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Spinoff from the popular "Mary Tyler Moore" series has Mary Richards' landlady, Phyllis Lindstrom, moving back to her hometown of San Francisco with her teenage daughter Bess following the sudden death of Phyllis' (heard of, but never seen) husband, Lars, to make a new life for herself and her daughter by moving in with Lars' scatterbrained mother, Audrey; and Audrey's second husband, Judge Dexter; and getting a new job as an assistant to Julie Erskine, the CEO of a photography studio. Written by
The character of Phyllis was not originally designed to be a leading role; rather she was a self-centered, opinionated, overbearing cameo character of sorts to add a zany counter to the tranquil Mary Richards. She was silly, but not really likable. Once the character had to stand on her own, she had to be toned down and made more appealing, thus losing the truly funny quality she added to the Mary Tyler Moore Show.
With the exception of Mother Dexter, her supporting characters did not do the necessary job of balancing the character of Phyllis, and the show often looked strained and weak. The show seemed to mirror the character of Phyllis in that it did not seem to know where it was going or what to do with itself after the pilot episode. The 'wacky' photography studio was dropped for the dull politician's office thereby dooming the show to current political topics and satire - but without the proper characters to pull it off. Nothing felt right and the second season was worse than the first.
I so wish Phyllis had stayed in Minneapolis!
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