The Mary Tyler Moore Show (tv)

The Boston Phoenix

DIRECTED BY: James Burrows

REVIEWED: 12-01-97

The Mary Tyler Moore Show, about a single woman in a big city, was the first hit in a campaign to win back younger, urban audiences after a decade of cornpone programs. Together with All in the Family, it destroyed the high-concept sit-com almost overnight. The most striking change about MTM is that its characters listen to one another and respond as normal people. In almost every '60s sit-com, the characters talk at each other, reacting in the same way to every situation (e.g., Mrs. Kravitz on Bewitched, or Schultz on Hogan's Heroes sputtering, "I see nothing!"). The Mary Tyler Moore show could offer surprises all the way into its seventh season, such as when Mary and her father-like boss, Lou Grant, share a romantic dinner to see whether there's any sexual chemistry between them. The series ended with Mary calling her colleagues at WJM-TV a "family," reflecting the fact that most adult sit-coms had moved to the workplace.

Taken from The Boston Phoenix's "50 Years and Counting," a retrospective of the most influential programs from television's first half-century. Click here for the full article.

--Robert David Sullivan

Other Films by James Burrows
Will & Grace (tv)

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