Mom, it’s time for the quiz.
I’m not sure how to start, so, I may as well get right to the Death Report. Sadly, comic legend and TV pioneer, Carl Reiner, died.
He was 98. Our readers might know him as Alan Brady from The Dick Van Dyke Show.
Don’t count on it!
(He was the show’s creator too), and he was also a celebrity voice on “Frasier”.
Really? I did not know that!
I don’t know if you knew that the people who called into Frasier’s radio talk-show were actually real celebrities….
No, I did not know that!
Click below and you’ll see what I mean. The caller is Carl Reiner:
A great bit of comedy writing, that was; and acting too!
Also, Carl Reiner’s son, Rob Reiner, played Michael Stivic on “All In The Family”!
Below: Rob Reiner in the ’70’s and Rob Reiner today.
Shana, it’s interesting that you should bring up Carl Reiner and the Dick Van Dyke Show, which also starred Mary Tyler Moore. It was Carl Reiner who discovered her! And as you know, Mary went on to get her own show in the 1970’s.
It was arguably the most popular show of the decade, winning numerous awards and catapulting Mary to super-stardom! In fact, we are doing our quiz this month on an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show! I’m going to want my audience to tell me, what remedy is Mary?
What remedy is Rhoda
and what remedy is Rhoda’s mother, Ida Morgenstern!
Wow, Mom, you’re asking a lot!
Well excuuuuse me, but I think our audience is up to it!
Just don’t be surprised if you only get 3 votes, is all I’m saying! And P.S., you know you’re going to have to write the whole thing out for the people who don’t speak English!
Geez, then I better get started! And do you know what this means? It means I don’t have time for your reminiscences about the 35th Anniversary of “Live Aid”!
But Mom, a lot of well known artists that we like performed there!
No one cares, Shana!
Ashford and Simpson, Teddy Pendergrass, Eric Clapton, Hall and Oates, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Mick Jagger…
I knew it! I knew it! It always comes back to Mick Jagger!!
…and Tina Turner.
Shana, I’m very busy right now!
Just one video? Here is Mick Jagger…
I knew it!
…doing “Miss You”.
All right, one video, and then it’s off to bed with you, young lady!
Mom, I’m 28 now!
Really? When did that happen? Then how old am I????
Uhhh….. Here’s Mick Jagger!
OK, thankfully that’s over with and we can segue seamlessly into our fabulous July Quiz!
Now, here’s the situation: Mary plays “Mary Richards”, the producer of the 6:00 News on WJM in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The anchor man, Ted Baxter, is a complete phony with no real talent; Mary’s boss, Lou, is constantly stressed out because of Ted being an idiot. Mary is sweet, kind and full of enthusiasm and joy; she lives in a charming apartment that she keeps spotlessly clean and decorates flawlessly, and her neighbors love her because she bends over backwards to be nice to everybody. In the opening scene, downstairs neighbor, Phyllis, is showing Mary how to “distress” furniture. Self-conscious Mary feels silly doing it.
Pictured below, from the top center, clockwise: Lou Grant, Phyllis, Ted Baxter, Mary, Murray, Rhoda.
Mary’s upstairs neighbor is Rhoda Morgenstern who moved to Minneapolis from New York to get away from her meddling, over-bearing and suffocating mother!
Nonetheless, her mother, Ida, visits her every month bringing her expensive gifts–with the money Rhoda sends her from her job as a window-dresser in a department store. Why is Rhoda sending her money? Because Ida has told her that her father’s business is losing money; this, she later admits, is not true!
Rhoda is witty, funny, self-deprecating and sarcastic. You can tell this a defense mechanism to keep from being hurt; or, I should say, to keep from feeling her hurt inside; or, maybe I should say, to keep people at a distance.
The thing is, Ida will not allow Rhoda to get out from under her control–which is what accepting the money would mean. Ida will not allow Rhoda to be the “grown-up”, even though Rhoda is 30 years old! This is why Ida uses the money Rhoda sends her to buy Rhoda gifts. This is “passive-aggressive” gamesmanship (or you might say, “gas-lighting”) that Ida uses to torture Rhoda, keep her a little girl, make her feel guilty, and Rhoda has had enough of this and she’s not gonna take it anymore!
This time, Ida has come to visit Rhoda carrying a huge present as always, and Rhoda simply refuses to see her! She’s going to put a stop to this psycho-drama once and for all! But Ida always wins…Ida always wins; and you know why? Rhoda feels guilty–Ida has made sure of that! And that, indeed, is the whole point. Rhoda explains to Mary, “I know my mother loves me! But it’s Bronx love, Mary; it comes with guilt!”
So here’s what happens in this episode. Ida comes to visit Rhoda and Rhoda doesn’t answer the door. So Ida comes downstairs to Mary’s apartment and knocks–but not in a normal way. She sits on her suitcase and bangs the back of her head on Mary’s door–acting as if it happened by accident. Now Mary is about to become Ida’s new victim! She’s going to get the treatment Rhoda has gotten all her life! And Mary can’t defend herself because Mary is an accommodating sort who can’t say no! (It’s interesting that Mary’s downstairs neighbor, Phyllis, has no trouble with Ida whatsoever because Phyllis is not a “victim” and Ida knows it!) Phyllis says, “Mary, why are you calling Ida ‘Mrs. Morgenstern’? Her name is Ida. She wants to be called Ida!” Mary says, “Actually, she wants me to call her ‘Mama’.” (Ouch! And so it begins!)
At first Mary can’t understand why Rhoda is refusing to see her mother. Rhoda’s refusal means that Ida is staying downstairs with Mary. Ida keeps insisting that Mary should let her stay at a motel–knowing that Mary won’t allow it (“There’s a motel I can stay at next to the bus station…”) When Mary says she won’t hear of it, Ida says, “I’ll just sleep in this chair then,” knowing that Mary will give up her bed for her; she tries to pay Mary for her accommodations, knowing that Mary won’t accept the money. She goes out and buys Mary a present–two scarves. Mary happily puts one of them on to wear to work and Ida says, “I’m sorry you didn’t like the other one, I’ll return it.” When Mary gets to work, Murray, the news writer, says, “Mary, why are you wearing two scarves?”
Ted is upset because Mary forgot to bring his WJM blazer emblem to work with her, so she calls Ida to have her bring it. Ida doesn’t answer the phone and Mary is worried that something has happened to her; and Lou is upset because Mary doesn’t remember the name of the documentary the station is running on air pollution. He calls her into his office to tell her that she’s been doing a rotten job all week. Mary agrees that she has been doing a rotten job and starts crying. By the end of the day, Mary is on the verge of having a nervous breakdown!
Finally, Ida decides to go back home to New York. Mary drops by Rhoda’s job where she is standing in the window, dressing a mannequin. “Rhoda, your mother’s leaving,” Mary says. “Are you sure you don’t want to say good-bye to her? She’s standing right outside the window.” Rhoda looks outside and there’s Ida, her back to the window, looking across the street. Rhoda says, “Oh, my mother…she’s got a back that could break your heart.” And there it is, folks! That’s the line that should tell you what Rhoda’s remedy is! That’s all I’m gonna say, I’m not gonna give you anymore hints! Click below. The name of the episode is “Support Your Local Mother”, and write to me at [email protected] and tell me, what remedy is Mary, Rhoda and Mrs. Morgenstern.
The answer will be in next month’s ezine.
And now to take us out, I give you…Carl Reiner as Alan Brady on “The Dick Van Dyke Show”. RIP, Carl; you’ve given the world of comedy so much!
Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine takes online cases and animal cases too!
Write to her at [email protected]
Visit her website: https://ElaineLewis.hpathy.com