|Index||9 reviews in total|
Of the three series to spin-off of THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW, this one is
the best and most memorable. Valerie Harper played the Rhoda character to
perfection on TMTMS, and here, she expands on that well-loved character,
with a degree of depth, rarely found on sitcoms today. Rhoda Morgenstern
went through a variety of challenges on this series...she moved back to New
York, met Joe Gerard, got married...separated...divorced, and then went back
to being a swinging single. It's too bad this show was cancelled without a
real final episode...I've always wondered how they would have ended this,
had they the opportunity to do so gracefully.
Along with Harper, was Julie Kavner, brilliant, as Rhoda's little sister, Brenda. Nancy Walker was also priceless as Ida, the mom. The best episode of this series has got to be "Rhoda's Wedding", the one-hour saga of how Rhoda almost doesn't make it down the isle, because ditzy Phyllis forgets to pick her up. In fact, the whole wedding storyline; Rhoda meeting Joe, the proposal, the shower, wedding and honeymoon, are some of the best-written comedy episodes. It's too bad Joe was written off the show, but "The Separation", is one of the most poignant, thoughtful, and well-acted episodes I've seen in a sitcom. Proof once again, as to the degree of depth that the characters on this show had.
I don't think this show was quite the same once Rhoda's divorce was final. The later episodes just lacked the earlier vibrance and fun, and I didn't like the storyline about Rhoda's father, Martin, leaving Ida. Still, this is a fine series, great acting, writing, and production, and there's no doubt about it that scarves were never worn the same way again.
This show is ground-breaking and paved the way for many shows to come. Before Friends and Seinfeld, this was the show about singles living in New York City. This show portrayed the Jewish-American culture in a positive light. The chemistry between Valerie Harper, Julie Kavner, and Nancy Walker is among the best that television has ever seen. And, while always funny, it was constantly breaking its premise in half and yet still staying funny and great. I love, too, how it is the first great sitcom that used self-deprecation as a tool to provide humor and portray grand humanity. Both Harper and Kavner (Marge Simpson of The Simpsons) belong in the Television Hall of Hame based simply on this wonderful show.
Being British I have never had the pleasure of watching any episodes of The
Mary Tyler Moore Show from which this sitcom spun off from so I didn't know
much about Rhoda's character in that show. However, I found this show very
Valerie Harper may be the lead but the show really shines because of the wonderful Julie Kavner as her sister and Nancy Walker as her interferring mother. Characterization is always very important in making a great situation comedy - just look at Cheers, The Golden Girls, Roseanne.
Carlton the Doorman was always good for a laugh even though you never saw what he looked like.
A very funny show.
Spun off from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Rhoda got off to a great start
thanks to an outstanding cast led by Valerie Harper, Julie Kavner
(before she became better known as the voice of Marge Simpson), Nancy
Walker, who played the quintessential Jewish mother, Harold Gould and
David Groh. The first season was known for IMHO one of the best sitcom
episodes of all-time, "Rhoda's Wedding." My favorite scene was where
Phyllis forgot to pick up Rhoda to take her to her parents and Rhoda
ran down the streets in her wedding dress.
After a season of a married Rhoda, it seemed the producers were getting tired of the show so they had Rhoda and Joe separate and later divorce. At that time Anne Meara and Ron Silver were added to the show and Walker later left for her own show but came back when it was canceled.
Unfortunately, the quality of episodes began to decline and even Rhoda's new job at a costume company couldn't up the ratings, resulting in its cancellation at mid-season.
One thing that stood out through out the show's up and down run was the voice of Lorenzo Music (billed as L. Music) as Carlton, the Doorman. The producers tried out several people for the role but none of them worked out so Music filled in and he played it so well that he stayed on for the entire run. A pilot for an animated spin off didn't sell.
This show was 'it' growing up in the seventies. Rhoda was always ten times cooler than Mary Tyler Moore. A little weird to watch now, with the voice of her younger sister being Marge Simpson's.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Rhoda" was a spin off of the highly popular "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". After 4 years as Mary Richard's wise cracking neighbour,Valerie Harper took her Rhoda Morgenstern back to New York,for a holiday visiting younger overweight sister Brenda(Julie Kavner)and her parents Martin(Harould Gould)and Ida (Nancy Walker) and decided to stay after meeting Joe(David Groh) The first two seasons crackled as Rhoda got engaged,then married to Joe,resulting in the highly rated wedding episode(with a lot of guest appearances from TMTMS cast)when Phyllis(Chloris Leachman)forgets to pick up Rhoda and she takes the subway,to her wedding! Valerie excelled in her quick one liners and Brenda took on Harper's old role on TMTMS as the overweight,insecure unlucky in love "single gel" but like Rhoda over the seasons Brenda lost the weight too. The unseen but heard doorman on the intercom,Calton(voiced by writer and co-creator of "Rhoda",Lorenzo Music)was always amusing as he was constantly drunk and on a different planet,you began to realise why he was so odd when we met his mother in season2,a great guest star turn by Ruth Gordon. Having decided a married Rhoda was getting maybe too dull,the writers made the bold move of splitting Joe and Rhoda up(for good as it turned out)and it was unusual for a sitcom then,to show the pain of the separation,all credit to Valerie Harper for a heartfelt performance. So in season 3,Rhoda went back on the singles scene and met Sally(Anna Meara) a character created to fill the void left by Nancy Walker who left to try her own series but Miss Walker returned in seasons 4 and 5. At the start of season 4,Rhoda was divorced but then she took a job in a custom hire place,causing the Rhoda character to loss a lot of her independence and giving Rhoda a "Lou Grant" style boss,this seemed wrong to me. Valerie Harper,Julie Kavner and Nancy Walker were still giving great comedic performances but the scripts didn't seem to match the earlier seasons,one highlight was "Blind Date" when Rhoda felt guilty about not wanting to see a blind date again as he was bald,small and unattractive(David Landsberg)only for him to verbally attack her on their second date saying she was "old" and her face "looked like a fist". So sadly the series fizzled out rather than going out on a high like TMTMS and the recent "Mary and Rhoda" film,I found a disappointment,I do hope this classic 70s show comes out on DVD very soon!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Where Mary Tyler Moore explored and independent woman, this spin off
went into the Independent woman being romanced, married and divorced in
a short time. This was Rhoda, the artist who got something created from
her success with her girlfriend.
The show explores her relationship with her younger sister and her husband. At times it is very funny. Carlton the doorman is a classic comedic character. He has more punch lines than most and his timing is spot on.
Rhoda does not have as much sex appeal which makes this series a more down to earth type of show. This is one of the rare times where the show is selling normal relationships without someone being considered a sacred idol.
In the early 1970's women were still really getting started on their equal rights they are still fighting for. Rhoda represents those values well.
"Rhoda" was, if I remember rightly, the only U.S. MTM sit-com to get a
set screen-time on British television. The original "Mary Tyler Moore
Show" and its other spin-off "Phyllis" were treated as schedule-fillers
at best and even the dramatised "Lou Grant" ended up on the graveyard
shift. But "Rhoda" I'm sure was shown on BBC2 at 9 o'clock on Tuesday's
for I believe all its series showings and I loved it as a youngster at
the time. Back then, I knew very little of Valerie Harper's character's
origins on the Tyler Moore show, but that didn't matter, the laughs
were there from the start as well as the strong supporting characters
of Rhoda's waspish mother played by Nancy Walker, fresh from "McMillan
and Wife" and Julie Kavner (later the voice of Marge Simpson) as her
man (and food) hungry kid sister Brenda, while the insertion of their
boozy off-stage doorman Carlton also made for some off-beat humour.
The humour was of the sharp and sassy New York Jewish type and largely set-bound in Rhoda's massive apartment. Valerie Harper was a delight in the title part, by turns confident and insecure, independent but mother-dependant. Romance entered her life in the form of hunky construction company boss Joe, played by Davud Groh, but the marriage wasn't to last.
I remember later episodes playing up Brenda's eccentric choice of boyfriends, some of which worked (klutz-type Nick Lobo) and some of which didn't (smarmy type Gary Levy). I also seem to recall the series ending with Rhoda working for old sourpuss Kenneth MacMillan's clothing company and some enjoyable sparring between the two of them, but my main memories will always be the bright, sunny early series and that distinctive "La La La" theme music.
Would love to see it again.
I recently watched all seven seasons of The Mary Tyler Moore Show and it is a timeless classic. The 1970s was the era of spin-offs and of the two sitcoms from The MTM Show, Rhoda fares much better than Phyllis. Rhoda was a character who was down-to-earth, self-deprecating and she was the perfect best friend for the so-good Mary Richards. The MTM Show always had a perfect ensemble cast but Rhoda had characters leave and, especially when Rhoda and Joe separate, we don't know what became of Barbara Sharma who was Rhoda's assistant in dressing windows. Anne Meara leaves without a trace after becoming a close friend to Rhoda and Brenda. In comes Ron Silver as Gary Leavy who becomes a good friend but Johnny Venture comes and goes and it is never clear why he is there. Rhoda gives up dressing windows and it looks hopeful when she becomes a costume designer. Julie Kavner was extremely important to Rhoda as her younger sister and her comic performances are superb. The relationship between Rhoda and Brenda was pivotal to this show's success. Nancy Walker, who was missing in season three but returned for season four & five, was always brilliant. Valerie Harper progressed as Rhoda became more confident and was always there for her insecure sister, Brenda. These are brilliant moments in the show. I do wish very much that the final season would be released. Season Five has not been put on DVD and there are some five episodes never shown except when the program was syndicated. Over all, the show is good and funny. Valerie Harper is a joy to watch. There are a few episodes that didn't fare well but they are in the minority. Valerie Harper is a great actress and she remains Rhoda who has embraced feminism. Over all, good acting, good writing, and excellent acting from Valerie Harper, Julie Kavner, Nancy Walker, Harold Gould, David Groh, Ron Silver, Barbara Sharma, Anne Meara, the guy who played Benny and the owner of the costume shop where Rhoda finds a new career. A Most Enjoyable Show over all. What destroyed it was that CBS moved it six times so it lost viewers. So, I hope Shout Factory, who released the full four seasons will release Season Five!
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