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The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Season Five: 1974-75



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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1974-75 : THE FIFTH SEASON

Year-End Rating: 24.0 (11th place)

The show practically glides into a fifth season, buoyed aloft by critical and popular acclaim, as well as a cast and creative team that are among the finest ever assembled for the production of a weekly situation comedy.

Major developments in the continuing story include the engagement of Ted and Georgette and the final appearance of Phyllis, who will move to San Francisco and her own series the following fall.

The show continues to benefit from the contributions of many talented scripters, with stalwart David Lloyd acting as executive story editor. Prolific writers Ed. Weinberger and Stan Daniels also serve as producers in season five, a position they will hold for the remainder of the series. Jay Sandrich continues to head the roster of directors, though Mary Tyler Moore herself directs an episode this season--her single venture behind the camera.


97 Will Mary Richards Go to Jail?    First Aired: September 14, 1974
Writers: Ed. Weinberger, Stan Daniels
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Stars: Barbara Colby, James Randolph

Mary spends the night in jail after she refuses to reveal a news source.


98 Not Just Another Pretty Face    First Aired: September 21, 1974
Writers: Ed. Weinberger, Stan Daniels
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Star: Robert Wolders

Mary dates a man because of his striking looks, even though she knows they have nothing in common.

An episode that takes the risk of exploring Mary's apparently shallow ability to date a rather dull man merely because he happens to be very good-looking. In fact, her actions actually reflect a newfound maturity in Mary's character, who makes the refreshingly adult realization that she is capable of dating a great-looking man for purely physical reasons--and why, she wonders, shouldn't she? This sophisticated treatment of an essentially feminist issue wouldn't have been possible in an earlier phase of the series's development, when Mary was still constrained by the rules of what good girls did, and didn't do, on sitcoms.


99 You Sometimes Hurt the One You Hate    First Aired: September 28, 1974
Writer: David Lloyd
Director: Jackie Cooper

After he tosses Ted from the newsroom in an angry fit, Lou takes stock of his temper and begins to treat Ted with kid gloves.


100 Lou and That Woman    First Aired: October 5, 1974
Writer: David Lloyd
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Stars: Sheree North, Fred Festinger

Lou gets involved with a lounge singer of dubious reputation.


101 The Outsider    First Aired: October 12, 1974
Writer: Jack Winter
Director: Peter Bonerz
Guest Star: Richard Masur

A consultant tries to bolster the ratings of The Six O'Clock News, but succeeds only in enraging the newsroom staff.


102 I Love a Piano    First Aired: October 19, 1974
Writer: Treva Silverman
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Star: Barbara Barrie

Murray comes very close to having an affair with an attractive woman.

Barbara Barrie would play Liz on Barney Miller when the station-house comedy premiered in 1975.


103 A New Sue Ann    First Aired: October 26, 1974
Writer: David Lloyd
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Stars: Linda Kelsey, Ron Rifkin

Sue Ann meets her match when a manipulative young woman tries to take over The Happy Homemaker Show.

Linda Kelsey guests as the unscrupulous girl--a far cry from Billie Newman, the earthy reporter she would later play on Lou Grant.


104 Ménage à Phyllis    First Aired: November 2, 1974
Writer: Treva Silverman
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Star: John Saxon

Phyllis dates a man for purely intellectual stimulation but is alarmed when he begins dating Mary for a different kind of exhilaration.


105 Not a Christmas Story    First Aired: November 9, 1974
Writers: Ed. Weinberger, Stan Daniels
Director: John C. Chulay

Sue Ann attempts to introduce a little Yuletide cheer, a month and a half too early, when the staff gets snowbound at work in early November.


106 What Are Friends For?    First Aired: November 16, 1974
Writer: David Lloyd
Director: Allan Rafkin
Guest Stars: Noble Willingham, David Huddleston, Dan Barrows, Robert Karvelas

Sue Ann tries to nudge Mary into the fast lane when they attend a broadcasters' convention together in Chicago.


107 A Boy's Best Friend    First Aired: November 23, 1974
Writer: David Lloyd
Director: Mary Tyler Moore
Guest Star: Nolan Leary

Ted is shocked when his mother announces that she intends to move in with her boyfriend.


108 A Son for Murray    First Aired: November 30, 1974
Writers: Ed. Weinberger, Stan Daniels
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Stars: Michael Higa, John Gabriel

Murray desperately wants a son but can't convince Marie to have another child after she's already had three girls.


109 Neighbors    First Aired: December 7,1974
Writer: Ziggy Steinberg
Directors: James Burrows, John C. Chulay
Guest Star: Clifford Davis

When Lou decides to move out of his house and into Rhoda's old apartment, Mary is afraid that she'll lose all sense of privacy.

One of director James Burrows's apprentice assignments. His later association with Taxi and Cheers would eventually establish his credentials as one of the brightest TV directors in the business.


110 A Girl Like Mary    First Aired: December 14, 1974
Writers: Ann Gibbs, Joel Kimmel
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Star: Rosalind Cash

When Lou decides to add a female newscaster to the show, he's faced with two unlikely candidates--Sue Ann and Mary.


111 An Affair to Forget    First Aired: December 21, 1974
Writers: Ed. Weinberger, Stan Daniels
Director: Jay Sandrich

Ted convinces the newsroom that he and Mary are having a torrid affair.

A perfect example of the kind of character comedy that was to become the trademark of the early MTM sitcoms. The absurd situation arises organically from the personalities of the characters; it was inevitable that Ted would try this stunt sooner or later. And it was equally inevitable that Mary would be unable to rationally cope with the galling repercussions of Ted's innuendo.

Because we're so familiar with Mary's and Ted's personalities, we can see instantly that both are merely victims of their own character. We sympathize with Ted's desperate plight just as much as we identify with Mary's utter mortification. The entire embarrassing situation is made funny largely because we are convinced that it could conceivably happen to any one of us.


112 Mary Richards: Producer    First Aired: January 4, 1975
Writer: David Lloyd
Director: Norman Campbell
Guest Stars: Anthony Holland, Phillip R. Allen

Mary feels dissatisfied with the scope of her job and asks for the chance to produce The Six O'Clock News.


113 The System    First Aired: January 11, 1975
Writers: Ed. Weinberger, Stan Daniels
Director: Jay Sandrich

Ted invents a seemingly foolproof scheme for betting on the football pools, luring Lou into partnership with him.


114 Phyllis Whips Inflation    First Aired: January 18, 1975
Writers: Ed. Weinberger, Stan Daniels
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Star: Doris Roberts

When Lars takes away her credit cards, Phyllis is dismayed at the prospect of actually having to look for a job.

Cloris Leachman won an Emmy for her role in this episode, her last regular appearance on the series. She would begin filming her spinoff series, Phyllis, the following season.


115 The Shame of the Cities    First Aired: January 25, 1975
Writers: Michael Elias, Arnie Kogen
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Stars: Sheree North, Robert Emhardt, Chuck Bergansky, James Jeter

Lou rashly mounts a tough exposé of a Minneapolis civic leader, who turns out to have a spotless reputation.


116 Marriage: Minneapolis-Style    First Aired: February 1, 1975
Writer: Pamela Russell
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Star: Eileen McDonough

Ted proposes to Georgette in the middle of his Six O'Clock News broadcast.


117 You Try to Be a Nice Guy    First Aired: February 8, 1975
Writer: Michael Leeson
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Star: Barbara Colby

Mary agrees to lend a hand when the woman she met in jail is finally released.

Barbara Colby reprises her role as Sherry, the inmate Mary first met when she was jailed for contempt of court in episode 97.


118 You Can't Lose Them All    First Aired: February 15, 1975
Writer: David Lloyd
Director: Marjorie Mullen

Lou is indignant when he is honored with an award that is usually bestowed on broadcasters who have outlived their usefulness.

Director Marjorie Mullen was the show's regularly script supervisor, a job she'd also performed throughout five seasons of The Dick Van Dyke Show a decade before.


119 Ted Baxter's Famous Broadcasters School February 22, 1975
Writer: Michael Zinberg
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Stars: Bernie Kopell, Leonard Frey, Norman Bartold

Ted is conned into endorsing a shady broadcasting school that turns out to have a total student enrollment of one.

Another classic episode. The strange fabric of the newsroom staff's paternal relationship with Ted Baxter is demonstrated as they each endure undeniable embarrassment in order to bail Ted out of a jam. The scene where Lou, Murray, and Mary take turns lecturing to the lone student is an absolute gem.


120 Anyone Who Hates Kids and Dogs    First Aired: March 8, 1975
Writer: Jerry Mayer
Director: Jay Sandrich
Guest Stars: Laurence Luckinbill, Lee H. Montgomery, Mabel Albertson, Ian Wolfe

Mary must face the difficult fact that she can't stand her new boyfriend's young son.

 

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