Peter Onorati and Susan Saint James in the “Kate and Allie” episode, “The Wedding“.
A Turning Point for Peter Onorati, “The Wedding”
By Richard James Mabey Jr.
I think that when Peter Onorati’s biography is written, “The Wedding” deserves to be a chapter onto itself. I’m not referring to Peter’s real life wedding at all. Rather to the episode that he starred in with Susan Saint James in the sit-com, “Kate and Allie.” I think that this episode was a turning point in Peter’s acting career. For in this episode Peter showed his acting range, from funny sit-com moments, to moments that were rather sensitive and heart warming.
For Peter Onorati’s debut in a recurring role, in a television series, was on the television sit-com, “Kate and Allie.” Kate was portrayed by Susan Saint James. And, Allie was portrayed by Jane Curtin. It was December of 1988 when the show’s sixth season began. The reason that the show did not start in September, was that there was a big Writers Guild of America strike at the time.
Peter portrayed the character Lou Carello on the show. Lou was the Superintendent of Kate and Allie’s new apartment, that they had just moved into. And, Lou had a big fat crush on Kate. It was in the 18th episode of the sixth season, that Peter’s character brought on a full dimensional scope. It was in this episode that Lou convinces Kate to be his date at his cousin’s wedding. But Kate really does not want to go to the wedding with him. To put it another way; Kate really, really, really does not want to go to the wedding with Lou.
Peter has this moment of sincere humility, when his character Lou Carello asks Kate to accompany him at his cousin’s wedding.
I personally, love the scene where Peter’s character, Lou Carello, asks Kate to his cousin’s wedding. I really liked the way that Peter played this scene. He has this kind of thing going, that Don Knotts often did in his role as Barney Fife in a lot of the scenes with Thelma Lou. There is this outgoing, confident, rather full-of-himself side to Lou Carello. Then, there is this other side to Lou. He’s insecure about himself. His heart is beating like a big bass drum, trembling to ask Kate for the big wedding date. And, Peter played the scene fantastically.
The viewer actually develops an empathy for Lou Carello. I don’t think there’s a man on planet earth, who could not identify with Lou’s plight. That insecure feeling of asking a woman for a date, whom you really like a lot.
At the wedding, Lou Carello is in his glory. He could not be happier. There at his cousin’s wedding are all of his relatives, and most importantly his Mom. There is something heart moving and tender about this entire wedding scene. Lou Carello is at the wedding with the beautiful woman, with whom he has a most painful crush on.
Throughout the wedding scene, you can just read Lou Carello’s mind. You can feel his pain. He is so taken with beautiful Kate, but he knows deep in his heart, that when the wedding reception is over, he goes back to being the Superintendent of the apartment complex. And, sadly, Kate will be just another one of the residents there.
Throughout this entire wedding scene, Peter has these moments where his face shines like a diamond, he is so happy. But then there are moments where you can see the sadness in Peter’s eyes, for his character knows that the clock is ticking. And, when the wedding reception is over, he’ll go back to being the Superintendent of the apartment complex and beautiful Kate will become just another tenant. There is this bittersweet feeling throughout the entire wedding reception for Lou Carello. And, Peter Onorati plays it beautifully. The viewer really does develop an empathy for Lou’s plight.
I think this scene hits hard for a lot of men. Because, while most men don’t want to admit it, most men have been in this situation themselves. It’s both a beautiful dream and horrible nightmare, all at the same time.
So what happens after the wedding is over? I don’t want to spoil all the fun of watching this great episode of “Kate and Allie.” You can catch it on Youtube.
Simply put, it’s a great episode of “Kate and Allie.” And, aside from seeing our good friend, Peter Onorati, in a great comedy role, you get to see Susan Saint James dressed to the nines. And to think that dear old Peter got to dance with her! Well, as good old Rod Stewart sang to us, all them years ago, “some guys have all the luck!”