An American sitcom that aired on ABC
from 1966 to 1971, following the adventures of Ann Marie (Marlo Thomas), a budding actress who moved to New York City
to make her big break into Broadway. Occasionally aided by her boyfriend Donald Hollinger (Ted Bessell), she attempted or was pulled into many different schemes in hopes of becoming a star, though later seasons focused on more formulaic sitcom situations.
Aside from the comedy aspect, That Girl
is often viewed as the forerunner of other successful shows starring single women such as The Mary Tyler Moore Show
or Murphy Brown
. It also addressed the issues of its time, in its own unique style.
Most famous for the opening of every show, the "That girl!" Title Drop
, accompanied by the title itself appearing at the bottom of the screen, with only a few variations over its five year run.
- Acting for Two: Ted Bessell does this in an episode, playing Donald and a doctor who is his double aside from hair color.
- Artistic Title: The shots of Ann walking around New York.
- Big Applesauce: Outdoor scenes in later seasons that were supposed to take place in New York City, had obvious non New York features, such as Southern California Rapid Transit District buses.
- Bland-Name Product:
- Newsweek -> Newsview
- William Morris Agency -> Gilliam and Norris Theatrical Agency
- Lee Strasberg Institute -> Benedict Workshop of the Dramatic Arts
- Break the Cutie: Usually, Ann, who responds to being broken with a frantic "You're a big meany" monologue where she's on the verge of tears.
- Christmas Episode: "Christmas and the Hard-Luck Kid" (Season 1) and "'Twas the Night Before Christmas, You're Under Arrest" (Season 2). The writer of the former, James L. Brooks, later wrote an episode for The Mary Tyler Moore Show called "Christmas and the Hard-Luck Kid II".
- Episode on a Plane: Ann as stewardess on a flight to Florida.
- Friends Rent Control: Ann somehow managed the rent on a nicely decorated, fairly roomy Manhattan apartment while working at mostly low paying temp jobs.
- Memetic Hair: Though flip hairdos were common in the 1960's, hers became a trademark, and was even featured on that famous monographic kite in Central Park beginning in the second season.
- Once an Episode: The "...that girl!" gag.
- Pie in the Face: Ann takes one on a Laugh In type show (after some vacillating on whether or not to accept the potentially humiliating role).
- Recurring Extra: The late actor Ed Peck played five different characters in all five seasons.
- Family Guy did a full blown parody of the opening credits with Peter Griffin as That Guy.
- As did The Simpsons in the episode "The Old Man and the Lisa," with Monty Burns chasing Lisa around Springfield. She even flies a kite with a monogram of herself in a mock-up of Central Park.
- The Show Goes Hollywood: And Ann tries for stardom.
- The Teaser: Setting up the plot and the title gag.
- Including a cute aversion where Donald objects to one of Ann's ideas: "Oh you would think it a fine idea, and it is for that girl, but not This Man!" Cue title card and soundtrack.
- Another example - A Russian man does the Title Drop in his native language, resulting in the title written out in Russian, with "(That Girl)" written underneath.
- Likewise, an Italian opera singer does the same, only his version of the title caption morphs into English.
- Thanksgiving Episode: "Thanksgiving Comes But Once a Year, Hopefully".
- Title Drop: Once an Episode, as a kind of Couch Gag.