50 best television shows set across the United States

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Arizona: Alice

The premise: A recently divorced woman, Alice, moves her and her teenage son to a suburb in Arizona. Alice gets a job as a waitress at a little restaurant, Mel’s Diner, and most of the action of the show takes place inside the dive over the course of a handful of seasons. Alice worked alongside the wide-eyed and sweet Vera and the fast-talking Texas native, Flo.

Flo coined the phrase, “Kiss my grits,” to tell folks off, and it remains a handy go-to (for me, at least) anytime someone needs to back off. The show evolved over the series and expanded its stories to include not only the employees at the diner, but also the cast of guest stars that came through.

The setting: Situated outside Phoenix, Arizona, we didn’t get a whole lot of scenes that weren’t in the diner. The opening credits show Alice and her son, Tommy, driving in through the desert, and there is much ado made about the diner itself. One of the ongoing gags of the show was a bit about Mel’s diner getting destroyed in one way or another — either by Flo driving a truck through it, a wrecking ball accidentally demolishing it, or a tree crashing through it. The diner took a fair amount of beatings.

The most Arizona thing about it: Aside from the desert always visible through the front windows, the inside of the diner had a real southwest vibe about it. The diner was decorated in an Aztec and Cowboy motif to remind viewers where they were, but it changed over the seasons.