for a showcase of little-known shows,
but the death of Petticoat Junction's Meredith MacRae lead the network to showcase four episodes
of Petticoat Junction. TVLand has publicly stated that they do not have any plans for the near
future of re-scheduling Flo when many Alice fans e-mailed the network.
TNN, which currently is syndicating Alice, may consider Flo for their schedule. TNN's
ratings improved with the addition of Alice after E! Entertainment Television stopped airing
Alice (and as of June 2000, they don't air any sitcoms). TNN's ratings are also improved with the
addition of the very rare Desilu Production, The Real McCoys, which is scheduled before Alice at
3pm weekdays on TNN.
Executives Producers Bob Carroll, Jr. and Madelyn Davis (two of the three I Love Lucy writers
- who wrote every episode) knew just where to find the second third waitress. Alice Doesn't Live Here
Anymore, the movie Alice was based upon, had Diane Ladd in the role of a deeper, brassier
Flo (as well as Vic Tayback in the legendary role of Mel). Ladd accepted the part of Belle Dupree. Belle
Dupree came from Mississippi, and dreamed to be a songwriter.
Belle may have come on too strong. Though Diane Ladd quickly won a Golden Globe and was nominated for
an Emmy Award (Polly Holliday won several more awards than Diane Ladd), some fans feel that the character
took away from Linda Lavin's firmly established spotlight, as Diane Ladd was an equally successful and
accomplished a star as Linda Lavin.
Rumored to be because of disagreements with Linda Lavin, Diane Ladd eventually left the series after
covering up for Polly Holliday's absense for the tail end of season four, and being on the series for
almost all of it's fifth season.
The third (and final) waitress was Jolene Hunnicutt, played by Celia Weston. Diane Ladd's last episode
was also Celia Weston's first (Diane Ladd was credited, Celia Weston was a Special Guest Star). Though
several fans feel that Polly Holliday's last episode, "Flo's Farewell", provided enough closure for the
series, Diane Ladd's didn't. A phone call from Nashville won't work, will it? Maybe, but when Mel fired
Alice once, he did take her nametag... what about Belle's nametag?
Flo was never really mentioned after season four, and the same for Belle when she left. The only
exception is that in the series finale, Flo was in several flashbacks. Belle, however, wasn't.
The longest-running third waitress was Jolene (she ran for the end of season 5, and for the rest
of the nine-year running series). Jolene didn't have much character development unfortunately.
Character development was different for Flo and Belle: Flo didn't need an introduction, and neither
did Vera. Vera and Flo had worked with Mel for several years. Alice, as said in the pilot, was
there for three weeks: stretching to nine years by the series' close.