Welcome to a new Wildcard Wednesday! This weekend, we lost one of the world’s most talented actors, the great Ed Asner, remembered for a remarkable body of work, but especially by sitcom fans as the iconic Lou Grant on seven years of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and then five more on Lou Grant, the drama series where he played the same classic character.
As many of you know, I count The Mary Tyler Moore Show as one of the best and most important sitcoms ever produced — a creative touchstone I refer to a lot — so I couldn’t let this occasion to honor one of its own go by without paying tribute to both him and this series. So, for your enjoyment and reference, here are my favorite “Lou episodes” of Mary Tyler Moore.
Asner’s sitcom work didn’t just end with Lou Grant, however. He guested on a variety of shows throughout the years and even secured regular gigs in other short-lived comedies, among them Thunder Alley (1994-1995), The Closer (1998) with Tom Selleck, and Off The Rack (1984-1985) with Eileen Brennan — the last two of which we’ve discussed on this blog. In fact, I’ve even shared an episode of the latter, a solid character comedy with Asner and Brennan as unlikely and frequently clashing business partners at a garment company. This week, I’m sharing an entry from the other show previously mentioned here, The Closer, a straightforward ensemble workplace comedy set at an ad agency anchored by Selleck. It’s not a terrifically funny series, but Asner is a highlight, and one Emmy-nominated episode guest starring Bernadette Peters as Selleck’s old flame boasts a big fantasy musical number (featuring Asner) that is worth watching. I present it — “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (04/06/98), written by Ron Burch and David Kidd, directed by Ellen Gittelsohn — in its entirety, for your critical and non-commercial viewing pleasure. (And here’s a clip of the aforementioned musical number by itself.)
Thanks for the laughs, Ed Asner!
Come back next week for a new Wildcard! And stay tuned Tuesday for more sitcom fun!