Sunday, November 03, 2013

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Oh no you don't! 
I've seen episodes of the Mary Tyler Moore Show both as an adult and as a child. But I don't remember the episodes I saw as a child, and certainly didn't get the jokes, and I've only seen a few episodes as an adult, including the notorious "Chuckles Bites the Dust" and the one my great grand-uncle Iggy Wolfington was in - his entire dialog is "What is she, nuts?"

My father adored the show, especially Ed Asner's Lou Grant, and never missed an episode. And it was one of the few shows my mother didn't consider too risque.

When the show started I was too young to stay up to watch it, and by the time it was ending I was a teenager, out hanging with friends and missed the last seasons. This was before the Internet or even VCRs (Videocassette Recorders in case you forgot.)

But since there is the Internet now, you can watch the entire show's run on Hulu, which is what I'm doing. It's a strange experience, part nostalgia and part a new appreciation for the show. It's forty years old but I have to say, it seems pretty modern, or at least no less modern than episodes of Friends.

Although there are moments when you realize how old it is - in season 1, episode 6, Lou Grant is talking about what a great job it is to be a sportscaster - 20 minutes of work a night and for that you get a whopping $20,000 a year! 

I vaguely remember the opening credits of the first season, but it's so different watching it from an adult perspective. It's starts with a cross cutting between Mary driving down the highway to Minneapolis and what looks like a going-away party held at Mary's prior job. Just as she's leaving this middle-aged guy in glasses tries to get a kiss from Mary and she's all - oh no you don't! So what I'm wondering is, who are these actors and do they ever get any credit anywhere for these opening sequences?

Another observation: Rhoda Morgenstern is supposed to be so fat and dumpy compared to Mary, and yet she is gorgeous - you could cut glass with those cheekbones. What were they thinking? And on top of that, she has some of the best lines in the show, especially in her rivalry with the ever-annoying Phyllis over who gets to be Mary's best friend.