Mary Tyler Moore and Her Spin-Offs

Josh Steinberg

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And to be clear (for me at least), it’s not the actress, it’s the character. There are some one note schticks that I find hilarious and could watch on a loop forever - I’ll never tire of Gale Gordon bellowing, for instance - but I just have no use for Phyllis. When she’s onscreen, I just don’t believe her. I can believe Mary Richards is a real person with a real life and a rich internal monologue. With Phyllis, I just see writers writing; I don’t find her to be a credible character where I can believe she has a life beyond her scenes.
 
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BobO'Link

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Exactly. Cloris Leachman has been in many, many films and TV shows and her Phyllis character in MTM and the spin-off is the only one I just can't stand. She's superb in Young Frankenstein. I guess it's to her credit that she pulls off that role so well that they saw fit to give her a series with it.
 

KPmusmag

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I have always thought the character of Phyllis was rather interesting. The dilettante who likes to think of herself as more sophisticated than she is and also more self-serving than she would like to admit. I think Cloris did a great job of being that person, especially since her co-stars have said Cloris is nothing like Phyllis in real life. The episode in which Phyllis' husband has an "interlude" with Sue Ann is one where I think Cloris brings many layers to her performance. Now, Sue Ann, while I find her funny (and of course Betty White's portrayal is flawless) I would not like to know in real life.

And it occurs to me that, after Rhoda left, the only truly sympathetic female friend Mary had was Georgette.
 

Matt Hough

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I believe Cloris won one of her Emmys for "The Lars Affair," and I think Mary submitted "Chuckles Bites the Dust" as her Emmy submission episode that season and won for it.
 
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David Deeb

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Funny to see this thread, as I just started Season 7 after a long time away from this show. The very first episode of season 7 "Mary Midwife" had me laughing out loud. I don't think I had ever seen it and immediately thought it might be one of the best of the series.

Searching around for it online, I found it listed in several reviewers top 10 MTMS episode lists. Ted and Georgette's baby is due and it arrives in the middle of one of Mary's disastrous dinner party. A classic.
 
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Jeffrey D

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Chuckles Bites The Dust has got to be my favorite MTM episode...
I haven’t seen any MTM episodes in decades, but I remember a line that Knight, I think, says- something about it’s a good thing he wasn’t named Billy Banana- he could have been peeled to death.

I think I’m going to order the series from Amazon, to refresh my vague memories of the show.

Another episode I remember is Knight’s character having a heart attack on the air.
 
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Osato

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I haven’t seen any MTM episodes in decades, but I remember a line that Knight, I think, says- something about it’s a good thing he wasn’t named Billy Banana- he could have been peeled to death.

I think I’m going to order the series from Amazon, to refresh my vague memories of the show.

Another episode I remember is Knight’s character having a heart attack on the air.
I had them all
On dvd but picked up the
Complete series set from iTunes.

I’m starting to watch them again. Great show.
 

B-ROLL

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And to be clear (for me at least), it’s not the actress, it’s the character. There are some one note schticks that I find hilarious and could watch on a loop forever - I’ll never tire of Gale Gordon bellowing, for instance - but I just have no use for Phyllis. When she’s onscreen, I just don’t believe her. I can believe Mary Richards is a real person with a real life and a rich internal monologue. With Phyllis, I just see writers writing; I don’t find her to be a credible character where I can believe she has a life beyond her scenes.
I think you had to be there in that era to understand Phyllis. I suspect she is named and modeled after Phyllis Schlafly. The Phyllis character was designed to be a counterpoint to MTM's "Modern Woman" with Phyllis being the "I'm PERFECT and you can be too if you just do a I'm telling you" kind of person,
 

Josh Steinberg

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I mean I get it, I just don’t think it’s funny. It’s one overly broad characterization too many for a show that already has the barely-believable-as-a-real-human Ted Baxter.
 

Jeffrey D

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I seem to remember the sign off for the show was a meowing cat. Was this a play on the MGM lion? Was MGM involved in producing the show?
 

MishaLauenstein

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Exactly. Cloris Leachman has been in many, many films and TV shows and her Phyllis character in MTM and the spin-off is the only one I just can't stand. She's superb in Young Frankenstein. I guess it's to her credit that she pulls off that role so well that they saw fit to give her a series with it.
I love Phyllis on Mary Tyler Moore.

I have a feeling that Phyllis was actually a completely different, already planned show that was retooled by someone (CBS? MTM?) when they came up with the idea to have a spinoff for Phyllis. The reason I feel that is is that the whole premise is unbelievable. There are many Scandinavians in Minnesota, so meeting a person named Lindstrom in Minneapolis is believable. Then, on Phyllis, it's revealed that the Lindstroms were originally from San Francisco -- which is just bonkers.

Then, the show rebooted itself every few weeks.
 

The Obsolete Man

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I seem to remember the sign off for the show was a meowing cat. Was this a play on the MGM lion? Was MGM involved in producing the show?
MGM has nothing to do with the show, it was just a... homage... to the old MGM logo since the company was named "MTM".


Mimsie was at the end of every MTM show. Both Newhart shows, WKRP, Rhoda, White Shadow, Lou Grant, St. Elsewhere...
 
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Jeffrey D

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MGM has nothing to do with the show, it was just a... homage... to the old MGM logo since the company was named "MTM".


Mimsie was at the end of every MTM show. Both Newhart shows, WKRP, Rhoda, White Shadow, Lou Grant, St. Elsewhere...
Wow- I didn’t know that meowing cat was the sign-off to all those other shows.
Thanks.
 

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