« Still time to post your supreme sandwiches | Main | Top 10 fried oyster destinations »

October 4, 2010

10 great food moments from the Mary Tyler Moore Show


The seventh and final season of "Mary Tyler Moore" appears on DVD tomorrow, eight years (!) after the release of Season 1. In celebration, and before I go into hiding, here are ten favorite food-related moments from the series

10 -- Mary hates pepperoni (Season 3, Episode 22)

Mary gets surprisingly very angry, bordering on violent, when an old flame forgets she hates pepperoni on her pizza

9 --  Murray drops Sue Ann in a wedding cake (Season 6, Episode 15 -- "What Do You Want to Do When You Produce)

Humiliated in his role as Sue Ann's flunky producer, Murray drops her into a giant low-cal wedding cake. Seated on the cake, Sue Ann licks frosting from her fingers and gallantly determines, " it could use some vanilla." 

8 -- Mary turns critic (Season 7, Episode 14 -- "The Critic")

In the company of WJM's vicious new critic (Victor Newman!), Mary is mortified by her date's harsh complaints until the other diners applaud the his exiting tirade. Emboldened, Mary says, "and next time, make sure the shrimp is fresh."

7 -- Mary gets very good service (Season 5, Episode 2 -- "Not Just Another Pretty Face")

Out to dinner with her extremely handsome date, Mary receives excellent service at a restaurant where it's always been awful before, a joke that "30 Rock" recycled in an episode with Jon Hamm.


6 -- Guests must wear hats (Season 5, Episode 9 -- "Not a Christmas Story")

Stranded in the newsroom by a freak snowstorm, the bickering crew reluctantly attends a very early Christmas dinner on Sue Ann's set. They are compelled to wear hats representing different countries.

5 -- Sue Ann poisons the gang (Season 5, Episode 7 -- "A New Sue Ann")

Everyone gets food poisoning when Sue Ann sabotages her new assistant by leaving cream filling unrefrigerated. Sue Ann explains, "she made the mistake of asking me to do it."

4 -- The thing Rhoda says about the chocolate (Season 1, Episode 11 -- "1040 or Fight")

"I don't know why I'm eating this chocolate. I should just apply it directly to my hips."

Although she wasn't the episode's credited writer, Treva Silverman is acknowledged as having come up with this still frequently quoted line.

3 -- Sue Ann closes an over door (Season 4, Episode 1 -- "The Lars Affair")

In what was intended as a onetime appearance, Betty White is cast as WJM's "Happy Homemaker." a husband-snatching phony. Tearfully retrieving a ruined soufflé from a hot oven, White closes the oven door with a wicked shot from her knee. You can hear James Brooks losing his mind. 

2 -- Phyllis bakes a pie (Season 4, Episode 1 -- "The Lars Affair")

From the same episode, Phyllis desperately takes up baking to win back her husband. The various reactions of Mary, Rhoda, and Phyllis as they taste the pitiful results are brilliantly acted and directed. A little gesture Cloris Leachman makes, averting her gaze as she pushes away the plate, is beyond brilliant.  

1 -- The Veal Prince Orloff (Season 4, Episode 10 - "The Dinner Party")

In the most memorable of Mary's disastrous dinner parties, Sue Ann makes a Veal Prince Orloff with six portions, no more no less. Mr. Grant helps himself to fully half of them. This is the episode where unexpected guest Henry Winkler sits at the "little table."  

There is this exchange:

Sue Ann: Mary dear, do you have any idea what happens if you let veal Prince Orloff sit in an oven too long?

Mary: No, what?

Sue Ann: He dies

Posted by Richard Gorelick at 3:53 PM | | Comments (11)


The show first aired in 1970, I think it ran for 6 years. So where do you come up with "eight years (!) after the release of Season 1"?

Did you mean 40 years?

ah, I was referring to the release, in 2002, of the first season on DVD

Jack Z, I believe RG was referring to the release of MTM Show episodes on DVD.

Wait--it's not (Top Ten) Tuesday yet, is it?

it was a bonus Top Ten!

When the Sunshine Kid rides into town, every day is like Tuesday.

Ffood moment on MTM. The chocolate one with Rhoda. She was on a diet and she made Mary eat the chocolate bar and describe every bite and morsel to her. As Mary described it, Rhoda ooh'd and aah'd.

If you're willing to count hard liquor as a food, the first meeting between Mary and Lou Grant was another great moment.

Lou pulls a bottle out from his desk and says, "Look, Miss, I was just about to have a drink, and I wouldn't mind some company. Want one?"
Mary: "Oh, no thank you."
Lou, more sternly: "I said I wouldn't mind some company."
Mary: "Well, all right, I'll... I'll have a Brandy Alexander."

My husband called it...."the one where Lou Grant ate the whole dinner" had to be number one. And it was!

OMG-a food critic and a MTM fan? it doesn't get any better! Great Top 10, and thanks for the heads up on the new DVD release.

"A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer in your pants."

I love The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Richard, yours is a clever idea for a Top Ten List. Was it difficult to pick just one of the "chocolate" quotes? My favorite comes from the 3rd season episode, "Put on a Happy Face." When Mary is complaining about her lousy day, Rhoda suggests she...

Rhoda: Eat some candy.

Mary: Rhoda, chocolate solves nothing.

Rhoda: No, no no. Cottage Cheese solves nothing. Chocolate can do it all.

Chocolate can't, however, undo the truly shoddy treatment that Fox Home Entertainment has given the MTM show.

"shoddy" is being kind!

Joel, that was the funniest episode ever!

What a wonderful idea for a bonus Top 10 list - thank you, Richard. I just moved Season 1 of the MTM show to the top of my Netflix queue.

Post a comment

All comments must be approved by the blog author. Please do not resubmit comments if they do not immediately appear. You are not required to use your full name when posting, but you should use a real e-mail address. Comments may be republished in print, but we will not publish your e-mail address. Our full Terms of Service are available here.

Verification (needed to reduce spam):

About this blog

You are reading the archives. For updated blog posts about the Maryland food scene, see Richard Gorelick's new Baltimore Diner blog.
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

Top Ten Tuesdays
Most Recent Comments
Baltimore Sun coverage
Restaurant news and reviews Recently reviewed
Browse photos and information of restaurants recently reviewed by The Baltimore Sun

Sign up for FREE text alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for dining text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Food & Drink newsletter
Need ideas for dinner tonight? A recommendation for the perfect red wine?'s Food & Drink newsletter is there to help.
See a sample | Sign up

Stay connected