“Mary Richards,” Feminist Icon?

Noted comedy writer Earl Pomerant (THE BOB NEWHART SHOE, TAXI, MAJOR DAD, BEST OF THE WEST, etc) has been thinking, and we here at TVWriter™ are happy indeed to share this recent thought:

Do you know this woman?

Do you know this woman?

Looking for Heroes
by Earl Pomerantz

Was the “Mary Richards” character from the beloved The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-77) a feminist icon?

It seems to me she’s been called one.

But does she actually deserve to be?

It was a question that interested me.  I don’t know why.  I guess it troubles me when people believe stuff that is not accurate, even if it’s fictional characters achieving unearned recognition.

“So Hansel and Gretel were not heroes?”

They burned a woman in a stove!

Okay, so I’ve got too much time on my hands and I’m looking for controversy.

Anyway and whatever…

Before DVD’s and before Hulu, if you wanted to find out something about a TV episode, you had to find the original script and actually look at it directly.  So that’s what I did.  I dug up the pilot episode ofThe Mary Tyler Moore Show, because I wanted to verify something for myself.

That “something” being…

Mary’s intention when she appeared at WJM for her job interview.

My recollection was unclear on the matter.  Was Mary Richards alwaysinto television news?  Did she study journalism in college?  Now unencumbered from her long-term relationship, was she now taking the opportunity to pursue a lifelong dream of investigating malfeasance and wrongdoing, exposing sordid transgressions to public scrutiny?

It turns out that she wasn’t.

Reading the script reminded me that Mary had come there to interview for a secretarial position, which had already been filled, and after a marginally appropriate interview with Lou Grant, she was hired as an associate producer – the joke being that the associate producer job paid ten dollars less than the secretarial job….

Read it all at Earl Pomerantz’s fine blog