Meanwhile, I've fallen completely in love with Cheers. Just over a week later and I'm almost done the third season. It's everything I wanted from Mary Tyler Moore, and everything I want from a sitcom in general. And on top of that, it's just so hilarious. It gives me these big belly laughs I rarely get from TV shows. At first I was dreading having to slog through all eleven seasons, but now I kinda wish it wouldn't end.
Friday, 28 October 2011
So I put Mary Tyler Moore on hold a couple of weeks ago, not intentionally, but more gradually due to increasing boredom with the show. Not that it’s gotten bad or anything, but I’m feeling my relationship with it becoming a bit more tenuous. Season 4 I feel was the absolute pinnacle of the show, a truly wonderful set of episodes with every major character in the show making appearances, and always being used properly. Now, at the start of season 6, both Rhoda and Phyllis are gone, and the show is suffering without them. I started missing Rhoda a season ago, and it’s only gotten worse since then. She really was a perfect foil for Mary, and their chemistry together was truly wonderful to watch. They sparkled onscreen, and made you believe that they really were best friends. When the show tried to fill Rhoda’s place with Georgette, I had mixed feelings. I do love Georgette, and I was excited to see her in a more recurring role, but as a best friend, she doesn’t work. Her best scenes tended to center on her interactions with Rhoda, her the naive optimist and Rhoda the world-weary cynic. Without Rhoda, Mary and Georgette are just a pair of well-meaning, nice people, and their interactions tend to devolve more into “Georgette says something silly, Mary gives a reaction shot” in order to keep them funny. Season 4’s other new character, Sue Ann, worked in small doses as a wacky side character. The show’s attempts to broaden her and guide her into being Mary’s friend over the past two seasons seemed to be out of obligation more than anything else. With Mary’s home life less interesting than before, the show has shifted even more of its action to the workplace, and the storylines there are starting to show their age. Mary’s coworkers (especially Ted) are becoming even more exaggerated, and it’s becoming more and more difficult to give the show my full attention. It’s nowhere near bad, of course, but the magic I felt back in seasons 3 and 4 is gone, and the show’s more of a chore to watch now than anything else. I took a similar break at the start of season 2, when the show wasn’t picking up from its season 1 malaise as fast as I was hoping it would. Hopefully I can come back to it with fresher eyes and enjoy the last two seasons. I’m obviously not gonna drop it entirely so close to the end. But I’ve been needing something more exciting to watch recently.
Friday, 16 September 2011
Thursday, 8 September 2011
Late season 4 now and Mary Tyler Moore has become the wonderful show I hoped it would. All the stories are now character-driven and the show has started exploring the relationships between the characters in a serious, mature way. Each character gets a fair portrayal, even Ted and, increasingly, Georgette. And my god is it funny. "Better Late... That's a Pun... Than Never," the episode I just watched, began with a long scene of Mary and Rhoda making each other giggle, then turned into a straight drama halfway through and in the end actually resolved the "Mary gets fired" plotline in a believable way. And that wasn't even my favourite episode so far this season. "Happy Birthday, Lou!" was perfect from start to finish, and the rest of the season isn't far behind. I didn't see it in season 1, but now I understand why the show has become such a tentpole for quality sitcoms. I can see its fingerprints everywhere.
Friday, 29 July 2011
A bit into season 2 and Mary Tyler Moore is really figuring out what it wants to do. Most first season episodes had a really irritating formula where Mary would meet some man, the plot would strain itself to focus on him, and the show would find some reason to make him undesirable. Now Mary's beginning to be less receptive to the notion of finding a man, any man, and the plots are really being positively affected by that. More storylines are set in the office, and, while still completely episodic, the show has started bringing back guest stars in surprising ways. I'm excited for where it'll go!!