Long extolled as an example of thriving on your own, this episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show wonders just the opposite.
At the end of the workday, Ted, Lou, and Murray share a drink in Murray’s office. The conversation quickly turns to how great Mary is and how odd they find it that “a woman like Mary never got married.” They all start to consider the fact that she hasn’t met the right person and maybe there isn’t even anyone worthy of being married to her. (Wow, so so much to unpack there.) And then they all start to fantasize about being married to her.
Murray’s fantasy is first: A much younger Mary and Murray share an apartment where Murray writes poorly and Mary praises everything that comes out of his mouth. A very pregnant Mary then announces to Murray that she is with child. They’re both super excited. Murray then apologizes for being so self-focused that he didn’t notice his wife has a giant womb. He admits that he’s barely even seen her because she’s been working several jobs while he sits at home and writes all day. Mary then delivers their baby by herself in the bedroom while Murray continues to write. Wow! She’s SO great.
Ted’s fantasy is next: We see Mary and Ted on their wedding night. Mary is disturbingly horny for Ted. Underneath his dress shirt, Ted wears a t-shirt with a photo of his face on it because of course he does. Then fantasy Mary turns the tables on him. She won’t sleep with him. Even in his fantasy. Which is great. Then she leaves him. Alone. In his fantasy. Oh to be Ted’s therapist.
Lou’s Fantasy is Last: In Lou’s fantasy they’re about 95 years old and still working at WJM – TV News. In this fantasy, Mary receives a postcard from Rhoda who is still waiting for Joe to return (cringe). Another fun fact is that this fantasy occurs circa 2027 but the newsroom hasn’t changed at all in 50 years! All throughout this fantasy Mary keeps hinting about being blissfully happen except for this ONE THING. Finally, we learn that the one thing marry is upset over is that she and Lou have never consummated their marriage. Lou explains that he doesn’t have romantic or sexual feelings for her, which seems like something he should have mentioned earlier like probably before the wedding. But then Mary takes her hair down and wow old Lou has a change of heart!
At the end of the episode Mary walks into the office just as they’re all leaving. She’s returned early from a date. Lou and Murray both tell her that the guy would be very lucky to have her end up with him. Ted tells her she should be sure to sleep with him if they get married (yikes).
Very Special Bizzaro Lesson: Maybe I shouldn’t speak for all women, but I do find the thought of three of my male coworkers sitting around the office and fantasizing about sharing a life with me to be a very off-putting group activity. They’re definitely all respectful (except for Ted), but it would have been a great episode if just one of them had realized that Mary was better off alone than in any of the scenarios they imagined for her.
Bizzaro episode aside, this is truly a beautiful show. Of the countless think pieces floating across the internet, here are a couple that I recommend:
“How Nora Ephron Said Goodbye to The Mary Tyler Moore Show“
“How Mary Tyler Moore Is Getting Me Through This Pandemic”
That’s the end of our Bizzaro Series to cap off a very bizzaro year! 2020 sure has been weird, but I am super grateful for all you Very Special Readers! One small silver lining of having so much time on my hands these days is that I’ve been able to brainstorm more ideas for this blog over the past few months than I have in the past few years combined. So stay tuned for more in 2021!