The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Sitcoms come and go but some will be remembered long after they are gone…this is one of them. This series featured a single woman Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) working and dating. She had career ambitions far beyond getting married and having children. Doesn’t seem like a big deal now but at the time this wasn’t done. Everyone knew Mary from The Dick Van Dyke Show which finished a few years before.

The Mary Richards character was going to be divorced in the show but the producers thought the audience would think she divorced Dick Van Dyke…so that wasn’t happening. This show featured women and men writers and a great cast. As the show progressed it wasn’t all about Mary, the talented cast all got their turns.

Mary moves into a studio apartment in Minneapolis Minnesota with a neurotic landlady Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman) and a tough New York Jewish neighbor Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper).

She gets a job at WJM-TV a low rated television station in Minneapolis. Her boss was Lou Grant (Ed Asner) and her co-worker’s name was Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod). The weatherman was Gordy Howard (John Amos) and the newscaster was the incompetent Ted Baxter (Ted Knight).

The show was written to entertain adults more than a family. The writing was smart and nothing ever seemed forced. This is a great sitcom that many modern shows look to.

The show featured one of the best-known episodes from any sitcom…“Chuckles Bites the Dust”

Let’s go through the characters.


Mary Richards – Mary is a career minded, honest and good to a fault person. She was the cheerleader in high school you had a crush on.


Rhoda Morgenstern – A self-deprecating neighbor who envied Mary Richards but ended up her best friend. Her and Mary’s relationship was an important part early on in the show.

lou grant.jpg

Lou Grant – The hard-drinking, gruff, tough but lovable boss who was the father figure to Mary. Lou would treat everyone fair through the office and would stop himself from strangling Ted.


Phyllis Lindstrom – Phyllis and her husband Lars (who is never seen) manage the building which Mary lives in. She is snobbish, neurotic, and has an adversarial relationship with Rhoda but you still end up liking her.


Murray Slaughter – The writer of the show and he is eternally mad at Ted Knight for mispronouncing everything he has written. He is a middle-aged man married with kids but has a secret crush on Mary…like everyone in the office.


Ted Baxter – Ted Knight was made for this character. Ted has a giant ego, is incompetent but makes more money than anyone at the station…yea like real life. Ted supplies a lot of the humor for the show.


Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White) – She is catty, man-hungry and can be downright mean. She is always ready with a backhanded compliment to Mary. She created more audience sympathy for Phyllis when she had an affair with Phyllis’s husband Lars. Once in a while, the writers will show her vulnerable side.


Gordy Howard – A very professional weatherman who gets promoted much to Ted’s dismay…John Amos left to star on Good Times.


Georgette Baxter  (Georgia Engel) – Georgette may have been the most innocent character ever on a sitcom. She dated Ted for a while and then Ted finally married her. She may have been sweet and innocent but she could handle Ted.

Mary Tyler Moore Cast

mtm cast



Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

23 thoughts on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”

  1. A great sitcom that knew when to end Must see television every Saturday night. Sonny Curtis who wrote the theme song ‘Love Is All Around” was from Lubbock, Texas- a friend of Buddy Holly’s and joined The Crickets after Buddy’s death.. his greatest moment- writing the classic “I Fought The Law”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I still watch that show. The Bob Newhart Show would come on right afterward…How I remember that I don’t know.
      I didn’t know that about Sonny Curtis…One of the great rock songs…I Fought The Law.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. After your post I was looking to see how it did in the ratings- it was only a top 10 show 2 seasons out of its 10 but it was a finely written show- and won oodles of awards and ended at the right time. All In The Family is a more acclaimed show as far as how history remembers it due to its take on social issues but I think it went on a few more years than necessary. I loved that show but I tuned out the final few years. MTM was great from beginning to end.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. All in the Family did go on too long. When Gloria and Mike left…it should have ended. The last show of MTM was great…Only Ted was left at the station…doesn’t that sound like real life?

        I think the greatest last show for any sitcom is Newhart in the 80s…When he woke up next to Suzanne Pleshette right back in the The Bob Newhart Show.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Yes that is how it goes- the Ted’s survive. I remember the Newhart in the 80’s but was never a regular viewer. That was a great ending though.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I never really watched Newhart either in the 80s…I watched some but preferred The Bob Newhart Show where he was a psychologist…that is another reason why I loved the ending. Plus my crush on Suzzane Pleshette

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes same here- loved the original Newhart- I think in the 80’s I was just too busy to watch his other show… a few weeks ago I looked up what was the #1 album the week I was born- it was Bob Newhart- The Button-Downed Mind of Bob Newhart!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Mr. Dry humor…I love Bob… I’ve heard bits off that album. You got me curious…

        .I looked up mine. Ironically my first favorite group was number 1 on both… I’m a Believer the song and “The Monkees” debut album the week I was born.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. That is a good one. I think The Monkees have been much maligned. Good pop band… #1 song week I was born was also a good one- Stay- Maurice Williams and The Zodiacs… I was away over the weekend and didn’t get to listen to any of it but a Sirius XM station was playing every Billboard #1 song over the past 60 years in order. i’d have liked to have heard those.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. They were a great pop band. They influenced a lot of people. Mickey Dolenz has a great pop voice…Jann Wenner has not helped their legacy.
        From what I’ve read he has been the main reason they are not in the Rock Hall of fame.

        Stay is awesome. I also like when Jackson Browne weaved it into his song…

        That would have been an interesting radio show to listen to…except the last few years.


      9. Wenner is a joke and so is his magazine… My favorite Wenner story is how when the magazine did a 500 greatest songs or whatever- they had to include a Foreigner song because he was friends with Mick Jones….. Yes once it got to 2000 click the station off!

        Liked by 1 person

      10. He is a joke. He once did some great interviews but the magazine has only been good for bird cages for a while now.
        You are right…when the 2000’s came music went down. How do you distinguish 2000-2010 to 2011-2020… When I say the 70s or 90s you know the difference.. Maybe it’s me just getting old but individualism went out the door… Not saying no good music has been made but in the mainstream…it’s hard to find.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Yes I have to agree at one point it was a good magazine- but they jumped the shark decades ago. Not much difference now between Rolling Stone and Tiger Beat.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. I was young when it was first on, but my mom used to watch it and I found Ted pretty funny, and his interactions with Murray. Later when I watched re-runs I realized what a well-written, smart show it was. One of the best of that era. By the way, Husker Du do a great cover version of the theme song!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I will check the version out…thank you…
      Very good writing on that show. I still watch it. I like how they had ongoing storylines like Mary’s terrible parties, Ted and Murray, Phyllis and Rhoda etc…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh but it is a big deal now to show a single woman dating with a career and who had ambitions/interests other than marrying and having kids. You actually don’t see that now. Like at all. The women always want to get married or are worried they never will. And the few who don’t are dead set against it. And they don’t date, they start relationships and somebody moves in. Contemporary women on TV don’t live alone. Mary probably would have married if she found the right guy but she didn’t (nor did she spend all her time trying) and that was okay too. And there were no kids in the show. Not as regular characters central to plot development. And no one got pregnant on Mary’s show. There is ALWAYS a surprise pregnancy for some main character these days. Like characters knew how to use birth control back then but now someone always finds herself pregnant or thinks she might be. These days women character arw walking around waiting to be impregnated to move the plot along. Mary was no virgin (pun intended). They didn’t show any sex but it was implied. Mary managed not to get pregnant though. And rarely now do you see a character with work friends/relationships and friends outside of work. It’s usually workplace comedies or family settings. One or another. And when do you ever see a woman living alone? She’s married or moving in with her boyfriend or living with random roommates. And this is a big pet peeve for me. I know the producers decided not to have Mary be a divorcee so instead had her starting over from a broken engagement. And here’s the kicker. The ex-fiance is no longer part of her life! It’s done. There’s no back and forth and she doesn’t socialize with him. They have broken up. These days? A female character is always tethered to an ex. She socializes with him, sometimes works with him, he knows all her friends, he shows up randomly, she knows all his new girlfriends. They relapse into a sexual relationship. Very rarely do writers create a woman old enough to have had significant relationships that she leaves behind. So yeah that show did things that no one does now. We assume things have changed but it’s like they turned completely around. They just added cursing and sex scenes but the women are not independent. Far from it. So that show was brilliant and hilarious and inspiring. Young women should watch it. Maybe aspire to have a cool job and their very own apartment, friends, and dates. And no Ex’s sniffing around giving opinions on her new life. Great show. Thanks for the post. Well this was long, and rambling. Maybe I’ll clean it up and turn it into a post. Also Bob Newhart was good, it had a married couple with no children where the wife never quit her job to go back to school or whatever. And they never had a kid. Seinfeld no one got pregnant. But it’s rare. In more recent classic sitcoms they marry or couple off women in Friends, The Office (of course after surprise pregnancies) even How I Met Your Mother, and Sex and The City. Mad About You Got close, but the wife quit her job and they eventually had a baby and then that was what the show was about. In Lucifer the career cop works with her ex-husband and doesn’t appear to have friends outside of work. And SURPRISE! the therapist gets pregnant. I’ll stop now, hahaha. But for classic sitcoms? MTM broke ground — and then somebody filled it back in.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That phrase you said ” MTM broke ground — and then somebody filled it back in.” says it all better than I said it. Mary was strong and self-reliant but now like you said they have ex’s roaring back in the picture and a small army of people around. The writing on this show was great because they didn’t need to show sex scenes…I’m not a prude but sometimes I think they show sex scenes just to show them with no real purpose for the story. I always sympathized with Mary because my mom was a divorced mom working at a job in the 70s and it was not easy. I know Mary wasn’t divorced but she had some qualities my mom had…

    The Bob Newhart Show would not use children as props. Newhart demanded that when they started. They were both intelligent and nothing was forced like with today’s shows.

    Thank you for the comment…I agree with you 100 percent.

    Liked by 1 person

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