WHY MEN COOK
In the first episode of Love and War, the new series on CBS this fall by Murphy Brown creator Diane English costars Jay Thomas and Susan Dey meet and nearly mate on the first date. "This will not be Sam and Diane [of Cheers] flirting for 10 years. No teases," promises Thomas, 42, whom viewers will remember as Murphy Brown's politically incorrect love interest, Jerry Gold. "Diane [English] is not going to fool around in this show. Boom! 'Do you want to have sex?' " This is the question Dey, playing a bar owner, poses to Thomas, a newspaperman, after he cooks her a romantic dinner at his apartment. "I never told Diane that cooked and seduced women over pasta—but I did," says Thomas, who is now married. "If a guy cooks a gal dinner, he's going to be slept with, eventually."

GUNS AND ROSES
Steven Ford, the youngest son of ex-President Gerald lord, is back on TV (he was on The Young and the Restless from 1981-88) as the host of Secret Service, a new NBC series (see review, Tube Picks & Pans). Ford, 36, says he knows Secret Service men only too well from his father's White House tenure in the mid-'70s. "When you're 18, 10 Secret Service guys is not really the group you want to hang out with," says Ford. "First dates were always bizarre. They're hard anyway because you never know if the restaurant's right or if the conversation's going well, let alone having two guys wearing sunglasses and radios in their ears sitting next to you. I'd call for a reservation and say, 'I'd like a table for two, and I'd also like another table for two—but way across the room, please.' " Any pluses to the constant company? "I always had enough guys for a card game."

BEDSIDE MANNERS
The cameras have slopped on National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1, but the cast is still rolling. A spoof of the Lethal Weapon films, the comedy stars Emilio Estevez as a certain high-strung police officer and sexy swimsuit model turned actress Kathy Ireland as Destiny Demeanor—as in Miss Demeanor—and is due in January. "Every day just showing up on the set you'd see something hysterical, maybe off in a corner," says Ireland, 28. "Emilio's character lives in a trailer, and one morning there was a mirror on the ceiling above his bed. Written in the mirror, it said, WARNING: OBJECTS MAY APPEAR LARGER THAN ACTUAL SIZE. I don't know if that's even meant to show up in the movie. There was so much stuff like that. My most challenging part was not cracking up between lakes."

AGE BECOMES HER
Although she plays a vain actress who will do anything to stop the aging process in the comedy Death Becomes Her, Meryl Streep says that, at 43, she is quite comfortable in her own skin. "My feeling about aging is that some of my favorite people—most of my heroes—are over 75. For myself, personally, I've always felt 40.I never felt 16 and dewy and new. So recently I've felt like myself, comfortable." But hasn't Streep said it's tough for actresses to get work after 40? "Generally speaking it is. But there's no rule. Every time you put it down, it's broken by one film or another—usually starring Jessica Tandy."