Mary Tyler Moore (1970–1977): Season 7, Episode 2 - Mary the Writer - full transcript

Mary decides to try her hand at creative writing, specifically a short article about her grandfather. After Murray sneaks a peek at it (biased he who loves it), Mary begs Lou to provide his opinion on it. He reluctantly does Mary this favor despite knowing that what she only wants to hear is that he too does love it, even if he hates it. But Lou does hate it and tells her as much. Mary is hurt by his comments, but decides to proceed anyway in her plan to submit it to magazines for publication. When Lou later confronts Mary about her poor reaction and she no longer treating him like a friend, Mary reacts with a surprising comment. She has to figure out a way to get out of the predicament in which the comment has placed her.

♪ 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 ♪♪

Georgette, hi. Hello, Mary.

Hope you don't mind
my bringing the baby.

Mind? I should say not.

Hello, you pretty,
itty-bitty baby.


I hope it wasn't
something I said.

Oh, no. Don't take
it personally, Mary.

No, no. I wouldn't do that.

Ted takes it personally.

He thinks the baby's
teed off with him. Oh.

Oh, Georgette, she's
beautiful. You must be so proud.

Oh, thank you, Mary.

But let's face it...
Babies are all alike.

Every mother carries
on as though her baby...

is the most beautiful and
the smartest and the sweetest.

I'm determined not to
be one of those mothers...

who goes around babbling about
how cute and adorable her baby is...

Even though my baby is
unbelievably cute and adorable.

Especially this morning.

She blew this beautiful
little bubble through her lips,

and it must have stayed
there for about 30 seconds.

And as soon as the bubble burst, she made
the funniest little noise, like this...


- Oh.
- But you don't see me
talking about it.

No, that's right. I don't.
Would you like some coffee?

Sure. What have you
been doing lately, Mary?

Well, I've been trying my hand at
creative writing. Ooh, that's wonderful.

Well, I don't know how wonderful
it is, but I feel really good about it.

- You know, it's something
I've been wanting to do.
- Gee, I think that's terrific.

Except that writing
is so difficult.

I mean, you have to think
of something to write...

that's never been
written before.

That's right.

I'm not writing a novel though.

I'm just writing an article
about my grandfather...

and what a marvelous
old character he was.

Have you ever
written before, Mary?

Well, no. I took a creative
writing course in college.

The professor seemed
to think I had some flair,

and, anyway, it's
one of those things...

I just wanted to try
but never got around to.

Oh, gee. Just think.

Maybe someday you'll
be a famous author.

Well, no, I wouldn't count on it,
Georgette. It's a little late for that.

Mary, don't sell yourself short.

Just because you're not a
kid anymore doesn't mean...

you can't wind up being
one of the great ones.

- Thirty-two isn't
so darned old, you know.
- Well, I'm 37, Georgette.

Well, in that case, you
better get the lead out.

Hi, honey. You live around here?

Hey, Ted, look. Do
me a favor, will ya?

Watch the door and let
me know if you see Mary.

She wrote something here I wanna
finish reading before she gets back.

It's very good. Oh, sure.

Cheese it. Mayday. Mayday.

- What are you doing?
- Hi-Hi, Mary.

Oh, Murray, I can't believe you'd
go sneaking into my drawer...

and invade my privacy like that.

Well, what can I say, Mary?

Uh, look, I've seen
you writing something...

and then hiding it in
that drawer all week,

and my... my curiosity
just got the best of me.

Oh, I see. I leave an
article in my drawer,

and that somehow makes
your lack of character my fault?

- Is that it, Murray?
- Well, is it, Murray?

Little bugger was messing with your purse
too, Mary. You better count your money.

I'm guilty, Mary.
Guilty as charged.

That's really a terrific
article though. It's very good.

Murray, whether it's
good, bad or indifferent...

in no way affects
what you've done.

You violated a trust.

Terrific, Murray?
Or just very good?

Really terrific. I couldn't
believe you had this kind of talent.

You really liked it? I loved it.

Especially that part when your
grandfather went walking on the roof...

Yeah? so all you kids would
think he was Santa Claus.

Murray, I can't tell you
what it means to me...

- to get the opinion of someone
whose judgment I respect.
- You can stop hinting, Mary.

I'll read it.

Oh, hey, Lou, Mary's
written a terrific article.

Oh, that's nice. Would you
like to read it, Mr. Grant?

No. Well,
Mr. Grant, I realize...

that you're very busy,
but it's only five pages.

It won't take up much of
your time. It already has, Mary.

But that's not the reason
I don't wanna read it.

I don't wanna read it...

because if I tell you I don't
like it, your feelings will be hurt.

Oh, no, no, no. You'll
wind up hating me.

Mary, Mary. Writers
feel about their work...

the way mothers feel
about their babies.

W-Which reminds me.

I still haven't bought a baby
gift for Ted and Georgette.

You know, I don't know
what to get. It's drivin' me nuts.

I don't suppose you'd
care to go shopping for me?

I'm sure we could work
something out, Mr. Grant.

What does that mean? If I
read it, you'll do my shopping?

Aw, Mary, that's not fair.
Oh, come on, Mr. Grant.

You're overlooking the
very distinct possibility...

that you just
might like my story.

And besides, I can certainly take
constructive criticism from a good friend.

I mean, far from hating you, I
would love you all the more for it.

Oh, Mary... Mr. Grant,
I think you'll like it.

Oh, Mary, no. Would
you just trust me?

Oh, okay, I'll read it.

Ted, could I have the article,
please? Sure. Mary, I loved it.

If the rest of it's as good as that
first paragraph, you've got a winner.

Yeah. Mm-hmm.

Well, Mr. Grant?

Wait a minute. Before
you say anything...

I want you to know that
I realize it's not perfect.

That's right, Mary.
It... It isn't perfect.

That's... the whole critique?

Mr. Grant, I don't feel that "not
perfect" really tells me very much.

You're right, Mary. It's bad.


Well, "bad" is-is
one of those words...

that, uh, could mean
interesting but flawed,

uh, well paced but
erratically structured...

Mm-hmm. It stinks, Mary.

"Stinks" is... not quite
as ambiguous as "bad."

You wanted my honest opinion.

Mmm? Mr. Grant, could you
be, um, a little more specific?

Um, wh-what about it...

isn't first rate?

Uh, the, uh... Mmm... The, uh...

The first paragraph...

The first paragraph. Okay. I
had the feeling. isn't first rate.

And the second paragraph...

The second
paragraph isn't first rate.

The third paragraph
isn't first rate.

The fourth... You're really having
a good time, aren't you, Mr. Grant?

Believe me, Mary, I wish
I had liked your article.

I really do. Oh, sure.

But you kept insisting that
I tell you exactly how I felt,

and that's exactly what
I did. By saying it stinks.

Well, it does. What'd you want
me to say? I don't know, Mr. Grant.

You could have said
it isn't your cup of tea,

it didn't strike your fancy,

it wasn't quite up to snuff.

No, I couldn't.

Let me tell you something, Mary.

Besides 12-year-old Scotch and playing
high-stakes poker with really dumb guys,

there aren't a lot
of things that I love.

And good writing is one of them.

Do you know what
really good writing is?

I thought I did.
Apparently, I was mistaken.

Yeah. Yeah.

"There was a desert
wind blowing that night.

"It was one of those
hot, dry Santa Anas

that come down through
the mountain passes...

"and curl your hair, make your
nerves jump and your skin itch.

"On nights like that, every
booze party ends in a fight.

"Meek little wives feel the
edge of the carving knife...

"and study their
husbands' necks.

Anything can happen."

Raymond Chandler. Makes
you wanna read on, doesn't he?

He writes well
about the weather.

Mr. Grant, that's
a piece of fiction.

It's not fair to compare
fiction to nonfiction.

You... You're telling me that
sap in your story is a real person?

Josiah Wallace
was my grandfather.

Oh? He really sang Christmas
carols all year 'round? Yes.

And carved leprechauns
out of apples? Yes.

And sent cards to all the
presidents on their birthdays?

It's all true. It's all boring.

Mr. Grant, Murray
liked it very much,

and Murray is a
professional writer.

Oh, Mary, Murray likes you so
much... He likes everything you do.

Well, maybe,
Mr. Grant, just maybe...

that's what real friendship
is all about, hmm?

I'm sorry, Mary. I
wish I had liked it.

I suppose you had your heart set on
sending it to a magazine, didn't you?

I did, and I still do. Reader's
Digest, as a matter of fact.

Just because you don't like it,
Mr. Grant, doesn't mean it stinks.

You're not like most
people, Mr. Grant.

Most people love reading about
delightful, warm-hearted old men.

You don't happen to. All
right. That's your privilege.

It doesn't mean that you're
right. It doesn't mean that I'm right.

It does mean, however, that you
can do your own damn baby shopping.

Oh, morning, Murray.
Oh, morning, Ted.

Hey, did you happen to watch
Sammy and Company on TV last night?

Uh, no, Ted.
Somehow I missed it.

Oh, that's too bad.

You know, Sammy Davis
is kind of a profound guy,

once you get past
the tap dancing.

He had on some famous writers
who were plugging their books.

- I thought maybe you watched.
- Sammy Davis had writers
on his show?

Sure. Who?

Oh, Doris Day, Lawrence Welk,

Desi Arnaz, Cab Calloway...

Sort of got me to thinking...
Maybe I ought to write my memoirs.

I mean, after all, I
am good looking, virile,

well turned out, money to burn.

And I'm not into
booze or drugs...

or any of that weird hanky-panky
with men, women or farm animals.

Hey, Ted, maybe it
would be a good idea.

Yeah, you would be the first
person who ever wrote a book...

without ever having read one.

- I've read lots
of books, Murray.
- Name one.

Black Beauty.

How could I have
doubted you? Yeah.

Oh, Murray... A letter
from Reader's Digest.

I'm too nervous. You read it.

Uh, well, I'm too
nervous. Here, you read it.


- Ted, will you come on?
- All right, all right.

- The answer is...
- Ted!

"Dear Miss Richards. Thank you very
much for submitting your article to us.

We regret that we are unable to
publish it in our magazine at this time."

That's really lousy. Yeah,
you're right. Let me try it again.

- "Dear Miss Richards"...
- Aw, Ted! What are you doing?

Georgette, the dinner was
delicious. Oh, thank you, Mary.

Why don't you go sit in the living
room, and I'll bring the coffee.

Toothpick, Mary?
No, thanks, Ted.

We got plenty. No,
really. Thank you.

You feeling better, Mary?
Oh, yeah. Much better.

That's good. You shouldn't be
depressed about that Reader's Digest thing.

It's the way life is.

Sometimes you win,
sometimes you lose.

Sometimes you're
sitting on top of the world.

Sometimes you're
down in the dumps.

Sometimes your
life is a symphony.

- Sometimes life is a...
- Disgusting noise.


Here we are.

I baked these
macaroons myself, Mary.

Oh. Macaroons?

Why didn't you tell me, Georgette?
I just finished picking my teeth.

Didn't I Mary?

I really didn't notice, Ted.

I was just telling Mary she shouldn't
let what happened get her down.

No, I'm not going to.

I'm going to send that article off
to every magazine I can think of.

That's great, Mary. You could
send it to The New Yorker,

Cosmopolitan, Good
Housekeeping, Colliers...

Well, Ted, Colliers has
been out of business for years.

With all due respect, Mary,
so has your grandfather.

Excuse me.

Lou! Come on in.


I hope I'm not interrupting
anything. Oh, no, no.

I just bought the
baby a little gift.

I wanted to bring it right over.

Hi, Ted. Oh, hi, Lou.

- Hi, Mary.
- Hello, Mr. Grant.

Gee, I sure hope she likes this.

I didn't know what to get,
and, uh, nobody would help me.

I went to about
10 different stores.

I hope she doesn't
already have one.

No, I don't think so. Oh.

Oh, thank you, Lou.

It's really beautiful, Lou. It's
something she's always wanted.

It's a good thing we didn't
wake up the kid to see this.

Sit, Lou. Sit down.
Have your coffee.

Enjoy yourselves.
I've got work to do.

I'm busy writing
the story of my life.

Story of your life?
What are you up to?

The part where you came
in with the blue walrus.

I think I'll put this
in the baby's room.

When she wakes up I'll
tell her it's from you, Lou.

Georgette, you won't have
to. It looks just like him.

Hey, Mary, come on.
Let's be friends again.

I don't know what you mean,
Mr. Grant. Aren't we friends?

Aw, come on, Mary.

You haven't smiled once
at me in nearly two weeks.

That's because you haven't done
anything worth smiling at in two weeks.

- I'm gonna get
a smile out of you.
- Oh? Do you have a plan?

Yeah. Yeah, I'm
gonna tickle you.

That's my plan. I'm
not ticklish, Mr. Grant.

Everybody is ticklish.

My, are there no limits to
the areas of your expertise?

You ready, Mary? Huh?

Then here goes.

Coochie, coochie, coochie,
coochie, coochie, coochie coo.

Coochie, coochie, coochie,
coochie, coochie, coochie coo.

Coochie, coochie, coochie,
coochie, coochie, coochie coo!

Coochie, coochie,
coochie. Coo. Coo.

Would you like to
borrow a feather?

All right, stay mad. But you
know why you're mad at me?

Because you know I'm
right about that article.

I know no such thing.

Well, when you hear from
Reader's Digest, then you'll know.

Well, it just so happens, Mr. Grant, I
already heard from Reader's Digest.

Turned you down, didn't they?

Oh, boy, you are so
sure of yourself. Mm-hmm.

Well, Mr. Grant, I've got
news for you. They bought it.

- What do you think of that?
- They bought it?

They bought it. They bought it?

- Check's on its way.
- They bought it.

That thing about the old coot who
carves stuff out of marshmallows?

Apples, Mr. Grant, and the
old coot was my grandfather.

Well, if they bought
it, they bought it.

They bought it? They bought it.

Well, wh-what can I say,
except congratulations, Mary.

I was never so happy to
be proved wrong in my life.

That-That's really something.

Getting the first story you ever
wrote published in Reader's Digest.



Well, I, uh... I
gotta... I gotta be...

I gotta be going. Uh, yeah.

It's, uh, nice seeing
ya, Georgette.

I hope the baby likes her gift.

And tell Ted I said good night.

- Okay. Good night, Lou.
- Yeah.

- Mary, you lied.
- I know I lied,

I never heard you lie before.
Well, I was just so angry with him.


But you lied.

I never believed you
could do such a thing.

Were you lying when you said you
thought my baby was the cutest thing...

you ever saw? Oh, Georgette,
you know I wouldn't do that.

Did you lie when you said you
liked that new blue dress I bought?

No, Georgette, of course not.

How about when
you said you were 37?

Any luck? Three rejections.

Well, all right, Mary. I mean,
so you couldn't sell an article.

- It's not the end of the world.
- Aw, Murr, it's not
the rejections that bother me.

It's the fact that I
lied to Mr. Grant.

I never did that. Really
makes me feel rotten.

I mean, how could I
just have lied like that?

magazine? What's that?

Well, they wanted
to buy my article too.

Um, but I had to tell them that
Reader's Digest already bought it.


I lied again, Murray.
It's habit-forming.

One lie leads to another.

I'm gonna put a
stop to it right now.


Mr. Grant... What's happening
to that article of yours?

When is Reader's
Digest printing it?


Or June. They
haven't decided yet.

What are they paying
for an article these days?

Oh... About the same as always.

Um, you know, we... We haven't
really decided on a price yet.

You know, they...
They made an offer,

and, you know, I'm holding
out for a little more money.

Smart move. Mmm.

Yeah. They ask you
to write any more?

Well, you know... You know,
I have a couple of ideas...

that, uh, I'm kickin' around...

with one of the associate,
uh, editors, and he...

He, uh... I'm lying, Mr. Grant.

I knew that.

- How did you know?
- Your face turned beet red,
you stammered,

your entire body
began to quiver.

Now, you were either lying, or I'm
a hell of a lot sexier than I thought.

Well, I just want you to
know that the reason I lied...

is because you hurt me.

Oh, I didn't hurt you.
Yes, you did. You hurt me.

Mary, I don't know how
you wanna be treated.

How do you want me to act, huh?

Like this?

Ted, get in here.

Ted also gave me
something to read.

What is it, Lou?

You found out we
took back the walrus.

I didn't want to do
it. It was Georgette.

She insisted I exchange
it for a sport shirt.

Ted, it's not that.

I've just been reading
your book, and it's brilliant.

I was a little worried
about chapter three.

Marvelous chapter. What
was your favorite sentence?

Well, it's really hard to say.

They were both very good.

Thanks, Lou.

Why, it's the best doggone
thing of its type I've ever read.

I didn't think you had it
in you, you old wordsmith.

Say what you will
about the big fella.

You can always trust
him to level with you.

You see, Mary?
Ted's writing is lousy...

Even worse than yours.

But when you
brought yours to me,

I respected you enough
to tell you the truth.

Would you rather I had
treated you like I treated Ted?

Huh? Would you prefer that I
patronize you like some idiot?

Shower you with empty
compliments? Huh?

Pump up your ego like you were some
empty-headed, bumbling, brainless boob?

Is that what you want? God, yes.


Mary, I loved your story.

Why, thank you, Mr. Grant.


It was the end...
of another day...

in the newsroom.

See you tomorrow, Ted.

My executive producer said,

"See you tomorrow, Ted."

Gee, Ted, it's 8:30. Are you
still working on your book?

My producer came in and asked,

"Gee, Ted, it's 8:30.

"Are you still working...

"on your...


Ted, why don't you knock
it off? "Ted, why don't you...

knock it off?"

The three of them walked out...

leaving me in total darkness...

to continue writing...

the greatest autobiography...

the world will ever...