I LOVE LUCY
DICK VAN DYKE
MARY TYLER MOORE
ALL IN THE FAMILY
The Classic Sitcoms Guide to...
The Mary Tyler Moore Show
Season Seven: 1976-77
1976-77: THE SEVENTH SEASON
Year-End Rating: 19.2 (39th place)
Acknowledging the pressures involved in maintaining the high standards
of a series like The Mary Tyler Moore Show, the series's creators
decide to bow out gracefully when they announce that the show's seventh
season will be its last, ending the long run of one of the most popular
and critically acclaimed series in television history.
Ed. Weinberger and Stan Daniels return as producers for the final
season. Bob Ellison will serve as executive story editor, while David
Lloyd returns in the role of creative consultant.
Georgette unexpectedly has her baby in Mary's apartment.
Mary fulfills her desire to become a creative writer, despite Lou's
harsh criticism of her abilities.
Sue Ann's sister is hired as the hostess of a rival station's homemaker
Mary hires an Olympic swimmer as WJM's new sportscaster--against Lou's
After a brush with death, Ted decides to explore the joys of life--and
he convinces the rest of the newsroom to join him.
Lou appoints Murray co-producer of The Six O'Clock News, which
causes an unhealthy rivalry between Murray and Mary.
Ted and Georgette discover that their adopted son has the IQ of a genius.
Mary finally faces a judge for her contempt charges, but her defense
lawyer seems more intent on winning her than defeating the case.
Lou finally musters the courage to propose to Mary's Aunt Flo.
Murray is convinced that he'll never be awarded a Teddy statuette until
Lou builds his confidence with the implication that he's a shoo-in.
Mary develops a dependence on sleeping pills, and Lou tries to force
her off the habit.
An extraordinary look at an obsessive side of Mary's character that
we never knew existed--and a revealing portrait of the true interdependency
of Lou and Mary. This is a rare example of a sitcom episode that approaches
successful human drama, largely due to the depth and believability the
characters have developed during the later seasons.
While in Hollywood for a newsmen's convention, Ted is almost seduced
by a beautiful young reporter who's hoping for an in-depth interview.
Lou and Mary decide to quit their jobs in order to bluff the new station
manager into meeting their salary demands.
David Ogden Stiers played station manager Mel Price in only a few
seventh-season episodes, but they would lead to the actor's far more
lasting assignment as Major Charles Winchester of the 4077th after M*A*S*H
producer Burt Metcalfe spotted him on the show.
WJM's new station manager hires a controversial critic for The Six
O'Clock News as a ploy to boost the show's sagging ratings.
An old Army buddy of Lou's comes to town and decides to collect a favor--he
wants a date with Mary.
Ted and Georgette host a successful variety show on WJM, until Georgette
discovers that she can't stand the pressure.
When Sue Ann's cooking show is canceled, she takes over as host of
the afternoon kid's show.
Weatherman Gordy--now a well-known talk-show host--returns to WJM,
only to face Ted, who volunteers his services as talk-show second banana.
Mary goes out on a date with Murray's father, despite the ribbing she
receives from the newsroom staff.
An early script from Glen Charles and Les Charles, two brothers who
would one day create the popular and critically acclaimed NBC sitcom
Ted plans to take full credit--and make a large cash profit--when an
article Murray has ghosted for him is picked up by a major magazine.
In dream sequences, we see what life would have been like had Mary
become the wife of Lou, Ted, or Murray.
To ensure that at least one of her parties will be a success, Mary
invites Johnny Carson as guest of honor.
There are two sure signs that a sitcom is headed for the end of a
long run on network TV. The first is when there's an entire episode
devoted to flashbacks from earlier episodes, and the second is when
a single show revolves around the surprise appearance of a special guest
star. It's a credit to the ambition of the creative staff of The
Mary Tyler Moore Show that they dared to dust off both those old
sitcom chestnuts in a single audacious episode.
Lou and Mary finally have their first, and only, date.
Around the time this episode first aired, Ed Asner half-jokingly described
the way that he thought this episode should end. Lou and Mary would
be alone at the crest of the evening--in the dark, ensconced in a newly
discovered bliss. As the credits begin to roll, there would be a long
silence. Finally, the silence would be punctuated by Mary's familiar
exclamation, "Oh, Mr. Grant!" Fade out . . . cut to commercial.
As tempting as that scenario must've seemed to Asner, it's not surprising
that the show's creators opted for a more realistic ending to the big
date, with Mary and Lou barely exchanging a goodnight kiss. The show's
writers must've known all along that Lou and Mary were able to enjoy
the most passionate love affair in TV history largely because it was
unconsummated. Not sullied by carnal pleasure, they were free to exchange
the passion of two thinking, feeling adults traveling together through
seven years of highs and lows--through giddy pleasures and painful truths,
through old divorces and new beginnings. Lou and Mary shared a respect
for each other that was not unlike the respect that existed between
the show's audience and its many creators--which gives some clue to
the immense popularity of the series during its seven-year run.
Just as Mary grew to depend on Lou in her strange, ineffable way,
so did we grow to expect the very best from this most unusual TV series.
And right up to the very end, neither we, nor Mary, were ever disappointed.
WJM's new station owner decides to revamp The Six O'Clock News,
so he fires everyone--except Ted Baxter.
It's a lucky thing that the show's creators decided to stage a final
episode to end the series. The audience needed a proper occasion to
say farewell to all those Saturday nights spent at home, often intentionally,
with Mary Tyler Moore and the crew. The overall mood of this episode
was that of a big, teary-eyed, good-bye kiss, and there was a built-in
poignancy to this last hurrah that would be rarely equaled in series
Many viewers may still find it hard to stifle that lump in their throat
when this episode is rerun on local TV at two or three in the morning.
Although now that the show's in syndication, it must be a sobering consolation
to know that Mary Richards will be back in Minneapolis the very next
day, still tossing that silly hat in the air and finding out that Lou
Grant thinks she's got spunk--and he hates spunk.
Fade out . . . cut to commercial.