RERUN: The Ten Best THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW Episodes of Season Four

Welcome to a new Sitcom Tuesday! Our coverage of Mad About You has been preempted for a five-week series of reruns. Designed to give yours truly some time to finish this semester (where I’m working on wrapping up a feature-length screenplay and an original pilot) and then load more “best of” lists into the queue, these upcoming entries are a FIRST in our nearly five-year Sitcom Tuesday run. Regular programming will resume on May 22nd, but in the meantime, I’m excited to dive into the archives and re-share five posts initially published from 2014-2016.

My intention is to provide a link to each original piece and then offer a tiny bit of updated commentary, either on episode picks I’d call differently now (like in my famous “Regrets” post) or on something broader, like evolving thoughts on the year/series as a whole. I’ve picked a few goodies, so I hope you’re as excited as I am about revisiting our favorites… But please be gentle! Many of the posts you’ll see were written a while ago. The standards here have changed as I’ve changed. (There are plenty of typos, juvenile “hot takes,” and places where more information would now be appreciated.) Also, the Wildcard Wednesdays accompanying this series will be gift-offering entries — scripts and videos — related to the Tuesday subject!

We’re starting with… The Ten Best THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW Episodes of Season Four, which you can find here:

This series of posts is beginning in earnest, for unlike future weeks, where I’ll need to address certain intellectual evolutions and episodic swaps, I’m pleased with my Season Four list. Frankly, I wouldn’t change a thing — and that’s no small statement; the fourth season of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a sitcom that I often hold up as the guiding light when it comes to genuinely character-driven comedic writing, is loaded with gems. In fact, it’s the series’ best, and were I writing a post on Season Four today, I’d clarify that there’s not a single year I find stronger. Yes, Six has “Chuckles” and some true classics (which clouded my preference for Four at the time), but Four has everything. It’s the only year where all eight ensemble members regularly appear, and it therefore benefits from having the most narrative possibilities. Four is also the precise meeting point of the show’s two most pronounced eras — represented via regular contributions from both Treva Silverman, who symbolizes the groundbreaking earlier years and their focus on how Mary Richards balances her career with her personal life (the Rhoda era), and David Lloyd, who joins the company and signifies the beginning of the really funny later seasons, with their emphasis on creating a template for the modern workplace comedy (the Sue Ann era). In short, Four is the most comprehensive look at peak Mary Tyler Moore, and no other season offers as much with as many gems in support. So, check out the post above again, and feel free to share your thoughts on the series and its trajectory in the comments below!



Come back next week for the next in our rerun series! And tune in tomorrow for a related Wildcard Wednesday!

6 thoughts on “RERUN: The Ten Best THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW Episodes of Season Four

  1. What a cool idea! I actually hope you do this again, maybe once a year.

    THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW is cream of the crop and I agree Season 4 is the best for all the reasons you noted. Your list is one classic after another. I basicaly like every episode though, except for “We Want Baxter”, which I think stretches credulity and the Jerry VanDyke episode, “Son of But Seriously Folks” (but I’ve never been a fan of his anyway).

    Can’t wait to see what’s coming up in these posts!

    • Hi, Elaine! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Although born out of convenience, I have to say I’m enjoying these posts, too! Stay tuned…

  2. This show is one of my absolute favorites – it’s very comforting to watch, especially if I’ve had a rough day. Totally agree that this is an excellent season, with my favorite Phyllis-centric episode (“The Lars Affair)” and one of the best bad-party episodes (“Happy Birthday, Lou”).

    • Hi, Track! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Now, I’ve gotta maintain SOME sense of suspense — stay tuned!

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