The Mary Tyler Moore Show


The Mary Tyler Moore Show Information

The Mary Tyler Moore Show (also known simply by the name of the show's star, Mary Tyler Moore) is an American television sitcom created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns that aired on CBS from 1970 to 1977. The program was a television breakthrough, with the first never-married, independent career woman as the central character: "As Mary Richards, a single woman in her thirties, Moore presented a character different from other single TV women of the time. She was not widowed or divorced or seeking a man to support her."

It has also been cited as "one of the most acclaimed television programs ever produced" in US television history. It received high praise from critics, including Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series three years in a row (1975"77), and continued to be honored long after the final episode aired.

Summary and setting

Mary Richards (Moore) is a single woman who, at age 30, moves to Minneapolis after breaking off an engagement with her boyfriend of two years. She applies for a secretarial job at TV station WJM, but that is already taken. She is instead offered the position of associate producer of the station's "Six O'Clock News". She befriends her tough but lovable boss Lou Grant (Edward Asner), newswriter Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod), and buffoonish anchorman Ted Baxter (Ted Knight). Mary later becomes producer of the show.

Mary rents a third floor studio apartment in a Victorian house from acquaintance and downstairs landlady, Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman), and becomes best friends with upstairs neighbor Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper). Characters introduced later in the series are acerbic, man-hungry TV hostess Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White), and sweet-natured Georgette Franklin (Georgia Engel), as Ted Baxter's girlfriend (and later, wife). At the beginning of season 6, after both Rhoda and Phyllis have moved away (providing a premise for two spinoffs), Mary relocates to a one bedroom high-rise apartment.

In the third season, issues such as equal pay for women, pre-marital sex and homosexuality are woven into the show's comedic plots. In the fourth season, such subjects as marital infidelity and divorce are explored with Phyllis and Lou, respectively. In the fifth season, Mary refuses to reveal a news source and is jailed for contempt of court. While in prison, she befriends a prostitute who seeks Mary's help in a subsequent episode. In the final seasons, the show explores humor in death in the classic Emmy-winning episode "Chuckles Bites the Dust" and juvenile delinquency; Ted deals with intimate marital problems, infertility, and adoption, and suffers a heart attack; and Mary overcomes an addiction to sleeping pills. Mary dates several men on and off over the years, two seriously, but remains single throughout the series.

Kenwood Parkway house

In 1995, Entertainment Weekly said that "TV's most famous bachelorette pad" was Mary's apartment. The fictitious address was 119 North Weatherly, but the exterior establishing shots were of a real house in Minneapolis at 2104 Kenwood Parkway. In the real house, an unfinished attic occupied the space behind the window recreated on the interior studio set of Mary's apartment.

Once fans of the series discovered where exterior shots had been taken, the house became a popular tourist destination. According to Moore, the woman who lived in the house "was overwhelmed by the people showing up and asking if Mary was around". To discourage crews from filming additional footage of the house, the owners placed an "Impeach Nixon" sign beneath the window where Mary supposedly lived. The house continued to attract 30 tour buses a day more than a decade after production ended.

Characters

  • Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore), a single native Minnesotan moves to Minneapolis in 1970 at age 30 and becomes Associate Producer of WJM-TV's Six O'clock News. Her sincere, kind demeanor often acts as a foil for the personalities of her co-workers and friends.
  • Lou Grant (Edward Asner) is the Producer (later Executive Producer) of the news. His tough, work-oriented demeanor does not hide his soft-hearted nature. He is referred to as "Lou" by everyone, including Mary's friends, with the exception of Mary herself, who can rarely bring herself to call him by his first name rather than "Mr. Grant." He was originally married to Edie, but during the run of the show they separated and divorced.
  • Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod), the head writer of the news makes frequent quips for Ted Baxter's mangling of his news copy, and Sue Ann Nivens' aggressive, man-hungry attitude. He is Mary's closest coworker and close friend. Murray is married to Marie, and has several children.
  • Ted Baxter (Ted Knight), is the dim-witted, vain, and miserly anchorman of the Six O'Clock News. He frequently makes mistakes and is oblivious to the actual nature of the topics covered on the show, but considers himself to be the country's best news journalist. He is often criticized by others, especially Murray and Lou for his many shortcomings, but is never fired from his position.
  • Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper) (1970"74), is Mary's best friend and upstairs neighbor. Though insecure about her appearance, she is also outgoing and sardonic, often making wisecracks, frequently at her own expense. Like Mary, she is single. She dates frequently, often joking about her disastrous dates. After four years, Rhoda moves back to New York for the spinoff series Rhoda.
  • Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman) (1970"75), is Mary's snobbish friend and neighbor. She is married to an unseen character, Lars, a dermatologist, and has a precocious daughter, Bess. Phyllis is controlling and often arrogant. She is actively involved in groups and clubs, is a political activist and a supporter of Women's Liberation. Rhoda and Phyllis are usually at odds with each other and often trade insults. After five seasons, Phyllis is widowed, learns her husband had virtually no assets and she must support herself; she moves to San Francisco in the spinoff series Phyllis.
  • Georgette Franklin (Georgia Engel) (1972"77) is Ted's sweet-natured but slightly naïve girlfriend and eventual wife.
  • Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White) (1973"77), host of WJM's The Happy Homemaker show. While her demeanor is superficially cheerful, she makes judgmental comments about Mary, exchanges personal insults with Murray, and uses many sexual double entendres, especially around Lou, to whom she is strongly attracted.

Response and impact

Impact on television

In 2007, TIME magazine put The Mary Tyler Moore Show on its list of "17 Shows That Changed TV." TIME stated that the show "liberated TV for adults"?of both sexes" by being "a sophisticated show about grownups among other grownups, having grownup conversations." The Associated Press said that the show "took 20 years of pointless, insipid situation comedy and spun it on its heels. [It did this by] pioneer[ing] reality comedy and the establishment of clearly defined and motivated secondary characters."

Tina Fey, creator and lead actress of the 2006-debut sitcom 30 Rock, explained that Moore's show helped inspire 30 Rock's emphasis on office relationships. "Our goal is to try to be like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, where it's not about doing the news," said Fey. Entertainment Weekly also noted that the main characters of 30 Rock mirror those of The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

When the writers of the sitcom Friends were about to create their series finale, they watched several other sitcom finales. Co-creator Marta Kauffman said that the last episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show was the "gold standard" and that it influenced the finale of Friends.

In popular culture

The show has remained popular since the final episode was broadcast in 1977. Several songs, films and other television programs, including The Simpsons, reference or parody characters and events from the show, including the memorable "...can turn the world on with her smile" line from the title song. Parodies were done on shows such as Saturday Night Live, MadTV, and Mystery Science Theater 3000 (which was produced in Minneapolis). Barbara Kessler and Relient K are two artists who have referred to the show in their songs. The show has been mentioned in film as well, such as in Romy & Michele's High School Reunion, when the characters argue with each other while exclaiming "I'm the Mary and you're the Rhoda." Frank Decaro of The New York Times wrote that this was the highlight of the film.

The show's Emmy winning final episode has been alluded to many times in other series' closing episodes, such as the finale of St. Elsewhere (including the group shuffle to the tissue box), Mystery Science Theater 3000 and Just Shoot Me!.

Production

When Moore was first approached about the show, she "was unsure and unwilling to commit, fearing any new role might suffer in comparison with her Laura character in The Dick Van Dyke Show, already cemented as one of the most popular parts in TV history." Moore's character was initially intended to be a divorcée, but as divorce was still controversial at the time, and the network was afraid viewers might think that Mary had divorced Rob Petrie, Laura's husband on The Dick Van Dyke Show, the premise was changed to that of a single woman with a recently broken engagement. According to co-creator Allan Burns, Minnesota was selected for the show's location after "one of the writers began talking about the strengths and weaknesses of the Vikings." A television newsroom was chosen for the show's workplace because of the supporting characters often found there, stated co-creator James Brooks.

Title sequences

The opening title sequence features many scenes filmed on location in Minneapolis in both summer and winter, as well as a few clips from the show's studio scenes. The sequence changed each season, but always ended with Mary tossing her hat at an intersection in downtown Minneapolis. The hat toss was ranked by Entertainment Weekly as the second greatest moment in television. On May 8, 2002, Moore was in attendance when cable TV network TV Land dedicated a statue to her that captured her iconic throw. In 2010, TV Guide ranked the show's opening title sequence No. 3 on a list of TV's top 10 credits sequences, as selected by readers.

The theme song played during the opening, "Love Is All Around," was written and performed by Sonny Curtis.

No supporting cast members are credited during the show's opening. The ending sequences show snippets of the cast and guest stars from the show with the respective actors' names. Other on-location scenes are also shown during the closing credits, including a rear shot of Mary holding hands with her date, played by Moore's then husband, Grant Tinker. The ending sequence music is an instrumental version of "Love is All Around." The ending finishes with a cat meowing within the MTM company logo.

Spin-offs, specials and reunions

The show spun off three television series: the sitcoms Rhoda (1974"1978) and Phyllis (1975"1977), and the one hour drama Lou Grant (1977"1982). In 2000, Moore and Harper reprised their roles in a two-hour ABC TV movie, Mary and Rhoda.

Two retrospective specials were produced by CBS: Mary Tyler Moore: The 20th Anniversary Show (1991) and The Mary Tyler Moore Reunion (2002). On May 19, 2008, the surviving cast members of The Mary Tyler Moore Show reunited on The Oprah Winfrey Show to reminisce about the series. Winfrey, a longtime admirer of Moore and the show, had her staff recreate the sets of the WJM-TV newsroom and Mary's apartment (seasons 1-5) for the reunion.

Broadcast history

Television schedule

  • Saturday at 9:30-10:00 pm on CBS: September 19, 1970"?December 11, 1971
  • Saturday at 8:30-9:00 pm on CBS: December 18, 1971"?March 4, 1972
  • Saturday at 9:00-9:30 pm on CBS: September 16, 1972"?October 30, 1976
  • Saturday at 8:00-8:30 pm on CBS: November 6, 1976"?March 19, 1977

Nielsen ratings

  • 1970–71: #22 (20.3)
  • 1971–72: #10 (23.7)
  • 1972–73: #7 (23.6)
  • 1973–74: #9 (23.1)
  • 1974–75: #11 (24.0)
  • 1975–76: #19 (21.9)
  • 1976–77: #39 (N/A)

DVD releases

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has released all 7 seasons on DVD in Region 1.

DVD Name Episodes Region 1 release date
The Complete First Season 24 September 24, 2002
The Complete Second Season 24 July 26, 2005
The Complete Third Season 24 January 17, 2006
The Complete Fourth Season 24 June 20, 2006
The Complete Fifth Season 24 October 6, 2009
The Complete Sixth Season 24 February 2, 2010
The Complete Seventh Season 24 October 5, 2010
On the season 7 DVD, the last episode's "final curtain call", broadcast only once on March 19, 1977 (March 18 in Canada), was included at the request of fans. However, some of the season 7 sets did not include the curtain call; a replacement disc is reported to be available from the manufacturer.

Awards and honors

Emmys

In addition to numerous nominations, The Mary Tyler Moore Show won 29 Emmy Awards. This was a record unbroken until Frasier earned its 30th in 2002.

Wins:

  • Outstanding Comedy Series [3] "? (1975,76,77)
  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series [3] "? Mary Tyler Moore ('73,74,76)
  • Actress of the Year: Series [1] "? Mary Tyler Moore ('74)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series [5] "? Ed Asner ('71,72,75), Ted Knight ('73,76)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series [6] "? Valerie Harper ('71,72,73), Cloris Leachman ('74), Betty White ('75,76)
  • Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Drama Series [1] "? Cloris Leachman ('75) (shared w/ Zohra Lampert, Kojak)
  • Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series [5] "? James L. Brooks, Allan Burns (1971), Treva Silverman (1974), Ed Weinberger, Stan Daniels (1975), David Lloyd (1976), Allan Burns, James L. Brooks, Ed Weinberger, Stan Daniels, David Lloyd, Bob Ellison (1977)
  • Writer of the Year: TV Series [1] "? Treva Silverman ('74)
  • Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series [2] "? Jay Sandrich (1971), Jay Sandrich (1973)
  • Outstanding Film Editing [2] "? Douglas Hines ('75,77)

Golden Globe Awards

  • 1971: Mary Tyler Moore, Best Actress/Comedy
  • 1972: Edward Asner, Best Supporting Actor/Comedy

Peabody Award

The show was honored with a Peabody Award in 1977. In presenting the award, the Peabody committee stated that MTM Enterprises had "established the benchmark by which all situation comedies must be judged" and lauded the show "for a consistent standard of excellence " and for a sympathetic portrayal of a career woman in today's changing society."

Honors

  • 1987's book Classic Sitcoms, by Vince Waldron, contained a poll among TV critics of the top sitcoms of all time up to that date. Mary Tyler Moore was the No. 1 show on that list.
  • In 1997, TV Guide ranked "Chuckles Bites The Dust" No. 1 on their list of The 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. "The Lars Affair" made the list at #27.
  • In 1998, Entertainment Weekly placed The Mary Tyler Moore Show first in its list of the 100 Greatest TV Shows of all Time.
  • In 1999, the TV Guide list of the 50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time ranked Mary Richards 21st and Ted Baxter 29th. Only three other shows placed two characters on the list (Taxi, The Honeymooners and Seinfeld).
  • In 1999, Entertainment Weekly ranked the opening credits image of Mary tossing her hat into the air as No. 2 on their list of The 100 Greatest Moments In Television.
  • In 2002, The Mary Tyler Moore Show was 11th on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.
  • In 2003, USA Today called it "one of the best shows ever to air on TV".
  • In 2006, Entertainment Weekly ranked Rhoda 23rd on its list of the best sidekicks ever.
  • In 2007, Time magazine placed the Mary Tyler Moore Show on its unranked list of "100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME".
  • Bravo ranked Mary Richards 8th, Lou Grant 35th, Ted Baxter 48th, and Rhoda Morgenstern 57th on their list of the 100 greatest TV characters.



This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "The_Mary_Tyler_Moore_Show" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.
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