We Made It After All (almost)

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Sure, Mary Tyler Moore was Dick Van Dyke’s wife Laura Petrie. She was funny and aloof and a little nervous and always cute and she usually had dinner on time. We loved her when she said “Oh…Rob….” when something didn’t go quite right like when she burned the chicken. She was our mom or our aunt but never ourselves because she was older than us–she was in black-and-white and only on reruns.

To those of us working gals who are still working, however, Mary Tyler Moore is and always will be one person: Mary Richards, the single woman in full color on her own, the one who lived in the one-room Minneapolis apartment that we all wanted to live in. The one who wore bellbottoms and short-sleeved purple turtlenecks with big funky belt buckles and then as she got older shifted to all-one-color pantsuits that were orange or white.

Mary Richards had a first-best friend at home (Rhoda) and second-best friend at home (Phyllis). She had a good job, and during her time at WJM-TV she showed us how to deal with the doofus co-worker (Ted) and introduced us to the concept of a work husband (Murray). She learned how to be tough from a boss (Mr. Grant) who was the kind of person we always thought our bosses would be like when we started working. Some were, most weren’t.

Mary Richards dated cool men, many of them wearing the man’s version of those awesome bellbottoms. She got proposed to a couple of times. She got promoted. Her hair changed a little. And she moved out of Phyllis’ Victorian, eventually, to a high rise apartment. Just the kind of place we knew we would move  when we’d made it. She did it on her own, though. And we loved her for that. Mary was us, and we became her.

Congratulations, Ted Baxter.


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