I LOVE LUCY
DICK VAN DYKE
MARY TYLER MOORE
ALL IN THE FAMILY
The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Season Two: 1971-72
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
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
Phyllis decides that Mary is the person best suited to tell her daughter,
Bess, the facts of life.
Lou plays Cupid when he tries to orchestrate a romance between Mary
and one of his middle-aged friends.
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
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
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.
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
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
Don't Tell Me!
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.
The WJM newsroom goes on strike, leaving Mary and Lou to produce the
entire show by themselves.
Ted worries about his job security when he sees the more competent
anchorman who is brought in as his vacation replacement.
Mary must decide whether to answer a chain letter sent to her by Lou.
Lou suspects his son-in-law of philandering when he spots him at a
movie with a strange woman.
When Rhoda loses her job as a department store window dresser, Mary
tries to help her land another one.
Mary talks Lou into letting Rhoda redecorate his house, though he soon
lives to regret it.
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
Mary's new boyfriend is a politician who can't seem to find time in
his schedule to see her.
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.
When Murray takes a second job tohelp pay for his wife's anniversary
present, Marie suspects that he's having an affair with Mary.
When Mary has to back out of an agreement to baby-sit Bess, she talks
Lou into pinch-hitting for her.
Mary and Rhoda try to talk Ted out of becoming their neighbor after
he decides to move into their building.
Mary finds herself playing literary agent for an eleven-year-old after
Phyllis hears her compliment Bess's school composition.
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.
Mary is unnerved to discover that the handsome architect she's been
dating has a son who's practically her age.
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
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
A decade later, Mary Frann would play Bob Newhart's second TV wife
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.