I LOVE LUCY
DICK VAN DYKE
MARY TYLER MOORE
ALL IN THE FAMILY
The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Season Six: 1975-76
1975-76: THE SIXTH SEASON
Year-End Rating: 21.9 (19th place)
With both Phyllis and Rhoda gone from the series, the dual focus on
Mary's home and worklife environments is diminished. With fewer characters
to serve, the writers are free to increase the interaction among the
surviving members of Mary's TV family, a shift that will yield substantial
comic dividends in the show's final seasons.
On the creative end, Ed. Weinberger and Stan Daniels return as sixth-year
producers. And Bob Ellison signs on as executive story editor, replacing
David Lloyd, who will assume the position of creative consultant for
the final two seasons of the series.
Lou can't bring himself to attend the ceremony when Edie gets remarried.
Convinced that she's in a rut, Mary moves into a new apartment.
The scene where Mary demonstrates her tedium by accurately predicting
every word the newsroom staff will utter is even more compelling when
one realizes that the creators of the show must've found themselves
in a very similar rut. How could they keep the series fresh when they
were going into a sixth season with characters and situations that by
now must've seemed completely familiar to every man, woman, and child
in the country?
One way they faced the challenge was to move Mary out of her old apartment.
Since it was clear that Rhoda and Phyllis would not be replaced, it
made sense to finally close the book on that part of her life.
There is a touching moment in this episode when Mary seems to acknowledge
the evolution her character has undergone. She is trying to hang the
big letter M that she brought over from the old apartment, but she can't
get it to hang the same way in the newer, more sterile high-rise. She
finally puts down her hammer and nails and whirls around in frustration.
Suddenly, she realizes how much she misses her old life, her old friends,
and her old apartment--and how much she hates the new place.
Finally, she walks from the room, struck by the irony of her new independence.
Mary Richards no longer wonders how she will make it on her own--she
already has. Now she's left to ponder if the struggle was worth it.
Mary fears that a dynamic Catholic priest may leave the church because
he's fallen in love with her.
An episode that explores a rarely exposed area of Mary's character.
When the priest reveals that his infatuation with Mary existed largely
in her mind, her ego takes a slight trouncing. "I'm not unattractive,"
she exclaims, affording us a rare glimpse at the insecurity and vanity
that lurk deep in the heart of every former prom queen. The show's creators
took a risk depicting Mary in this unfavorable light--but it was a gamble
that paid off. By the end of this half hour, we better understood Mary,
and we liked her all the more for revealing this very human side of
The scene where Lou tries to warn the priest of the moral danger of
his actions is a masterpiece of comic misunderstanding, offering Ed
Asner one of his best monologues of the series. When he starts to launch
into a story that begins when he was twelve years old, the impatient
priest interrupts him: "Lou, give me a hint. How old are you at the
end of the story?"
Murray confides to Mary that he's fallen deeply in love with her.
A probing and surprisingly touching episode. When Mary reveals the
nature of her love toward Murray--"I don't know what tomorrow morning
may bring, but the last five years have been the most important of my
life"--the actress and her character become one. The scene where Murray,
the idealist, realizes that he must learn to accept himself--and not
his dreams--is a powerful moment of recognition that suddenly makes
worthy the five-year journey of this most sophisticated of "supporting"
Ted plans to move to New York to accept an offer to host a game show,
until Lou and Mary convince him to stay at WJM.
A character exploration of Ted Baxter that doesn't quite add up. There
is nothing in Ted's personality that allows him the integrity to forgo
an extra $1000 a week in salary just to stay in Minneapolis. The scene
where Mary and Lou decide they want to keep Ted at WJM seems a little
forced as well. At least the writers were smart enough to keep Murray
out of the picture when Mary and Lou decide to convince Ted not to take
the other offer.
Mary's Aunt Flo--a world-class foreign correspondent--drops in for
a visit and begins a friendly rivalry with Lou.
Mary's Aunt Flo, played by Oscar-winner Eileen Heckart, was the only
character from The Mary Tyler Moore Show ever to make a crossover,
however brief, to the more serious Lou Grant series of the late
The death of Chuckles the Clown under the most ridiculous of circumstances
prompts a nervous rash of gallows humor in the newsroom.
Director Joan Darling and writer David Lloyd both earned Emmy Awards
for an outstanding episode that questions our culture's sanctimonious
attitude toward death and dying with predictable irreverence. The plot
bears echoes of a scene in an old Second City revue where a family is
similarly convulsed by the absurd death of their father--which only
shows how much The Mary Tyler Moore Show, like Saturday Night
Live in the 1970s, drew from the same comic vein as the improvisational
comedians of the 1960s.
Mary and Sue Ann become big sisters to two wayward girls.
Writer Valerie Curtin would be one of the creators of the short-lived
but critically acclaimed series Square Pegs.
Ted and Georgette are wed in an impulsive ceremony improvised in Mary's
There was really no chance of a June marriage for Ted and Georgette--sitcom
weddings are invariably held in mid-November to boost viewership while
the networks compete in their ratings sweeps.
Lou has a rare opportunity to even the score with the woman who jilted
him during the war.
Mary thinks she may have finally found a man to settle down with but
has second thoughts when he seems reluctant to make a commitment.
Mary could've saved about five years of looking for Mr. Right by watching
reruns of That Girl. Long before he rode a white horse into Mary
Richards' life as Joe Warner, Ted Bessell played the boyfriend on that
late-sixties sitcom--a show that preceded The Mary Tyler Moore Show
in theme, if not precisely in flavor. Bessell also shared billing with
a chimpanzee in another sitcom--but that's a whole other story.
Ted is pleased when he gets an unusually large income tax refund, until
he finds out he's scheduled to be audited by the IRS.
Lou is tricked into spending the evening in Sue Ann's desperate clutches.
Mary is forced to choose between her current heartthrob and an old
boyfriend who suddenly reenters her life.
Murray's life is transformed into a nightmare when he volunteers to
become producer of domineering Sue Ann's Happy Homemaker Show.
Georgette decides to seek professional marital counseling when she
begins to feel that Ted no longer loves her.
Mary refuses to believe that Lou is on a first-name basis with Capitol
Hill luminaries until he's paid a surprise visit by First Lady Betty
Lou's faith in Mary is tested when he confides that he once spent the
night with Sue Ann.
Lou is distraught when one of his old girlfriends arrives at Mary's
party with her new beau.
Murray dares to speak out against the mercurial new station owner,
but he soon finds himself out of a job.
Lou once again locks horns with Mary's Aunt Flo when the pair squabble
over the journalistic integrity of a documentary they're co-producing.
A conflict of ideals erupts when Lou decides to do an exposé
on a politician who is also a good friend of Mary's.
Sue Ann falls in love and is finally nominated for a Teddy Award--both
in the same week.
After Ted finds out that he's unable to father a child, he and Georgette
adopt a precocious young boy.
This episode demonstrates one of the more difficult attempts to expand
and deepen a regular character on the series--the childlike anchorman
Ted Baxter. When the role was created six years earlier, he was designed
to offer the sort of broad comic relief that was a necessary and successful
component of the show. A combination of good writing, as well as a perfect
marriage of actor and role, soon made Ted one of the most popular characters
on the show. But when the time came to humanize and expand his role,
the show's creative staff ran into trouble. How could they humanize
a character whose comic purpose was based on his lack of any believable
human integrity? Essentially, they solved the problem by creating a
new, more sympathetic character who still possessed the unsympathetic
characteristics that made Ted so funny. It was an uneasy combination
at best, and, as this episode indicates, a not entirely successful compromise.