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The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Season Two: 1971-72



SEASON ONE: 1970-71
SEASON TWO: 1971-72
SEASON THREE: 1972-73
SEASON FOUR: 1973-74
SEASON FIVE: 1974-75
SEASON SIX: 1975-76
SEASON SEVEN: 1976-77
CREDITS
EMMY AWARDS

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1971-72: THE SECOND SEASON

Year-End Rating: 23.7 (10th place)

As the series enters its second season, plots that offer insight into the personalities of the regular characters set the stage for the strong ensemble company that will be in full flower by the middle of the following year.

David Davis continues as producer, and Jay Sandrich shares directing chores with Peter Baldwin and Jerry Paris. Primary writers for the season are David Davis, Lorenzo Music, Treva Silverman, Susan Silver, and Steve Pritzker.


25 The Birds . . . And . . . Um . . . Bees    First Aired: September 18, 1971
Writer: Treva Silverman
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Star: Lisa Gerritsen

Phyllis decides that Mary is the person best suited to tell her daughter, Bess, the facts of life.


26 I Am Curious Cooper    First Aired: September 25, 1971
Writers: David Davis, Lorenzo Music
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Stars: Michael Constantine, Shizuko lwamatsu

Lou plays Cupid when he tries to orchestrate a romance between Mary and one of his middle-aged friends.


27 He's No Heavy, He's My Brother    First Aired: October 2, 1971
Writer: Allan Burns
Director: Jerry Paris
Guest Star: Frank Ramirez

When Mary and Rhoda decide to take a midwinter vacation in Mexico, they get involved in a mysterious plot involving the owner of a Mexican restaurant.

This episode represented a creative family reunion of sorts. Director Jerry Paris played the next-door neighbor and directed Mary Tyler moore in many classic episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show. He would later sign on as director of Happy Days, Garry Marshall's long-running hit.


28 Room 223    First Aired: October 9, 1971
Writer: Susan Silver
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Stars: Michael Tolan, Florida Friebus, Val Bisoglio

Mary dates her professor in a night-school class.

Handsome Dan Whitfield, played by Michael Tolan, was one of Mary's more persistent suitors. He would return, still carrying a torch, as late as the sixth season.


29 A Girl's Best Mother Is Not Her Friend    First Aired: October 16, 1971
Writers: David Davis, Lorenzo Music
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Star: Nancy Walker

Rhoda's mother returns, and this time she's determined to be friends with her daughter.

Writers David Davis and Lorenzo Music continue to expand the comic possibilities of Rhoda's character. The groundwork they lay here will serve them well in 1974 when they produce the successful spinoff series Rhoda.


30 Cover Boy    First Aired: October 23, 1971
Writer: Treva Silverman
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Star: Jack Cassidy

Ted tries to impress his visiting brother, Hal, by pretending that Mary is his sweetheart.

In his portrayal of Ted's brother, Jack Cassidy draws heavily on Oscar North, the arrogant actor he played in the highly regarded CBS series He and She. In fact, there are enough echoes of Oscar North in the character of Ted Baxter himself to suggest that the creators of MTM drew at least a passing inspiration from that short-lived 1967 series. Of course, it's not exactly an airtight case of creative larceny, since most of the Mary Tyler Moore creative staff also labored on He and She, including director Jay Sandrich, writers David Davis and Allan Burns, as well as the writer of this particular episode, Treva Silverman.


31 Didn't You Used to Be. . . Wait. . .    First Aired: October 30, 1971

Don't Tell Me!
Writer: Allan Burns
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Stars: Richard Schaal, Jack Riley, Kermit Murdock, Ron Masak, Pippa Scott

Mary learns that you can never go home again when she attends her high school reunion and runs into her old boyfriend Howard Arnell.

Jack Riley is featured in his first MTM guest spot. The actor's excellent timing and delivery were particularly well-suited to the MTM style, and he would later used to good advantage in the role of Elliot Carlin on MTM's Bob Newhart Show.


32 Thoroughly Unmilitant Mary    First Aired: November 6, 1971
Writer: Martin Cohan
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Stars: Dick Balduzzi, Larry Gelman, Paul Micale

The WJM newsroom goes on strike, leaving Mary and Lou to produce the entire show by themselves.


33 And Now, Sitting in for Ted Baxter    First Aired: November 13, 1971
Writer: Steve Pritzker
Director: Jerry Paris
Guest Stars: Jed Allen, Bill Woodson

Ted worries about his job security when he sees the more competent anchorman who is brought in as his vacation replacement.


34 Don't Break the Chain    First Aired: November 20,1971
Writers: David Davis, Lorenzo Music
Director: Jerry Paris
Guest Stars: Jack DeMave, Gino Conforti

Mary must decide whether to answer a chain letter sent to her by Lou.


35 The Six-and-a-Half-Year Itch    First Aired: November 27,1971
Writer: Treva Silverman
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Stars: Lawrence Pressman, Elizabeth Berger

Lou suspects his son-in-law of philandering when he spots him at a movie with a strange woman.


36 . . . Is a Friend in Need    First Aired: December 4, 1971
Writer: Susan Silver
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Star: Beverly Sanders

When Rhoda loses her job as a department store window dresser, Mary tries to help her land another one.


37 The Square-Shaped Room    First Aired: December 11, 1971
Writer: Susan Silver
Director: Jay Sandrich

Mary talks Lou into letting Rhoda redecorate his house, though he soon lives to regret it.


38 Ted Over Heels    First Aired: December 18, 1971
Writers: David Davis, Lorenzo Music
Director: Peter Baldwin
Guest Star: Arlene Golonka

Ted develops a crush on the daughter of Chuckles the Clown.

Guest star Arlene Golonka has appeared in scores of sitcom episodes since the late 1960s, when she had a featured role on The Andy Griffith Show.


39 The Five-Minute Dress    First Aired: January 1, 1972
Writers: Pat Nardo, Gloria Banta
Director: Jay Sandrich

Mary's new boyfriend is a politician who can't seem to find time in his schedule to see her.


40 Feeb    First Aired: January 8, 1972
Writers: Dick Clair, Jenna McMahon
Director: Peter Baldwin
Guest Star: Barbara Sharma

Mary feels guilty when she causes an incompetent waitress to be fired, so she hires the girl to work in the newsroom.

Director Peter Baldwin had previously worked with Mary Tyler Moore on The Dick Van Dyke Show in the early 1960s.


41 The Slaughter Affair    First Aired: January 15, 1972
Writer: Rick Mittleman
Director: Peter Baldwin
Guest Star: Joyce Bulifant

When Murray takes a second job tohelp pay for his wife's anniversary present, Marie suspects that he's having an affair with Mary.


42 Baby Sitcom    First Aired: January 22, 1972
Writer: Treva Silverman
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Stars: Joshua Bryant, Leslie Graves

When Mary has to back out of an agreement to baby-sit Bess, she talks Lou into pinch-hitting for her.


43 More Than Neighbors    First Aired: January 29, 1972
Writer: Steve Pritzker
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Star: Jack Bender

Mary and Rhoda try to talk Ted out of becoming their neighbor after he decides to move into their building.


44 The Care and Feeding of Parents    First Aired: February 5, 1972
Writers: Dick Clair, Jenna McMahon
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Stars: Jon Locke, Brad Trumbull

Mary finds herself playing literary agent for an eleven-year-old after Phyllis hears her compliment Bess's school composition.


45 Where There's Smoke, There's Rhoda    First Aired: February 12, 1972
Writer: Martin Cohan
Director: Peter Baldwin

After Rhoda's apartment is destroyed by a fire, Mary offers to put her up for a few days--a favor that nearly ruins their friendship.


46 You Certainly Are a Big Boy    First Aired: February 19, 1972
Writer: Martin Cohan
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Stars: Bradford Dillman, John Rubinstein, Beverly Saunders

Mary is unnerved to discover that the handsome architect she's been dating has a son who's practically her age.


47 Some of My Best Friends Are Rhoda    First Aired: February 26, 1972
Writer: Steve Pritzker
Director: Peter Baldwin
Guest Star: Mary Frann

Mary forms a kinship with a woman she meets in a minor traffic accident, but the friendship quickly sours after Mary discovers that the woman is prejudiced.

An atypical foray into the Norman Lear social-consciousness arena, this episode delves into Mary's staunch liberalism and Rhoda's Jewishness--two themes that weren't often confronted in such a head-on fashion. A comparison of MTM's humanist approach to politics and the more didactic approach adopted by Norman Lear for his contemporary sitcoms would make an interesting study indeed.

A decade later, Mary Frann would play Bob Newhart's second TV wife on Newhart.


48 His Two Right Arms    First Aired: March 4, 1972
Writers: Jim Parker, Arnold Margolin
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Stars: Bill Daily, Carol Androsky, Janet MacLachlan, Wally Taylor, Isabel Sanford, Patrick Campbell

Mary schedules an ignorant politician on a WJM talk show and then tries to groom him so that he doesn't make a complete fool of himself.

This episode was designed as a pilot for a proposed spinoff series that was to star Bill Daily as befuddled politician Pete Peterson. When that series failed to sell, MTM producers wisely tapped the talented actor for the role of Howard Borden, the equally confused navigator on The Bob Newhart Show.

 

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