I decided to try something a little different. (When has that ever stopped me before?) After only watching a few episodes of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”, I wanted to experience the bookends of this iconic sitcom. So I watched the Pilot and the Series Finale back-to-back.
You might be thinking: Jackson, we know you love Series Finales (which is true), but what are you really going to get out of watching the very beginning and very end of a series? Well, here are five stand-outs:
“MTM” begins with that classic tune “Love Is All Around”, which also happens to be the title of the first episode. In it, the last line of the song we hear is “You might just make it after all.” But in the final episode, the song ends with “You’re gonna make it after all.”
The tension between Rhoda (Valerie Harper) and Phyllis (Cloris Leachman) kicks-off early on in the Pilot, as the two argue over whether Mary Richards should move into an apartment space. If you’re a fan of the series, you know that in the Finale, Rhoda and Phyllis return after a few years to try to cheer Mary up (in her different apartment) after being fired by the new WJM-TV station manager. And in comforting Mary, they want to out-do each other.
From their first scene together (“I Hate Spunk!”) to their last (“It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”), Mary always refers to Ed Asner’s character as Mr. Grant, not “Lou”. Asner would go on to carry over the character into a one-hour, drama series spinoff – rare in the history of television.
In the Pilot, Mary is asked by Mr. Grant why, at the age of 30, she isn’t married. Her response, “There is no simple answer to that question”. Phyllis tells Mary that she wants her to get married. And when boyfriend Bill shows-up to Mary’s new apartment (with her and a drunk Mr. Grant present), Mary tells Bill that she’s been “really waiting” for two years to see if he’ll ask her to get married. But they soon break up. And as she explains her decision to Mr. Grant on choosing a new associate producer position over being a housewife, she remarks, “Can you imagine what that life would’ve been like?”
WORK & FAMILY
Mary Tyler Moore was a trailblazer for women in the workforce and the media. Mary Richards held her ground with Mr. Grant during her job interview and affirmed her beliefs through a memorable final speech. You can have a career AND a family – if you allow those in your career to become your family. “They’re people who make you feel less alone… and really loved.”