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All Episodes Talk: The WJM Newsroom and Mary's Housemates

I had to watch "Chuckles Bites The Dust" 3 times... "It could have been worse... he could have gone as Billy Banana and been peeled to death by a gorilla"

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Not sure where to post this, but I thought it was a pretty good spoof on the show.

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Saw "Mary Midwife" a few days ago. While the script itself of Mary and Lou helping Georgette deliver her and Ted's baby girl (offstage in Mary's bedroom) was amusing enough, it was unintentionally funny how not only did Mary and Lou had perfectly clean hands and sleeves after all that, but Georgette literally didn't make a peep while giving birth and kept her curls intact! Of course, the latter deal is somewhat in character.  Yes, I know it was a comedy and not a documentary but it's still funny.

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What's especially funny to me about that in retrospect is that near the end of that same final season they mocked that same TV contrivance, in "Mary's Three Husbands" (Episode 21, where "Mary Midwife" was Episode 1). The three guys in the newsroom each imagine what it would be like to be married to Mary, and in one fantasy (I'm going on memory here) Mary gives birth offscreen, saying nothing more intense than "Oh boy." The big laugh comes from how nonchalant she is about it, and how easily the men imagine it happening. I wonder if some of the women writers for the show had wised up the men during the intervening months.

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I remember on Newhart that when Stephanie gave birth, the only noise she made was a hiccup. 

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"Mary the Writer" was a bit unexpected in that it actually showed a flaw in Mary's character beyond just hosting lousy parties. She wrote this short story and virtually cornered Lou to read&critique it and, despite him being as diplomatic as he could be while being Lou, Mary was livid when he admitted that he thought it stunk. Afterwards she dug the hole even deeper when she lied about it being published in "Reader's Digest" and kept maintaining said lie until Georgette guilted her! As I said, this was somewhat refreshing to see that Mary had a shallow side. Even so, it seems as though this would have been far more in character for Sue Ann who was nowhere around this ep!

 

P.S. There was one scene that definitely wouldn't be allowed or not interpreted as having the most sinister of connotations, when Lou tried to force Mary from her snit over his dislike of her article, he actually tickled her ribs and sides. Can anyone imagine that being done in a workplace comedy today?

Edited by Blergh. Reason: addendum
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As someone who HAS had to work the holidays down the decades, I appreciated the Christmas episode which had Mary have to work both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day virtually solo while her family (and Rhoda) celebrated without her. Nice touch that everyone did everything they could to make it up for her short of letting her have the days off. Too bad we never saw the toaster oven Rhoda gave her ever again.  Glad ME TV showed this last night  because it's been so long since we'd seen Rhoda and we're coming close to the end of the final season.

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On 8/7/2017 at 11:00 AM, Blergh said:

"Mary the Writer" was a bit unexpected in that it actually showed a flaw in Mary's character beyond just hosting lousy parties.

Hey, don't forget the one where Mary thought she was the most qualified applicant for the "commentary" position on the news show--and continued to think it against all evidence!

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Last episode aired on ME TV last night- and even after more than four decades, it STILL packed a punch! Yes, it was nice that Miss Harper and Miss Leachman were able to share the stage with Miss Moore one last time on her show (even if it was in Mary's ugly newer apartment) but one could tell that Miss Moore herself truly DID believe that her fellow performers were her family and genuinely brokenhearted at having to have them cast to the winds beyond anything the script had in mind.  The irony was that Ted pitched the production team's mass departure as them having voluntarily leaving of their own accord to find new opportunities and, at the time, it WAS pitched as though Miss Moore herself had made the decision to end it entirely on her own. However; both in her own autobios and in interviews she admitted that she did NOT want to do this and she did indeed feel closer to her colleagues than she had to her own family!

   Hopefully, they'll return next week seven years younger (but without Sue-Ann or Georgette).

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Yay, Rhoda's back now that they're starting all over again with "Love is All Around" . Even though it was the pilot and Mary herself was supposed to be the protagonist recovering from a failed romance, one couldn't help but be more interested in Rhoda's imperfect life having had her intended apartment yanked out from under her via Mary's arrival (and Phyllis's connivance) and it was interesting how even though they were set up to be enemies at first sight by the time of the episode's end, they seemed on the verge of friendship. Ironically, even from the beginning more folks sided with Rhoda re Phyllis being an annoying pain than Mary thinking Phyllis was an actual friend.

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I watched an episode from s 6 or 7. Mary is dating some guy she says she loves, she walks into his apartment and some other woman is there. So Mary is about to leave the guy, bc apparently he has been seeing other women the whole time he was with her. She starts to walk out and he says he'll try to change, then he says 'I love you'. And she's like alrighty then, and the episode ends with them on the couch.

It really surprised me, like it just seemed terrible to just swallow her anger and this guy's lines. Realistic maybe, but the show portrayed it like a positive or something.  

Edited by cleo.
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The "guy" was Ted Bessell, who was well known at the time for having played Marlo Thomas's long-time boyfriend, Donald, on That Girl.  I haven't seen the episode for a while, but didn't he also say a few other things that led Mary to believe the two of them would be exclusive going forward? And that she was willing to give it a try?  I do recall that the episode ended with the two of them on the couch with Joe saying there's no accepted way to celebrate two people saying "I love you," then Mary raises her head from his shoulder, looks him in the eye and says in a low, sultry voice "Wanna bet?"  That was pretty risque for her character.  

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Yes, that's how I remember it too. He hadn't behaved badly, there had been no agreement that they were exclusive -- until this conversation.

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On 21/03/2018 at 9:12 AM, Inquisitionist said:

but didn't he also say a few other things that led Mary to believe the two of them would be exclusive going forward? And that she was willing to give it a try?

 

19 hours ago, Rinaldo said:

He hadn't behaved badly, there had been no agreement that they were exclusive -- until this conversation.

I don't know, I guess it came off smarmy to me, and like a line. So I guess I just didn't buy it. Maybe at the time the writing for this scene was fresh, but the language he used was like every sleazy guy in every movie/show since. 

 

On 21/03/2018 at 9:12 AM, Inquisitionist said:

I do recall that the episode ended with the two of them on the couch with Joe saying there's no accepted way to celebrate two people saying "I love you," then Mary raises her head from his shoulder, looks him in the eye and says in a low, sultry voice "Wanna bet?"

Yeah this was good. I also thought it was risque. 

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Although I know of the show, it was just a little before my time so I wasn't able to watch live. I've been watching the show off and on over the last two years or so. I'm on season 5 now. I knew who the characters were in general, but nothing about them until I watched for real. 

I'm impressed that a lot of the jokes are still really funny. Although I find it kind of funny in a dated way that people just always show up at Mary's apartment. So far, I think Lou-Mary is the most interesting dynamic to the show, and I guess it was probably something new at the time. 

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13 hours ago, ganesh said:

Although I find it kind of funny in a dated way that people just always show up at Mary's apartment.

It got to be funny even then, it happened so often. But such behavior was a staple on many sitcoms, and not just in the 70s. Even on Seinfeld and Friends, people just showed up (and no nonsense about New Yorkers double-bolting their doors, either!).

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I know. It's just so egregious on this show. It's like, Ted and Georgette are out on a date and just decide to stop by Mary's on the way home. 

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Decades showed the Chuckles the Clown funeral episode today - one of my favorites. So funny!

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I've heard about that episode a lot, and when I finally watched it, I just didn't think it was that funny. It was good but just didn't live up to what I was expecting. 

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I'm watching the "Happy Homemaker" episode, where Sue Ann gets Mary to get Lou go on a date with her. They played it for laughs because it's the 70s! And Sue Ann is an agressive woman! but it was kind of creepy. 

I liked that Lou was never interested in her and the show stayed consistent on that. 

I also didn't think that Charles was the crown prince in the 70s. The queen only named him as her official successor a few years ago. 

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5 minutes ago, ganesh said:

I liked that Lou was never interested in her and the show stayed consistent on that. 

Except at one point he woke up in her bed after a night of too many drinks with her.

Edited by chessiegal.
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SPOILERS 

I'm only in the middle of s6. 

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I just watched where Murray was the producer for Sue's show, and he said, "let's sit down a talk about it," and picks her up and plops her on the cake! That was a great gag! Sue then deadpans about the vanilla flavor of the cake. Mary's and Lou's reaction shots were fantastic. 

Then after they roll the credits Murray cracks about Sue dating the gorilla. 

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On 8/5/2018 at 10:20 PM, ganesh said:

I just watched where Murray was the producer for Sue's show, and he said, "let's sit down a talk about it," and picks her up and plops her on the cake! That was a great gag! Sue then deadpans about the vanilla flavor of the cake. Mary's and Lou's reaction shots were fantastic. 

Then after they roll the credits Murray cracks about Sue dating the gorilla. 

 What's funny was, even though it had long since been scripted that Mr. MacLeod would pick up and deposit Miss White on top of that wedding cake, when they actually did it, Miss White improvised straddling the cake like a horse on the spot (and later admitted to her costar that him picking her up had made her back sore). However; the veteran of live television from its earliest days in LA, KNEW she had to get it right -because there was only that ONE cake that had been baked for the scene! Trouper doesn't do her justice in this and so many other instances!

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You just don't have sight gags like that anymore. TV is so overwritten.

Edited by ganesh.
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Frasier had good sight gags too. The opening of Three Valentines with Niles is one of funniest bits I've seen.

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Fair enough. But I think my point is apt about tv shows being over written today. I'm watching the Betty White special and she never had a script for like 15 years. 

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An episode with Penny Marshall and Jeff Conaway. And apparently Janis Paige was a big deal. Quite a cast. I wasn't really feeling the episode though. I thought Lou was OOC. I did like Mary actually calling him Lou on his behavior though. 

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I just happened to catch a MTM rerun this afternoon on FE TV (what the heck is that?).  Anyway, it was the episode where Lou has to fire Mary.  As she was leaving the office, so crestfallen, I actually had watery eyes.  And I thought: is there a sitcom today that could produce watery eyes in between laughs?  Loved the writing for this show (and several others from those years).

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FETV is Family Entertainment TV. It also carries Bewitched, Roy Rogers, and other similar family friendly shows.

I love this show. I love MTM's wardrobe. She had such a great figure and wore it all so well.

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12 hours ago, chessiegal said:

I love MTM's wardrobe. She had such a great figure and wore it all so well.

For some reason, this brings to mind the Mad magazine spoof of the show while it was on, "The Mary Tailor-Made Show." In particular, a panel in which Mary rushes in, in a miniskirt, and cries "Hey gang! this is the scene we have each week when I show off my legs!"

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5 minutes ago, Rinaldo said:

For some reason, this brings to mind the Mad magazine spoof of the show while it was on, "The Mary Tailor-Made Show." In particular, a panel in which Mary rushes in, in a miniskirt, and cries "Hey gang! this is the scene we have each week when I show off my legs!"

Hee! She definitely had the gams.

I was so pissed when my CBS affiliate dropped Decades. I was happy to find MTM on FETV. Still haven't found Newhart. They were close to the series finale when Decades was dropped. I bought an antenna that's supposed to pick up within 60 miles. I'm 30 miles from DC and Baltimore. Can't pick up the over the air Decades in DC.

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I'm finding the FETV edits of the MTM show really annoying.  They are leaving out whole scenes.  I love the episode where Lou first falls for Charlene.  There's this charming scene where Charlene visits Mary in the morning and to ask why Lou is getting cold all of a sudden, and Charlene can't believe how much breakfast Mary eats.  It's adorable, but it was completely gone in the recent  FETV broadcast.

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That's a predictable (alas) result of these shows still being aired in their fifth decade of syndication on less and less high-profile channels: they become a delivery mechanism for commercials, and the name given to that half-hour slot is almost a technicality. The question becomes how low a ratio of show-to-ad will people accept and still watch? Because it's those ads that make their money.

It's a reason why, if there's a series I really adore and will always re-watch, I buy the DVDs so I won't have to worry about a streaming service eventually dropping it, or a cable channel butchering it with cuts.

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