The Mary Tyler Moore Show was one of the most literate,
realistic, and enduring situation comedies of the 1970s.
Mary Richards was the idealized single career woman. She
had come to Minneapolis after breaking up with a man she
had been dating for four years. Ambitious, and looking for
new friends, she moved into an older apartment building
and went to work as an assistant producer of the local
news show on television station WJM-TV. In her early 30s,
Mary symbolized the independent woman of the 1970s. Mary's
boss was WJM-TV News producer Lou Grant, an irascible,
cantankerous, blustery man whose bark was much worse
than his bite. Underneath that harsh exterior beat the heart of a pussycat.

Murray Slaughter was the head newswriter at
the station. Ted Baxter was the anchorman, not too bright,
prone to put his foot in his mouth both on and off the
air, and possessor of such a misplaced sense of his own
wonderfulness that he was the butt of everyone's jokes.
Mary's closest friend was one of her neighbors, Rhoda
Morgenstern, a window dresser for a local department store
who, like Mary, was still single though in her 30s. The
other neighbor seen frequently in Mary's apartment Phyllis
Lindstrom. Phyllis was the building's resident busybody,
and though it took quite a while to find out, also its
landlady. Phyllis was oblivious to everyone elses feelings
and had an extremely flaky personality. Other regulars
included: Bess, Phyllis' mature-beyond-her-years daughter;
Sue Ann Nivens, "The Happy Homemaker" on WJM-TV;
Gordy Howard, WJM-TV's weatherman; and Georgette
Franklin, Ted Baxter's empty-headed girlfriend.