August 31, 2019

Goodbye to Rhoda.

Remember the fabulousness:



"Rhoda, come on, I know you! You're not going!"



ADDED: From another episode with a lot of Rhoda — in the second half (the first half is heavy on the Phyllis — there's this fascinating moment when Mary lets us know she's not a virgin:

42 comments:

Otto said...

Two lost women going aimlessly through life.

whitney said...

They say cartons instead of boxes. It sounds weird but it's more precise. Yes I did just look them both up

Vet66 said...

The men back then with their "talking stick" were not ideal male representatives wearing a beard at pretend macho. Girly men looking for their 'dads....

Tina Trent said...

Makes me miss my mom, watching these shows.

She had no desire to be them but was glad they were in the world.

Otto, there were lots of people who didn't marry when families were larger, too. But they had brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews and family obligations -- a role in the continuation of family. Mary and Rhoda weren't disconnected.

You're right that we have lost that.

Laslo Spatula said...

'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' was seen as a feminist show back in the day.

Mary was single, independent, and had a good career to which she was dedicated.

And, to really drive home the feminism, they clinically removed all of Mary Tyler Moore's sexiness.

Which is sad.

Where have you gone, Laura Petrie? Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.

I am Laslo.

Lloyd W. Robertson said...

Lots of people--mostly men--"acted out" in the 50s through 70s. It was somehow up to women to extend the range of "niceness" a bit. Possible to have a career, and expect to be treated fairly. (How many years did Mary put in as some kind of assistant, calling her boss "Mr. Grant"?) Possible not to have an (immediate) family, but still have a full life. Humour can have a bit of a bite--not so much with Mary, as with Rhoda, Phyllis, and Sue-Ann. Mary the nice American woman to whom things happen, but who can also make changes. It's hard to believe now the original pitch was for her to be divorced and moving away; the divorced part was dropped.The real Mary was divorced after a very short-lived marriage.

Ann Althouse said...

"And, to really drive home the feminism, they clinically removed all of Mary Tyler Moore's sexiness."

Mary Tyler Moore's figure aggressively challenged the women of the 1970s. It's so aspirational. But was it sexy or was it anorexia-bait? I watched the show at the time, and today, looking at it, every time she turns sideways, I am awed and fascinated. I think most women looking in the mirror, think they look much better frontally than from the side view. It's the side view that makes you — if you are vigilant about your weight — think you need to go on a diet. But the Mary side view is just always out of reach... unless you start to think of dieting as a competitive sport.

Jay Vogt said...

I once read that someone associated with the Dick Van Dyke show . . . I think maybe it was Carl Reiner . . . noted that one important component to that show's success was the both the stars (DVD and MTM) were trained dancers. After I heard that that when I'd see a rerun, I could see what he meant. The way the did the the physical part of their comedy was purposeful and elegant and of just the right scale. And the way they moved through the show generally was really graceful.

In the obit for Valarie Harper, I read that she too was trained as a dancer. It shows! I think that's one of the reasons that some of those old sitcoms hold up as well as they do. They certainly don't look like that currently. They're downright clunky.

RIP to one tough old bird. I mean that with the highest possible admiration.

Jay Vogt said...

in one sense it's a pity that VH had to act next to MTM (rough life, I know!), but by comparison she was written and made to look the the less sexy of the two.

By the time she got her own show, her look and persona were cast, and sexiness was not part of the package.

Stand alone though, she was a pretty sexy broad. And I mean that in the best possible way.

Unknown said...

Franco Columbo died too. Was he a feminist?

Rory said...

At least in the Mary Tyler Show, Rhoda was a very unusual female character. Not a saint, not a shrew, not a sexpot, not a sweetie. She had opinions, used language to express them, didn't filter much from thought to word. She was playful, good to have around.

Rory said...

"In the obit for Valarie Harper, I read that she too was trained as a dancer."

Harper's in a supporting role in the movie musical L'il Abner, along with Beth Howland of "Alice."

traditionalguy said...

Moore was a winner in everything that she did, and she was a very cute and winsome lady, all 100 lbs of her. But she was only a woman. Go figure.

Why would anyone hold a grudge against MTM? Maybe jealousy.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Mary Tyler Moore's figure aggressively challenged the women of the 1970s. It's so aspirational. But was it sexy or was it anorexia-bait?"

I can certainly see that.

I am referring mostly to body language, and a sense of playfulness.

But the 'skinny' aspect is an interesting point: skinny doesn't necessarily correlate to sexy, obviously. And it seemed as if MTM wasn't so much 'skinny' in that show as she was flattened -- the clothes wore her: it was the aspiration of what the independent career woman looked like -- skinny meant she was in control of her body and her life.

To acknowledge MTM's sexiness would mean it would then be silly to have her male counterparts not take notice, which means: sexual tension.

In the MTM show any sign of sexual tension was defused*: sexiness would compromise the show's structure. In. that way, MTM was closer to Maude than to Laura Petrie.

(*except when offloaded onto Betty White, of course: which brings the question -- was "The Golden Girls" a sexier show than the 'MTM Show'? Can the arc of feminism in Hollywood be best observed by studying Betty White's career?)

I am Laslo.

gspencer said...

"Mary, Mary, ya gotta help me. I have a date tonight. I have to lose 10 pounds by 6 o'clock."

Her delivery was always frantically good.

Ann Althouse said...

It should be noted that Mary Tyler Moore was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1969.

I don't know what role that had in her thinness. But you would not want her body, because it was a body with a serious disease.

Ann Althouse said...

"At least in the Mary Tyler Show, Rhoda was a very unusual female character. Not a saint, not a shrew, not a sexpot, not a sweetie. She had opinions, used language to express them, didn't filter much from thought to word. She was playful, good to have around."

She was the Phoebe. Mary was the Rachel, and Phyllis was the Monica.

Ted was the Joey. Murray was the Chandler. And Lou Grant was the Ross.

Did I get that right?

Anyway... 6 characters — 3 female, 3 male — think about it!

The main thing different about "Friends" was ditching the workplace and throw them all into the residential setting.

Birches said...

Do younger people know MTM? I have a lot of familiarity with MASH and I Dream of Jeanie and Gilligan's Island from UHF station reruns when I was a kid, but I've never seen a MTM episode. I don't even know if my mom watched it.

Laslo Spatula said...

"Anyway... 6 characters — 3 female, 3 male — think about it!"

I have thought about it, and I think it pulls the taffy too far.

As main example: Lou Grant / Ross doesn't quite work for me. Ross could be a stick-in-the-mud, but he wasn't a curmudgeon, and had none of the confidence and gravity that Lou Grant possessed effortlessly.

And the Phoebe would seem to me to be more akin to Georgia Engels' Georgette.

I am Laslo.

Wince said...

...fascinating moment when Mary lets us know she's not a virgin.

As far back as I can remember, a friend of mine said he could tell Mary was a slut because of the belts she wore.

Did you notice the belt she was wearing in that scene?

Rory said...

"Friends"

No, it can't be Friends, because they had Gordie the black weatherman.

MTM was just the Dick van Dyke Show. Rhoda was Millie. Phyllis was Jerry. Murray and Ted were Buddy and Mel. Lou was Alan Brady.

Mary Beth said...

Anyway... 6 characters — 3 female, 3 male — think about it!

Sue Ann?

William said...

I can think of a darker version of MTM. Lou is a bully, Murray is a sour intellectual, and Ted is a pompous ass. They took it one step back, but if they took it one step further it would have been bleak and Beckett. Trapped in that one small office waiting forever for Mary.....What was Valerie's personal life like? Was she the real MTM? I've read that Mary was a high functioning alcoholic and had lots of neuroses. Still, she could pretend for a while to be Mary Tyler Moore and not many women can make that claim. Here, on the occasion of Valerie's death, I take the opportunity to make note of how charming Mary was. This is a testament to how well she played the role of Rhoda.

Fernandinande said...

It's too bad they aborted Ritchie from the narrative arc, because he had the only funny line I can remember -

Bad guy (George Kennedy?) - "These pearls are Baroque."

Ritchie: "I didn't ba-rake them!"

Ann Althouse said...

"As main example: Lou Grant / Ross doesn't quite work for me. Ross could be a stick-in-the-mud, but he wasn't a curmudgeon, and had none of the confidence and gravity that Lou Grant possessed effortlessly."

Yes, that was the least aligned, but if I had to argue that all 6 aligned, I could come up with a lot of evidence. Ross was the only Friend who was trying to be serious about work and, in his efforts, harassed by all the others for it.

"And the Phoebe would seem to me to be more akin to Georgia Engels' Georgette."

Georgette was the Phoebe of the workplace setting. And Sue Ann was the Monica. Georgette and Sue Ann were basically excluded from the residential setting. And as you can see in the first clip in my post, Phyllis was *supposed* to stay in the residential setting and was an intrusion in the workplace

Ann Althouse said...

I wonder if Lisa Kudrow adopted the name Valerie (for her sublime show "The Comeback") in a tribute to Valerie Harper?

Bill Peschel said...

"Moore was a winner in everything that she did"

Two massive TV hits is nothing to sneeze at, but she had plenty of failed TV series after that, including (I think) a variety show a la Carol Burnette.

As noted above, she was a high-functioning alcoholic and -- as it came out in interviews with her writers on Gilbert Gottfried's podcast, unpleasant to work with.

Anorexic, diabetic, alcoholic and pressured to recapture the Zeitgeist would have made Mr. Rogers grumpy.

rcocean said...

"unpleasant to work with."

Some people deserve "Unpleasantness". Besides, no one's little mary sunshine 24/7.

MTM and Harper were both great comedic actresses. As a kid, i liked the show better after Rhoda left and Ted Knight and Georgette part's got bigger and Sue Ann arrived on the scene. The only dud on the show was Gavin McCloud as "Murray" - a bland character actor in a very bland part. He'd later be the bland lead on "Love Boat" The guy must have had something on somebody. But that's how old TV was, if you were liked by "some big exec" you got put in one hit show after another, even though you were completely mediocre.

rcocean said...

Georgia Engel was a real cutie. No only was she funny, but she could sing/dance too. And was pretty hot.

Tomcc said...

As a youngster in the '60s, I was in love with Laura Petrie. By the time I was a teen, I really liked the MTM show for the humor. (Man, does she look thin!) I also liked Charlie's Angels- for different reasons.

Mr. D said...

I was too young to understand the larger subtexts when the show first aired. What I liked was it was always funny. And Bob Newhart came on after the show was over.

tcrosse said...

Sometimes Laura Petrie could be a real pain in the ass. But the show was autobiographical for Carl Reiner.

Unknown said...

Why did that show have Mary, Murray, and Marie? Was it an in-joke?

Rory said...

"It's too bad they aborted Ritchie from the narrative arc..."

It's interesting what happened to kids in sitcoms. Dick van Dyke was one of the first that would routinely stash the kid at a neighbor's house when the kid wasn't required for the plot. On MTM, they made Phyllis have the kid, so they could use her whenever they wanted but could completely ignore her otherwise. It wasn't much, but she became more of a regular in the Phyllis spinoff. The ultimate expression was probably found in Frasier, where they stuck the kid a full continent away.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

Rhonda was sort of a cuter, female version of a Woody Allen character: a neurotic Jewish New Yorker filled with insecurities who constantly made self-deprecating jokes about herself. I loved the show when I was a teenager, but became annoyed with Rhoda's shtick. She was a pretty woman who talked about herself like she was a 200 lb. yenta and feared she would never marry. That rang false to me until a few years later, when I actually befriended an attractive Jewish New Yorker who talked about herself like she was a 200 lb. yenta and feared she would never marry.

Christy said...

I only watched the first few minutes of the first clip. I only watched occasionally back in the day, mainly because I found Rhoda unpleasant and annoying.

I was shocked at Mary's deep tan. Today that seems so wrong.

Unknown said...

The producers of the MTM Show intentionally made Harper's character look fat and dowdy (and played up that aspect of her character), so that her attractiveness would not steal attention from the show's star. Not so different from Mary Ann on Gilligan's Island.

Harper's later solo show was taken off the air, if I remember correctly, because she wanted more money and an ownership percentage. She was ahead of her time.

Unknown said...

Amazingly, Mary Tyler Moore smoked 2-3 packs of cigarettes a day, and after work she and second husband Grant Tinker drank margaritas from glasses the size of fish bowls. You can find both statements in her autobiography.

Her only child, her son, killed himself with a firearm discharge that was ruled accidental.

Nothing is so deceiving as a beautiful surface, wrote Tolstoy.

MountainMan said...

My wife and I were newlyweds in Fall 1973 and I was in graduate school and we didn't have a lot of money. We tended to stay at home in our little apartment on Saturday nights after dinner with a big bowl of popcorn and watch CBS: 8:00 - All In the Family; 8:30 -MASH; 9:00 - MTM; 9:30 - Bob Newhart; 10:00 - Carol Burnett. That was one great lineup of TV shows and I don't think there has been another like it since. I haven't watched anything on CBS (or NBC or ABC) for the past 20 years.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

The strangest MTM spinoff was "Lou Grant." Mary's old boss went from ineffectually grousing about Ted Baxter to being a tough editor in a "serious" drama series. The same thing happened with "Trapper John, MD." The audience was supposed to believe that Hawkeye's old womanizing, wise-cracking Korean War buddy was now a wise Marcus Welby type. I don't remember the reverse ever happening - the main character of a drama being plopped into a comedy series. Imagine "Perry Mason" brought back in a goofy '70's sitcom.

Ann Althouse said...

"And it seemed as if MTM wasn't so much 'skinny' in that show as she was flattened -- the clothes wore her: it was the aspiration of what the independent career woman looked like -- skinny meant she was in control of her body and her life."

Isn't that what they say about anorexia? The person with anorexia is caught up in a delusion of control: I *can* control my body, and that substitutes for controlling everything else.

Laslo Spatula said...

@Althouse 5:04:

Indeed.

I am Laslo.