Amazing to think that it took an Oprah intervention to get another season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show released on DVD. After putting out the first four seasons, the studio back burned the series in 2006. There was only three more seasons left. On a personal level, this stunk since it was my yearly Christmas gift to mom (along with The Bob Newhart Show for dad). Earlier this year, Oprah had the cast reunite on set made to resemble the WJM-TV newsroom. The Queen of Talk brought up her disappointment of at the missing seasons. Within days, the studio announced The Mary Tyler Moore Show would be getting more releases. Guess this makes up for Oprah inflicting Dr. Phil on America. The Mary Tyler Moore Show: The Complete Fifth Season is finally here and worth the wait with 24 twisted and hilarious episodes dealing with office politics and relationship landmines.
“Will Mary Richards Go to Jail?” drops the associate news producer in hot water. She won’t reveal the source to a government corruption investigation. Do you know what they’ll do to her in the big house? Of course if Mary worked for MSNBC, she could be able to go from news reading to hosting episodes of Lock Up from the inside. “Not Just Another Pretty Face” puts Mary in a relationship with a ski instructor who is beyond handsome. Is she really up to his standard? Is this romance doomed? Oddly enough, this plot was recently lifted for an episode of 30 Rock when Tina Fey dated Jon Hamm. Mary Tyler Moore is still influential in today’s sitcom world by writers who need a genius idea. “You Sometimes Hurt the One You Hate” reminds us of a time when the HR department didn’t rule the office. Ted Baxter (Ted Knight) endorses a candidate on the air and producer Lou Grant (Ed Asner) can’t hold back his anger. He throws Ted through a door. The newscaster ends up in the hospital with major cast and traction issues. In 1974 such a violent outburst leads to comedy. In 2009, this episode leads to a major lawsuit and Ted Baxter becoming the co-owner of the station. “Lou and that Woman” allows Mr. Grant a chance to date a lounge singer. But can the cranky chief handle joy in his heart?
“The Outsider” gives the nasty low down on those outside consultants that have the answer as what needs to be done to “fix” a TV station. None of the staff are happy with the verdict. “I Love a Piano” puts lust in the heart of newswriter Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod). He falls for a woman at Mary’s party and considers cheating on his wife with the beauty. Oddly enough, MacLeod would be an unmitigated horndog as the captain of The Love Boat. “A New Sue Ann” pays tribute to All About Eve. Sue Ann Nivens (Betty White) takes a young fan (Linda Kelsey) under her wing to help with the show. Turns out the fan wants more than to serve her idol – she’s sucking up to the brass to take over the Happy Homemaker’s gig. Strangely enough, Kelsey would end up a regular on Lou Grant.
“Menage-a-Phyllis” gets Mary and Phyllis mixed up with John Saxon (Enter the Dragon). Who do you think he wants for his Love Connection hook up? After this season Phyllis would get her own series like Rhoda. “Not a Christmas Story” has the staff snowbound in the office for the holiday. There’s a threat that Lou will eat Ted. “An Affair to Forget” is another HR nightmare. Mary gets promoted up to producer when Lou names himself executive producer. Things go really wrong when Ted turns a business dinner with Mary into a date. He wants a fling bad with the boss. He misleads the rest of the cast into thinking he really did hook up with Mary. When Bill O’Reilly did this, he had to pay out a major settlement. “Phyllis Whips Inflation” forces the landlady to jack up the rent on Mary. This move backfires when Phyllis needs Mary to help her find a job at the station. “Ted Baxter’s Famous Broadcasters’ School” lures the anchor into a scheme to dupe eager students. The gang kicks with classes to insure Ted isn’t hauled off to jail for the fraud.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show: The Complete Fifth Season contains so many moments that can no longer be done in the workspace. You aren’t allowed to beat up the staff in the 21st century. Which is a shame. There ought to at least be at least punch a guy for being a complete idiot. Why isn’t there a “smacking some sense into his numbskull” defense? Luckily Oprah was able to delicately smack sense into an executive to get The Mary Tyler Moore Show back on the release schedule. Now we have to wait for season six with the legendary “Chuckles Bites the Dust.”
“Will Mary Richards Go to Jail?,” “Not Just Another Pretty Face,” “You Sometimes Hurt the One You Hate,” “Lou and That Woman,” “The Outsider,” “I Love a Piano,” “A New Sue Ann,” “Menage-a-Phyllis,” “Not a Christmas Story,” “What Are Friends For?,” “A Boy’s Best Friend,” “A Son for Murray,” “Neighbors,” “A Girl Like Mary,” “An Affair to Forget,” “Mary Richards: Producer,” “The System,” “Phyllis Whips Inflation,” “The Shame of the Cities,” “Marriage Minneapolis Style,” “You Try To Be a Nice Guy,” “You Can’t Lose ’em All,” “Ted Baxter’s Famous Broadcasters’ School” and “Anyone Who Hates Kids and Dogs.”
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are clean and crisp. You can make out little details around the office and the cool stuff in Mary’s mid-’70s apartment. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. There are moments a character doesn’t sound good, but that’s when they wander away from the boom microphone.
The Mary Tyler Moore Show: The Complete Fifth Season keeps up the quality humor. This was a five star show with a five star cast. Thanks to Oprah, mom gets her usual Christmas gift. Now if only Steve Wilkos can get the ball rolling for those final two seasons of The Bob Newhart Show, dad can have something under the tree.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment presents The Mary Tyler Moore Show: The Complete Fifth Season. Starring: Mary Tyler Moore, Ed Asner, Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, Betty White and Cloris Leachman. Boxset contents: 24 episodes on 3 DVDs. Released on DVD: October. 6, 2009. Available at Amazon.com
Tags: Cloris Leachman, Ed Asner, Love Boat, Mary Tyler Moore, oprah