10 Episodes Of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' You Should Watch This Weekend

10 Episodes Of 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' You Should Watch This Weekend

Don't believe those other lists, these are the ten best episodes
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By this point, in the days following her death, it would be redundant to describe and detail the cultural significance of Mary Tyler Moore and her self-titled sitcom which aired on CBS from 1970 to 1977. The show, the first to focus on a single, contented, woman with a career who was undefined by her relationships with men, was revolutionary and highly popular for its time and permanently altered the American cultural landscape.

More incredible than its status as a landmark is the fact that the show has stood up well over time. It won't induce the same kind of laughter that some topical shows of quality might, but even today the 47-year-old sitcom makes "Two Broke Girls" look like ... well, "Two Broke Girls." The warm, witty scripts, the subdued genius of the plots, and the fantastic ensemble cast including Betty White, Valerie Harper, Gavin MacLeod, Cloris Leachman, and Ed Asner all worked to make the show an instant classic. And while every episode is exemplary, these ten demonstrate "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" at its absolute best and represent (at the risk of editorializing) perfect TV.


10. Better Late ... That's a Pun ... Than Never (Season 4, Episode 20)

When Rhoda (Mary's neighbor/best friend who would soon after get her own spinoff and garner over 52 million viewers for her hourlong wedding episode - over half of America's viewing population) comes over to help Mary write obituaries for the news station, sleep deprivation leads them to start writing gag obits. When one is read on the air, it leads to Mary getting fired from the station (in true sitcom form she gets rehired before the end of the half hour). This episode focuses on the relationship between Lou Grant and Mary Richards as boss/employee and as good friends, and the acting by both Moore and Ed Asner is so phenomenal you can see the real-life love and admiration they had for each other.


9. Love Is All Around (Season 1, Episode 1)

The very first episode of the series only has a kind of brazen confidence to it because of hindsight. Nobody was sure if it would last, especially because it wasn't well-received by test audiences (they just didn't understand why she was single and not at least trying to find a husband). Despite its shaky beginnings, this episode establishes the characters in a smart, funny, endearing way. The blueprints for these characters would not fundamentally change over time, they would only grow, becoming more complex and refined. This episode also has one of the greatest and most notorious exchanges in the history of the masterfully written show when Lou Grant concedes to job applicant Mary Richards that she has "spunk." When she demurely nods in agreement, he barks back "I hate spunk!" Three little lines of dialogue, one enduring moment of TV history.


8. Lou Date Mary (Season 7, Episode 23)

Over the course of a decade, Mary Richards and her boss Lou Grant developed a tight-knit relationship that is now de rigueur for office-based sitcoms. Because this was the 1970s, and Mary Richards was an attractive, intelligent, successful woman in her mid-30s, she was still expected to settle down eventually. Being independent for the first few seasons was considered acceptable if not iffy by the home viewers but by season 7 it was almost shocking. So, in an effort to placate the viewers and drive home the point that Mary might not ever get married or have children and that's fine, they gave us this episode. In it, Lou and Mary finally go on a date. All it takes is one incredibly awkward kiss to show to themselves and to all of us why they never got together; because their friendship was good enough. Better, even.


7. Mary Midwife (Season 7, Episode 1)

"The Mary Tyler Moore Show," like any comedy show of merit, refused to sacrifice a character for the sake of one joke, and this practice made every moment of the show feel authentic and organic. In this episode, inept news anchor Ted Baxter's sweet, dim wife Georgette goes into labor - ruining yet another party at Mary's apartment (a running gag throughout the series) - giving the audience a look at how each character responds to childbirth and how beautifully these oddball coworkers have formed a family. The episode's highlight: a nervous Mary backing away and saying "a delivery room is no place for a woman!"


6. A New Sue Ann (Season 5, Episode 7)

Playing Sue Ann Nivens, the show's antagonist from seasons four to seven, was a radically different change of pace for Betty White. Though she seemed to be forever typecast as sugary sweet angelic figures, she proved her versatility as an actress by playing the vicious, unashamedly oversexed host of "The Happy Homemaker," who doled out handy hints on screen and insulted and belittled her friends and coworkers off screen. In this episode, a young competitor tries to steal Nivens' show out from under her. In retaliation, Nivens frames the girl by giving everyone in the station, herself included, food poisoning (from - what else? - cream puffs filled with unrefrigerated cream), getting the girl fired and wrongfully winning Nivens her show back. It is written and acted so amazingly, with wit and charm and the perfect amount of insanity, that it humanizes what is easily one of the most spiteful characters in TV history; only "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" could have pulled that off.

5. Once I Had a Secret Love (Season 6, Episode 18)

The show is notable for its blending humor and heart with an unheard of deftness, but this episode takes that heart to new extremes by putting strain on the friendship between Mary and her curmudgeonly boss Lou Grant. After Mary learns of and mistakenly blabs about Lou's one night stand with Sue Ann Nivens, Lou sits her down in his office to tell her: "You violated my confidence. It was important to me. I'm your boss, it doesn't interfere with that. We're just not friends anymore." This poignant moment is immediately followed by Mary's hilariously feeble attempts to hold back sobs, and while everything works out in the end (Mary's sweetness corrodes Lou's bitterness before the credits roll), their relationship being put in jeopardy in this episode makes the viewer realize how special and meaningful it is.


4. Will Mary Richards Go to Jail? (Season 5, Episode 1)

"The Mary Tyler Moore Show" marked an abrupt shift in the American sitcom. While the 1960s were all about housewives, rural communities, witches, genies, outer space, and talking horses, the 1970s dealt with gritty reality. In this episode, Mary's refusal to name an informant lands her in jail, and while the sociopolitical implications of Watergate take the spotlight, it is Mary's outstanding journalistic integrity that anchors the episode and gives it its warmth and iconography. For all of her wide-eyed charm, Mary Richards, like Moore herself, was an iron-willed warrior, and this episode, better than any other, proves that.

3. Chuckles Bites the Dust (Season 6, Episode 7)

This list would have absolutely no credibility if I left out this episode because it is often considered one of, if not the best episode of the series, as well as one of the greatest sitcom episodes of all time (and at this point it's almost a cliché to name it but here we are so just shut up and keep reading). When WJM kiddie show host Chuckles the Clown is killed in a freak elephant accident, Mary's coworkers make a series of tasteless jokes which Mary admonishes them for. By the time of the funeral, Mary is in fits of uncontrollable laughter. When the preacher reminds the crowd that Chuckles would have wanted laughter, he encourages Mary to express her joy, at which point she breaks down in tears. The show's ability to make something as somber as death so funny earned the episode an Emmy, but it's Moore's performance that makes this episode unforgettable. Her emotions at the funeral transition so seamlessly that this episode transcends a mere sitcom and becomes - God I hope this doesn't sound hackneyed - art. This episode is a prime example of Moore's first rate comedic capabilities.

2. The Lars Affair (Season 4, Episode 1)


The season four opener found Mary Richard's landlady, the pretentious and petty Phyllis Lindstrom (played expertly by Cloris Leachman) confronted with a newer, nastier villain; Sue Ann "The Happy Homemaker" Nivens, played with malicious perfection by Betty White. Nivens, a self-centered, sociopathic, man hungry Martha Stewart-from-Hell, signals the start of the show's truly genius years (but was there ever even one bad episode in the series?) but it's Leachman's characterization of a woman dealing with an adulterous husband that rightfully earned her an Emmy. Not only had this topic rarely been broached on primetime television, but never before or since has it been done with such sincerity and such comic genius (see the way Leachman deliberately slams the oven door on White's soufflé).

1. The Last Show (Season 7, Episode 24)

The series finale of any show carries an almost unreasonable responsibility; it leaves the final impression on the viewing audience and can make or break the legacy of the show. "The Mary Tyler Moore Show's" final episode is, four decades after its airing, considered one of the greatest series finales of all time, and understandably so. After the entire staff of WJM (the show's fictional news network) is unceremoniously fired, they go through the episode trying to cope together as the odd family they had become over the course of seven seasons (three in Betty White's case). The episode culminates in an iconic group hug comprised of five coworkers/friends/family members too emotional to let go. It embodies all of the warmth and humor that the show perfectly blended and is flawless from start to finish, an emotional powerhouse as emotionally resonant as it was forty years ago.


In light of our modern social climate, Moore's status as a mainstream feminist icon makes her passing seem a kind of tragic coincidence. But no matter which side of the political spectrum you sit on, Moore's talent, her cultural impact, and the importance of her legacy are irrefutable.


1936 - 2017

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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From One Nerd To Another

My contemplation of the complexities between different forms of art.

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Aside from reading Guy Harrison's guide to eliminating scientific ignorance called, "At Least Know This: Essential Science to Enhance Your Life" and, "The Breakthrough: Immunotherapy and the Race to Cure Cancer" by Charles Graeber, an informative and emotional historical account explaining the potential use of our own immune systems to cure cancer, I read articles and worked on my own writing in order to keep learning while enjoying my winter break back in December. I also took a trip to the Guggenheim Museum.


I wish I was artistic. Generally, I walk through museums in awe of what artists can do. The colors and dainty details simultaneously inspire me and remind me of what little talent I posses holding a paintbrush. Walking through the Guggenheim was no exception. Most of the pieces are done by Hilma af Klint, a 20th-century Swedish artist expressing her beliefs and curiosity about the universe through her abstract painting. I was mostly at the exhibit to appease my mom (a K - 8th-grade art teacher), but as we continued to look at each piece and read their descriptions, I slowly began to appreciate them and their underlying meanings.


I like writing that integrates symbols, double meanings, and metaphors into its message because I think that the best works of art are the ones that have to be sought after. If the writer simply tells you exactly what they were thinking and how their words should be interpreted, there's no room for imagination. An unpopular opinion in high school was that reading "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne was fun. Well, I thought it was. At the beginning of the book, there's a scene where Hawthorne describes a wild rosebush that sits just outside of the community prison. As you read, you are free to decide whether it's an image of morality, the last taste of freedom and natural beauty for criminals walking toward their doom, or a symbol of the relationship between the Puritans with their prison-like expectations and Hester, the main character, who blossoms into herself throughout the novel. Whichever one you think it is doesn't matter, the point is that the rosebush can symbolize whatever you want it to. It's the same with paintings - they can be interpreted however you want them to be.


As we walked through the building, its spiral design leading us further and further upwards, we were able to catch glimpses of af Klint's life through the strokes of her brush. My favorite of her collections was one titled, "Evolution." As a science nerd myself, the idea that the story of our existence was being incorporated into art intrigued me. One piece represented the eras of geological time through her use of spirals and snails colored abstractly. She clued you into the story she was telling by using different colors and tones to represent different periods. It felt like reading "The Scarlet Letter" and my biology textbook at the same time. Maybe that sounds like the worst thing ever, but to me it was heaven. Art isn't just art and science isn't just science. Aspects of different studies coexist and join together to form something amazing that will speak to even the most untalented patron walking through the museum halls.

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