Mary’s life continues to change. With Rhoda leaving and getting married, Mary (Mary Tyler Moore) learns she’s getting a promotion at work to producer. The romance between Ted (Ted Knight) and Georgette (Georgia Engel) heats up as Murray (Gavin MacLeod) finds himself wondering if his marriage to Marie (Joyce Bulifant) is in question. Sue Ann (Betty White) learns her run on the Happy Homemaker could be ending with a new rival. Lou (Ed Asner) enters the dating world and gives being a report another shot.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show—Season 5 aired from September 14, 1974 to March 8, 1975. The show was broadcast on CBS as Rhoda also had her freshman season. The season won Primetime Emmy awards for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Ed Asner), Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Betty White), Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Drama Series (“Phyllis Whips Inflation” Cloris Leachman), Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series (“Mary Richards Goes to Jail”), Outstanding Film Editing for Entertainment Programming for a Series—For a Single Episode of a Comedy Series (“An Affair to Forget”) and nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Mary Tyler Moore), Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Ted Knight), and Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series.
The stories are very sitcom based, but unlike most sitcoms, the writing is quite smart and still topical. Though the stories doesn’t particularly dive into taboo issues like All In the Family or any of Norman Lear’s series at the time, The Mary Tyler Moore Show still manages to crack clean jokes about “dirty” subjects. It is this smart writing that has allowed the TV series to hold up.
It is also obvious that the series is now skewing more to the world of television and WJM. Rhoda’s gone and Phyllis appears off and on. It is primarily about Mary and her relationships with the people she works with. What is always nice about The Mary Tyler Moore Show is that it is obvious that people who wrote it worked in news or met with real news producers for story content.
By now the cast has totally gelled. The timing, the demeanor, and the delivery are all perfect on all accounts. Georgia Engel is now a regular cast member and does a fine job (though she is my least favorite of the core cast). I feel Rhoda’s absence hurt the show, but the writing and supporting cast kept it from really being that much of a factor.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show is classic, and season 5 has a number of great moments (I was actually surprised by Mary’s shockingly revealing dress). The series feels different this season since Mary’s “home life” is virtually gone and now it is almost all WJM. The show continues to morph next season with the leaving of Phyllis (who spins off into her own series Phyllis which ran two seasons from 1975-1977) and Mary moving into a new apartment. Although in some aspects the show has aged since its first season, Mary can still turn the world on with her smile.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show—Season 5 Complete Episode Guide:
5.1 Will Mary Richards Go to Jail? Airdate: 09/14/74
When Mary (Mary Tyler Moore) gets a tip from a source that wishes to remain anonymous, she faces jail time unless she’s willing to give up the tipster.
5.2 Not Just Another Pretty Face Airdate: 09/21/74
Mary meets a new man named Paul (Robert Wolders) and finds him incredibly handsome. When she realizes she’s only attracted to his looks, Mary wonders if she can keep seeing him.
5.3 You Sometimes Hurt the One You Hate Airdate: 09/28/74
Lou Grant (Ed Asner) injures Ted’s neck, and Ted (Ted Knight) uses it to his advantage.
5.4 Lou and That Woman Airdate: 10/05/74
Lou is dating again and people are talking about it. When the staff at WJM learns that Lou is dating a lounge singer (Sheree North), some of them question Lou’s choice.
5.5 The Outsider Airdate: 10/12/74
Lou hires a new news consultant to liven up their shows and improve their ratings. When Bob Larson (Richard Masur) begins to show promise for WJM, the staff learns it could be only temporary.
5.6 I Love a Piano Airdate: 10/19/74
Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod) is at a crossroads. When he is introduced to a woman named Judith Chandler (Barbara Barrie) by Georgette (Georgia Engel), he considers risking his marriage for an affair.
5.7 The New Sue Ann Airdate: 10/26/74
A girl named Gloria Munson (Linda Kelsey) from Mary’s hometown has come to Minneapolis with dreams of television. When she’s hired to help Sue Ann (Betty White) on her TV show, Sue Ann realizes that Gloria is going for her job.
5.8 Menage-a-Phyllis Airdate: 11/02/74
Phyllis is seeing a platonic friend named Mike Tedesco (John Saxon), but when John shows interest in Mary, Mary worries that she could ruin her friendship with Phyllis.
5.9 Not a Christmas Story Airdate: 11/09/74
The temperatures are falling outside but things are heating up inside of WJM. With Murray, Mary, Lou, and Ted fighting, When the station is snowed in, Sue Ann invites the group to her Christmas feast for her pre-taping.
5.10 What Are Friends For? Airdate: 11/16/74
Mary finds herself forced to go to a conference in Chicago…and is trapped for the weekend with Sue Ann.
5.11 A Boy’s Best Friend Airdate: 11/23/74
Ted’s mother is getting marry, and Ted’s getting a father. When his mother decides to just live with her boyfriend (Nolan Leary), Ted refuses to talk to her.
5.12 A Son for Murray Airdate: 11/30/74
When Murray decides he wants to try for a son and Marie (Joyce Bulifant) refuses, the office of WJM is divided on who is in the right when it causes problems in the marriage.
5.13 Neighbors Airdate: 12/07/74
Lou has decided to sell his house and moves into Rhoda’s old apartment (against Mary’s wishes). When Lou being Mary’s neighbor begins to cause problems, Mary finds that Lou is taking out on her at the office.
5.14 A Girl Like Mary Airdate: 12/14/74
When Lou decides to have a female commentator for the news, Mary decides to audition…putting her in the running with Sue Ann and Ted.
5.15 An Affair to Forget Airdate: 12/21/74
Mary’s promoted to producer of the 6 o’clock news, and Ted is now chasing Mary. Ted tells everyone at the office about a date with Mary, and Mary tries to quell the rumors.
5.16 Mary Richards: Producer Airdate: 01/04/75
Mary is now producer but doesn’t feel like she’s producing anything. Mary demands to produce a whole newscast without Lou’s help and might have bitten off more than she can chew.
5.17 The System Airdate: 01/11/75
Ted wants in on Lou and Murray’s football gambling. When Ted reveals he has a system that actually works, Lou decides to team up with Ted.
5.18 Phyllis Whips Inflation Airdate: 01/18/75
Lars orders Phyllis to live within a budget much to the dismay of Phyllis. As Mary tries dealing with a rent increase, Phyllis sets out to find work.
5.19 The Shame of the Cities Airdate: 01/25/75
Mary convinces Lou to get back into the news business and Lou decides to investigate an up-and-coming politician, but Lou uncovers a lot less than he expected.
5.20 Marriage Minneapolis Style Airdate: 02/01/75
Ted proposes to Georgette on-air…but realizes he wants to take it back.
5.21 You Try to Be a Nice Guy Airdate: 02/08/75
Mary’s cellmate from her arrest is arrested again for prostitution and lists Mary as a sponsor. As Mary tries to get Sherry Ferris (Barbara Colby) a job, Lou worries that Mary could be changed by hanging out with a prostitute.
5.22 You Can’t Lose ’Em All Airdate: 02/15/75
Ted isn’t nominated for a Teddy while Lou finds himself receiving the Albert Mason award…which he feels is for people at the end of their career.
5.23 Ted Baxter’s Famous Broadcasters’ School Airdate: 02/22/75
Ted is approached to sponsor a broadcasting school. When the man skips town, Ted convinces Mary, Lou, Murray, Mary’s date (Bernie Kopell), and Georgette to help him teach the class to prevent being sued.
5.24 Anyone Who Hates Kids and Dogs Airdate: 03/08/75
Mary is dating a divorced man named Ken (Laurence Luckinbill) who has a teenage son Stevie (Lee H. Montgomery). Mary finds that she doesn’t like Stevie and that Stevie isn’t too fond of her.