Mary Tyler Moore (1970–1977): Season 1, Episode 3 - Bess, You Is My Daughter Now - full transcript

After Lars is diagnosed with a suspected case of chicken pox, Phyllis asks Mary to look after her precocious daughter, Bess, until Lars' contagious phase is over. Mary doesn't think it's such a good idea since she doesn't think Bess likes her, but agrees anyway. Phyllis, who treats adolescent Bess like an independent adult, wants Mary to follow that same parenting style. But when Mary, who has always questioned whether she would make a good mother, treats Bess like a typical little girl, Bess drops all her precociousness and becomes a well behaved and lovable little girl. When it's time for Bess to go home, she refuses. Instead of feeling incensed, Phyllis continues with her same treatment of Bess, allowing her to make up her own mind and let her stay with Mary as long as she wants, much to Mary's dismay. Mary has to try and convince Phyllis that what Bess probably wants is some indication from her that she really wants Bess to come home and that she misses her daughter.

# How will you make it on your own #

# This world is awfully big #

# And, girl
this time you're all alone #

# But it's time you started living #

# It's time you let someone else
do some giving #

# Love is all around #

# No need to waste it #

# You can have the town
Why don't you take it #

# You might just make it #

# After all #

# You might just make it after all ##

So, my fan club wants the answers
to all these questions.

I don't know why they want to know.

What difference does it make what
my favorite color is? I'm just a guy.

Just an ordinary guy.

Well, that's the way fan clubs are.

Just had a couple of lucky breaks.

Well, okay, maybe a little
extra this or that.

Dash of charisma,
innate sense of style.

I don't know. I'm just a guy.

Just a guy who happens
to dig the color...


I was holding my breath there.

There were those of us
who were betting on red.

Did you read any funny stories on the
wire we can close the show with tonight?

- Uh, no, sorry.
- Any unfunny stories we can close with?

- Nope.
- Did you hear any good jokes recently?

"What's my favorite dessert?"

Honestly, you'd think I was
some sort of god or something.

Baked Alaska.

Baked Alaska. Wait a minute.
That sounds a little airy.

Maybe I oughta make it
a little more substantial,

like apple pie?

Are you saying you're actually going to
lie about what your favorite dessert is?

I was just kidding.
Can't you tell when I'm kidding?

Baked Alaska.



I've got my closer.
Now, listen to this, Mary.

"A new social club in Minneapolis
is holding a branch meeting tonight.

The club, for divorced people only, is
called the Better Luck Next Time club."

Oh, it's so awful, it's great.

Wh- Wh- What's so awful about a club
for divorced people?

Come on, Mary.
Would you join it?

- Well, no, I wouldn't.
- Aha!

Uh, Murray, I wouldn't join it because
"A," I don't happen to be divorced,

and "B," I'm just not a joiner.

But I think for people who are, uh...

Divorced joiners.
That's the phrase you're looking for.

I think it's a good idea. It's a way for
people to meet people, like all clubs.

What's this thing about meeting,

like it's some
big, mysterious thing?

- It's easy. Take Marie and me.
- How'd you two meet?

- She saved my life.
- What?

It was no big deal. I was skydiving
once. My chute didn't open.

Hers did.
She made a terrific catch.



- I need your advice about something.
- Yeah, sure, Ted.

Not that it's important, but, uh,

do you think it sounds too risque for an
anchorman to say he sleeps in the raw?

You gotta snap.

Yeah, right, Mar.
You gotta snap.

I don't wanna snap.

Hey, Mar, was that your idea to do that
divorce club thing on tonight's news?

- Uh, no.
- Oh.

- Well, I was thinking about it, and...
- Jog.

Uh, yeah.

You know something?
We oughta join.

Join a club for divorced people?

Sure. Why not?

Wh- Why not?

Give me one good reason.

- Give you... one good reason?
- Yeah.

Okay. All right.

Rhoda, you should already be aware of
this good reason: we're not divorced.

A technicality.

So we say we're divorced.

You actually want to lie
about being divorced?


Mary, you talk about it like
I'm asking you to deny your birthright,

like being single's
part of your heritage.

It's a drag saying you're 30 and single
all the time. You know it is.

I know, I know.

We're done.

And then that ever-popular question...

How come a girl like you
isn't married?

How come you're still single?

I could discover the secret of
immortality and people would still say,

"Look at that single girl
discovering the secret of immortality."

That is exactly
what I'm talking about.

Imagine the relief
of not having to go through that.

You meet someone. You don't have
to explain why you're not married.

- You're divorced.
- You know something, Rhoda?

- It really is all very, uh...
- Right.

- But mostly it's crazy.
- Look at it from my point of view.

Dressing dummies
in a department store window...

is not the best way
to get into the social swim.

Unless someone comes up
and kisses the glass, I've had it.

Rhoda, I am not joining
a club for divorced people.

- You might as well change the subject.
- Okay, okay.

My new subject is Paris, France.

You know that trip to Paris
you've never been able to afford?

There's this club, Mar.

If you join and are a member
for six months,

you can get a charter flight
for just $300.

- Three hundred dollars?
- That's right.

- What's the club?
- The divorced people's club.

- Ohh!
- Aha!

That stopped you, didn't it?

- And on top of that, you speak French.
- Spanish.

Ah, they speak anything in Paris.

The Left Bank.
Gene Kelly. "April in Paris."

Chestnuts in blossom.

Okay, Rhoda, I'll do it.

But promise me we're just gonna
get our membership cards and leave.

- Right?
- Promise. Right.

- Okay.
- I'm gonna change, shower.

- I'll meet you in half an hour.
- Okay.

Do you know what I'm doing?

I am changing my clothes at 8:00
at night so I can go to a club...

where I'm gonna lie
about being divorced...

so that I can, perhaps, in a few months
time, end up in Paris speaking Spanish.

You too? Hmm. You're the tenth person
who's told me that today.

- Are you new here?
- Uh, yes.

Are you interested
in buying a house?

- Uh, no. I don't think so.
- Uh-uh.

Nice to meet you.

It's starting.
It's starting already.

I hear these little voices saying,
"Get out while you can."

Is that what yours say? My voices
usually tell me to go save France.

Will you relax.

Oh, hi! Welcome to
the Better Luck Next Time social club.

I'm Karen Norris, your
Better Luck Next Time registration gal,

and this is Dr. Walter Udall,
our president...

and also your Better Luck Next Time
registration guy.

Oh, and also your Better Luck Next Time
resident dentist.


Are you aware of the fact that
you have incredible teeth, young lady?

Oh. Thank you.

Brushing after meals,
electric toothbrush, sugarless gum.

You're into that whole bag, right?

Oh, yes, I guess so.

I didn't even have to ask.

- Good luck to you.
- Thank you.

And with that mouth,
you won't need it.

You came on a big night.
We're electing officers.

Fill out this application.
Your name, please.

- Uh, Mary Richards.
- Mary Richards.

And your maiden name, Mrs. Richards?

Uh, my, uh, eh...

Uh, Mrs. Richards... Excuse me,
Karen, but you know how I get.

Tell me, uh, did you have
such beautiful teeth...

even before your marriage
went on the rocks?

I beg your pardon?

So often after a divorce
a woman decides to spruce herself up.

Naturally, the first thing
she thinks about is her teeth and gums.

Well, I can say,
as an objective bystander,

that Mrs. Richards's teeth were as
beautiful the day she married Stefano...

as they are today.

Look, uh, about
those applications,

could Mary and I
just fill them out ourselves?

Certainly, if it makes it easier,
Mrs., um...

Miss Morgenstern.
Rhoda Morgenstern.

Miss Morgenstern?

He thought it was in the best interest
of the space program...

that I retain my maiden name.

The program!
You were married to an astronaut.

- Which one?
- Please. I'd rather not say anymore.

You know, word gets out, people
start hitting you up for moon rocks.

Oh, um, Rhoda, didn't you want to
inquire about the, uh... What was it?

- Charter flights to Paris.
- Of course.

Yes, we're going to jot down the names
of those interested after the meeting.

Meantime, introduce yourselves
to some of the other divorceds.


Unbelievable teeth.

I knew this was gonna happen.
We're gonna be here all night.

Aw, come on. It's okay, Mar.
Just a few hours.

Just act natural
and try to look divorced.

Hi. My name is Frances Franklin,
but everybody calls me Sparkie.

I don't know why. All my friends
say I sparkle and bubble.

They say since I'm divorced
I'm like another person, all sparkling.

That's why they call me Sparkie.

Isn't that crazy?


Listen, do you know
who the guy in the argyles is?

Uh, no, we're new here, so...

You're new here.

- The name's Roy. This is my buddy Hal.
- How are you?

Roy, Hal, I'm Mary.

This is Rhoda and, uh, Sparkie.

Uh, no, my real name
is Frances Franklin,

but all my friends call me Sparkie.

I don't know why. I guess it's 'cause
I sparkle and bubble all the time.


Listen, I want to
warn you about this place.

It's filled with losers. It's up to here
with losers that you wouldn't believe.

- You know what I mean?
- Nothin'but losers.

But if you really want me
to steer you clear from the losers,

just call on me,
because I can do it for you.

- The name is, uh, Roy.
- Roy.

- R-O-Y.
- That's it.

I'll talk to you later.

Sparkie, huh?

So long, Roy.

He's such a loser.

Look, I, uh, I wanted
to talk to you anyway.

You're the spitting image
of my ex-wife.

Oh, really?

Oh, yeah, yeah.
Except she wore her hair up.

And how long have you been a member of
this so-called social club, may I ask?

Well, you know...

Yeah, if you had it on top of your head,
you'd look exactly like her.

- Well, excuse me.
- What?

I said, excuse me.
I seem to be interrupting something.

Oh, no. Not a bit.

Let's try it, shall we?
Let's just put it up.

You see, now, that looks terrible.

- So did she.
- Y-Y-Yes.

Hey, you wanna buy a...
Ah, you're no good. I asked you.

Rhoda, now. Please?

- Uh, what'd you say your name was?
- Mary.

- Wanna split?
- Uh, no, thank you.

Well, what'd you come here for
if you don't wanna leave?

I came here for the meeting.

Oh, the meeting. What about
what's-her-name? Hey, you wanna split?

Uh, no, I'm already
splitting with Roy.

We're gonna take flashlights
and go hunting for losers.

Well, if you change your mind,
you know where I'll be.

Remember the name... Hal. You might
want a tall one. You never know.

Leaving! Going away!

Saying bye-bye to the creepies!

- Mary, please, give it a chance.
- No more!

You're not leaving now, are you?
The meeting's just about to start.

There. You see, Mary?
We can't go yet.

- Uh, that's, uh, Freddie.
- Freddie?

Yeah, my younger brother.
Nice-looking boy, isn't he?

Not one filling.


Dr. Udall, can you tell me when we'll
be getting to the charter flights?

We probably won't be getting
to that till next time.


Well, tonight's the night
when we each stand up...

and, in intimate detail,
tell all about what led to our divorces.

Well, I don't think
I can do that.

- Why not?
- Well, uh, because, uh...

- Because the details were embarrassing.
- Yes, uh, humiliating.

- Sordid, even.
- Oh, really?

Well, then you can go first.

He said we could sign up
for the charter flight next week.

That is not what I'm upset about,
and you know it, Rhoda.

The story of how you got divorced?
You did that terrific.

It isn't that either.

Just relax. We'll sit down and talk.


Oh, hi, Phyllis.
I was at my new club.

My new, uh, social club.

Uh, we call it the Better Luck Next Time
club. It's for divorced people.

- Don't go into that with her.
- No, no, I'm not kidding.

How did you guess?

She said, "It was Rhoda's idea."

Yeah, it was.
Rhoda's dumb idea.

Yeah, you're right.
It makes perfect sense not to go back.

There's only one thing.

Due to the efforts of
a dental admirer of mine...

- We'll think of something.
- I am the new vice president.

Mrs. Richards?
Right in there, please.

- Oh.
- Hello, Doctor.

Oh, Mrs. Richards.
You just sit right down here.

I have been looking forward to this
ever since you called.

Did the nurse
take your X rays yet?

Yes, even though I kept telling her
I didn't want to see you professionally.

You don't mean you're going to
call the examination off.

I canceled three appointments
to get you in.

- Well, no, I want an examination too.
- Ohh! Ohh!

Goodness, you gave me
quite a start there, I'm telling you.

I mean, to have that mouth in this chair
and not to get at it...

Okay, all right, when was the last time
you had your teeth examined?

Uh, Thursday.


Well, they say you should
always get a second opinion.

Mrs. Richards,
you are one in a million.

You're a dentist's dream.

I, l... You know... l... May I?

Oh, please.

You know, not enough people
really care about their teeth.

Or, for that matter, their gums.

See, professionally speaking,
I'm a gum man myself.

Do you, by any chance,
keep up with gums?

Well, uh, not any more than
I've needed just to get along.

Yeah, well... well,
you might have heard lately...

that, uh, teeth themselves
are nowhere.

I mean, teeth are still teeth,
God bless 'em, but, uh,

but people are finally realizing
that gums are where it's at.

I have to tell you something.

You don't have to feel self-conscious.
After all, I am a dentist.

Uh, well, it's just that it's...
well, it's so embarrassing.

Embarrassing? You don't know
how much you trust me already.

- l-I do?
- Why, of course.

How many strangers do you know who you'd
let put their fingers in your mouth?

- Well, yes, that's... that's true.
- Yeah, see?

Dr. Udall, I am not divorced.

Oh, well, you haven't
got your final decree yet.

I haven't even gotten married yet.
I'm single.

I know.
It sounds terrible.

But, well, you had these charter flights
to Europe, and I know I shouldn't...

All right, lean back. Let's get on
with the examination, please.

Uh, Dr. Udall,
did you hear what I said?

You said nothing.
This conversation never took place.

Mouth, please.

Uh, Mrs. Ri...

Oh, Miss Richards. Is that right?
Your last name is Richards?

I had that coming.
I know it. I had...

You bit my probe.

- I'm sorry.
- Open.

Miss Richards,
are you aware of what it's like...

to place some unknown person's name,

nominate them against a club favorite,
the incumbent?

I had that coming too.
I did.

- And... You're biting it again.
- Sorry!

- And you know who that incumbent was?
- Yes, I do.

My younger brother Freddie.

I nominated you, and you beat out
my kid brother Freddie.

Do you know how close
I am to Freddie?

Uh, pretty close?


Until I nominated you.

And you have the nerve...

to sit there and tell me
you are single.

All right, this examination is over.

However, unless you wish
to humiliate me completely,

you'll be at that meeting
next Wednesday.

Yes, sir, yes.

- There's only one thing, of course.
- What?

How am I gonna get married
and divorced by next Wednesday?


Mary, I been circulating.
I got bad news.

Those two guys we met last week?
Roy and Hal?

- They're the cream of the crop.
- Oh, Rhoda, would you...

Do you realize that in five minutes
I have to stand up on this stage,

face those people there
and tell them the truth?

- I don't know how I'm gonna put it.
- Take it easy, kid.

I know how you feel.
You can't imagine what you'll say.

It seems impossible
that it'll turn out right.

- Then something pops into your head?
- No, you usually just bomb.

Oh, Rhoda!

Cheese it!
The divorceds are coming.

So, anyway, in this dream...
It was kind of peculiar.

I dreamt I was with somebody
who looks exactly like you.

How does it feel
to be elected vice president?

Uh, well, it feels like
I'd like a recount.

Anyway, in this dream, this person
that looked like you was so wonderful.

And we were having a really great time.

- No kidding.
- Then I asked him to come home with me.

- What?
- I asked him to come home with me.

Kooky, huh?

You wanna split?

You and I get a little six-pack
and, uh... Huh?

Okay. Let's go sit down, and I'll tell
you about the rest of my kooky dream.

Yeah, tell me all of it.

Uh-oh. Bad news.

Hello, Miss No-Name.

Hello, Dr. Udall.

That's my brother Freddie,
the ex-incumbent.

I'd just as soon you didn't meet.

Dr. Udall, I really feel
just terrible about all this.

Uh, oh, by the by,
I got you off the hook.

All you have to do is confirm my story
by announcing to the others...

the divorced others...

that you've reconciled
with your husband.

Gee, Mary, that's great. Here's hoping
you and Stefano make it this time.

Oh, incidentally, your not-paid-for-yet
X rays came back today.

You have a cavity.

And I'm not going to tell you where.


Now you don't have to tell the truth.

- That's terrific!
- Yeah, it's terrific.

All I have to do is lie. A little more
practice, I might get very good at it.

Mary, we'll start the meeting now.

Now, in a little while
I'll have news...

about our Tuesday night "Where It's At"
excursion to the hippie quarter.

But first of all,

we'd like to have a word from our
brand-new vice president Mary Richards.

- All right, Mar!
- No, no. Please. Please.

I, uh, I guess that I'll
just make it short and sweet.

As you may have heard, I am...

reconciling with my husband.

So it, uh, turns out that I can't be
your vice president any longer.

So, uh... But you've all
been just lovely.

I want to thank you.
So, uh... thank you.

Didn't she just
get elected last week?

Hey, didn't you
just get elected last week?

- Yes, I was.
- Listen, I think that's lousy!

You're planning a reconciliation,

and we elect you vice president...

Uh, order! Order!

No, I didn't plan the reconciliation.
It just, uh, happened.

Oh, what a loser.

No, no, no.
No, wait, everybody, wait.

Listen, we all know how often these
reconciliations work out... hardly ever.

I say let's let her stay vice president
until she sees what happens.

Order. Order.

That makes sense to me.

We should have a little vote.
After all, it's a democracy.

- No. Order.
- No vote!

No, because it's a lie.

It is!
You know it's a lie.

I am not divorced.
I was not even ever married. I'm single!

It's just that, well, you had
these inexpensive trips to Europe,

and it just didn't seem
so bad at the time, lying to a club.

But it turned out
that I was lying to people.

I'm... I'm sorry, and I just wish
that someone would say something.

That's a lousy thing you did.

Yeah, I do.
And I did it too. Yeah.

I lied.
It's true, folks.

The fact is,
my divorce is not yet final.

The Space Center is holding it up,
so I'm not eligible either.

So if you cast a stone
at this poor unfortunate,

cast one at me too,
Miss Rhoda Morgenstern.

Okay, okay.

Roy Vickerson, age 33.


Now, I don't know why I did it,

but I couldn't help myself.

I mean, the Young Republicans,
the Young Democrats,

they were such losers.

They were!

I lied too.

But then, that's the kind
of crazy, kooky person I am.

Richie Raider. l-I'm not m-married.
I never even went steady.

Anybody wanna start a new club?

Boy, you sure know how
to clear a room.

The only ones who were
really divorced were Mrs. Norris,

Dr. Udall and his brother.

You can't blame the man for hating you.

You shot his whole club
out from under him.


Hi. What happened
to your date with Hal?

We never got out
of the parking lot.

We had an argument over
whose car to take. His was a camper.

What are you girls doing tonight?

I feel like doing something
really crazy and kooky.

- Sorry, I don't feel up to kooky.
- Or crazy.

Oh. You know,
I had another dream last night.

It was all about teeth.

It was a beautiful day.

There I was, and I was surrounded
by all these dazzling teeth,

and there were soft,
dental floss clouds in the sky.

Hello, Dr. Udall.

Would you care to go next door
for some punch?

Oh! Do they have punch?