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.
Perhaps 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