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Pride of Myrtle Point
Jolene was from the apparently fictional Myrtle Point, South Carolina, and had quite a family. She was distantly related to the infamous Jefferson Davis Hogg, better known as Boss Hogg from the series, The Dukes of Hazzard. Her most memorable, and most spoken of, relative was her beloved Granny Gums (the "Gums" in her name was a nickname resulting from the fact that she had only three or four teeth in her mouth). Granny Gums helped raise Jolene as a child and was quite a colorful character as Jolene told it.
When she was introduced in the fifth season, Jolene Hunnicutt and her troublemaking trucker partner, Bert, had eaten at Mel's Diner, when Jolene got angry with him because he had made an unwanted pass at her, and locked herself in the ladies room. It appeared to be a somewhat hastily written and filmed episode (obviously at the rather sudden departure of Diane Ladd's Belle), but it is one to be remembered as well.
It almost worked. But Jolene knew Bert was up to no good, and she knew that he would only make another pass at her again if she went back on the road with him. In a fit of anger at Bert, she threw some of Mel's prized "M"plates at him, which Mel certainly didn't like. (He had just bought these plates from a Japanese restaurant that had closed down which had been called Wattanabe's, the big "W" on the front of the place simply being turned upside down to become an "M".)
Jolene agreed to work off the damage to Mel's destroyed plates by becoming a "temporary" waitress until a new one came along, since former waitress, Belle Dupree had left Phoenix for Nashville, Tennessee. One never did come along, and Jolene remained until the end of the series. All in all, Celia Weston's Jolene was featured in more episodes than either Polly Holliday as Flo or Diane Ladd as Belle. By Jolene's third season (the series' seventh season), she was getting more laughs than most of the other characters in many episodes and had a big following.
Mel and Jolene continually sparred with words, but one sensed a mutual affection between the two. He called her "Blondie" or "Blond Head", and for a season or so, "Temporary". Jolene almost always got along well with Alice and Vera, and was very good natured. Jolene affectionately called Vera "shoebutton". Whenever Jolene was shocked or surprised, her catch phrase was Jump back! Her accent was distinctly a South-eastern Southern accent, one that Weston herself perfected while growing up in South Carolina.
Throughout the five seasons (fifth to ninth) that Jolene was in the cast, she pitched on the Mel's Diner softball team, worked as a part-time flight attendant (breaking Mel's moonlighting rules), sang and danced in a musical with Alice and Vera alongside Joel Gray, thwarted the unwanted affection of Artie, the night watchman and diner customer (played by Tony Longo), dated a cat burglar, and tried out for a basketball team (and her coach by Mel). Obviously, she trying to better herself however she could, and working for Mel was not always the best way. In another episode, Mel coerced Jolene to pretend to be his "gorgeous blonde girlfriend" to impress a buddy, and ended up staging a sham wedding. In that sixth season episode, Henry (Marvin Kaplan) was also coerced by Mel to perform the wedding as "Father Beesmeyer."
Toward the end of the series, Jolene's family was introduced. In an episode in the seventh season, Jolene's brother Jonas Hunnicutt was introduced, who ended up selling Mel a bogus worm ranch (scams were his specialty). Jolene's distant cousin was Jefferson Davis "Boss" Hogg (guest star Sorrell Booke), a character from the concurrent CBS series The Dukes of Hazzard who visited the diner along with fellow Dukes character, Enos (Sonny Shroyer). In the ninth and last season, Jolene's father and the rest of her many brothers, as well as Granny Gums herself, and their dog Ole Blue, were featured in a classic episode.
When the show ended after over 200 episodes, Mel gave the girls each a cash bonus. Jolene used her bonus that she received, plus money that she had received when Granny Gumms died, to open a beauty shop.