Two Forgotten Mary Tyler Moore Projects That Are Better Than You Think

I’ve been diving deep into the entire MTM oeuvre (oh, the hijinks those adorable Petries get into!) as I finish up my book about The Mary Tyler Moore Show. And I found myself enjoying two particular relics more than I thought I would. If you’re way into Ms. Moore, or just craving some grooving ’80s/’90s movie music — they loved their Casio keyboards back then! — it’s worth checking out:

  • Just Between Friends, a movie that Mary Tyler Moore co-creator Allan Burns wrote for his star. Moore plays an aerobics instructor — yay, thong leotards! — married to Ted Danson, who has the undeniably cool profession of seizmologist. When he dies unexpectedly, she finds out he was having an affair with her new BFF, a tough TV reporter played by Christine Lahti. Why the Mary Tyler Moore folks can’t seem to get over TV news-as-plot, I’m not sure, but it’s fun here. And the soapy melodrama works, too, thanks to the great cast and writing. It won’t change your life, but it’ll keep you interested. You can buy the DVD or rent it on Amazon: Just Between Friends
  • Mary and Rhoda. This 2000 TV movie was meant to become a pilot for a series about the old friends reuniting to start new lives together in their 60s in New York. Rhoda’s divorced, and Mary’s a recent widow who was married to a Congressman. The series didn’t happen, so ABC ran it as a movie instead, and it’s better than its reviews indicate. Again, not going to change your life, but I enjoyed Mary’s attempts to re-enter the TV news biz (this poor woman cannot get away from dead husbands and TV newsrooms!) and Rhoda’s still-perfect Bronx accent. The DVD is here: Mary and Rhoda
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