Dreams of Being Mary Richards

When I was a kid,the-mary-tyler-moore-show-4-700x540[1] I loved the Mary Tyler Moore Show.    I was too young to watch it when it aired during prime time, so I got my fix in syndication.  I had such a girl crush on Mary Richards, who was played by the spectacular Mary Tyler Moore.  I also really dug her clothes.  I’ve always believed that I was a 1970’s Boho chic (and this was recently confirmed by a quiz on Play Buzz).  I coveted both her apartments, but over the years I’ve gone back and forth on which Mary-apartment combo I loved best.  Long-haired-brunette-studio-apartment-in-a-house Mary, or the reddish-bobbed-haircut-high-rise-apartment Mary?  I thought it was so cool that she worked in a newsroom.  I adored the father-daughter relationship she had with Mr. Grant – um, that was until I grew up and realized that there was some serious sexual chemistry going on between them.  Personally, I don’t see it, but hey, most people are baffled by my attraction to Kid Rock.  To each his (or her) own.


Early Mary – love this look!


The studio apartment, in Phyllis’s house.  LOVE the little hidden away bookshelf.

I could go on and on about this classic show.  The MTM Show won twenty-nine Emmy Awards over its seven seasons – twenty-nine!  Only Frasier has ever beaten that record (with thirty Emmy wins).  The Writers Guild of America ranked it as the sixth best written television series ever – ever people!  The cast was extraordinary.  Three of the characters were spun off in their own television shows (Rhoda, Phyllis and Lou Grant).  Each of the actors who played main characters continued on with outstanding careers after the series ended.  So, if you’re not familiar with the show I highly recommend that you buy the DVD set, because you’ll laugh yourself silly (especially the hilariously brilliant Chuckles Bites the Dust episode).


Mary with a new look.


The MTM house, summer of 2012 (I had to sneak this shot – it’s a private home, with No Parking signs everywhere!).

I’m stepping off of the Mary Tyler Moore Show soap box, and switching gears to tell you how it inspired the dreams of a little girl – ME!  As a child watching Mary Richards, I wanted to grow up and be Mary Richards.  I fantasied about a cool apartment, a huge fashionable wardrobe, a gang of eligible bachelors asking me out and having a best friend like Rhoda Morgenstern.   I also stole some of my dreams from Rhoda.  When I wasn’t planning a future in television broadcasting, I had visions of decorating department store windows.  I even hung colored yarn from my bedroom doorway, in an attempt to emulate the beads in Rhoda’s apartment.  Sadly, the yarn didn’t have the same cache.


My mother had a background in fashion merchandising and she actively campaigned against the window dressing gig.  Eventually I saw the light and focused on the news.  I’m sort of a news junkie and so were my parents.  At some point I took one of those career aptitude tests and broadcasting landed in the top ten.  I knew it!  Being Mary was my destiny.  Only problem was, I was an extremely shy teenager.  There was no way that I’d get in front of a camera, but as a producer, I was in.

I took my childhood dream as far as my freshman year of college.  I attended Loyola University in New Orleans because they had a reputable Communications department and a TV station on campus.  Adding to the school’s appeal was that it was in New Orleans, a big and exciting city like Minneapolis.  I was ready to turn the world on with my smile.

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the WJM Six O’Clock News – I got scared.  Some unfortunate events took place in my family while I was away at school and I began to worry about my future and financial security.  I was also very intimidated by all the public speaking that was required in the Communications program.  I wasn’t a fan of standing up in front of a crowd.  Before the year was over, I’d transferred to the Business School.  By my sophomore year, life in the big city proved difficult, and I was back home and going to a local college for a few years.  And the rest, as they say, is history.


Posing with my girl, in Minneapolis – summer 2014.

Do I have regrets?  Yes and no.  I know that I’m right where I’m supposed to be, because love is all around me and I don’t waste it.  A part of me does regret the years I wasted forcing myself to study and work in accounting (even though I know the skills and experience are valuable).  And I do sometimes wonder what would have happened if I’d stuck it out.  But at the end of the day, I think I have a better life, a prettier home and a more loving family than Miss Mary Richards.  Also, my wardrobe really kicks ass!

Side bar:  I did make it to the newsroom, eventually.  My last professional job (in accounting) was at CNN, in Atlanta’s CNN Center, and my office was on the same floor as the news room!  I walked through it every day.  Six degrees of Mary Tyler Moore.  In the end, I did make it after all.  Well, sort of…

This post was inspired by Finish the Sentence Friday.  This week’s sentence was, “When I was a kid, I really believed that…”  Be sure to check out their posts, by clicking on the links.


Kristi at Finding Ninee
Stephanie at Mommy, For Real
Yvonne at Inquiring Parent

What did you believe when you were a kid?  Did you watch the May Tyler Moore Show?  Did you have any TV idols?


29 thoughts on “Dreams of Being Mary Richards”

  1. I always thought I’d be Rhoda. I love MTM. I loved her clothes in Dick Van Dyke too. I still aim for that simplicity, though it was much hotter on her skinny curves than my fat ones. But anywho, funny thing happened to me. Instead of going to art school or something creative in design, I ended up majoring in Business and Accounting. I never did bookkeeping for a major store, but I did in high school work part time, seasonal (2 years thought) for Stone and Thomas Department Store designing the window for Christmas, as well as the Christmas Store and then doing gift wrap. Great post.

    1. What is it about those of us who want creative jobs ending up in Accounting? I ran into that all the time. I think it was parent’s harping about getting a paycheck! When I was in college and waiting tables, all my co-workers were degreed teachers. Seriously. Dressing a Christmas window sounds awesome. I also did time in retail and I loved gift wrapping. How weird is that?

  2. I;ve never seen one episode, but heard it was a great show. Hey, I’m totally in love with Jackson Rathbone…others think I’m bonkers…oh well.
    Not sure who I admired growing up…but sounds like your motivations and aspirations were in the right place.

  3. I loved the MTM show and remember watching it as a kid. She was so beautiful, smart, and put together on the outside and a completely quirky girl next door on the inside.

    I also loved watching her on the Dick VanDyke show. This one I watched on Nick at Nite. Thanks for taking me down memory lane. M

  4. Funny. As I began reading I was hoping you were going to talk about her homes. I preferred the studio in a house number. Probably because it seemed so cozy and so different. Remember the M on the walls of both? Just loved this show as well. Betty White was stellar too as Sue Ann Nivens. My friend Orla adored Rhoda and worked hard at acquiring her accent which was interesting on a teen from western Canada.
    Lovely to know that the house did exsist and still does.

    1. I know, I usually go with the studio, but there women thing about the high-rise. And I was so happy that she no longer had to sleep on the couch, ha, ha! And yes, I totally remember the “M.”

  5. You totally made it, Allie. Love is all around you. Sadly, I’ve never really watched the Mary Tyler Moore show. This post makes me want to. And it makes me wish I’d have considered broadcasting in college – I was sure I wanted to be a lawyer, until freshman year. Funny how life takes us places we’d never have imagined, and yet, we end up exactly where we’re supposed to be. Love your twist on FTSF!!

    1. You have to watch it (in all your free time, ha!). It is very funny, a smart funny. ANd it stands the test of time. I never wanted to be a lawyer, but I wish I was one. Both for the autism angle and so I’d have a chance when debating my daughter!

  6. You have made it, it seems! Truly.
    Once someone told me I had a Mary Tyler Moore haircut. I swear it was one of the best compliments I’d ever received.

  7. Growing up in Israel we didn’t have this show, so I’ve never watched it, ahem. I do think that there’s something very healthy and positive about having a role model like that as you’re growing up. Even your path ended up being different (although, how cool about CNN!). Despite not watching the show, I really enjoyed your take on it :-)

  8. Well, this post brought a smile to my face. I remember watching episodes of DVD and MTM (in reruns!), downstairs in the family room growing up. I think that you were way more sophisticated than me about understanding what was happening during the shows. I simply thought that the shows were funny, and I liked the characters. It’s neat that the show affected you in such a positive way!

    1. Anna, you give me too much credit:) I didn’t understand the subtleties until decades after I first discovered the show. But I am glad that the post made you smile. Thank you.

  9. I have only seen a few MTM episodes. The ones I saw I remember liking. I’m guessing I didn’t watch them because my dad was always making us watch MASH, which I didn’t appreciate until I was older.
    People on TV always have the coolest apartments.
    Very cool that you worked in the CNN offices in Atlanta. My daughter and I were there for a tour a couple of years ago.

    1. Oh my gosh, I remember my parents watching MASH – and I just didn’t get that show… The tour is fun at CNN. I went back a few years ago with my son’s 5th grade class and it was all pretty much the same.

  10. The Mary Tyler Moore show is one I’ve heard of tons, but don’t think I’ve ever seen. It think did get shown in the UK, but I’m not sure.
    How great that she inspired you so much! I can relate to allowing fear to get in the way of your dreams, since I did so much when I was young. I did chase after my dreams and ran my own fashion business for while, but didn’t the confidence to make it a success. But you are right that a loving family is what matters.

    1. The show originally ran form 1970-1977, so it probably wasn’t on in England (I watched it on Nick-at-Nite). That is so cool that you had your own fashion business! Ain’t confidence a bitch? I hate when I can’t find any within myself!

  11. I think I’ve seen a couple of clips of the MTM but to be fair, I’m probably too young AND too English to have a clue. That said, I love that somehow you got to live your dreams, and that the parallels outweigh the differences in your childhood expectations.

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