Friday, October 15, 2010

Love is all around -- one last time


Got a grin in the mail this week via those amazing folks at Amazon.com.

Ordered my copy of the seventh and final season of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," the classy, hilarious 1970s sitcom about life in Minneapolis's WJM newsroom.This has long been one of my favorite shows -- funny, witty, at times silly. It had to be a breath of fresh air when it popped up on CBS's primetime lineup in September 1970. No monster families. No "My Mother The Car." No Hooterville.

This was one of the first programs -- soon to be followed by "All in the Family" and "M*A*S*H" -- to be populated by characters that felt like real people. Who doesn't know a perky Mary Richards or a gruff Lou Grant or a beloved boob like Ted Baxter?

By the 1976-77 season, Mary's audience was starting to dwindle and she and her former husband/co-producer Grant Tinker decided it was time to say goodbye. This season contains some classic moments. Lou having to carry Ted out of the room when his wife Georgette gives birth. Lou and Mary's infamous "date." That classic final show.

Of special note on the DVD is the "curtain call" that the cast received at the end of the last episode, which hasn't been seen since its original 1977 airdate.

I guess it sounds silly to say it, but one can get attached to well-developed characters of a favorite show. They become, in a way, part of the family, showing up in your living room the same time each week, guaranteed to make you laugh and, maybe, shed a tear or two every now and then.

I try to resist the urge to go down the "they don't make 'em like this anymore" route, but with "Mary Tyler Moore" it's true. Television shows by and large just aren't this good anymore. Heck, the networks have become so cheap they don't even like to pay writers, which has led to the cultural wasteland that is reality TV.

So, yep, love is all around for one last season with this last "Mary Tyler Moore" DVD set. After all these years, she can still turn the world on with her smile.

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