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Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

By Wikipedia

Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman (sometimes abbreviated as MH2) was a 1976-1978 syndicated prime-time soap opera parody produced by Norman Lear and directed by Joan Darling. The soap was written by sitcom writer Gail Parent and soap writer Ann Marcus, who was best known for her work on Search for Tomorrow.

The show's title was repeated twice, because Lear and the writers believed that everything that was said on a soap opera was said twice. Lear conceived Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman as satire, but it was viewed as so controversial that many stations aired it well after their 11 P.M. newscasts. The irony was that while Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman dealt with many of the same topics found in episodes of daytime soap operas, the topics were called by their names (impotence, sexual perversion) instead of being referred to in hushed tones and euphemisms; all the while the cast had their tongues firmly planted in their cheeks. For this reason, the series was even more controversial than it might otherwise have been. In 1977, the similarly-themed Soap was released, but it was conceived as more of a conventional sitcom than a serial, albeit with seriously dramatic elements.

The storyline followed Mary Hartman, played by Louise Lasser, and her family. Mary Hartman's husband Tom (Greg Mullavey), her mother by Dody Goodman, and Mary’s best friend and next-door neighbor, Loretta Haggars, (Mary Kay Place). Other cast members included Debralee Scott, Renee Taylor, Reva Rose, Martin Mull (as both Garth Gimble and Barth Gimble), Dabney Coleman, Marian Mercer and Doris Roberts. The series took place in the fictional town of Fernwood, Ohio. In its first episode, MH2 addressed a family that had been mass-murdered (including the goats and chickens) and the "Fernwood Flasher", who turned out to be Mary's grandfather.

When Lasser left the show in 1977, it was rebranded Forever Fernwood and followed the trials and tribulations of Mary's family and friends after she ran away with a policeman. The series finally ended in 1978, along with the talk show parody spin-off Fernwood 2-Night.

Mary Kay Place was nominated for a Grammy Award for the album Tonite! At the Capri Lounge, Loretta Haggers on which she sang as her MH2 character, Loretta Haggers. One of the songs Place wrote for the album, "Baby Boy", climbed to the Top 60 on Billboard's Pop Charts, and #3 on the country charts, in 1976. Place also won an Emmy for her performance on the show.

 

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TV TIDBITS

Aired: 1976-1978

Cast: Louise Lasser, Tab Hunter

Network: (Syndicated)

Genre: 

Theme song

Image courtesy of (Syndicated)


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It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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