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YMMV / The Mary Tyler Moore Show

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  • Award Snub: Gavin MacLeod was the only actor in the show's regular cast never to have been nominated for an Emmy (Georgia Engel never won either, even though all six of the other regulars did, but she was nominated at least.) However — and unusually for this trope — MacLeod is also almost universally regarded as the weak link in the cast (and, along with Betty White, is nowadays better remembered by a lot of people for another role in a different series; in his case, Captain Merrill Stubing on The Love Boat).
    • Oddly enough, the show itself seems to comment on this. The final Teddy Awards episode (Season 7's "Murray Can't Lose") chronicles some of Murray's frustrations with never managing to receive a win for his work, while the rest of his colleagues are often acknowledged. In the episode itself, Lou hears from an inside source that Murray is apparently a lock to win that year, and Murray becomes excited by the prospect of some recognition. However, Murray ends up losing, left out once again (while Mary, Lou, Sue Ann and Ted all managed to win that very night). In the end, Murray's wife tells him to read out what would have been his acceptance speech, and it results in a Heartwarming Moment when everyone finds out that the speech was going to highlight the depths to which he loved all of his friends.
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  • Dueling Shows: For some reason, the series often gets mixed up with That Girl by modern audiences. Technically not an example, as the former wasn't created until after the latter had ended its run. This might have been caused by Nick @ Nite and TV Land when, pre Network Decay, Nick used MTM as the icon for its lineup of classic well-known shows, while TV Land used That Girl to symbolize its lineup of lesser-known shows. Also, though brief, the That Girl parody featured at the beginning of the Arthur episode "Muffy Goes Metropolitan" ends with Muffy throwing her hat in the air ala Mary Richards.
  • Fair for Its Day:
    • The season 3 episode "My Brother's Keeper" has Phyllis discovering that her visiting brother (who she'd first tried to fix up with Mary and then suspected of being romantically interested in Rhoda) is gay. Her reaction? Relief that he won't be having a relationship with Rhoda. It's likely the first TV episode in which a character is unambiguously happy to find out a relative is gay.
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    • Lou Grant's behavior towards Mary, which modern viewers may consider sexist but doesn't seem so bad when considering that a woman being in as important of a job as Mary's was a novel idea at the time and Lou clearly thinks highly of her and always pushes her to do the best for herself.
      • This is lampshaded and Played for Laughs in the pilot episode. Towards the end, Mary is still smarting over how she managed to land such a good job given her gender and resume, when a visibly drunk Lou shows up at her door. He mentions that his wife left for a long trip and Mary immediately assumes that he only hired her because he wanted her for a mistress. Lou goes on to tell her about how much he misses his wife, uses Mary's typewriter to write her a letter (which Mary helps dictate), then leaves.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • The first two seasons had a lot of episodes focusing on Mary's dating life. Starting in the third season, the writers shifted more of the focus to the Work Com aspects and engaged in more Character Development, including allowing Rhoda to get some self-esteem and making Ted a more rounded character.
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    • Reaffirmed in its history with the Emmys. While it would always manage to do well with the Academy in its years on the air (a rarity for any TV show running 7 seasons), it would only be its last 3 seasons that would win it the the top award for Outstanding Comedy Series.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: In the series finale, Ted is thrilled to find he'll be the sole team member staying at the station. Not only was Ted Knight the first cast member to die in 1986, but it took more than 30 years for the second with Mary Tyler Moore's death in 2017.
  • Hollywood Homely: Played With regarding Rhoda. Because she's not the star she can't outshine the star but in the Season 3 episode "Rhoda the Beautiful" Rhoda got her own show. She was given a supposedly less attractive sister to make sure everyone knew that now that she was the star she was now officially pretty. One thing that makes this even funnier in reruns is that putting Julie Kavner in "old lady clothes" while dressing Valerie Harper more stylishly was a large part of it, but unless your own personal fashion sense is stuck in the 1970s the main thing you'll notice is that both of them are wearing clothing that's laughably out of date.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • The Scrappy: Edie, Lou's wife, was first seen in the episode where she and Lou separate, and she continued to make recurring appearances that season, but she was unpopular with viewers and was soon written out of the show except for an episode where she gets married to another man. Series director Jay Sandrich warned the writers that the fans would never forgive Edie for walking out on a beloved character like Lou.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The show was so influential and widely imitated that younger viewers might wonder just what the big deal is.
    • In particular, the show's whole premise (a single 30-something year old woman who was more focused on having a fulfilling career than landing a husband) was seen as being very progressive for its time. As, until then, women on television were usually portrayed as "the nagging housewife" or given some other male-dependent role. Today, with single, career-driven women being very common in media (and in Real Life thanks to further advances in Feminism), the whole idea seems rather quaint.
    • The early episodes got a lot of comic mileage out of the then-novel idea that a newscaster, such a respected figure on TV, is actually an idiot who just reads what the producers give him. This has become such a common joke since then, including in James L. Brooks's own The Simpsons and Broadcast News, that the novelty has worn off. Given how much the American public's trust in the news media has declined since the 1970s, modern viewers may just see the Ted Baxter character as Truth in Television.
    • The fact it had an actual finale that gave the show a chance to say goodbye to the audience was unprecedented for its day and is upheld as the gold standard for sitcom finales. Nowadays this is expected of sitcoms and those that don't do it are panned for not providing closure.
  • Values Dissonance: Several examples, as the show is a few decades old.
    • Nowadays, Lou Grant's frequent commentary on women's backsides (including Mary's) and open sexism would've gotten him fired. Though, taken as a whole throughout the course of the series, Lou's behavior towards Mary could even at its worst moments be arguably considered Fair for Its Day.
    • On the other hand, while Ted Baxter's extremely chauvinistic attitudes and behavior towards women is Played for Laughs, it would unquestionably get him fired today and some of it crosses the line into what would now be considered sexual assault, such as when he gropes the new secretary or the time randomly embraced Mary and kissed her passionately on the lips, to both her surprise and extreme discomfort. It's even Harsher in Hindsight when one considers how prominent newsmen such as Matt Lauer, Bill O'Reilly and [[Series/60Minutes Charlie Rose]] had their careers ended by the #MeToo movement. One notably shocking example of Ted's behavior being played for laughs was when he advised Murray to basically rape his own wife when she didn't want to have another baby.
    • The second verse of the theme song, not heard on the show itself, will be pretty cringeworthy to modern ears:
      You are most likely to succeed
      You have the looks and charms
      And, girl, you know that's all you need
      All the men around adore you
      That sexy look will do wonders for you
  • Values Resonance: One episode revolves around Mary finding out that she is paid less than other producers entirely because of her gender. She takes this up with Lou, insists its unfair and demands that he pay her a fair wage. Lou eventually agrees and raises her salary to be on par with what a man would earn in her position. The gender wage gap emerging as a significant political issue in The New '10s made this episode well ahead of its time.
  • What an Idiot!: Used often in-universe with Ted. A key example is Season 6's "Once I Had a Secret Love", where he undergoes a search to find out who Sue Ann slept with the night before and is unable to notice the obvious clues leading to Lou, even after WATCHING HER KISS LOU RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM.
    Ted: Sue Ann wore your overcoat, she brought your socks, she just kissed you tenderly on the head. (Beat) You know something, Lou? If her new boyfriend finds out, she's going to kill you.


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