Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

So I tend to move pretty quickly from one thing to the next, obsession-wise (since I started this post I have already moved on to two different things, which I shall eventually post about - it's mostly an "obscure '60s television shows" obsession).

Anyway, I was watching everything on the internet that I could find with Michael Callan in it (as you know from my Occasional Wife post. Michael Callan was in an episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show which I found on Hulu (season 1, episode 23).


This of course caused me to started watching the show from the very first episode. The first three seasons, which ran from 1970 to 1973 are available on Hulu for free. The ads are annoying but everything in life can't be perfect. The show ran for a total of seven seasons, ending in 1977.

I'm not overly fond of the '70s. My interests lie in the '30s through early '60s (think The Thin Man to John Wayne to The Honeymooners to Bewitched and Gidget). However, this show is really funny. Mary's clothes are usually more on the classy side (meaning they don't completely reek of the '70s) and I could see myself wearing some of her dresses. I love the window in her apartment and the way it's set up. I don't like the shag rug of course and if it was my apartment the furniture would be a little more...country/chic/cottage.

Here's the floor plan of her apartment. It looks like a combo of season 1 (no steps in the middle of the stereo shelves) and post season 3 (the table and chairs by the balcony).

source
Here's how it looked in Season 1:


Here you can see the vaulted ceiling  


Little wooden stepping stool

I like the stained glass window that closes off the kitchen (rather, I like that it is a window):


In season 2 they added step in the middle of the bookshelf which is certainly more convenient. Without it was a little awkward.


You can see more pictures of her apartment here.

I really liked the way Mary decorated her apartment for Christmas (Season 1, Episode 14 - Christmas and the Hard-Luck Kid). The lights around the windows, the ribbons with cards, the awesome Santa face (I have one very similar that I bought at Dollar Tree a few years back - it's awesome).


She makes her office desk look so festive:


And I love the sign on the door of the station:


I really like Valerie Harper's character, Rhoda Morgenstern. She's funny and prettier than she thinks. I don't see how the show went on without her. I am curious as to what her show Rhoda (1974-1978) is like. I will probably start watching it too when I finish the first three seasons of MTM (it takes place after the 4th season though). The first season of Rhoda is on Hulu as well.

Season 3

 Rhoda Morgenstern and her mother, Ida, played by Nancy Walker (Season 2, Episode 5)

All of the characters in the show are wonderful. My second favorite is Lou Grant, with his tough exterior but soft interior. The relationship between him and Mary is sweet (but not in a weird way). This argument they have illustrates it perfectly (Season 3, Episode 2):

Mary: I don't sell people out, especially you.
Lou: Why especially me?
Mary: Because I love you!
Lou: [Looks around in disbelief] Look, we can't have a fight if you say things like that!
Mary: But I do care about you...
Lou: Mary!
Mary: ...and I know you care about me.
Lou: Okay, okay! The fight's over! You win!

Cast photo: Murray, Phyllis, Lou, Mary, Rhoda, & Ted
Lou is described perfectly in Love is All Around: The Making of the Mary Tyler Moore Show by Robert S. Alley and Irby B. Brown. They say that any, "adequate description would have to include some seeming contradictions: Lou is a gruff bear, often impatient, loud, a very physical person whether he is being aggressive or not, but he is also a father confessor, capable of great patience and understanding, even gentleness. He is at times blunt and straightforward, but at times tentative, even delicate, capable of choosing his words with compassionate understanding. He is not young and does not sport the all-American tapered figure, but he is attractive to women, whom he knows how to treat in positive ways. He is a man's man in the traditional sense, but a woman's, too, in the sense emerging in the 1970s.
My favorite episodes:
Season 1
     Ep. 14: Christmas and the Hard-Luck Kid - Mary has to work on Christmas.
     Ep. 18: Second-Story Story - Mary's apartment is robbed. Twice.
     Ep. 23: Smokey the Bear Wants You - Rhoda is afraid her new boyfriend is a gangster. Michael Callan guest stars.

Season 2
     Ep. 5: A Girl's Best Mother is Not Her Friend - Ida attempts to become Rhoda's friend.
     Ep. 6: Cover Boy - We get to meet Ted's brother.
     Ep. 17: Baby Sitcom - Mary recruits Lou to babysit Phyllis' daughter, Bess.
     Ep. 24: His Two Right Arms - Bill Daily from I Dream of Jeannie guest stars as an incompetent politician interviewed by Ted.

Season 3
     Ep. 13: Operation: Lou - While Lou is in the hospital getting some WWII shrapnel removed, he and Ted have some unlikely male-bonding.
     Ep. 23: Put on a Happy Face - Nothing seems to be going right for Mary. Hilarious! I laughed so much watching this episode. The part where Mary sprains her ankle is too funny!

A couple of my favorite quotes:
Rhoda: Did you know that the first man to drink hot milk invented the word "Yuckh!" (Season 1, Episode 16)

Rhoda: Allow me to introduce myself. I'm another person in the room. (Season 1, Episode 2)

This conversation is the best:
Rhoda: Listen kid, what’s the matter?
Mary: Oh…well, Dan forgot all about the Awards Banquet on Saturday, now I have no date. What am I going to do?
Rhoda: Eat some candy.
Mary: Rhoda, chocolate solves nothing.
Rhoda: No, no. Cottage cheese solves nothing. Chocolate can do it all.  (Season 3, Episode 23)

Parting reflection:
The way you come to love all of the characters reminded me of  the TV show Psych. Everyone was just perfect for their part and really meshed well. It's almost hard to pick favorites.

Bloopers Part 1
Bloopers Part 2
Read a script from the show - "Chuckles Bites the Dust"

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