A child of the Nick-at-Nite generation—back when Nick-at-Nite was the jam and aired shows like Taxi, I Love Lucy, and Happy Days--The Mary Tyler Moore Show had me at hello. And this week, when I flipped on an MTM documentary on PBS, it hit me. “Oooooh,” I said to George. “This is why I am the way I am.” Epiphany.
Lemme break it down for you. Mary Tyler Moore’s Mary Richards character was the first single career woman featured on a network sitcom. She was unapologetically into her job as an associate producer and later the news producer—you, too, can climb the corporate ladder, ladies!—at her local, and terrible-but-in-a-funny-way, TV station. But she was also super into her home life in that oh-so-sweet apartment with the big bay window and a sunken living room. She threw parties there; she gossiped in PJs with her girlfriends there; she took dates there. She just didn’t happen to a husband and kids there.
It was in Mary’s little one-bedroom in Minneapolis where the wacky wonderful people in her life—colleagues, family, friends, neighbors—converged. And in surrounding herself with people she loved, Mary never had to labor over “having it all.” Cause she kinda already did. She found herself in hilarious and heartwarming situations at work and at home that ultimately left the audience with the message that life is what you make of it, so why not take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile?
Listen up, my little feminist friends, If you haven’t watched The Mary Tyler Moore Show you should probably 1) finish what you’re doing (namely, reading this) and 2) go and watch. Hulu is streaming the first three seasons, so you’ve got no excuses. I’ve watched all 7 seasons over and over and over again, and I just never get sick of it. The stupidity of Ted, the brashness of Lou, the grating neurosis of Phyllis, the raucous humor of Rhoda, the girl-next-store-stick-to-itiveness of Mary—it’s good stuff. Very, very good stuff.
So as I stare down the nose of my 35th birthday I realize I might not live in Mary’s apartment, but I do happen to be surrounded by the best husband, friends, family, and co-workers in the biz, so that’s close enough. Who knows, I might just make it after all.