The Mary Tyler Moore Show—Season 1

9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

A classic sitcom that still holds up but also is a fun flashback

Characters are still developing at this point


She can’t turn on the world on with a smile yet…the first season’s opening song was different

Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) is striking out on her own…Heading to Minneapolis to start a new life, she gets a job at WJM-TV as an associate producer.  Now, Mary is living the life as a swinging single in the big city.  With her friends Rhoda (Valerie Harper) and Phyllis (Cloris Leachman), Mary is trying to make her own way and with coworkers like Lou Grant (Ed Asner), Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod), and Ted Baxter (Ted Knight), she’s got a lot of support.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show—Season 1 aired from September 19, 1970 to March 6, 1971 on CBS.  The show got Mary Tyler Moore a Golden Globe for Best TV Actress in a Musical/Comedy.


Stay away from that filthy Rhoda…

The Mary Tyler Moore Show is just solid.  Even over forty years later, the jokes and characters still pop.  The look and style of the show might be classic old sitcom, but it has a real modern view.  It is interesting to see this first season which has alternate lyrics (“How can you make it on your own?” is the opening line instead of the classic “Who can turn the world on with her smile?”).

What is endearing about The Mary Tyler Moore Show are the actors.  Mary Tyler Moore just makes Mary Richards so likeable.  She is just the girl that everyone wants to know (the original Jennifer Aniston).  What is amazing, however, is that she’s backed up by such a good group.  If you didn’t like Mary, you liked Rhoda or Phyllis.  The work front had Ed Asner as the perfect lovable cranky boss Lou Grant who would yell at you but not really mean it.  Gavin McLeod is a little underdeveloped as Murray Slaughter, but Ted Knight is already shining as the dim Ted Baxter.  It is also fun to see John Amos as the weatherman Gordy Howard.


That’s one wacky newsroom!

With the onset of the show, it is interesting to see a less merged world of Mary Richards.  Rhoda and Phyllis are pretty much her “away from work” family, and though they start to mix in this season, it is more separate plots than later seasons (until they both spin off in their own series).  The Rhoda-Mary-Phyllis triangle could have been their own show and in most cases would have been…here the writers smartly wove both aspects of Mary’s life into one story.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show is a classic.  It is fun to see how it all started.  Working in TV, it seems like the writers did have someone who worked in television.  The news show wasn’t a realistic news program but some of the things that were said about the news business were very on target and I’ve heard before.  It is fun to see the change in sitcoms by watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show and go back to a simpler time.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show—Season 1 Complete Episode Guide:


“Love Is All Around”

1.1       Love Is All Around Airdate:  09/19/70

Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) decides to start a new life after breaking up with her boyfriend Bill (Angus Duncan) and moves to Minneapolis.  Mary finds herself in battle with Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper) over an apartment at the apartment home of Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman).  A trip to the TV station leads to a job at WJM-TV as an executive producer, but news that Mary’s boyfriend is coming to see her could change her future in the city.  The arrival of her drunken boss Lou Grant (Ed Asner) could mess up Mary’s chances of reconciliation.


“Today I’m a Ma’am”

1.2       Today I’m a Ma’am Airdate:  09/26/70

When Mary learns that she’s not considered young by WJM-TV rating standards and is called ma’am, Mary worries that she’s getting old.  Rhoda and Mary decide to set up a dinner date, but Rhoda finds her date married while Mary discovers her date is obsessed with her.


“Bess, You Is My Daughter”

1.3       Bess, You Is My Daughter Now Airdate:  10/03/70

When the chicken pox are going around, Mary is asked by Phyllis to watch Bess (Lisa Gerritsen).  When Bess refuses to leave, Phyllis tells Mary that she can’t force her to leave.


“Divorce Isn’t Everything”

1.4       Divorce Isn’t Everything Airdate:  10/10/70

A group called the “Better Luck Next Time Club” starts up for divorced people and Mary and Rhoda decide to attend a meeting when they learn they can get cheap chartered flights.  When Mary accidentally elected vice president of the club, Mary finds she has to break it off with the founder.


“Keep Your Guard Up”

1.5       Keep Your Guard Up Airdate:  10/17/70

A former footballer turned insurance salesman Frank Carelli (John Schuck) goes to Mary to help him get an audition for an opening sports anchor.  When Mary realizes Frank doesn’t have a chance, Mary wonders what to do to get Frank work.


“Support Your Local Mother”

1.6       Support Your Local Mother Airdate:  10/24/70

Rhoda’s mother Ida Morgenstern (Nancy Walker) comes to visit, but Rhoda refuses to see her.  When Mary is forced to take care of Ida, Mary finds herself going crazy.


“Toulouse-Lautrec Is One of My Favorite Artists”

1.7       Toulouse-Lautrec Is One of My Favorite Artists Airdate:  10/31/70

Mary finds herself accepting a date with Eric Matthews (Hamilton Camp) but discovers he’s short.  Mary decides to make the most of dating Eric despite his height.  Plus, Ted Baxter (Ted Knight) is out sick and Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod) is forced to fill in for him.


“The Snow Must Go On”

1.8       The Snow Must Go On Airdate:  11/07/70

It is election night, and Lou puts Mary in charge.  When a blizzard hits Minneapolis, Mary is forced to employ Rhoda for the show and finds the phone lines are down for receiving election results.


“Bob and Rhoda and Teddy and Mary”

1.9       Bob and Rhoda and Teddy and Mary Airdate:  11/14/70

It’s time for the Teddy Awards, and Mary’s show gets nominated.  While competing for the Teddy, Rhoda finds herself competing with Mary for her boyfriend Bob (Greg Mullavey).


“Assistant Wanted, Female”

1.10     Assistant Wanted, Female Airdate:  11/21/70

Mary gets permission for an assistant and is guilted into hiring Phyllis to help her. When Phyllis begins turning Ted against Lou, Mary realizes she has to fire her.


“1040 or Fight”

1.11     1040 or Fight Airdate:  11/28/70

Mary gets audited but finds her tax auditor Robert C. Brand (Paul Sand) inviting her out.  Mary worries about her tax status when Robert keeps asking her out on business.


“Anchorman Overboard”

1.12     Anchorman Overboard Airdate:  12/05/70

When Phyllis hits up Mary to get Ted Baxter to speak at her woman’s club, Ted finds his moral shattered when he can’t answer any of her questions.  Lou blames Mary for Ted’s condition and Mary must find a way to solve it.


“He’s All Yours”

1.13     He’s All Yours Airdate:  12/12/70

WJM has a new photographer named Allen (Wes Stern), and Lou Grant is putting a lot of pressure on him.  When Mary tries to cheer him up, Allen elaborates on their get-together.  When Mary tries to shut down Allen, Mary learns Allen is Lou’s nephew.


“Christmas and the Hard-Luck Kid II”

1.14     Christmas and the Hard-Luck Kid II Airdate:  12/19/70

Mary gets the bad news that she can’t go home for Christmas and that she’s going to be stuck at the station.  When Mary trades to work Christmas Eve too, she finds herself completely alone for the holiday in the newsroom.


“Howard’s Girl”

1.15     Howard’s Girl Airdate:  06/02/71

When Mary decides to date Paul Arnell (Richard Schaal) she finds awkwardness in that she dated his brother Howard.  Mary and Paul visit Howard and Paul’s parents (Mary Jackson and Henry Jones), and Mary learns that they still believe she’s still dating Howard.


“Party Is Such Sweet Sorrow”

1.16     Party Is Such Sweet Sorrow Airdate:  01/0971

Mary is offered a job at a rival station as a producer and decides she has to take the job when it offers more money.  Mary questions her decision as she prepares to say goodbye to WJM.


“Just a Lunch”

1.17     Just a Lunch Airdate:  01/16/71

WJM’s former reporter John Corcoran (Monte Markham) returns home from working abroad for the network, and Mary finds herself being romanced…but John is married.


“Second-Story Story

1.18     Second-Story Story Airdate:  01/23/71

Mary finds herself robbed and calls in the police to help her.  When she’s robbed again, she finds her sense of peace shattered.


“We Closed in Minneapolis”

1.19     We Closed in Minneapolis Airdate:  01/30/71

Murray’s play gets accepted for a performance, but Murray learns Ted is going to be in the lead role.  With Mary taking a part in the play, and a big critic coming to the opening, Murray wonders if his dream will succeed or bomb.



1.20     Hi! Airdate:  02/06/71

Mary goes to the hospital for a tonsillectomy and deals with a grumpy roommate named Loretta (Pat Carroll).


“The Boss Isn’t Coming to Dinner”

1.21     The Boss Isn’t Coming to Dinner Airdate:  02/13/71

Mary worries that Lou is intentionally turning down her invitation for dinner, but learns that he and his wife have separated.  When Mary learns that she is the last one in the office to know, she’s invited to the “men’s only club” for a drink.


“A Friend in Deed”

1.22     A Friend in Deed Airdate:  02/20/71

WJM has a new receptionist, and Mary finds out that it is an old camp mate named Twinks McFarland (Pat Finley).  As Mary tries to find a way to drop the camp-obsessed Twinks, Twinks names her as the maid-of-honor at her wedding.


“Smokey the Bear Wants You”

1.23     Smokey the Bear Wants You Airdate:  02/27/71

Rhoda’s got a new boyfriend with one problem…he’s left his job as an executive to go back to school to become a forest ranger.  Mary and Rhoda are called in to hike, and the relationship could be in trouble.


“The Forty-Five-Year-Old-Man”

1.24     The Forty-Five-Year-Old-Man Airdate:  03/06/71

WJM has a new manager named Mr. Phelps (Richard Roat).  When Phelps targets Lou as the reason behind the news’ low ratings, Mary and the staff learn that Lou is going to be fired.  When Lou learns that all the other stations want younger workers, Mary decides she has to appeal to the station’s owner Wild Jack Monroe (Slim Pickens).

Related Links:

The Mary Tyler Moore Show—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Mary Tyler Moore Show—Season 3 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Mary Tyler Moore Show—Season 4 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Mary Tyler Moore Show—Season 5 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Mary Tyler Moore Show—Season 6 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Mary Tyler Moore Show—Season 7 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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