WJM continues to serve up the news as the lives of Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) and her friends and co-workers continue to get more complex. Phyllis (Cloris Leachman) learns that Lars might be having an affair with WJM’s on-air housemaker Sue Ellen Nivens (Betty White) as Lou Grant (Ed Asner) goes through a painful separation from his wife Edie (Priscilla Morrill). Mary runs the risk of getting fired and Rhoda (Valerie Harper) has to go home to see one of her sisters married. Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod) finds having his daughter at work a distraction and Ted Baxter (Ted Knight) finally gets to meet his idol Walter Cronkite.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show—Season 4 aired from September 15, 1973 to March 2, 1974 on CBS and continued to be a hit series both with the public and with critics. The season garnered Primetime Emmy Awards for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Mary Tyler Moore), Best Supporting Actress in Comedy (Cloris Leachman “The Lars Affair”), Actress of the Year—Series (Mary Tyler Moore), and Best Writing in Comedy (“The Lou and Edie Story”) with nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series, Best Supporting Actor in Comedy (Ed Asner), Best Supporting Actor in Comedy (Ted Knight), Best Supporting Actress in Comedy (Valerie Harper), Best Directing in Comedy (“Lou’s First Date”), and Best Film Editing for Entertainment Programming—For a Series or a Single Program of a Series.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show just has something. This is the last season where all the original players were present (Rhoda spun off into her own series the next season and Phyllis soon followed her). The cast has completely gelled and what was once a series about a career woman’s home and work life now is a complete blend of home and work with Rhoda and other characters frequenting the WJM offices.
The season has some great moments and good storylines including the continuing storyline about the break-up of Lou Grant and his wife Edie. Occasionally while watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show, I see some extremely edgy jokes, but they are few and far between making this much more family friendly (when compared to something like All in the Family)…Mary just continues to be the most likable girl on the planet.
The show also feels like a great flashback on style and culture. The look and feel of the show is clean and modern, but the actual sets and clothing of the characters is just as entertaining as some of the jokes. It is like falling through some bizarre fashion time warp watching this series.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show is one of the stronger long running comedy series. With each season, the quality maintains its high standards and the laughs are fun. The show smartly alternates storylines with feature characters so if you aren’t a Lou Grant fan, you’ll get a Ted Knight story, or vice versa (though Cloris Leachman is virtually missing from this season). The Mary Tyler Moore Show is still worth watching and the theme song never gets old.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show—Season 4 Complete Episode Guide:
4.1 The Lars Affair Airdate: 09/15/73
When Mary (Mary Tyler Moore) throws a party, Lars ends up having an affair with Mary’s coworker Sue Ellen Nivens (Betty White). As Phyllis (Cloris Leachman) tries to deal with the situation, Mary finds herself caught in the middle.
4.2 Angels in the Snow Airdate: 09/22/73
Mary’s meeting of a man in a supermarket leads to a sudden fling. When Rhoda brings up that Stephen (Peter Strauss) is much younger than Mary, Mary wonders if Stephen is too young when she and Rhoda (Valerie Harper) go to one of Stephen’s parties.
4.3 Rhoda’s Sister Gets Married Airdate: 09/29/73
Rhoda and Mary are headed to New York City for Rhoda’s younger sister Debbie (Louise Williams). Rhoda finds her mother Ida (Nancy Walker) and father Martin (Harold Gould) are worried that Debbie’s wedding is going to hurt Rhoda’s feelings, and Mary is caught in the middle.
4.4 The Lou and Edie Story Airdate: 10/06/73
Lou reveals his marriage to Edie (Priscilla Morrill) is in trouble. Now, Edie is planning to move out, and Lou is at the end of his rope.
4.5 Hi There, Sports Fans Airdate: 10/13/73
Mary demands more responsibility from Lou and learns she has a new job…to fire the old sports guy and hire a new one. Now, Mary finds herself charged with making a decision that could change someone’s life.
4.6 Father’s Day Airdate: 10/20/73
Ted Baxter (Ted Knight) finds his life turned upside down when his father (Liam Dunn) suddenly returns into his life.
4.7 Son of ‘But Seriously, Folks’ Airdate: 10/27/73
Wes Callison (Jerry Van Dyke) is back after his stint with Chuckles the Clown (Mark Gordon) and Mary finds that he still has feelings for her. When he suggests a live newscast from the news room, all does not go well.
4.8 Lou’s First Date Airdate: 11/03/73
The annual Broadcasters Man-of-the-Year dinner is coming up and Lou learns that Edie is going to it with a date. When Mary is ordered to find Lou a date, Mary sets him up with Mrs. Dudley (Florence Lake)…unfortunately Mary gets the wrong Mrs. Dudley.
4.9 Love Blooms at Hemple‘s Airdate: 11/10/73
Rhoda’s met a new man who she’s head-over-heels for…despite Mary’s warnings to take it slow. Mary works on a special chimpanzee special without involving Ted.
4.10 The Dinner Party Airdate: 11/17/73
Mary’s throwing another dinner party for Congresswoman Margaret Geddes (Irene Tedrow) and is trying to make this one a success. With Sue Ellen brought in to cook, Mary finds perfection might not work when Rhoda shows up with a date (Henry Winkler) and Ted decides to crash the party.
4.11 Just Friends Airdate: 11/24/73
Lou wants Mary to spy on Edie to see how her life is without him. When Edie agrees to meet with Lou, Lou learns that her motives are different than he expected.
4.12 We Want Baxter Airdate: 12/01/73
Phyllis convinces Ted Baxter to run for office…and Ted learns that he must quit his job if he wants it to work.
4.13 I Gave at the Office Airdate: 12/08/73
Mary hires Bonnie Slaughter (Tammi Bula) when an opportunity comes up at the office…and Lou finds it creates a distraction for Murray (Gavin McLeod).
4.14 Almost a Nun’s Story Airdate: 12/15/73
When Georgette (Georgia Engel) catches Ted with another woman, she dumps Ted and considers becoming a nun.
4.15 Happy Birthday, Lou! Airdate: 12/22/73
It’s Lou’s first birthday alone and Mary has decided to throw him a surprise party…unfortunately, Lou hates surprises.
4.16 WJM Tries Harder Airdate: 01/05/74
Mary starts seeing the anchor at Channel 8 she sees things are nicer on the other side of the tracks and sets out to bring about change at WJM.
4.17 Cottage for Sale Airdate: 01/12/74
Phyllis has gotten her realtor’s license and set her sights on Lou’s home. When Lou makes a great sale, he wonders if he can leave his memories behind.
4.18 The Co-Producers Airdate: 01/19/74
Mary gets permission to do a Minneapolis entertainment show, but soon realizes she stole the idea from Rhoda. With Rhoda as her co-producer, Mary learns she and Rhoda will have to do deal with Ted and Sue Ellen as hosts.
4.19 Best of Enemies Airdate: 01/26/74
When Rhoda reveals a secret to the staff of WJM, a fight breaks out between Mary and Rhoda that could ruin their friendship forever.
4.20 Better Late… That’s a Pun… Than Never Airdate: 02/02/74
A late night with Rhoda while updating the obituary copy leads to an on-air mistake for Mary…and costs Mary her job.
4.21 Ted Baxter Meets Walter Cronkite Airdate: 02/09/74
Ted is out to win a Teddy Award once and for all. When Walter Cronkite comes to visit Lou, Ted thinks his big break has arrived.
4.22 Lou’s Second Date Airdate: 02/16/74
When Mary is too sick to attend a dinner with Lou, Lou goes with Rhoda…and an unusual relationship strikes up gossip at WJM.
4.23 Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Writer Airdate: 02/23/74
Mary’s attempt to take a writing course is thwarted when Ted decides he has to take the course as well. A writing assignment leads to the ultimate face-off between Ted and Mary.
4.24 I Was a Single for WJM Airdate: 03/02/74
The staff of WJM looks at singles bars for an expose and Mary is going undercover with Lou. A live broadcast from the bar doesn’t turn out as planned.