I grew up watching Nick at Nite, staying up as late as my parents would let me to watch Lucy and Ethel, Jeanie, and of course there was Mary Tyler Moore. I loved watching her on The Dick VanDyke Show as the intelligent and witty homemaker Laura Petrie AND on The Mary Tyler Moore Show as Mary Richards, strong, single working woman in her 30s.
The contrast between these two characters was such a great thing for my young mind. As a child, I didn't see them as two distinct characters, I saw them as two versions of the same woman and I grew up aspiring to be BOTH.
Just like Mary Tyler Moore, I could be a loving wife with awesome dance moves who enjoys hosting friends for dinner and occasionally gets into shenanigans involving a blow up boat in the living room or a closet full of walnuts and then after a commercial break and a hat throwing theme song, I could be comedically navigating awkward situations at work then hang out with my best friend in my own apartment.
For Mary Tyler Moore, Laura Petrie and Mary Richards were two different rolls, but for me, they were rolled up in one. She did both and so could I. My version of it looks a little different, currently balancing marriage and work, and not yet getting around to having kids (Shout out to The Mary Tyler Moore Show for portraying a woman in her thirties w/o kids!) but I will always be thankful to Mary for showing me it was possible to have my own version of it all.
From my vantage point now, I see that those shows aren't perfect. They portray somewhat idyllic versions life for women in the 60's and 70's- a housewife, married to the man she loves, a man who has a good job insuring her the privilege of being able to stay home and raise their son and conversely a single woman who is educated and able to support herself in a white collar job where the snarky comments about her being unmarried and without children were part of the comedy the show was built on rather than something that is intrinsically wrong with her. I'm thankful that my life fits pretty well into this idyllic version of things too. This is a privilege, and not a reality for many women in the U.S. and around the world. When is why I continue to support any cause that helps women live their best lives like me, and both versions of Mary.
As I child, I just saw the characters, now as a woman with a foot in the entertainment industry, I have so much respect for Mary Tyler Moore and her roll within the industry. Along with her husband, she formed MTM Productions, which produced the groundbreaking Mary Tyler Moore Show among other hits. AND she put her cat in her logo.
PS. Both shows are available to watch on Hulu! Toss your hat in the air with joy!