Episode Guide

The episodes are indexed by production number, but ordered by original broadcast date (with one exception). Confused? So am I.

See also: continuity notes.

1st Season (Spring 1976)

0. Pilot episode, a.k.a. The Best Years (03/09/76)
Nancy walks in on Jeff with another woman; Buddy overhears something Kate says about her, and goes berserk.

3. Monday Is Forever (03/16/76)
Kate has to wait until Monday to find out whether she has cancer; Buddy and her friend Laura Richardson (Kim Richards) have until Monday, when the latter's family is scheduled to move to Detroit.

2. A Special Kind Of Loving (03/23/76)
Willie meets, and starts spending lots of time with, Salina -- leading to a tiff with Buddy, right when she needs him to help conquer her fear of diving. Howard Hesseman: Salina's health-food cafe boss.

4. A Right and Proper Goodbye (03/30/76)
Kate's mother comes for one last visit.

1. Thursday's Child (04/06/76)
As Timmy Jr.'s christening approaches, the whole family (especially Buddy, who stubbornly refuses to take part) relives the painful memories of Timmy Sr.'s death.

5. Point Of Departure (04/13/76)
Doug resents Willie's attitude towards work, the universe, and everything; a string of burglaries sweeps through the neighborhood. Vic Tayback: local cop.

2nd Season (1976-1977)

6. Coming Apart (10/06/76)
Buddy gets a job at a bakery, and introduces Willie to her boss, "Big Al"; Nancy gets involved with Peter, while she's finalizing her divorce from Jeff -- despite the latter's pleas for a reconciliation.

7. Such Sweet Sorrow (10/19/76)
Salina drops by, at a time when Willie is having problems with Alex; Doug is offered a great job in New York.

10. Home Movie (10/26/76)
Willie drives everyone crazy by following them around and filming them; Buddy has difficulty with a school assignment -- writing a speech on the topic of "How I intend to leave my mark on the world"; Kate runs into a former roommate, who has become a successful author.

9. Coming Of Age (11/09/76)
Buddy officially reaches puberty; Nancy is caught between Kate's resentment of her thoughtlessness, Peter's proposal of marriage, and a come-on from a complete stranger (Tommy Lee Jones).

12. Jury Duty - part I (11/16/76)
Kate gets picked to be on a jury in a murder case; Buddy meets T.J. and trains for a skateboarding competition. Fred Stuthman: judge.

13. Jury Duty - part II (11/23/76)
Kate is subjected to widespread abuse for being the lone holdout; Buddy captures first prize, T.J.'s heart, and (for good measure) the real killer.

14. The Cradle Will Fall (11/30/76)
Buddy completes her orthodontal treatment; Salina returns to town once again, only to be plunged into a custody battle with her daughter's father; Kate finds out that Elaine's husband is cheating on her.

15. Skeleton In the Closet (12/07/76)
When Doug's sister Emily comes to visit, he has trouble facing the fact that she's an alcoholic; Buddy tries to help an old lady she sees shoplifting at a supermarket.

17. On the First Day Of Christmas, a.k.a. The Christmas Story (12/21/76)
Doug is suspicious when his father introduces his new, and much younger, girlfriend; Nancy and Jeff have a fight over who gets Timmy over Christmas.

8. Rites Of Friendship (12/28/76)
A friend of Willie's comes out of the closet; Buddy, after getting invited to the "Junior Jump" by a popular boy, asks Nancy to teach her to dance.

11. An Eye To the Future (01/04/77)
Buddy (as "Diamond In the Rough") gets heavily into the CB scene; Kate decides to go back to college; Doug does a stint on the bench. James Woods: piano prof.

18. Lovers and Strangers (01/11/77)
Willie gets cradle-robbed by a visiting movie director, and takes it much too seriously; Doug gets a dog as a birthday present.

16. Return Engagement (01/18/77)
Doug hears from a woman he once had an affair with; Willie and Buddy go on a biking trip.

19. "Mirror, Mirror On the Wall..." (02/01/77)
A daughter whom Elaine gave up for adoption years ago finds her, through Kate; Willie is intrigued by a pretty client at the photo studio where he works.

20. Someone's Watching (02/08/77)
A series of anonymous gifts eventually makes Nancy feel threatened; Buddy's motor-mouth school-project partner uses the Lawrences as his surrogate family.

22. A Safe House (02/15/77)
A former friend of Willie's, now an outlaw, gives him a call; Buddy thinks she has a great scoop for the school paper.

21. Best Friends (02/22/77)
Nancy attends her high-school reunion, meeting the guy she dumped to marry Jeff; T.J. asks Buddy to a formal dance, causing a rift with Audrey.

23. Taking Chances - part I (03/01/77)
When Doug loses his sight after getting hit by a car, opinions are divided as to whether he should undergo an operation that could either restore it, or kill him; in the meantime, Willie has second thoughts about having quit his job. John Harkins: Willie's photo-shop boss.

24. Taking Chances - part II (03/08/77)
After spending an eternity as a blind man whose youngest daughter despises him, Doug finally musters up the courage to have the operation -- and, of course, all's well.

25. Comings and Goings (03/22/77)
Willie and Salina decide to live together; Sylvia Maitland uses the Lawrences' house as a refuge after a fight with her husband.

26. ... More Things In Heaven and Earth (03/29/77)
Kate is shaken by what a supposed psychic says about her long-missing aunt; Nancy lands a prestigious legal assignment, and suspects her looks are the reason.

27. An Endangered Species (05/03/77)
A recently-divorced friend wants to hang out with Kate; Nancy gets upset when a classmate asks to use her place for an affair with a married man.

3rd Season (1977-1978)

33. Acts Of Love - part I (09/13/77)
While Nancy and Buddy prepare for their parents' 25th wedding-anniversary party, Willie meets, and falls in love with, a physics student named Lizzy -- who, as he soon finds out, has radiation sickness.

34. Acts Of Love - part II (09/20/77)
Lizzy dies, but not before Willie convinces her to marry him first.

28. The First Time (09/27/77)
Kate unhappily contemplates her 49th birthday; T.J. asks Buddy to go steady with him, but she's not sure.

29. Change Of Heart (10/04/77)
Nancy is jealous of Jeff's new fiancée; Buddy, of T.J.'s admiration for another girl's sexy song-and-dance act.

35. Annie Laurie (10/25/77)
Doug gets propositioned by a female lawyer (Linda Lavin).

32. "We Love You, Miss Jessup" (11/01/77)
Buddy's English teacher gets outed; Willie suspects Nancy of being a home-wrecker.

36. Little Brother (11/08/77)
Willie fails to understand a black thing; Buddy develops an interest in genealogy.

37. Childhood's End (11/15/77)
Buddy's friend Laura returns for a visit, and -- guess what? -- she, too, is now an alkie; a friend of Doug's, a divorced father, is apprehensive about seeing his kids again.

39. A Tale Out Of Season (11/22/77)
Doug's colleague and protégé turns out to be a child-beater; Nancy finds a puppy; Buddy finally gets into the Thanksgiving spirit.

40. Labors Of Love (11/29/77)
Buddy, upset by a lack of attention from T.J., tries to make him jealous by hanging out with a geek; Willie catches the eye of his cute über-boss.

30. A Child Is Given (12/13/77)
At Christmas-time, Timmy Jr. falls seriously ill.

38. More Than Friends (01/03/78)
Nancy hits it off with Willie's former writing teacher, but things get awkward when he pans Willie's script.

44. Princess In the Tower (01/10/78)
Kate, slightly sick of family life, checks out a model apartment in a brand-new high-rise condo -- and gets trapped overnight, along with a very pregnant younger woman; Buddy has the bright idea of dyeing her hair blonde.

43. Echoes Of Love (01/17/78)
Willie can't stop reminiscing about Lizzy, so he hooks up with her former roommate; Audrey is depressed because her parents are splitting up, and angry that Doug is representing her mother in the divorce.

42. See Saw (01/24/78)
Kate volunteers to help a moody (and arithmetic-obsessed) young patient at the Braille institute; Willie works on installing Timmy's new bed; Buddy leaves for a week-end of skiing with T.J. and his parents.

41. Lifeline (01/31/78)
Nancy plays hot-line operator when her classmate attempts suicide, to get back at her married boyfriend for breaking up with her; Buddy baby-sits a whiny kid (absurdly, Quinn Cummings).

46. ... And Baby Makes Three (02/07/78)
Nancy and Jeff aren't sure whether to get back together; Buddy is disgusted that Audrey has fallen for the cheap ploys of the school Casanova.

49. Crossing Over (02/14/78)
Willie has an appointment with a big-shot film producer (Richard Masur), on the eve of his 21st birthday; then, he and Doug make friends with a stripper.

45. The Covenant (02/21/78)
Doug and his father attend to some unfinished business; Nancy has a miscarriage.

50. A Friend Of the Family's (02/28/78)
A somewhat unscrupulous former friend of Willie's drops by; Buddy needs driving lessons; Kate and Doug consider taking separate vacations.

31. Fear Of Shadows (05/02/78)
Kate has a recurring nightmare about running over a little boy; Buddy gets a pet raccoon.

48. Sleeping Gypsy (05/09/78)
Everyone at school dislikes Buddy's bohemian friend (Dinah Manoff, in an Empty Nest rehearsal); Kate gives Doug a plaid jacket he doesn't much care for.

47. Counterpoint (05/16/78)
Kate has to go back and repeat a class she flunked the previous semester, and gets picked on by a snobby professor (William Daniels); Doug contemplates early retirement after his tennis partner has a heart attack.

4th Season (1978-1979)

51. Starting Over (09/21/78)
Annie's sole surviving relative dumps her into the Lawrences' lap -- where she doesn't feel quite comfortable, at first.

52. All For Love (09/28/78)
Zack tells Buddy that unless she sleeps with him, he will have to satisfy his manly needs with another girl (Lisa Whelchel); Doug thinks of buying a flashy sports car.

53. Changes (10/12/78)
Nancy is all set to re-marry Jeff; Annie, heretofore known as "Annie Cooper," decides to add "Lawrence" to her name; Buddy, ever the traditionalist, is bothered by it all.

54. Magic (10/19/78)
Kate, in the hospital for a physical, meets a burned-out former rock star (Annie Potts); Annie needs Doug's help to impress her classmates with magic tricks. Charlotte Rae: nurse.

55. Just Friends (11/09/78)
Willie considers an affair with a married woman (Kim Cattrall) he met in a writing class; Nancy, sick of living in a "fishbowl," decides to move out of the guest-house and into an apartment of her own.

61. Generations (11/23/78)
When the Lawrences visit the family farm, Kate confronts her mother's ghost, while Buddy flirts with a local yokel.

56. Expectations (12/07/78)
Nancy's new boss pressures her to sleep with him; Buddy tries out for the cheerleading squad.

65. Gifts (12/21/78)
Annie, who still misses her parents, can't relate to the Lawrences' holiday cheer, and decides to run away until Christmas is over; Willie runs into his old barber, who is about to close up shop for good.

57. The Friend's Affair (01/04/79)
A colleague and friend of Doug's is cheating on his wife; Annie suspects a next-door neighbor of having murdered his.

60. Exits and Entrances (01/11/79)
After Buddy stars in a high-school play (Shaw's Saint Joan), her interest in acting is strongly encouraged by a friend of Kate's, a professional actress; Annie gets a telemarketing job to pay for a new bike.

66. Moment Of Truth (01/18/79)
Doug is threatened by a man (Paul Shenar, who later played Kristy's father in Dream Lover) he once helped put in jail; Buddy and Audrey have a fight about who copied from whom on an algebra test.

67. Malicious Mischief (01/25/79)
Nancy considers a marriage proposal from Timmy's daycare provider (her then-husband, David Birney) -- until he gets accused of child abuse; Willie falls in love with a cat.

58. Sleeping Over (02/01/79)
Kate is offended when Willie has a fling with her younger, harp-playing friend (Shelley Long); Buddy is torn when she is invited to join a sorority, and Audrey isn't.

64. Disco Queen (02/08/79)
Buddy sneaks into a disco club, with the help of an older acquaintance, and finds it more than she bargained for; Annie has a date with a jock.

71. The Athlete (03/01/79)
Buddy, volunteering at a hospital, encounters a star high-school basketball player (Michael Biehn) who is there for a broken leg -- or so he thinks; Annie runs for class president against her nemesis, Emmy Sheldon.

62. The Competition (03/08/79)
Buddy blames herself when a fellow student commits suicide after losing to her in a history competition; Annie stumbles upon a novel cookie-selling strategy.

72. Ballerina (03/15/79)
Willie has a fling with a ballet dancer (Stephanie Zimbalist); Doug purchases a work-out set by mail-order.

63. Diversions (03/22/79)
Nancy, cramming for the bar exam, keeps getting distracted by her neighbor; Annie goes on a survivalist kick.

69. An Apple For the Teacher (03/30/79)
Kate's teaching career gets off to a rough start, when a student decides to continuously annoy her; Annie borrows Buddy's "lucky" ring to help during a spelling bee, and promptly loses it.

59. Prelude (04/20/79)
Buddy has a crush on her swimming instructor, much to Zack's displeasure; Kate is tempted to call an old boyfriend.

70. Going Straight (05/10/79)
Willie's humanitarian impulses are defeated by his boss' lechery; Doug overestimates his fix-it skills.

68. From Russia With Love (05/17/79)
Kate acts as escort to, and highly impresses, a visiting Ukrainian composer; Buddy and Annie play Monopoly to determine who gets Willie's old room.

5th Season (1979-1980)

75. Smarts (06/18/80)
Annie gets picked on by her classmates, for being too smart; Buddy, studying for her SATs, worries that she's not smart enough.

82. Thanksgiving (11/20/79)
Doug's father (Henry Fonda) starts showing his age.

77. 'Tis the Season (12/24/79)
A pre-Christmas argument with Willie nearly gives Doug a heart attack; Buddy invites her school's janitor (J. Pat O'Malley) to her house, where he quickly endears himself to everyone but Kate.

74. Jack Of Hearts (01/14/80)
Buddy and Nancy find themselves in a love triangle; Annie dabbles in the occult.

80. When the Bough Breaks (01/21/80)
Kate finds out she's pregnant; a friend of Buddy's, on vacation from her all-girls school, picks Willie as a seduction target.

83. Hard Times (01/28/80)
Buddy tries to help two friends of hers (Fredric Lehne, Helen Hunt) who are having relationship problems; Nancy's troubles at work affect Timmy's behavior.

78. Whispers (02/04/80)
Buddy's friendship with a teacher gives rise to rumors; Annie uses questionable tactics to get Willie to let her interview him for her school paper.

81. Play On Love (03/03/80)
Willie finds the director of his play more interesting than Rachel; Buddy insists on buying an old sports car, over Doug's objections.

76. Daylight Serenade (03/10/80)
Buddy has an ambiguous relationship with a nerdy schoolmate whom Kate is training for a piano audition; Nancy begs Annie to teach her how to rollerskate, so she can go to a party with a handsome fellow lawyer (Ted Danson).

84. Such a Fine Line (03/17/80)
A schoolboy (Michael J. Fox) has a crush on Kate; Jeff, now an in-over-his-head rock manager, blows into town with his band.

73. The Ties That Bind (06/04/80)
Elaine and Annie go through some abandonment issues.

79. Just Like Old Times, a.k.a. Severing Ties (06/11/80)
Buddy tries to make everyone think she didn't get into any of the schools she applied to; Doug wants Annie to share his obsession with baseball.

85. Letting Go (06/25/80)
Doug is upset when Buddy starts dating a 21-year-old; Annie is jealous of an old friend (Dana Plato) who has matured much faster than she has.

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