By early 1971 I had four children under four. I did not watch television—sleep had a much greater attraction for me. I did, however, glance at the newspaper, and over the next year or so I saw accolades being heaped on a comedy show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show. I had not been around to see her earlier work in The Dick Van Dyke Show, in which she played second fiddle to the lead, but I gave this new show a chance, and was immediately hooked. Everything seemed right—a cast of strong actors and themes which were relevant to the time. I still didn't have time to analyze the components which made the show not only successful, but often controversial and I was certainly not aware how major problems were skirted in an era when Mary, as Dick Van Dyke's wife, could only be shown with him in their bedroom (double beds) if she kept one foot on the floor.
Every page of this book is packed with details. The most socially relevant are the resistance of the network to a show about a single woman (and one who was thirty years old) and the groundbreaking female writers. I love trivia. Who'd have thought that when Mary stopped at the intersection of Nicollet Mall and Seventh Street to throw her beret in the air in her sheer exhilaration at being in the big city, it was a "black and turquoise beret Moore's aunt had given her", or that in the opening scene she wore a fox-fur trimmed jacket which disappeared by the second season when she became an animal rights activist.
I loved this book, yet it occurred to me that it may be pointless to recommend it to anyone who is not a devotee of the shows (or over 65). As for me, I went to Hulu and found I could watch the first three years, that's 72 episodes, free!! I suppose I could access the rest of the series on Hulu Plus. I was sorry I would not be able to see the episode entitled Chuckles bites the dust from the sixth season. The description in the book of Mary's "cracking up" was hysterical. But you can't keep a good woman down and YouTube came to the rescue.
Undemanding, perhaps. Dated, yes, but the beginning of a whole new era in television.