Set in fictional Fernwood, Ohio, this deliriously demented serial focused on the beleaguered heroine Mary Hartman, an average American housewife. In the first year, Mary suffered the ... See full summary »
Set in fictional Fernwood, Ohio, this deliriously demented serial focused on the beleaguered heroine Mary Hartman, an average American housewife. In the first year, Mary suffered the travails of mass murder, adultery, venereal disease, homosexuality, religious cults, and UFO sightings, before she finally succumbed to a nervous breakdown on a syndicated talk show. Written by
Mark Faulkner <email@example.com>
Then Nixon aide Ben Stein wrote an impassioned letter in support of the show early in the first season, when its future was strongly in doubt; his piece is considered at least one of the reasons it continued airing. See more »
[Mary realizes she went to elementary school with the man who has kidnapped her]
Remember me, Mary Shumway? Mary Shumway?
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Just when you thought Norman Lear couldn't produce a more cutting-edge sitcom than All In The Family, he goes and outdoes himself, by creating Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Actually Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, was not truly a sitcom at all. It could be more accurately described as a prime-time soap-opera. More specifically, a spoof of the soap-opera genre. Like the film Airplane poked-fun at those airport disaster movies, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was a satire of the classic soap-opera.
This show set the template for other bizarre comedy series that followed in its wake, such as Married With Children, and Strangers With Candy. Like both of those shows, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman was funny precisely because of it's warped premise, not in spite of it. It was the first TV comedy of it's kind, and the most avant-guard comedy on TV in the 70s.
Louise Lasser was brilliant as the flummoxed housewife, Mary Hartman. She played Mary with such a droll, dead-pan style, that she was utterly hilarious. Only Mary Kaye Place as Mary Hartman's neighbor, Loretta Haggers, was as drop-dead funny as Lasser. The other characters in this show, were only mildly amusing, by comparison.
I don't believe that Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman is in syndication anymore. But it's on DVD now. I definitely recommend it. Especially if you want to see a show by Norman Lear, that topped all of his others.
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