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Series / Café Americain

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Café Americain was a 1993 American sitcom starring Valerie Bertinelli. Bertinelli played Holly Aldrige; a young American living on her own in France. Although she doesn't speak any of the language (which causes trouble for her frequently) she finds a job working as a waitress in a small cafe. At the cafe she meets a strange assortment of characters from around the world. These included Madame Ybarra, a former dictator's wife (a thinly veiled spoof of Imelda Marcos), and Fabiana Borelli, a tempestuous Italian model, and her perpetually jealous Italian lover Carlo. Holly became involved in a Will They or Won't They? relationship with Marcel, the cafe's owner.

Café Americain includes examples of:

  • American Title: Of the 'country of origin' variety: the café serves American style food.
  • Catchphrase: Crazy Jealous Guy Carlo had one directed at anyone he thought (or imagined) was hitting on his girlfriend Fabianni:
    I kill him! I kill him bad! I kill him two times!
  • Christmas Episode: "Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly". When Holly is unable to return home for Christmas, Marcel invites her to spend the holiday with his family.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Carlo, as demonstrated by his Catchphrase.
  • Driving Stick: In the B plot of "There's No Business Like Show Business", Marcel teaches Holly to drive a stick shift.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: Played with. Holly rents a cheap apartment from which she can see the Eiffel Tower — when she leans way out of the window with a mirror.
  • Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job: In "Pilot", Holly follows an employment opportunity in Paris, but when the job falls through she finds herself pursuing a waitress position at the Cafe Americain.
  • I'll Kill You!: This was Carlo's Catchphrase, demonstrating his jealousy over anyone making eyes at his girlfriend.
    I kill him! I kill him bad! I kill him two times!
  • Made from Real Girl Scouts: One of Madame Ybarra's moneymaking schemes involves getting into the ice cream business. She tries a number of disgusting flavor combinations before hitting on one everyone likes: Mint Chocolate Chip. Offhandedly, she mentions that it's made from all natural ingredients: mint, chocolate, and Chip.
    Diner: Wait a minute. Who's Chip?
  • My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels: In "The Language of Really Good Friends", Holly was finally given an ultimatum to learn the native language. Her initial attempts were a little less than stellar: An attempt to congratulate a newly engaged couple had her unintentionally claiming to be having an affair with the man; and one attempt to converse with her instructor/UST interest resulted in the memorable phrase "Cheese in my pants makes me happy. Don't you agree?".
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Madame Ybarra is a thinly-veiled spoof of Imelda Marcos.
  • Not a Date: Holly keeps insisting that her night out with Marcel is not a date until her friend says:
    "Is he paying? Did you shave your legs? Then it's a date."
  • The Place
  • Relatively Flimsy Excuse: In "Mommy Dearest", when cornered by an immigration officer, Holly panics and tells him that she's Margaret's daughter.
  • Retired Monster: Madame Ybarra, widow to a late former dictator who was recently overthrown—paralleling the Real Life events of the 1986 Philippine People Power "Revolution", which did in fact kick out the Marcos regime.
  • Thanksgiving Episode: In "...And Giblets for All", Holly meets resistance when she decides to throw a Thanksgiving feast at the cafe.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: In "Weekend at Holly's", Fabiana decides to hide out from her boyfriend at Holly's apartment, but her flamboyant nature makes her very conspicuous.
  • Unsuspectingly Soused: In one episode, a character sleeps overnight in a winery on a catwalk above the vats and ends up in inhaling wine fumes all night. He wakes up completely tanked. Hilarity Ensues as he was at the winery as part of an attempt to impress his finacee's family, who owned the winery.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Holly and Marcel