This iconic TV waitress briefly returned to serving tables in the Monk Christmas episode
Catherine Bach channeled her own past as a waitress to create her most iconic TV character.
For the Monk Christmas episode "Mr. Monk Meets His Dad," Dan Hedaya appears as Adrian Monk's father, whom the TV detective has not seen in nearly 40 years.
Holiday time is the perfect moment for a family reunion, and about two-thirds through the episode, the father and son sit down for a meal at a roadside café.
When their waitress approaches their table to set down their plates, pay close attention to the face under the Santa hat, and classic TV fans may recognize yet another Monk homage to a Seventies icon.
Playing the waitress is Catherine Bach, the actor best known for originating the character Daisy Duke on The Dukes of Hazzard.
On The Dukes of Hazzard, Daisy works as a waitress in a tavern called the Boar's Nest, and Bach told the Rapid City Journal in 1979 that she drew in part on her past as a server waiting tables at the young age of 17 to create the character.
"The character is a conglomeration of many people I know," Bach said. "She is half the wildest girl I ever knew in high school. She is part of a couple girls I was real close to in Georgia. She's a lot of Dolly Parton, and she’s a lot of me when I was a waitress. She is independent. She is physical. And she can do anything the guys can do."
When Bach landed the role of Daisy Duke, she'd appeared in a few bit roles, but The Dukes of Hazzard made her a poster girl on par with Farrah Fawcett and part of the pop culture fabric.
Once the show ended in 1985, Bach continued acting in movies, but had slowed down considerably by the early 2000s, only appearing in a couple Dukes reunion TV movies between 1997 and 2000.
After she guested on Monk in 2006, though, she started acting more often, including appearing soon the Hawaii Five-0 reboot. Most recently between 2012 and 2019, she played a recurring character on the soap opera The Young and The Restless.
For Bach, though acting may not have drawn her into many more projects beyond her biggest role, she was still glad she got to play Daisy Duke. She said she started her time as a waitress during a real low point in her life that Daisy helped to save her from.
She told the Ocala Star-Banner in 1988 that she worked as a waitress from her teens to 21 when she said, "I was in a real quandary deciding whether to go to college and be a real part of society or be a waitress and try and get into acting."
Ultimately, like many actors starting out, waiting tables helped her get to Daisy Duke and eventually served as her inspiration for the character.
Rest assured that Bach never had any hard feelings about her career, either way, though.
"Everything turns out the way it's supposed to," Bach said.
But what makes Monk anything even remotely close to "classic" television? Ok, I
get it.. you need programming fillers that don't cost you a fortune in royalties. But
there's nothing about this show, OR Columbo for that matter, that makes me stay
on channel when it starts up. And too, it'd be nice to see a few hour run of old shows,
instead of 1960, 1987, 1962, 1990... old, new, old, new isn't appealing in any way.
I wish they mixed up their daily schedules. Maybe have SciFi Fridays (primetime); Put the Crime/Detective shows on a weeknight evening too since not everyone has insomnia like me and can catch Mannix or Barneby Jones in the middle of the night.
It was weird to see "Nick Tortelli" as Monk's father.
I thought waitering was common among actors, because it was income while waiting for an acting job, flexible hours for auditions, and you can quit and then come back after the role is over.