Case Quizes Clinical Cases

Revisiting: It’s A Mary Tyler Moore Show Quiz!

Written by Elaine Lewis

Are you fans of The Mary Tyler Moore Show like I am? Then you will love this quiz! Tell me the constitutional remedies of: Mary, Rhoda and Rhoda’s mother! Scroll down for the answers.

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 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 1970’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

The Valerie Harper Blog-A-Thon: How Rhoda Got the Rhoda Look - Go Retro!


and what remedy is Rhoda’s mother, Ida Morgenstern!

Wow, Mom, you’re asking for 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 on “Live Aid”!

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, doesn’t it!!

…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 years old!

How 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 idiot with no talent; Mary’s boss, Lou, is constantly stressed out because of Ted.  Mary is sweet, caring, and full of enthusiasm and joy; she lives in a charming apartment that she keeps spotlessly clean and decorates flawlessly and artistically, 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” a new piece of raw-wood furniture Mary bought.  An end table.  Presumably, Mary plans to stain it and finish it.  Self-conscious Mary feels silly “distressing” the table.

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 controlling mother, Ida!

Nonetheless, her mother, Ida Morgenstern, 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 Ida money?  Because Ida has told her that her father’s business is losing money; this, she later is forced to admit, is not true, she just wants Rhoda to feel sorry for her, and guilty that she moved away!

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 the hurt she feels inside; or, maybe I should say, to keep people at a safe distance.

The thing is, Ida will not allow Rhoda to get out from under her—which is what accepting Rhoda’s 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 is simply not going 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!  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!”  (“The Bronx” is an ethnic neighborhood in New York.)

So here’s what happens in this episode.  Ida comes to visit Rhoda and Rhoda doesn’t answer the door.  So Ida goes 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, always polite, 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 hotel—knowing that Mary won’t allow it (“There’s a hotel I can stay at next to the bus station for $5.00 a night.”)  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.”  When Mary gets to work, Murray, the news writer, asks her, “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, her boss, 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 is 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 is below, scroll down.)

And now to take us out, I give you…Carl Reiner as Alan Brady on “The Dick Van Dyke Show”, seen here with Mary Tyler Moore as “Laura Petrie”.  The point of this sketch is, Laura accidently blabbed on a quiz show that Alan Brady, a famous TV star, is bald. 

RIP, Carl; you’ve given the world of comedy so many laughs!



Mary            Rhoda           Ida

Carc.           Nat-mur         Ars.

Staph.         Sepia            Ars.

Carc.           Nat-mur        Ars.

Carc.          Staph.           Ars.

Puls.           Ign.               Sepia


Hi Elaine and Shana!

Hi Maria!

I just watched the episode of Mary Tyler Moore.  I missed some of the phrases, but I think I got the essence of it.

Good for you!  I know English is not your first language.

So for the mother, Mrs. Morgenstern, my vote goes to Arsenicum.

Yes!!!  That’s it!  You got it!!!!  In fact, almost everyone got that Ida was Arsenicum.

She is cleaning the clean plates.

Good point, Maria.  She may have been thinking, “I can do this better,” or, “Mary missed a spot….” or “It’s not done perfectly and I want to look like I’m doing things around here so Mary won’t ask me to leave.”

She is avarice, making gifts with her daughter’s money, found a hotel room with 5 dollars.

OK, let me explain this because I think you may be a little off.  Avarice isn’t part of this case.  First of all, a $5.00 a night hotel room next to the bus station would be a dump!  Mary would never hear of it, never allow her to stay there and Ida knew it!  I’m thinking back to 1970, a nice hotel room might have cost $30 a night.  So, a $5 a night hotel room would be totally ridiculous.  Secondly, Rhoda sends her $50 a month because Ida has led her to believe that her father’s business is failing–it’s not failing!  They call this “gas-lighting” after a movie called “Gaslight” about a husband who drove his wife insane through manipulation and deceit.

As Mati Fuller has said many times in her book Beyond The Veil of Delusions, Arsenicum is not averse to throwing money around to make sure that people feel obligated and will never leave, which we know is Arsenicum’s biggest fear–that people will leave!!!!!  So, Rhoda must always feel obligated!

Everything Ida did in this episode was all about making people feel guilty so that she would remain in control of them!  (“Gas-lighting”)  Mary thinks she’s going crazy after one week of living with Ida!

She is mischievous, because she didn’t tell her daughter that her husband’s income changed for the better.

Right!  I would call it “deceit”.  And we can also take the rubric, “Manipulative”, as well.

She is controlling…

Yes.  And the rubric is, “Mind: Domineering disposition, control others, wants to”.

…making Mary wear two scarves…

She guilt-tripped Mary into wearing two scarves!  She didn’t “make” her; that would have been too obvious!  Arsenicum always wants an “out”!  “I was only trying to show appreciation…”  And then YOU look ungrateful, if you were to say anything!  Ida bought Mary a present.  See?  Another gift!!!  Now Mary “owes” her!  Get it?  Meaning she can never ask Ida to leave; Ida has the upper hand now!  Guilt!  Manipulation!  Control!

…or Rhoda about the coat.  She buys with gifts the security she needs.

Yes!!!!  Exactly!  Beautifully said!!!!  Now you get it!  Ida is buying security!  This is Arsenicum!

For Mary my vote goes to Carcinosin.

Right again!!!

She is mild, yielding personality.

She can not say no!

She is tidy.

She is artistic somehow, making the table and has a beautiful home.

Desire to please others, she wears the two scarves Ida bought her, putting up with the emblem demands from Ted, taking Rhoda’s mother in to stay with her, even listening to Phyllis about the table-distressing technique.

Over responsible.

Absolutely, you nailed it!

For Rhoda I will vote for Nat-m.

Right again!!!!  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!!!!!

Guilt feelings mainly.

Yes, and Nat-mur is bold/underline for that.

Love themes in her dialogues: “I cry at every wedding, I am 30 years old and no matter how old or whoever I meet, no one will love me like her, that is a curse.”

I mean, it was just a card, but being a nat-m, she took it seriously, because she has this insecurity of not being loved.

I think Nat-m does this also, prefers to avoid someone than hurt him by telling him what is the problem (introversion).

Here’s what I think, Maria.  I think Rhoda has tried to tell her mother before, “Ma, stop buying me gifts with the money I send you!” but it keeps happening.  She finally decided the only way to put a stop to this is by refusing to see her mother when she comes bearing a present.

Nat-mur is afraid of crying, so they keep people at a distance with devices like wit and sarcasm.  When Rhoda says towards the end, “My mother.  She’s got a back that could break your heart,” what she’s saying is, “My mother breaks my heart!”  And what’s our remedy for a broken heart?  Nat-mur!

If I am wrong I will try again!

You’re not wrong, so don’t try again!

Surely I have missed clues.

Surely you haven’t!

Great quiz!

Thank you!!!  I can’t believe it took me this long to do a Mary Tyler Moore quiz!  What was I thinking????

I was not very sure of my selections.

You did a great job!  Perfecto! 

Is anybody else here today?


Hi Elaine.

Hey!  It’s the one-and-only Mati Fuller!  I was just talking about you!  Mati is the author of my favorite book on Materia Medica:  Beyond The Veil of Delusions.

And yes, it has a new cover!  I strongly recommend it; you can buy it at Amazon and other places as well.

I’m in the middle of moving.

I hope it’s a move for the better.

Everything in my life is in chaos right now.  But, I listened to the video, and the mother is definitely Arsenicum.

I agree!!!

Master of guilt, manipulation and money issues.

There ya go!

Pretending to be poor, and using money to control every aspect of Rhoda’s life!  She obviously wants everyone else to be the source of security for her, while pretending to be a nice person.

Oh, well-put, Mati; brilliant!  And I think that would explain all the “cleaning” and dish-washing Ida is doing in Mary’s spotless apartment, namely: pretending to be a nice person!

Rhoda is constantly compromising because she can’t handle the guilt.  But she has finally found the courage to say no and not even answer the door when her mother comes.  She is still feeling internally conflicted.  What if the mother didn’t take her pills?  Is the mother ok?  She keeps calling to find out.  But she is sticking to her guns and not letting her in, until she sees her outside the department store.  All of a sudden, the guilt is crushing her, and she goes to say hello and goodbye.  The mother gives her the package–a very expensive jacket–and tells her that she has saved up for it because she never really needed the money Rhoda kept sending her.  (So, she admits to lying about needing money).

I know!  I think she kind of allowed herself to get backed into a corner on that one and was forced to admit the truth.  Oh!  Because the jacket actually cost more than the $50 Rhoda sent her, the receipt was in the coat pocket!  Then Ida was forced to explain how it was possible that she was able to buy a $400 jacket when she supposedly has no money!!!!!!  You see?  She got tripped up by her own deceit!

This makes Rhoda feel better about the gift.  She tries on the jacket and really likes it, and that is when the mother decides to take it back to the store.

Her mother says, “OK, you don’t like it!” implying she’s gonna take it back to the store.  It’s like there’s a sub-conscious need to knock the other person off-balance, just when they might be thinking, “I feel safe now.”  For some reason, Arsenicum cannot allow that! 

Ida makes sure that she always has the upper hand in any transaction.

Absolutely!  Yes, that’s exactly what happened, she was re-establishing her power!  Very good!

And Rhoda can never win, no matter what…

Absolutely, Ida can never allow Rhoda to win!

Rhoda’s best bet is to just stop having any contact with her mom, but she has a hard time battling her guilt over that.  She still wants to be a good daughter, but she also wants to grow up and do her own thing without feeling guilty all the time.  The constant compromise makes me think of Sepia.  Sepia is more independent than Nat Mur….

I see you know that Nat-mur is a possible remedy for Rhoda, and that’s what I landed on, actually; Nat-mur.

Even though Sepia is more independent, they’re still not independent enough to do what they want without feeling torn inside.

Mati, with Rhoda, in my opinion, the theme is crying.  I see you think Rhoda’s theme is “compromise”.  But in my opinion, her wit, jokes and sarcasm are all defenses to keep from crying.  When she sees her mother finally at the end, what does she do?  She cries!  Even then, she has to make a joke: “I always cry at weddings!”  (She was dressing a bride manniquin in the store window at the time.)  She says, “Boy, my mother.  She’s got a back that could break your heart.”  Rhoda has a broken heart.  Hence, Nat-mur.  

I just don’t think that a Nat-mur could even consider not opening the door for her mother when she knocked.  Nat-mur is so dutiful, always doing the right thing, always doing what is expected.  A Sepia however, has a tendency to withdraw from situations and block themselves in, like the cuttlefish, sitting under a rock and putting ink all around so nobody can see them.  I just can’t see a Nat Mur going against their sense of duty.  But that is just my take on it. You may be right…

Apparently Rhoda HAS been opening the door and letting her mother in–for months!  As she explained to Mary, “Every month I send my mother money, and every month she uses it to buy me a present and then she brings it to me.  I have to make her stop doing that kind of stuff!” 

You can tell that even though Rhoda has refused to see her mother, she’s very shaky about it, she tells Mary to make sure her mother is taking her medicine, calls Mary to see if her mother is still there (disguising her voice).  Finally, when she actually sees her mother, she breaks down and cries and does end up seeing her after all.  You see what I mean?  Crying.  Rhoda is hurt!  It’s always right beneath the surface.  She uses sarcasm and jokes to protect herself.  So she tried to go outside her comfort zone this one time to change her mother’s behavior, but she couldn’t pull it off.  Ida is a professional “Jewish Mother”!  Rhoda’s no match for her!

As for Mary, she wants to please everyone.


She is having a hard time hitting the new end-table with the chain in the beginning because she is feeling super embarrassed.  Hitting anything just isn’t part of the image that she has of herself.


She is also trying to please everyone.  Ida instantly takes advantage of this.


And Mary even agrees with her boss that she is totally useless at work (“rotten”).  She has no strength whatsoever when it comes to standing up for herself, or saying no to anything.

Right.  Can’t say no.

She just wants to be nice to everyone, even when they totally disrespect her.  So my suggestion for Mary is a high potency of Staphysagria since embarrassment and disrespect is a huge issue for that remedy.

But, even though I agree with you so far, I think you left something out.  Mary is over-responsible, and she does everything perfectly!  Even her face is perfect.  Her hairdo is perfect.  Her outfits are perfect, her apartment is perfect.  I think this pushes Mary’s remedy over to Carcinosin—a remedy that’s very close to Staphysagria; but Staphysagria isn’t listed under “over-responsible” or “perfectionistic”, which I think are big elements of Mary’s personality.

About the Staphysagria/Carcinosin possibility… The issue of embarrassment and disrespect is soooo Staphysagria.  Their whole lives are about avoiding embarrassment and disrespect.  And in the process of doing so, they do try to be perfect in the eyes of others.  It is all about upholding a reputation.  Carcinosin’s perfection is different.  They are not trying to be perfect to impress anyone.  In Carcinosin’s case, the perfection is a matter of necessity.  For example, if a Carcinosin is working in an emergency room, they have to do their work perfectly, or the patient may not survive.  So their perfection has an element of survival in it, rather than just upholding a reputation.  Does that make sense?

What about “over-responsible” and Staphysagria not being in that rubric?  “Over-responsible” is a big part of this case.  Carcinosins are “rescuers”, isn’t that right?  Clearly, Mary has “rescued” Mrs. Morgenstern.  She thinks nothing of taking her into her small apartment, a one-room apartment, for a week with no end in sight!  Never complaining.  You know, Carcinosins never get any appreciation for all the sacrificing they do.  They get taken advantage of.  They can’t say no, they’re sensitive to reprimand, so they can’t hurt anyone’s feelings.  I know, Staphysagria has that too.  It can be very hard to tell the difference between the two sometimes; but again, I have to ask, does Staphysagria rescue people and take responsibility for them?  And here’s another thing.  Mary is the producer of the 6:00 News.  She’s got a lot of responsibility and has to do everything perfectly.  We’ve talked about Staphysagria before and I remember you saying that Staphysagria wants respect without having to actually do any work to get it.  Isn’t that right?  Mary is a very hard worker in a demanding job.

Yes, I think you are right about Mary.  She is playing the rescuer in that episode.  And, you are probably right about Rhoda too.

Thanks, Mati; let me ask you about Sepia.  My impression of Sepia…they’re not so nice, are they?  I mean, they’ll tell you off in a minute!  People love Rhoda.  I understand that both Nat-mur and Sepia want to be alone; but, can you further differentiate between these two remedies?

I think you are right.  Sepia can get nasty if she compromises too much.  And then she needs space to recharge her batteries.  She does have a tendency to put all her stuff on the back burner and take care of everyone else’s needs first.

But she resents it, right?

Yes, she builds up resentment when she never has time for herself and what she wants to do.  Nat- mur is more bound by duties and the expectations of others.  They suffer incredibly from guilt about everything.  And they feel like they always have to do the “right thing.”  Sepia takes a little bit more freedom for herself.

Right; so you couldn’t picture Nat-mur not welcoming her mother because it would be expected of her and require her to go against her nature.  I guess there’s a nuanced difference here that you have to dig for; namely, that Rhoda has welcomed her mother many times but her mother doesn’t come in good faith!  That’s the problem!!!!  Her mother comes to keep Rhoda under her control and feeling guilty!  Rhoda is trying to finally protect herself from her mother’s attempts at “gas-lighting”.  Consider this dialogue near the end at the department store: 

“Mary, if I see my mother, it will set me back 20 years!” 

“Well, Rhoda, then don’t look now but she’s standing right outside the store window.” 

“Hello, 1950!” 

So, Rhoda tried to step outside her comfort zone and not welcome her mother, but she failed!  That’s how you have to look at this; not as something she “did” but as something she tried which, in the end, she didn’t do!  She actually WAS dutiful, just as you said she would have to be for the remedy to be Nat-mur.  It just took a while.  And you know, I think Ida dragged her visit out for a week because she knew that in time her daughter would “break”.

So guess what, everybody?  Mati does Tarot Card Readings!  Would you like Mati to do a reading for you?  Visit her website:

Mati, thanks for answering our quiz, it was great talking to you again!


Oh look, it’s the gang from Slovakia!

Hello, Elaine and Shana,

Hello Miroslav and Jitka!!!

We send our solutions to the July quiz and thank you for transcribing the episode, because without it we wouldn’t solve anything, whether right or wrong.

I knew I would have to do it.

Miroslav’s solutions are as follows:

Ida   – Arsenicum

Mary – Carcinosinum

Rhoda – Natrum mur.

Miroslav is right!  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!!!!!    

He says:

I originally thought Mary could be Nat-mur and Rhoda could be Arsenicum like her mother; but, on second thought, I believe Mary is Carcinosin because in her case there is exaggerated cleanliness and order and also she is nice to everyone, she probably can’t say no – not even to Ida … I would leave Ida as Arsenicum and maybe I should reclassify Rhoda as Nat-m. – in her case, the constant feeling of guilt is emphasized.

I’m sure glad you changed your mind, Miroslav.

Jitka´s solutions are as follows:

Ida   – Arsenicum

Mary – Carcinosinum

Rhoda – Staphysagria

I watched the video, but my solution comes more or less from your transcript of the story.

I didn’t even hesitate much about a remedy for Ida.  She tries to tie Rhoda down with gifts; greedy, because she was buying gifts with her daughter’s money.

No, I think you missed the point there.  The “gift” actually cost hundreds of dollars!  The coat.  Four hundred dollars!  Rhoda’s fifty dollars didn’t even begin to cover it!  It’s like saying, “Rhoda, you spent fifty dollars on me; well, I’m spending FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS on you; I win!”  Ida comes out on top–again!  Normally, a parent wants her child to fly away from the nest and start a life of her own.  Not Arsenicum!  Arsenicum is worried about her life.  To feel safe, Arsenicum has to have people around her, “owing her”, always owing her, so they can never leave!!!!!  That way, Arsenicum can feel safe!  Of course, Rhoda has tried to leave, she moved all the way to Minnesota to get away from her mother; but Ida is one step ahead of her.  She travels there once a month with an expensive present!  This is all to make Rhoda feel obligated.  If you’re obligated, you can’t leave.  Isn’t that right?  And, you know, it’s interesting; in the series, Rhoda does move back to New York a few years later.

She couldn’t resist the temptation to remind Rhoda again and again that she must be grateful and obligated to her.

It’s all passive-aggressive with Arsenicum.  They’re manipulators.  They put you in a position where, if you try to complain, you look bad.

I also didn’t hesitate on the remedy for Mary.  After reading this paragraph in your quiz case, I immediately thought of Carcinosinum.

“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.“

Yeah, that’s Carcinosin alright!

I thought a little more about the remedy for Rhoda.  She rebelled against her mother’s behavior, but eventually regretted it, cried, and thanked her for her present.  Staphysagias are nice people with repressed feelings that can burst into anger when over-pressured  – I think this fits to Rhoda.

But Jitka, see, here’s where you went wrong.  Rhoda didn’t burst into anger.  I mean, she is angry that her mother is “gas-lighting” her.  (“Every month I send my mother $50 and every month she uses it to by ME presents!  I gotta stop her from doing that kind of stuff!”)  But I didn’t see an eruption of anger with throwing things and breaking things, which is what Staphysagria does when they can’t take it anymore.

The red thread of the whole story is the feeling of guilt.  Ida kept trying to make Rhoda feel guilty by bringing her exaggerated gifts; Mary felt guilty about everything (about Ida, about failing at her job, forgetting Ted’s iron-on patch, etc.) and Rhoda felt guilty for rebelling against her mother, which she finally regretted doing.

All three remedies ( Ars, Carc, Staph) are in the rubric Mind: Guilt, feelings.

I know, Jitka.  It can be hard to differentiate between Nat-mur and Staphysagria.  But here’s what I see in Rhoda as her essential characteristic.  Rhoda is afraid of crying–which in the end, when she finally comes face to face with her mother, is exactly what she does!  Now, what remedy arranges everything in her life so that she won’t have to cry?  Also, remember when I said, “That’s the only hint I’m going to give you!”?  What was the hint?  Rhoda was looking out the department store window at her mother whose back was to the window.  Rhoda says, “My mother, she’s got a back that could break your heart.”  Which of our remedies has a broken heart?  Nat-mur!


Is anybody else here today?

Hi Elaine,

Hi Wayne!  I’m glad to see you’re taking a stab at our fun quiz!

I found Mary Tyler Moore to be a feminine Pulsatilla type, who sometimes needed protection, is loving, sensitive and weepy.

Here’s the problem I have with Mary being a Pulsatilla.  I can see what you’re saying, that Mary cries and seems to be falling apart and needs support.  One could reasonably suspect Pulsatilla.  But my problem with that is knowing that Mary is a television producer!  She’s the Producer of the 6:00 News!  That should make one think twice about Pulsatilla.  You know that Pulsatilla is our children’s remedy, right?  Why is it our children’s remedy?  Because like a child, the Pulsatilla flower is easily blown over (hence, it’s nickname, the “wind flower”).  It needs support, something to hold it up, like a strong parent, to pick it up when it falls, which it does so easily.

Pulsatilla is also known for its changeability and inconsistency, in the same way that children can be laughing one minute, crying the next and then angry or whiny before you know it.  This is why Pulsatilla can be so “easily reassured” when they’re sad.  They don’t hold on to sadness and grudges the way Nat-mur does.  After you’ve held and soothed Pulsatilla and said, “Everything’s alright now, you’re gonna be fine,” she bounces right back to being happy and joyous again as if nothing happened!  You can see that these traits represent a very immature personality, a child-like personality, whereas Mary, as I said, is the Producer of the 6:00 News and could hardly have attained such a position with a Pulsatilla personality!

So what could account for Mary’s crying in Mr. Grant’s office?  As in everything, we have to ask why; find out the cause!!!  We can’t just say, “Mary’s crying, give her Pulsatilla!”  We have to find out why!

To know if Mary has a reason to be crying, we have to ask ourselves what precipitated the crying in the first place.  Well, Mary’s friend’s mother, Ida Morgenstern, has moved in with her without warning and taken over Mary’s (small) apartment–for a week with no end in sight!  On top of that, Ida is not an easy person to live with, she’s disingenuous and manipulative; she has so disturbed Mary that Mary can’t remember what’s going on at work and Murray, the news writer, is doing most of Mary’s work for her.  When Mary says she can’t remember the name of the documentary the station is running, her boss calls her into his office and yells at her, telling her the quality of her work in the past week has been “rotten”.  That’s when Mary started crying.  What’s the rubric for this?

“Mind: sensitive, oversensitive to reprimands”.

You say Mary is “loving”, but, that word isn’t in the Repertory, so, we’d have to pick a synonym.  There’s “Affectionate”, but, there’s nothing in this episode showing Mary being especially “affectionate”, per se.  What do we see?  We see someone being horribly taken advantage of!

Mary’s afraid of hurting anyone’s feelings; therefore, she’s incapable of saying, “Rhoda, you get down here right now and get your mother out of my apartment, I can’t live this way!”  She can’t do that.  She can’t say to Ida, “Mrs. Morgenstern, Rhoda doesn’t want to see you, you have to accept that and go back to New York.”  Why can’t Mary say these things?  Guilt!  Mary suffers with guilt.  What’s the rubric? 

“Mind: guilt feelings”.

What else?  She can’t bear cruelty.  She couldn’t even “hit”–with that chain Phyllis gave her for antiquing– her newly-bought raw-wood end-table.  (“Either hit the table or buy a real antique!” Phyllis said.)  If Mary can’t even hit a table, it stands to reason that she can’t be aggressive, pushy, forceful, bossy, etc.  So where do we find that in the Repertory?  Unfortunately, there’s no rubric with the exact words we want.  So I picked,

“Mind: sensitive, cruelties, to”


“Mind: sensitive, disharmony, and quarrels, to”.

She can’t be cruel, and she hates quarrels.  So, if you can’t quarrel with people, what other rubric might apply to you?

“Mind: yielding, passive, can’t say no”.

This makes her a sitting duck for people like Ida!  Mary is totally defenseless!  She has weak boundaries.  Ida could cause someone like Mary to have a nervous breakdown, and that’s exactly what was happening to her in Lou Grant’s office when she started crying!

What other traits do you see in Mary?  She’s got an artistic aptitude, if you look at her apartment; and, in fact, that’s a rubric.

You might also say she’s a “perfectionist” as her hair is done perfectly, her apartment is neat and clean, her clothes are very tasteful and fit her perfectly and what else?

Responsible!  She’s very responsible, as you’d almost have to be, to be the producer of the 6:00 News!  This is why she can’t be Pulsatilla.  What’s the rubric?

“Mind: responsible, over-responsible”. 

And of course, she feels completely responsible for Rhoda’s mother.  So, if we repertorize all these rubrics, what do we get?

Carcinosin covers the whole case.

Rhoda, although apparently prone to panic, whilst being deceitful, had guilt pangs when she finally saw her mother and relented, showing her true feelings of love.  The guilt feelings and fear from anxiety when anything is expected of her would seem to make her an Ignatia.

I think you have the wrong perception of Rhoda.  Her mother is torturing her like she did Mary, only it’s been going on with Rhoda her whole life!  Rhoda moved all the way across the country to get away from her mother; but, like all good manipulators, Ida has made it so you can’t reject her because she brings presents! 

Rhoda tries valiantly to stand up to her but it doesn’t work.  Rhoda doesn’t panic, I don’t know where you saw her panicking.  Maybe when she was on the phone with Mary saying “Don’t tell my mother it’s me on the phone!”  I don’t know if that’s “panic”?  In fact, Rhoda is very controlled; and not a bit deceitful.  Lying about not being home?  Yes, but, she doesn’t want to see her mother, and you can imagine why.  Her mother comes uninvited to manipulate her into feeling guilty, I wouldn’t want to see her either!  

Rhoda is sad, gloomy.  And she uses jokes and sarcasm as a defense to keep from crying.  So, I repertorized and here’s what I came up with:

She’s a classic Nat-mur.  Depressed, low self-esteem, joking (to keep people at a distance), can’t cry.

Rhoda’s mother is manipulative,

Yes, absolutely.

tries to make people feel guilty


to the extent that they must do what she wants

Yes.  The rubric is, “Mind: domineering disposition, control others, wants to”.

and is easily offended.

Hmmm…..I don’t know…..  What offended her?  No one had the nerve to offend her!  Everyone bent over backwards for her!  Did you mean like when Mary tried on the blue scarf and Ida said, “Sorry you didn’t like the other one.”  That’s part of Ida’s manipulating behavior.  Maybe the idea is that if she “acts” like she’s easily offended, no one will dare offend her!  Maybe this is how she has her way with people; also by buying gifts, cleaning their apartment, doing their dishes, all of which makes it impossible for anyone to ever criticize her or ask her to leave!

This seems to be a Sepia person. There is no rubric for manipulative.

Actually there is.  It’s “Mind: manipulative”.  What Repertory are you using?

But Sepia with being offended easily and anger from contradiction, although a mild anger, seems to fit her case.

Well, see, here’s the thing.  I’m not sure that Ida was ever angry at all.  After all, you can’t make people feel guilty if you’re angry.  Isn’t that true?  Think about it.  So, for Ida, I felt the important rubrics were:

  1. Manipulative
  2. Controlling
  3. Fear to be alone

And why do I say that?  She wouldn’t stay at a hotel!  She pretended she wanted to stay at a hotel but she knew Mary wouldn’t hear of it.  And after all, why is she trying to control Rhoda?  Because she’s afraid to be alone!  She wants Rhoda to come back to New York.  And ultimately, though not in this episode, Rhoda does move back to New York.  So, here’s what I repertorized:

So, Ida’s remedy is Arsenicum.

Thanks for voting!            

OK, that’s it!  Time to congratulate our winners! 

Maria and Miroslav, come on down! 

You’re our Gold Star winners for the Mary Tyler Moore Show Quiz!

See you…. (OMG!) in September!  Shana, find The Happenings, it’s that time of year again!!!!

Bye-bye, so long, farewell!


Elaine Lewis, DHom, CHom

Elaine takes online cases. Write to her at [email protected]

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About the author

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine is a passionate homeopath, helping people offline as well as online. Contact her at [email protected]
Elaine is a graduate of Robin Murphy's Hahnemann Academy of North America and author of many articles on homeopathy including her monthly feature in the Hpathy ezine, "The Quiz". Visit her website at: and

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