To explore the many issues that come from being a single mother, CBS put two of them together in the same household in the 80s series, Kate & Allie. Cast in the lead roles were two women with extensive television experience – Susan Saint James (McMillan and Wife) and Jane Curtin (Saturday Night Live). The resulting chemistry between the two veterans proved to be quite the recipe for success.
Debuting in 1984, Kate & Allie followed the daily lives of Kate McArdle (Saint James) and Allie Lowell (Curtin), two New York friends who rent a Greenwich apartment together, along with their children – Allie’s daughter Jennie and son Skip, and Kate’s daughter Emma.
Besides the pressure of raising two families under the same roof, additional tension often resulted from the fact that Kate and Allie were really nothing alike. Although their friendship went all the way back to high school, Kate was the more progressive of the two, while Allie preferred a more traditional way of life.
Raising their children while struggling to succeed at their careers was the focus of the show, which touched on all the topics one might expect from two mothers bouncing back from divorce. And when all else failed, they always had each other to lean on for support.
For the most part, the two mothers were inseparable, sharing laundry chores, doing the shopping together, attending school functions together…they even opened a catering business together a few years down the road. When Emma finally left for college, Allie was there to provide comfort to her distraught friend. And when Allie needed advice about her blossoming relationship with sportscaster Bob Borsky, Kate did her best. Actually, the advice proved to be pretty sound because, in 1998, Allie and Bob finally tied the knot.
Of course, with Allie finally hitched, that meant the end for Kate & Allie, which ran for 6 seasons and 122 episodes. Always in the Top-20 and always popular with the critics, the series found a welcoming audience, especially with single mothers who could easily relate to the premise and appreciated the positive portrayal for a change.
Were you a fan of this 80s television series? We would love to hear all of your Kate & Alliememories in our comments section below.