‘Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted’ Book Club Discussion Guide

Note: I’m based in New York City, but I’ll be in Northern California April 19-21, Washington D.C. May 18-20, Chicago June 2-8, and Los Angeles July 7-14. Please let me know if you’d like me to visit your book club on one of my trips.

Questions to Consider:

  • How does this book fit into the history of the 1970s overall?
  • How does it fit into the history of Hollywood?
  • What do you think it says about women on television?
  • Who was your favorite “character”?
  • What surprised you the most?
  • How has reading this book changed the way you think of The Mary Tyler Moore Show?
  • Mary Richards: Feminist or not?
  • Which episodes did it make you want to watch (again, or for the first time)?
  • Discuss women’s role in the workplace and in Hollywood during the 1970s. How has life changed for women since the beginning of The Mary Tyler Moore Show? How has it stayed the same?
  • How do you think Treva Silverman felt back when she was the only woman in the comedy writers’ rooms where she worked?
  • Do you think the female writers in the book would ever have made it in the TV business without James L. Brooks and Allan Burns?
  • Do you think Mary Tyler Moore should have taken a more active role in creating her show and running her production company? Why or why not?
  • What do you think of Mary Tyler Moore as a woman, an actress, a producer, and a businesswoman?
  • Why do you think the influence of The Mary Tyler Moore Show has endured?
  • Which modern TV characters would you compare with Mary Richards?
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