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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman Discussion thread


alphanguy74

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On 6/1/2018 at 10:59 PM, amybrickwallace said:

Didn't MH, MH, Soap and Three's Company all debut around the same time - and many people were up in arms about their content? These shows seem so innocent and almost quaint compared to what's on now.

Yes! Well, MHMH predated Soap and TC by a year, but within that year, you also had Charlie's Angels debuting as a TV movie and then regular series in Fall 1976. These series (plus others, I'm sure, including stuff going on in daytime) prompted Rev. Donald Wildmon to found the American Family Association with the mission of ridding TV of "smut." I remember years ago, Suzanne Somers commented that he wasn't a very "wild man" after all.

I dug this thread up to share the pilot episode of FOREVER FERNWOOD, the post-Mary continuation of the series. Much thanks to the uploader bc I don't think FF was ever aired again after 1977-1978 except for this one showing on TV Land back in 2002 for Norman Lear's 80th birthday. I'm still super disappointed that Sony did not put select episodes (or even an episode guide?) in with the complete MHMH boxed set. It seems like there is still so very little known about the stories that played out besides what happens in the premiere.

 

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March 1976

`Hartman' ratings are holding up

In big markets, it's getting as high as 11, usually against the local late news programs.

Norman Lear's soap -opera send -up Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman appears to be hanging on to the strong sampling it chalked up in early January. The comedy series, which is being stripped in syndication by Rhodes Productions, racked up a 10 Nielsen rating and 19 share on WNEW -TV New York for the week ended March 12, putting it third in its time period (Monday- through- Friday, 11 -11:30 p.m.) behind WNBC -TV's local newscast (14 rating and 27 share) and WABC -TV's newscast (12 rating, 25 share). Similarly, on K7-rv(TV) Los Angeles, Hartman harvested an 8 Nielsen rating and 19 share for the week ended March 12, finishing third in the 11 p.m. time  period behind KNBC(TV) news (11 rating, 28 share) and KABC -TV news (11 rating, 27 share).

 

In Chicago, Hartman, stripped at 10 p.m., came up with an 11 rating and 17 share on Kaiser's UHF WFLD-TV for the week ended March 12, lodging it in fourth place behind the local news offerings of the three network -owned stations. In some markets, stations are stripping Hartman at 1 p.m. On WBAL -TV Baltimore, for instance, Hartman finished first in that time period with a 10 Nielsen rating and 45 share average for the four weeks ended March 3. On WJAR -TV Providence, R.I., Hartman is tied for first at 1 p.m. with the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless on WPRI -TV, each of them with a 6 rating for the four weeks ended March 3 (although Hartman has a 29 share average compared to Restless's 26 share). In Norfolk, Va., at 1 p.m., Hartman 's 5 rating and 22 share on WAVY -TV (for the four weeks ended March 3) put it in third place behind Ryan's Hope, the ABC soap opera on wvac -Tv (7 rating, 34 share), and the syndicated People, Places and Things on WTAR -TV (7 rating, 30 share).

 

One indication that Hartman may not be doing well when it has to face off against prime -time network competition: on WDcA -TV Washington, where the series managed only a 4 rating and 5 share for the four weeks ended March 3, leaving it well behind all of the shows on the network- connected stations in Washington and behind wrrv(Tv)'s The FBI reruns (which averaged a 6 rating and 10 share).

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I'm about at the end of the first "cycle" of episodes (1-130) and Mary's obviously going insane and at the same time being appointed The American Housewife Consumer (or something like that), Tom's an alcoholic, they have gay neighbors, Mary's mom an indian and Loretta's in some super religious group.

 

It's a shame they've never released Forever Fernwood - ideally they would do a bundle of Forever Fernwood, Fernwood 2-Nite and America 2-Nite in a boxset, but I doubt the MH2 boxset sold well enough to justify the costs...

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Honestly, episode 130 is one of the best episodes of television I've seen - it's not only like a blow-out for every arc that's happened so far, but it's also a tour de force of Louise Lasser. No wonder people thought she was going insane.

 

About 15 episodes into "cycle"/season 2 and something's a bit amiss. Not bad, but not as great as episodes 1-130.

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3 hours ago, te. said:

Honestly, episode 130 is one of the best episodes of television I've seen - it's not only like a blow-out for every arc that's happened so far, but it's also a tour de force of Louise Lasser. No wonder people thought she was going insane.

 

About 15 episodes into "cycle"/season 2 and something's a bit amiss. Not bad, but not as great as episodes 1-130.


I took a very long break from the show after getting to 130, and I'm probably around the same place as you are now. I feel like it's losing some of the human drama/comedy in favor of more satirical social commentary, and it's suffering because of it.

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11 minutes ago, All My Shadows said:


I took a very long break from the show after getting to 130, and I'm probably around the same place as you are now. I feel like it's losing some of the human drama/comedy in favor of more satirical social commentary, and it's suffering because of it.

 

Yeah, I can't quite put my finger on it, but there's something that's a bit off - maybe because season/cycle 1 was so focused towards getting Mary to that breakdown point and cycle/season 2 just doesn't seem to have that focus?

 

ETA: I'm at the episodes where Gore Vidal stars.

Edited by te.
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I'm closing in on the final two weeks of the show and I think I've put my finger on what's the difference - season one had such a grip on where Mary would end up by the end of the season that everything seemed focused towards that. Season 2 has been a bit all over the place with some good plots and some not so great ones - the difference is that those not-so-great plots ended up dragging out because they were probably faced with the reality with producing a five-days-a-week show for nine months per year. Ironically, it feels like with Mary's exit arc that's been going on for the past few weeks has been the best the show has been since season one; mostly because they have a clear direction again.

 

I wouldn't not recommend watching season 2 - it's not bad at all and has a lot of funny and soapy moments, but when you hit such highs in season one it just becomes a bit of a disappointment.

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