“It’s called a prayer plant. But don’t worry, it’s non-denominational.”

Season 3Happy summer, Retrowatchers! At long last! I had my doubts as to it ever being warm again, but am writing this while wearing a sundress sporting a tan. Let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief: Ahhh!

We’ve made it to the end of season three. And what a season it has been: Lou Grant bought a bar, had a bullet removed from an unmentionable area, and went on an awkward Man Date with Mary’s father. We finally met Mary’s parents and Rhoda’s dad. Rhoda won a beauty contest, pondered a move to New York, and (spoiler alert) opened her own store. Ted hired an agent and briefly dabbeled in commercials, became temporary BFF’s with Lou, and got a girlfriend. Phyllis, of all people, came out of the season the most progressive, encouraging Mary to go out for a promotion and hardly batted an eye when she found out her brother is gay. Murray…well…nothing much happens to our Murray. (Nothing ever happens to Murray.) As for Mary – she had quite a year as well. She finally got a raise, reconnected with her father, and nearly got engaged before realizing she’s not looking for Prince Charming. (Retrowatching HQ remains firmly #TeamDanWhitfield.) We met some new people – some good (Georgette, Walter Richards, Ben Sutherland, Philly); some not so good (the majority of Mary’s dates, most especially he-who-shall-not-be-mentioned-again, Warren Sturges.) The writers started to change structure a bit in season three, experimenting with subplots and comic runners. These mostly went to Ted; a few went to Rhoda. And speaking of writers, the question still remains: Who is this season’s MVP?

The answer will be revealed at the end of this post. First, let’s finish out season three. This time, we will discuss episodes 21-24, including:
Episode 21: Murray Faces Life
Episode 22: Remembrance of Things Past
Episode 23: Put On a Happy Face
Episode 24: Mary Richards and the Incredible Plant Lady

Continue reading

“I tried to enjoy the concert even though she was snapping her fingers to Mozart.”

Mary the RiveterHello, Retrowatchers! Are you enjoying the spring yet or living in fear of winter making one (more) last appearance? I’m a little bit in between. I want to believe, but can’t quite give myself over entirely.

Before we jump into this week’s episodes, I’d like to recommend a show I recently started watching, though it has been on my radar for a year: Orphan Black. Retrowatchers, this show is ANYTHING but retro; it is modern in every sense of the world. And boy is it fun. I don’t want to say too much as it has a rich mythology – episodes must be watched in order – but I cannot recommend it enough. Every episodes ends with a new twist. You will be surprised and delighted by its star, Tatiana Maslany. And last, the show manages to wonderfully walk the tightrope that many sci-fi shows stumble upon – incorporating its fantasy and mythology elements while still making the show accessible to non-science fiction geeks such as myself. (See also, Vampire Slayer, Buffy.)

But enough chat about current TV shows. Let’s jump into the latter part of Mary Tyler Moore’s third season. This week, we discuss episodes 17-20, including:
Episode 17: My Brother’s Keeper
Episode 18: The Georgette Story
Episode 19: Romeo and Mary
Episode 20: What Do You Do When the Boss Says I Love You?

Continue reading

“I personally as of this moment am boycotting sauerkraut.”

Lou's place singalongHappy spring, Retrowatchers! Has this been the worst, most dragged out winter or what? It’s still not quite over – there are reports of more snow in the DC area next week. Ugh, ugh, ugh. I don’t think I have ever craved warm weather so strongly before, and I’m a beach bum who loves summer!

It’s still winter in Minneapolis as well, as this batch of episodes finishes out the year and brings us into 1973. What will the new year have in store for Mary and the gang? Let’s find out.

This week, we discuss episodes 13-16 of season three, including:
Episode 13: Operation: Lou
Episode 14: Rhoda Morgenstern: From Minneapolis to New York
Episode 15: The Courtship of Mary’s Father’s Daughter
Episode 16: Lou’s Place

Continue reading

“I used to go fishing with a surgeon. Boy could that man clean a fish.”

You've got a friendWell hello there, Retrowatchers! I hope some of you are still with me. Please forgive my unexpected extended absence. As I mentioned in the previous post, 2014 got off to an unexpectedly busy start! To give you an indication as to how busy: I actually watched the episodes we are about to discuss in January. Eesh! Fortunately I take very detailed notes and was able to refresh my memory.

Before delving in, may I say that after the endless winter we’ve been having, I now completely agree with Lou’s assessment of snow from “It’s Whether You Win or Lose?” This pretty much sums up my current feelings for this winter:

“ I hate snow. I don’t like its color. I don’t like its shape. I don’t like its temperature. I don’t like how it feels or what it does. I don’t like it in snowballs. Or on hills. I don’t like anything about it. It’s a soft, wet, white, mushy melting freezing mess! I hate snow as much as I hate anything in the entire world!”

Word, Lou! I always knew you were very wise.

Okay, enough chitchat, let’s get to it. This week we discuss episodes 9-12 of season three, including:
Episode 9: Farmer Ted and the News
Episode 10: Have I Found the Guy For You
Episode 11: You’ve Got a Friend
Episode 12: It Was Fascination, I Know

Continue reading

“I’d like to help you Mary, but I just don’t know how to make it appear that anybody likes and enjoys Ted Baxter.”

mary-tyler-moore-show-season-3-opening-credits-mary-waving-review-episode-guideHappy Holidays, Retrowatchers! If you celebrate Christmas, I hope it was smashing. If not, I hope you had a good Wednesday. We are in the final full week of the year, which is usually a time of reflection. 2013 has been pretty good. I’m grateful that I started this blog, and one of my resolutions for 2014 is to get back to regular postings. The last few months of the year are always crazy, and January serves as the reset button to a normal schedule.

Two things before we start:

1.) Santa surprised me with this book. I had no idea it existed, but am excited to delve in. I will share any insightful facts, fun stories, or juicy secrets with you. Also, I must point out the name: Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted. Please note who DIDN’T make the title. (coughcoughMurraycoughcough)

2.) While out Christmas shopping a few weeks ago, I found an Andy Warhole-type painting of Mary, Rhoda, and Phyllis at a funky shop called Miss Pixies.  Retrowatchers, it took everything in me not to buy it.  (Well, that and the somewhat steep price tag.) I wish the painting was showcased on the store website so I could link to it. I’ve never seen anything so random, so awesome, and so connected to something that is currently a big part of my life. So, dear reader: If you are ever at Miss Pixies and the painting is still there, let me know.

And now, season three! This week, we discuss the first four episodes of the third season of Mary Tyler Moore, including:
Episode 1: The Good-Time News
Episode 2: What is Mary Richard Really Like?
Episode 3: Who’s In Charge Here?
Episode 4: Enter Rhoda’s Parents

Continue reading

“You look like a cheerleader for the school of nursing.”

Season two highlights

Some season two highlights

Happy Thanksgiving, Retrowatchers! I hope you all had a lovely holiday. This year, I am thankful for my renewed interest in writing and blogging, Netflix’s massive DVD library (and  Hulu, when the DVDs arrived damaged), all of you who read Retrowatching, and of course, for Mary, Ted, Rhoda, Lou, and Phyllis*, James Burrows, Allan Burns, Treva Silverman, Martin Cohen, Steven Pritzker, and everyone else associated with the great Mary Tyler Moore.

*Ok, fine, in the spirit of the holidays, I can be thankful for Murray, too.

We’ve arrived at the end of season two. It’s been a long journey, and not necessarily as easy as season one, but I’d say overall it was a good season. We learned a little more about the kind of man Lou is in “The Six-and-a-Half-Year Itch.” Bess Lindstrom became a real character, had some wonderful scenes with Mary, held her own with Lou, and reminded us that Phyllis always means well. Rhoda continued to be her awesome self (with one exception, to be discussed shortly). Ted remained Ted, as he should, but we learned a bit about his upbringing and his insecurities in “Cover Boy”, “And Now, Sitting in for Ted Baxter”, and “Ted Over Heels.” And Mary continued to be a pushover just on the brink of annoyance, and a Golden Person.

818989380cloris-leachmanPerhaps most surprising of all (at least to me), is that Phyllis got several chances to shine, particularly in the last third of the season. You may recall  Phyllis was a character I took issue with almost immediately. One of the strengths of season two is the reassessment of her character. She’s still the Phyllis we first met – selfish, generally irresponsible, out of touch, and overcompensating – but she’s also more. Despite her unconventional ways, she is a good mother with her daughter’s best interest at heart. She’s also a good friend – not only to Mary, but I would argue also to Rhoda. (See: Their shared excitement for Mary’s big date in “The Five-Minute Dress” and her genuine looking out for Rhoda’s career in “The Square-Shaped Room”). Phyllis was used frequently in season two, and consequently, she HAD to become more than just the nosy and slightly annoying downstairs neighbor. I’m not going so far as to say that she is among my favorites, but she’s come a long way. I can see the beginnings of the character development that eventually lead to a spinoff.

So how does season two go out? Let’s find out. This week, we discuss episodes 21-24, including:
Episode 21: Where There’s Smoke, There’s Rhoda
Episode 22: You Certainly Are a Big Boy
Episode 23: Some of My Best Friends are Rhoda
Episode 24: His Two Right Arms Continue reading

“I’ll send my bill to your accountant. Is he still going to Wilson High?”

Murray and MarieHello Retrowatchers! I hope some of you are still with me. I won’t bore you with the details for my absence, because that’s a pet peeve of mine on blogs, but let’s just say real life got in the way of my evening TV-studying time. Despite the lapse, I remain committed to this project.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive back into MTM season 2, shall we? This week, we discuss episodes 17-20, including:
Episode 17: The Slaughter Affair
Episode 18: Baby Sit-Com
Episode 19: More Than Neighbors
Episode 20: The Care and Feeding of Parents

Continue reading