Mary, her friends, and the crew of WJM-TV are back! As Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) struggles with men and her career, her boss Lou Grant (Ed Asner) tries to maintain ratings a working environment with Mary’s coworker Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod) and their blundering anchor Ted Baxter (Ted Knight). At home Mary’s friends Rhoda Morgenstern (Valerie Harper) and Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman) are constantly battling as Mary finds she can’t find a perfect date. Plus, Ted Baxter meets Mary and Rhoda’s friend Georgette Franklin (Georgia Engel).
The Mary Tyler Moore Show—Season 3 aired from September 16, 1972 to March 3, 1973. The series continued to garner critical acclaim and high ratings. It received Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series (Mary Tyler Moore), Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Comedy (Ted Knight), Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Comedy (Valerie Harper), and Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy (“It’s Whether You Win or Lose”). It also received nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Comedy (Ed Asner), Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Comedy (Cloris Leachman “My Brother’s Keeper”), Outstanding Writing Achievement in Comedy (“The Good-Time News”), and Outstanding Achievement in Film Editing for Entertainment Programming—For a Series or a Single Program of a Series.
I love The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The smart writing and great cast lend itself to a smart show. This season has a perfect blend of Mary and friends based stories and Mary and work based stories (though the show is blending more and more).
The writing of the series is very smart. Working in television news it is easy to see that the show did employ people who really worked in news. Obviously the “crew” of WJM-TV is smaller than a real news station, but the talk does seem legitimate (and it is fun to see how news has changed).
With a “real” work environment it is also great to see a single woman in a different time. Mary likes her life, likes working, and though it appears that she’d like to be married, she also enjoys her freedom. This of course (as many have pointed out) is a very new and different. Add to this, jokes about sex between unmarried people (a great joke about “the pill”) and even the use of the word “gay” which was a new thing (in “My Brother’s Keeper”).
In addition to Mary, the series is loaded with great characters that you feel like you just know. The season does more to merge Mary’s work environment with her home environment, and the show still struggles to find a way to include Phyllis in plots (she’s noticeably missing from a number of episodes). It is hard to point to a weak character, but this season does introduce Georgette in “Rhoda Morgenstern: Minneapolis to New York”, and I’ve never been much of Georgette fan.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show continues to shine. It is just fun and spirited. Despite being over forty years old, the show is still smart and topical. If you’ve never seen The Mary Tyler Moore Show, your missing out…check it out for a classic comedy!
The Mary Tyler Moore Show—Season 3 Complete Episode Guide:
3.1 The Good-Time News Airdate: 09/16/72
Mary (Mary Tyler Moore) learns that she makes less than the male who had her job before her. When Lou (Ed Asner), Ted (Ted Knight), and Mary meet with the General Manager of WJM (Robert Hogan), Mary sides with the GM against Lou. Mary finds herself in-charge of a new lighter news format where Ted is forced to co-anchor with Gordie (John Amos).
3.2 What Is Mary Richards Really Like? Airdate: 09/23/72
Mary is picked to be interviewed by ruthless TV reviewer Mark Williams (Peter Haskell). When the interview doesn’t go as Mary plans, Mary hopes a follow-up date will help.
3.3 Who’s in Charge Here? Airdate: 09/30/72
When Lou is promoted, Mary learns that she’s up for the position of news director. When Lou gives the job to Murray (Gavin MacLeod), Mary learns it is because she’s a woman.
3.4 Enter Rhoda’s Parents Airdate: 10/07/72
Rhoda’s mother (Nancy Walker) and father (Harold Gould) stop by for a visit and Rhoda (Valerie Harper) learns that his mother is considering getting a divorce because she thinks her husband is cheating on her.
3.5 It’s Whether You Win or Lose Airdate: 10/14/72
Lou’s trip to Las Vegas is cancelled when snow closes the airport. Lou sets up a poker game, but Mary learns from Murray’s wife (Joyce Bulifant) that Murray has a gambling addiction. When Murray falls in debt to Ted, Murray finds himself trying to cover up his mistake.
3.6 Rhoda the Beautiful Airdate: 10/21/72
Rhoda’s losing weight, and Mary tries to boost her confidence. When Rhoda is picked for a beauty contest at work, Rhoda tries to downplay its importance.
3.7 Just Around the Corner Airdate: 10/28/72
Mary learns that her father Walter (Bill Quinn) has retired and that he and her mother Dottie (Nanette Fabray) plan to move to Minneapolis. When they rent around the corner from her, Mary worries that they are going to invade her life.
3.8 But Seriously, Folks Airdate: 11/04/72
Mary finds herself dating Wes Callison (Jerry Van Dyke), the writer of the Chuckles the Clown Show. When Wes quits, Mary tries to support him when he decides to go into stand-up comedy.
3.9 Farmer Ted and the News Airdate: 11/11/72
When Ted’s contract comes up, Ted gets permission to do other work. Ted lands a commercial deal, and Lou finds his anchor selling everything from tomato slicers to dog food on TV.
3.10 Have I Found a Guy for You Airdate: 11/18/72
Mary finds her friends Linda and Jack Foster (Beth Howland and Bert Convy) are separating. When Jack begins seeing Mary, Mary worries that Linda won’t approve of her.
3.11 You’ve Got a Friend Airdate: 11/25/72
Mary finds her father is bored with retirement and tries to find a friend for him…and decides to have a dinner alone with him. Ted finds he can’t get his physical paid for by the company and tries to find a free one.
3.12 It Was Fascination, I Know Airdate: 12/02/72
Phyllis (Cloris Leachman) reveals to Mary that her daughter Bess (Lisa Gerritsen) going on her first date. When Bess’s boyfriend William Campbell (Jean-Michel Michenaud) falls for Mary, Mary has to find a way to end the crush.
3.13 Operation: Lou Airdate: 12/09/72
Lou has an operation leaving Mary in charge. As Mary finds herself facing off against Murray, Lou finds Ted trying to be friends with him.
3.14 Rhoda Morgenstern: Minneapolis to New York Airdate: 12/16/72
Rhoda gets an offer to do windows at Bloomingdale’s and takes the offer. As Mary tries to convince Rhoda to stay, Rhoda plans her move. Plus, Rhoda’s co-worker Georgette Franklin (Georgia Engel) is invited to Rhoda’s surprise going away party.
3.15 The Courtship of Mary’s Father’s Daughter Airdate: 12/23/72
When Mary runs into her former boyfriend Dan (Michael Tolan) as he applies for a marriage certificate, Mary finds herself in an awkward spot between Dan and his fiancée Judy (Barra Grant). When Dan leaves Judy for Mary, Mary finds everyone loves Dan but her. Ted Baxter takes Swedish lessons to reach the people of Minneapolis.
3.16 Lou’s Place Airdate: 01/06/73
Lou’s favorite bar McCluskey’s is closing when the owner dies, but Lou decides to buy it. When Lou is forced to go into the purchase with Ted, Lou and Ted find business isn’t good.
3.17 My Brother’s Keeper Airdate: 01/13/73
Phyllis’ brother Ben Sutherland (Robert Moore) comes to town, and Phyllis tries to force Mary and Ben together. When Ben shows an interest in Rhoda, Phyllis finds it is her worst nightmare. Mary decides to throw a dinner party where Phyllis demands to know what is going on between Rhoda and Ben.
3.18 The Georgette Story Airdate: 01/20/73
Mary finds Ted likes to use Georgette and tries to set her up with someone else. When Mary finds that Georgette’s esteem seems to be the problem, Rhoda and Mary try to get Georgette to stand-up for herself.
3.19 Romeo and Mary Airdate: 01/27/73
Mary goes on a bad date with a man with Warren (Stuart Margolin) but finds that she can’t seem to get rid of him.
3.20 What Do You Say When the Boss Says, “I Love You”? Airdate: 02/03/73
The program director is fired and replaced by a woman named Barbara Coleman (Barbara Coleman). When Barbara admits to Mary and Rhoda that she’s fallen in love with Lou, Mary worries if she should tell Lou or not.
3.21 Murray Faces Life Airdate: 02/10/73
Murray finds himself in the dumps about his life and can’t break free of it. With everyone at the office trying to cheer him up, Murray finds himself sinking deeper.
3.22 Remembrance of Things Past Airdate: 02/17/73
Mary finds an old love is coming to town as she prepares to go to Washington, D.C. with Ted. Mary sees Tom Vernon (Joseph Campanella), but wonders if she is falling into her old routine.
3.23 Put on a Happy Face Airdate: 02/24/73
Mary is having problems. She’s messing up at work, having hair problems, and can’t even get her dress back from the cleaner…when she’s forced to go to the annual awards ceremony with Ted, things can only get worse.
3.24 Mary Richards and the Incredible Plant Lady Airdate: 03/03/73
Mary learns Rhoda hopes to open a plant shop and asks Mary for a loan. When it looks like Rhoda isn’t going to pay her back, Mary wonders how to ask for the money.