For Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore), life just keeps getting more complex. With failures in dating, Mary finds herself trying a lawyer, older men, and even Lou Grant (Ed Asner). Meanwhile at WJM, Sue Ann (Betty White) learns she’s going to have make a career move as Ted Baxter (Ted Knight) and Georgette (Georgia Engel) welcome the arrival of a new baby. Murray (Gavin MacLeod) finds that this could be his big year at the Teddys…or it could be the year he writes his ultimate news piece. When WJM falls under new management, Mary and the gang learn that business can be the cruelest cut.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show—Season 7 aired from September 25, 1976 to March 19, 1977. The successful series decided to end while still being a hit and went off the air with positive reviews and a final episode that many critics consider one of the best last episodes of all time. Both Gavin MacLeod and Mary Tyler Moore received Golden Globe nominations for the season and the series received Primetime Emmys for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Film Editing in a Comedy Series (“Murray Can’t Lose”), and Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series (“The Last Show”) with nominations for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (Mary Tyler Moore), Outstanding Continuing Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series (Ed Asner and Ted Knight), Outstanding Continuing Performances by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Georgia Engel and Betty White), Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series (“The Last Show”), Outstanding Single Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Drama Series (Eileen Heckart), and Outstanding Writing in a Comedy Series (“Mary Midwife” and “Ted’s Change of Heart”).
The Mary Tyler Moore Show honestly didn’t get replayed much in my area. With little cable access, the show was more known to me through retellings of storylines and episodes than the actual episode. Watching the series from start to finish has allowed me to see a show that allowed its characters to change and grow over the years…and now that is over.
I will admit that this isn’t the strongest season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Earlier seasons with Rhoda and Phyllis were better and I never felt that ditching Mary’s “friends” for only work friends was the best idea. Despite overall not being the strongest season, the season is still really, really good with one of the all-time greatest final episodes that found the balance between humor and sentimentality. The ending doesn’t feel it’s necessary to “marry off” Mary or have everyone end in a good place…it feels more real. It still hurts to see the lights at WJM turned out 40 years later.
The cast knows itself intimately by this point. Even “newcomers” Betty White and Georgia Engel have jelled with the rest of the original cast. Mary Tyler Moore isn’t the young inexperienced worker that she was at the start of the series and you see her as a newswoman woman who has earned her place in a male driven business. Her performance and the other performances are pitch-perfect and a great way to send the series off.
The show is from the ’70s, and it is a standard sitcom. As a camera geek, I have to admit that the series does do some strange shots sometimes and almost shoots off the set at points with unnecessarily wide shots. The series still manages to evolve and show new things like the classic garishness of Sue Ann’s bedroom and Mary’s bathroom when she’s trapped in her bubble bath. It might be stuck in the ’70s but it still is a nice time capsule of styles and looks.
This season says goodbye to Mary Richards and the gang at WJM. With the death of Mary Tyler Moore on January 25, 2017, I found watching the last season pretty bittersweet. Unlike old days when you might see an episode you never saw because you were subject to reruns and no DVDs or streaming, you always had hope that you would see a “new” episode you missed or didn’t remember…those days are over. Mary Richards is gone forever and a “new” episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show will never exist. Valerie Harper and Mary Tyler Moore did reteam for a TV movie in 2000 called Mary and Rhoda, but they were the only ones of the original series who showed up…RIP The Mary Tyler Moore Show…you were one of the best, and it is a long way to Tipperary.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show—Season 7 Complete Episode Guide:
7.1 Mary Midwife Airdate: 09/25/76
Georgette (Georgia Engel) is getting close to her due date and feeling miserable. Mary (Mary Tyler Moore) finds herself in the doghouse when she questions Lou (Ed Asner) about his weight gain.
7.2 Mary the Writer Airdate: 10/02/76
Mary decides to try her hand at writing. Despite Lou’s warning that the article isn’t good, Mary forges ahead…but finds herself caught in a lie!
7.3 Sue Ann’s Sister Airdate: 10/09/76
Sue Ann (Betty White) finds her jealous streak surfacing when her sister Lila (Pat Priest) comes to visit. When Lila sees Lou and gets a job in the city, Sue Ann realizes her problem might not be going away.
7.4 What’s Wrong with Swimming? Airdate: 10/16/76
Mary decides to make a big jump and hire a female swimmer named B.J. (Caren Kaye) to be the new WJM’s new sports reporter. Mary’s going to have to fight for B.J., but B.J. might have a surprise for Mary.
7.5 Ted’s Change of Heart Airdate: 10/23/76
Ted (Ted Knight) has a heart attack on air and gets a new perspective on life. When Ted’s perspective becomes infectious, Lou, Mary, and Murray (Gavin MacLeod) might see life in a new light.
7.6 One Producer Too Many Airdate: 10/30/76
When Murray is offered a job at a rival station, Lou makes him a co-producer with Mary. With two producers, problems arise, and Mary or Murray might have to go!
7.7 My Son, the Genius Airdate: 11/06/76
Lou deals with his daughter’s father-in-law Morris Bender (Ned Glass) visiting for an extended amount of time while Mary tries to learn to stand-up for herself. Georgette and Ted learn their son David (Robbie Rist) is a genius, but David uses it as a way to turn the tables on his parents.
7.8 Mary Gets a Lawyer Airdate: 11/13/76
Mary’s preparing to go to trial for refusing to reveal her source and Lou gets her a new lawyer in Barry Munroe (John McMartin). When Barry falls for Mary, Lou’s interference could jeopardize the case.
7.9 Lou Proposes Airdate: 11/20/76
Mary’s aunt Flo Meredith (Eileen Heckart) is back in town and Lou has a big idea…marriage. As Lou plots his future and Mary plans for “Uncle Lou”, Flo has other plans.
7.10 Murray Can’t Lose Airdate: 11/27/76
Murray’s up for a Teddy Award, but Lou gets word that this time Murray’s a lock for winning. Mary brings on Georgette to do a dance performance at the Teddys despite Ted’s objections.
7.11 Mary’s Insomnia Airdate: 12/04/76
Mary can’t sleep and is prescribed a pill to help…but Lou worries Mary’s addicted. Murray’s daughter Bonnie (Sherry Hursey) asks her dad to have Ted speak to class and Murray is forced to promise Ted that he won’t make fun of him anymore to get him to do it.
7.12 Ted’s Temptation Airdate: 12/11/76
Murray, Ted, and Mary are headed to Hollywood for a convention. When an interviewer named Whitney Lewis (Trisha Noble) sets her target on Ted, Ted worries that he’ll cheat on Georgette.
7.13 Look at Us, We’re Walking Airdate: 12/25/76
Mary and Lou decide that they need raises and go in to see the new general manager Mel Price (David Ogden Stiers). When he refuses raises, Mary and Lou decide they must walk out for more pay.
7.14 The Critic Airdate: 01/08/77
Mel Price hires a critic for the news in Karl Heller (Eric Braeden)…who spends his time tearing apart Minneapolis. Mary is tasked with trying to get Karl to tone down his criticism at a dinner out.
7.15 Lou’s Army Reunion Airdate: 01/15/77
Lou’s army buddies are in town, and Lou is forced to pay-up to his womanizing friend Ben Selwyn (Alex Rocco) when he sets his eyes on Mary. Ted sets to negotiate a new contract and uses Georgette as his negotiator.
7.16 The Ted and Georgette Show Airdate: 01/15/77
Ted and Georgette are recruited to take over an hour variety show at WJM. As Mary prepares to appear on the show, Georgette decides she no longer wants to be part of the show.
7.17 Sue Ann Gets the Ax Airdate: 01/29/77
Sue Ann’s show is cancelled, and Lou refuses to bring her on at the news. When Lou forces Mary to make a decision about Sue Ann instead of him, Mary refuses to hire Sue Ann even when Lou changes his mind.
7.18 Hail the Conquering Gordy Airdate: 02/05/77
Gordy (John Amos) is back in town and celebrating his success. When Ted learns that Gordy needs a cohost for his new show, Gordy must tell him no.
7.19 Mary and the Sexagenarian Airdate: 02/12/77
Mary finds herself dating an older man named Doug Booth (Lew Ayres)…who is Murray’s father. While everyone else criticizes the age difference, Mary tries to prove age doesn’t matter.
7.20 Murray Ghosts for Ted Airdate: 02/19/77
When Ted is tasked to write an article about the industry, Murray gets roped in to secretly writing the article…unfortunately, it could be Murray’s best work.
7.21 Mary’s Three Husbands Airdate: 02/26/77
Ted, Lou, and Murray share an after work drink and wonder what life would be like if they were Mary’s husband.
7.22 Mary’s Big Party Airdate: 03/05/77
Mary gets word that Johnny Carson is in town and will be coming to her party. When Mary’s building has a blackout, Mary and her friends remember Mary’s other failed parties.
7.23 Lou Dates Mary Airdate: 03/12/77
After another bad date (John Reilly), Mary decides she’s done with dating, but after some encouragement from Georgette, Mary and Lou decide to take the big plunge.
7.24 The Last Show Airdate: 03/19/77
WJM has a new station manager (Vincent Gardenia) who is out to make some changes…and that means Lou, Mary, Murry, and Sue Anne are out! As Mary contemplates the next step in her life, she gets a couple of surprise visitors to cheer her up…but the end is near!