29 December 2010

who can turn the world on with her smile?

That is not a rhetorical question, that title up there.

It's a quiz: what TV show's theme song has that line in it?

Another way to phrase that is: what TV show from the 70s am I obsessed with?

I'll give you a minute to think. A clue: It's set in Minneapolis.

Another clue: I used to wake up every morning to the theme song because it put me in that good of a mood. {Note: This clue may not be worth much, unless you've actually woken up with me, and I very highly doubt that you have.}

{Yes, I'm making you scroll down.}

{Doesn't this remind you of those email forwards that inevitably begin with "think of a number between 1 and 100"? Then you go through this whole series of questions,



until you got to the end, and it magically lists the number you first thought of.

And the person you're going to marry.

And the kind of house you'll live in.

And how many kids you'll have.

Wait, that's the game MASH.}

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

I hope you got this right. It's very important to me that you know about Mary.

Today is her birthday—is it just me, or do I seem to be writing a lot about other people's birthdays recently, people I adore but have never met? {Not that I could've met Jane Austen or Louisa May Alcott. I'm still holding out hope for Mary.}

Why I Love The Mary Tyler Moore Show
A Bullet Point List by Kamiah A. Walker
  • I saw the show for the first time when I was 12 or 13. Then, being 30 seemed the height of being grown-up, an idea later corroborated by that 13 Going on 30 movie, where the little teenager wishes to magically become 30 and it happens. Thank goodness I didn't wish to become a 30-year-old in the 70s. I might've been concerned by the hemlines and the lack of computers. {A semi-related question: Do you ever think about what people did in offices before email?}
  • I like that Mary was single and that the point of the show wasn't to marry her off. She went on lots of dates. She even got proposed to once or twice. But the show doesn't end with her wedding. As a 29-year-old single girl, this is especially important. Singleness doesn't define me, but it is fun to watch a show about another single girl.
  • Mary was a cheerleader and in student council when she was in high school. So was I. Up for grabs is whether I did those things because I wanted to be like Mary. Actually, I'll grab that one: I had wanted to be a cheerleader since I was 3; Mary had nothing to do with that one.
  • I got the first season of Mary Tyler Moore on DVD just before I left for France to teach for a year. Many, many a night—when my brain was empty from speaking French and trying to fit in all day—I would slip under the covers, prop up my laptop, and let Mary distract me and show me life in my beloved Midwest.
  • The friendship between Mary and Rhoda is so easy. Popping into each other's apartment. Eating dinner together on random weeknights. Playing tennis on Saturday afternoons. When I first moved to Wheaton five years ago, not knowing too many people, being able to watch their friendship was a comfort—not going to gloss over that fact. Did I live vicariously through TV for a little while? Yes. Mary helped.

    And now I have friends to eat dinner with on random nights, cobbling together a quiche or a salad, and stitching together conversation with threads that have been running through our lives {boys, church, work, frustrations, joys}.
  • When I have a bad day—a really bad day when I have the mean reds and start to take everything that happens as a personal affront—on days like that, I watch a very specific Mary Tyler Moore episode to help me deal: "Put on a Happy Face." It's about this time that Mary has a series of terrible, awful, no-good, very bad days, and she's tired of always having to be chipper little Mary. That one episode gives me the freedom to accept that I don't always have to be chipper little Mia. Plus, it doesn't hurt to laugh. And I always laugh, no matter how many times I watch it.

Please tell me I'm not alone in this obsession, not that you have to share my Mary fascination. I just hope I'm not the only one who uses a TV show—a leftover from an era I don't belong to—to feel better sometimes.


  1. Of course you're not! And now I'm thinking I need to watch MTM again...

  2. Bonus points for your Breakfast at Tiffany's reference!!!

  3. I used to watch Mary on Nick @ Nite, but I have to confess I haven't seen an episode in years. Such a good show though. :-)

  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meoDD1LqT9w



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