Mary Tyler Moore (1970–1977): Season 7, Episode 17 - Sue Ann Gets the Ax - full transcript

The Happy Homemaker show has been canceled. Despite the station offering Sue Ann other work here and there, Sue Ann begs Lou for a job in the newsroom. Because of the personal relationship they've had, Lou can't tell her he won't give her a job. Instead, he tells Mary that he is giving her more responsibility, including hiring and firing, without telling her that he has told Sue Ann that it is her responsibility to decide if she will give Sue Ann a job. An angry Mary decides to take her new responsibility seriously, she who won't be swayed by the watching Sue Ann perform the demeaning work that the station has assigned her, and only considering Sue Ann on her merits. Lou taking a trip down memory lane with Mary may make Mary look at the situation a little differently.

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♪ Who can turn the
world on with her smile ♪

♪ Who can take a nothing day ♪

♪ And suddenly make
it all seem worthwhile ♪

♪ Well, it's you, girl
and you should know it ♪

♪ With each glance and every
little movement you show it ♪

♪ Love is all around
No need to waste it ♪

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

♪ You're gonna
make it after all ♪

♪ You're gonna
make it after all ♪♪

I don't believe it. How can they
cancel Sue Ann's show just like that?

Ratings, Mary. Not enough
people are watching her show.

Well, it still
isn't fair. Right.

There are much
worse things on the air.

Hi, guys.

I rest my case.

Did you hear about
Sue Ann being canceled?

Yeah, Ted, we heard.

But she'll get something else.

The rough thing is that we won't
be seeing that much of her anymore.


Lou, we gotta do something to boost up
my ratings. Otherwise, I'm gonna be next.

Please, Ted. You're
making my heart race.

I'm serious, Lou! We've gotta zap
up my show, and I've got just the thing.

Every night near the
end of the news, I'll make

a telephone call to a
different world leader.

And I'll talk to him about
the complex political,

economic and social problems
that confront our planet.

Like-Like one night,
I'll call Idi Amin in Africa,

and I'll say, "What's happening
in your part of the world, 'Edie'?"

And she'll tell me.

What do you think? Ted!

I got it. I got it. You
wanna sleep on it.

Okay. [Chuckles]

Hi, everyone.

Oh, hi, Sue Ann. Oh, hi.

Well, I... I suppose
you've all heard the news.

Yeah, Sue Ann, and I'm sorry.

- I-I really am.
- Yeah, me too.

Uh, tough break, Sue Ann. You
have no idea how upset we all are.

Hi, Sue Ann. Hear
you got canned.

Do you have any idea
what you're gonna do now?

Well, not-not exactly. I...

I have decided I'm gonna
work out my contract.

So even if I won't be
doing my own show,

I'll-I'll still be
working here at WJM.

Oh, Sue Ann. That's wonderful!

Did you hear that, Mr. Grant? Sue
Ann won't be leaving WJM after all.

Oh, boy. That's-That's great.

That's great, Sue
Ann. R-Really great.

The program manager will try
to get me to quit... [Door Closes]

by making my life miserable around
here, but I'm determined not to buckle.

Good for you. You
just stick to your guns.

Thank you, Mary. I'll show them.

Sue Ann Nivens doesn't
give in without a fight.

That's not what the
cab drivers tell me.

Oh, ho. Dear, sweet Murray.

Oh, I'm so glad I'm
not leaving WJM.

You have no idea
how I'd miss you.

I'd probably cry every
time I looked at a melon.

[Knocking] Lou?

Come in.

I just wanted to tell you how
much I appreciated your concern.

Huh? Oh, yeah.
Well, you're welcome.

And I wanted to tell you, Sue Ann, I think
you're taking this whole thing very well.

Why not? I've just made up my
mind I'm gonna be very strong.

Mm-hmm. Very brave.

Good. Oh, Lou.

[Sobbing] I don't
wanna live anymore.

Come on, Sue
Ann. It's not that bad.

Lou, that show was the best
thing that ever happened to me.

Well, the second best.

Lou, what's gonna become of me?

Oh, Sue Ann. Sue Ann,
come on. Sue Ann, don't worry.

Everything's gonna be all right.

Oh, Lou, you're
so good, so strong.

And such nice,
chubby little fingers.

They're like 10 tiny sausages.

Come on. Come on, Sue Ann!

This is a place of business.

Will you do me a
favor, Lou, please?

Does it have anything
to do with my fingers?

I want a job in the
newsroom. You what?

Any kind of job.
I don't care what.

Please, don't turn me down,
Lou. I never turned you down.

I... Hey, Sue Ann, I can't
give you a job in the newsroom.

You don't like me.

I kn... I knew it
would come to this.

I let you take advantage of me.

[Softly] Oh, boy.

Now you have nothing but
contempt. I-I knew this would happen.

Come on, Sue
Ann. That's not true.

I'd love to see
you working here.

Imagine... spending
eight hours a day with you,

day in, day out.

Unfortunately, I can't hire you.

Shucks, what a shame.

W-Why can't you?

Huh? What? Oh.
Um... Uh... It's...

It's-It's because of-of
Mary. It's up to Mary.

You see, Mary is the producer,

and she makes
all those decisions.

So it's out of my
chubby little hands.

Would you ask her for me?

You want me to ask
her? Oh, please. Please!

[Groans] [Sobbing]
I'm desperate. I'm...

I have no place to turn.
I'm weak and helpless.

I'm lost in my own sorrow.

All right. Okay,
okay. I'll ask her.


Hi. Hi. Uh, are you busy?

No, no. Come on in.
Would you like a drink?

Yeah, thanks.

Mary, I came over here...

because I made a
pretty important decision,

and I wanted to
tell you about it. Oh?

Yeah. I've decided...

to give you a lot more
authority in the newsroom.

Well, Mr. Grant,
that's terrific.

It's really... That's exciting.

Uh-huh. What made
you suddenly decide that?

Well, I was sitting in a
bar just now having a beer.

And I held up my glass, and I
looked at it. You know what I saw?

A reflection of my face.

But I looked like
an old man, Mary.

It was my face, but
I had all white hair.

- You had white hair?
- From the beer foam.


It made me realize something.

I'm not getting any younger.

And that's when I decided
that now was the time...

to start delegating
more of my authority.

So, from now on,
little Mary Richards...

is going to be making
some very big decisions.

Well, Mr. Grant, geez.
That's... I don't know what to say.

It's really nice that you have
that kind of confidence in me.

Yeah. From now on,

you're gonna be totally
in charge of hiring people.

When you wanna hire somebody,
you don't have to check with me.

It'll be your decision. Wow.

And if you don't wanna hire
someone, that'll be your decision too.

Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Do you
think you can handle that, Mary?

Oh, Mr. Grant, I know I can.

Good. Sue Ann wants
a job in the newsroom.

Aw, geez!

Says she'll do anything.
I said it's up to you.

So that's what this
is all about. Hmm?

Giving me "more responsibility."

It has nothing to do with
seeing your face in a beer glass!

You just don't have the
nerve to say no to Sue Ann.

Mary, how can I turn her down?

She feels I owe it to her
because of, you know.

[Doorbell Rings] [Groans]

- Hello, Mary.
- Sue Ann.

Well, well. Look who's
here, Mr. Grant. Sue Ann.

- Hello, Lou.
- Hi, Sue Ann.

May I come in? Yes.

Mary, I couldn't
wait till tomorrow,

so I thought I'd drop by tonight
and find out what you decided.

[Mouthing Words]

Well, uh, gee, Sue Ann.

Mr. Grant, uh, just
told me about your, uh,

you know, um, offer.

And, uh, wow. I'm-I'm
just so overwhelmed.

You know, I-I just, uh,
haven't had a chance to decide.

Well, then let me
just say this, dear.

Now, I know you and I have
not been the best of friends.

Well... There have been times...

when we've had our differences.

But, Mary, if you hire me,

I'll do a wonderful job for you,
and I'll be grateful forever, I swear it.

I'm sorry, Sue
Ann. I... I can't.

I hate to say no, but I... I have to think
about what's right for the newsroom.

I hope you understand.

Mary's decision.

All right, Mary.
Listen, I understand. I...

Don't feel guilty.

No hard feelings.

- Good-bye, Lou. Thanks for trying.
- [Murmuring]

Look at me.

How could you do that to me?

I feel like such a rat!

That was a lousy
thing to do, Mr. Grant.

You're-You're... You're
right, Mary. You're right.

I... I just didn't know any
other way to get out of it...

because of, you
know, you know...

Yes, I know. I know!

Listen, I... No. I-I'm...
I'm really, really sorry.

It was really rotten of me
putting you on the spot like that,

and I promise you,
I'll... I'll-I'll-I'll never...

I'll never do anything
like that again.

[Mouthing Words]

You forgive me?


Well, what would it take
for you to forgive me?

You tell Sue Ann you lied.
You tell her it was your idea.

You tell her you're sorry,
you tell me you're sorry,

and you promise me you will never
put me in a position like that again.

Oh, the hell with it.


Okay, get ready.

Five, four, three, two, one.

Be sure to stay tuned to WJM...

for another hilarious
episode of My Mother the Car.

The fun begins when
Mom gets a lube job.

[Switch Clicks]

That was wonderful, sweetheart.

I never thought I'd
say this to a man,

but get your hand off my knee!

Hi, Sue Ann.

I just thought I'd stop by
and see how you're doing.

Hello, Mary. I'm doing
fine. Just fine. [Door Closes]

So this is where they
have you working.

This is where they
have me working.

Cozy. It is that. [Chuckles]

[Clears Throat] Of course,
it gets a little cramped...

for a woman with a bosom.

You'd do fine in here, dear.

Oh, Mary, I'm really
glad you're here.

I mean, listen. If you've
been feeling bad...

about not giving me a
job in the newsroom, don't.

Because, as you can
see, I'm doing very well.

Of course, working
from 4:00 to midnight...

kind of interferes
with my love life.

But, then again, so
did working 9:00 to 5:00.

Sue Ann, I feel just
rotten about this. I...

Mary, why in the world
should you feel rotten?

After all, I have you to
thank for putting me here.

Sue Ann, I had no idea. I didn't
realize... Oh, now, not another word, dear.

Here, you sit right down here.

I want you to see
exactly how it is.

Well, no, thanks, Sue
Ann. That's-That's all right.

- You won't even
do that for me?
- Well, sure. Of course.

Mary, say hi to Sam,
our engineer. Hello.

Oh, Mary, don't mind Sam.
That's just his way of saying hi.

It's when he gets to "Glad to
see you" you have to worry.

You wanna wet your whistle?

Um, no. No, thank you. I,
uh, prefer my whistle dry.


[Sue Ann Coughing] [Sam] Hmm.

Isn't that a beautiful
aroma, Mary?

It's like living in
Fidel Castro's mouth.

[Coughs] Of course, Sam
isn't on duty every day.

Sometimes, I... I
get to work with Tiny.

He weighs 480 pounds.
But he carries it well.

And, fortunately, he
doesn't smoke cigars.

- Well, that-that's good.
- He chews tobacco.

Yeah. Be careful on your way
out. Don't step in the spittoon.

Oh, I wondered what that was.

Mary? [Clang]

Oh, gee!

I've just seen what they've got Sue
Ann doing, and it made me shudder.

Go ahead, Mary. I've changed my
mind. Go ahead and hire Sue Ann.


Okay, then. I'll take the
responsibility. I'll hire her.

Just hold it, buster!

- Was that Mary?
- It wasn't me, Lou.

You can't use me
like this, Mr. Grant.

You gave me a
responsibility, and I took it.

It wasn't easy for
me, but I made the

decision. And I am not
gonna hire Sue Ann...

just because everyone
feels sorry for her.

Mary, what are you doing? We're
not allowed to stand up to Lou.

I'll tell you what. You
come with me now.

You watch where
they've got Sue Ann.

Then, if you don't wanna give
her a job, you don't give her a job.

All right, fine.

Murray? Hmm?

If that were me... I
mean, if I were fired,

what do you think Lou and Mary would
be doing right now? Throwing confetti.

Dancing in the streets, turning
cartwheels, drinking champagne.

Right. Anything to
cover up their pain.

Okay, three
minutes to rehearsal.

Can I help you? Yeah. Uh,
we're looking for Sue Ann Nivens.

Oh. She's Aunt Daisy today. Huh?

Aunt Daisy, some
people here to see you.

Oh, Sue Ann, you... You look...

Go on, say it. I
look preposterous.

No, no, no, no. You
look... fresh as a daisy.

[Lou] Yeah, yeah.

Nice hat.

Come on. Have I
sunk so low that...

That people are patronizing
me with compliments like that?

Sue Ann, you're... you're back
on television. It's not that bad.

Maybe you're right, Mary.

Okay, Sue Ann.
We're ready to start.

[Silly Female Voice] Hi, Mucky!

I sure wish Aunt Daisy was here
to talk to us about our problem.

[Goofy Male Voice] Oh!
Here she comes now.

Well! How are my two
favorite fluffy little cottontails,

Hucky and Mucky?

Not so good, Aunt Daisy.
Well, why not, Mucky?

Because, Sue Ann,
you're blocking my shot!

Oh. I'm sorry... I thought you said
you worked on television before!

Well, I'm sorry... You don't know
enough to stand on your mark!

Well, I didn't... I told them I
didn't want her on this show!

Well, we'll just
have to live with it.

If you're going to criticize me,
why can't you just come out here...

and at least have the courtesy
to speak in your natural voice?

[Gruff Male Voice] Because,
honey, some of us are professionals,

and when we get into character,
we stay in character, okay?

[Sue Ann] Well,
how are my favorite...

fluffy little cottontails,
Hucky and Mucky?

Not so good, Aunt... Hey!

Who are those people on my
set? This is a closed rehearsal!

They're friends of mine.

Uh, Mary, Lou, this
is Hucky and Mucky.

Hucky and Mucky,
this is Mary and Louie.

Lou. How do you, uh...

[Gruff Voice] Uh,
listen. If you don't mind,

we're not here to
run a social hour.

We're here to work. Sue Ann,
let's see if we can get through this...

without your screwing up.

Hey, look, fella. You don't have
to talk that way to this woman.

Sue Ann, will you tell
your fat friend to get lost?

Do you wanna come
out here and say that?

[Goofy Voice] What's the matter?
You too fat to come in here?


Mr. Grant! Mr. Grant!

Will you look at
what you're doing?


I... I lost my head there.

Mary, I think you'd better
take me back to the newsroom.

Yeah. Right.

Bye, Sue Ann.

Oh, I wish you were
taking me with you.

Yeah. Well... I'm
really sorry, Sue Ann.

[Hucky] Okay, Aunt Daisy!
Let's take it from the top.

I can't take anymore.

Today was the final humiliation.

I was ordered off
the set by two rabbits.

I just quit. He's
beaten me. I... [Sighs]

I didn't even get my
three months' pay.

Sue Ann, I feel just terrible...

about what you've
been going through.

I really do. I wish I
could help you, but I...

I still feel the decision
I made was right.

Please don't ask me
to change my mind.

All right, Mary. I won't ask
you to change your mind.

Lou, ask her to change her mind.

You bet I will.

Mary, where's your compassion?

Take a look at this woman.

Did you ever see
anyone so pitiful?

Mr. Grant, you want
me to hire her out of pity?

Of course not. It's okay by me.

Mary, this woman has seen
more than just a few summers.

Well, not many. Okay,
so she's not perfect.

So she's a pain in the rump.

A gossip. Throws herself at
every pair of pants she sees.

May-Maybe I'd better
just send in a résumé.

Look at this woman. In 20 years,

this could be you.

Mr. Grant, you
have got to realize...

that when you
take on responsi...

- Responsibilities, sometimes...
- [Crying, Sniffling]

it isn't an easy thing to do.

You've got to make decisions
that are tough and unpleasant and...

Sue Ann, you start on Monday.

- What?
- We'll give you a job.

Oh, Mary!

Mary, I'm very grateful.

Thank you for saving my job.

I won't let you down. Thank you.

That was a nice thing you did.

That was a terrible thing I did.

I hired someone for
all the wrong reasons.

Not on the basis of
merit or qualifications,

but simply because
I felt sorry for her.

Come on, Mary. That's not such a
terrible reason. What's wrong with that?

What's wrong with that? Mm-hmm.

Mr. Grant, there are people
who went to journalism school,

who worked long, hard hours to get
a chance at a job in this newsroom.

And they deserved it.

And now they won't get that chance
because I weakened, because I felt guilty,

because I had pity for someone.

Well, it's not the first
time it's happened. [Sighs]

Well, a good news executive
wouldn't have done that.

I did.


Seven years ago,

a young girl walked
into my office.

And even though she had
never been in a newsroom before,

she had the audacity to
sputter out a request for a job...

as an associate producer.

You know who I'm talking about?

I didn't have very many
qualifications, did I?

You had zilch.

- Did I ever tell you
the reason why I hired you?
- Mm-mmm.

A little run.

A tiny little run in your
stocking on your knee.

You kept trying to cover it up.

A little run. And-And
you noticed that?

Well, it's hard not to
notice something with

two hands, a pocketbook
and a leg over it.

And I thought to myself,

"What kind of a girl is this...

who is so afraid
of a thing like that?"

You think that was a
bad reason to hire you?

It was kind of sweet.

It was damn sweet.

That's what I've
been tryin' to tell you.

There are plenty of times in
life when you do the competent,

responsible thing.

But every once in a while,
we need to be damned sweet.

If we're lucky,

we'll never have to regret it.

Mr. Grant?

Have you ever, um,
regretted it... um, hiring me?

I've done a-a pretty
good job, haven't I?

Pretty good? You kiddin'?
You've done a whale of a job.

You've been just great...

until you went
and hired Sue Ann.