“Who can turn the world on the world on with her smile?” can only be answered with one name-Mary Richards, played so well by Mary Tyler Moore on the seventies show of the same name. Moore passed away last week and I think a lot of people really felt the loss.
I could talk about other roles played by Mary Tyler Moore but I think most people relate her so closely with Mary Richards that the person and the character are almost the same. That’s how it feels for me. I am too young to have watched Moore on the “Dick Van Dyke Show” and most of Moore’s acting after playing Mary Richards was off my radar.
I saw several celebrities eulogize Mary Tyler Moore, which is fine. I do take exception when they try to link her life to one political or societal belief. I also dislike it when these celebrities tried to draw parallels between their life and that of Moore’s. It is decidedly a bit of un-subtle name-dropping that I find crude.
I loved the Mary Tyler Moore show. The relationships were so interesting but none more so than that enjoyed by Mary and Lou Grant. The show was set at a television station and Lou Grant was Mary’s boss and eventually her best friend. The terribly uncomfortable office meetings between these two were delicious comedic comfort food. I could also see myself in the gruff Lou Grant, we even shared a name!
Lisa and I spent most of the past week-end watching Mary Tyler Moore marathons. “Chuckles the clown” was an episode that holds a special place in television. Chuckles was a clown who hosted a children’s show at the fictitious WJM. Chuckles dies and the WJM’s staff attends his funeral. People sometimes get a nervous laugh in stressful situations or situations when a stoic countenance is important. Chuckles’ funeral is both and Mary Richards gets a case of nervous laughter that cannot be stopped. It is hilarious in a way makes you feel for what Mary is experiencing.
I don’t know what effect the Mary Tyler Moore show had on society or our culture-I’m not sure I care. It seems to me that whatever group needs a champion for their cause typically grabs onto whoever has most recently died and makes them into their defender. I do know that Mary Richards was a highly-entertaining character at a time when good shows really counted as there was only three television channels on which to view them. She was supported by some very funny characters including the guy who’s last name was the same as my first. I was 12 and winter lasted six months back then so I needed as much funny as I could get.
Mary Tyler Moore loved animals a lot. This love for animals even transferred itself to the logo for her production company, MTM. It was a take-off on Metro-Goldwyn Mayer’s logo which included a roaring lion. MTM’s logo at the end of each show included rich script and decoration just like MGM’s. The only difference was the feline, which in MTM’s case, was not a roaring lion but rather a little kitten-who did not roar but simply meowed.
You may have seen my tribute last week to Mary Tyler Moore. In case you didn’t, here it is: