February 07, 2017

Missing Mary Tyler Moore in Lena Dunham’s world

Barbara KayArchive

The death of actress Mary Tyler Moore prompted a lot of reflection upon her revolutionary TV portrayal of a modern, single woman.

Her show hit the sweet spot in the development of feminism, when it was still a reform movement.

The women of my generation remember it as then being fluid, optimistic and democratic rather than ideological and dogma-driven. And Moore herself felt strongly that the show should not be about activism. 

And then there’s Lena Dunham’s Girls.

Unlike Mary Richards, a mature, responsible and psychologically healthy team-player, Dunham's Hannah is a stunted, narcissistic mess, and painfully lacking in sexual self-respect (proof of which, alas, is never left to the imagination—more matronly sighs).

The route from Mary Richards to Hannah Horvath is the story of the feminist movement.

The message to young women in the early 1970s was confident and happy:

“Who can turn the world on with her smile?”

The message today is darker and dysphoric:

“Girl, you’re probably not going to make it, after all.”

Comments
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commented 2017-02-12 15:38:35 -0500
Jack Carter: Do you have any children? And if so, did you sit on your behind, blinkers on and beer in hand, allowing them to be mindlessly indoctrinated with feeble “productions” (too good a word for 98% of them), without any input of any sort from you to refute promiscuity or the many other destructive traits that are promulgated on television.?
Based on your unnecessary foul language, I think I have already answered my own question.
commented 2017-02-09 01:59:03 -0500
Jack Carter sorry but the amount of channels means their should be way more good shows as opposed to then and hat is not the case. And reality TV is part of TV. I liked the Sopranos , but the others you listed bore me.
commented 2017-02-08 18:12:52 -0500
@jack Carter…yes I have binge watched great shows and series but never over a cablevision system that would in any way benefit the content I hate through my subscription fees.

I am not a prude or a Putitan….I happen to be Tantric Buddhist …hey check out the art. I am not that big on having the yab/yum become the yab/yab and the yum/yum and where I draw the line is leatherboy twinks in assless chaps with handcuffs and ball gags being walked around in public three on a dog leash by a dominatrix.

Netflix gives me the oportunity to select my shows without benefitting my avowed political enemies. As does iTunes, Hell on Wheels, Deadwood, Hatfields and McCoys etc etc etc are on my iCloud. As well as some pretty steamy movies. Some people found Janis Joplin hot back in the day but I didn’t. I though she was gross and needed a bath. Lena Dunham is sort of the same.

Oprah Winfrey learned her stuff from Evita Perone…exactly the same format and approach.

There…if you work for the pain in the ass television networks you got my viewing preferences…..now what else do you want to know that’s really none of your business
commented 2017-02-08 16:27:49 -0500
Marilyn Neilson,

Wow – you seem pretty fucking clueless. Television like anything else in life does inspire and influence.

Many now famous women in broadcasting has said that Mary Tyler Moore inspired them to get into the field for example. Oprah Winfrey being one.

You would be a pretty horrible mother if you dismissed or tried to sway them from something on TV that spoke to them, inspired them or encouraged them to go for a dream. If they are happy, who cares what put them on that path.
commented 2017-02-08 15:24:20 -0500
First of all, I absolutely revere Barbara Kay and avidly read the columns she submits to “The National Post”.
However, I cannot fathom, for the life of me, how any sit-com or series or anything on television has any bearing whatsoever on how any woman or person conducts her or his actions at any point in their existence.
I have four daughters, aged 43 to 33, all married, all with husbands whom they love, as well as children they adore.
If I had thought for a moment that any of my daughters’ decisions earlier in life could be swayed by the pap on television, I would have dissuaded them immediately with logic and parental love.
commented 2017-02-08 15:06:36 -0500
Glenn Craig,

You don’t know what the hell you are talking about.

Countless people are still watching TV – it’s just not on a TV. Even people who cancel cable are still getting their favorite shows online and through streaming – there isn’t backlash against content – people are saying the shows have never been better.

Have you even heard of the TV shows that people constantly talk about? The reality is that you are complaining about something that you haven’t even fucking seen and yes, it’s quite clear that you are easily offended, sexually repressed, uptight and puritanical. Seeing boobs or extreme violence within a brilliant script is just too much for your brain to handle.

Matlock is more your speed.
commented 2017-02-08 14:54:46 -0500
Drew,

We are talking about SCRIPTED SHOWS – not reality television. Do some research before you speak – we are in the Golden Age Of Television, because the quality in many ways has never been better.

Let’s be honest here – you don’t strike me as someone who is watching some of the amazing shows that HBO, Showtime, Netflix and the like offer, but feel free to let me know that you have binged watched Breaking Bad, Game Of Thrones, Mad Men – even earlier shows like The Wire and The Sopranos.
commented 2017-02-08 10:07:46 -0500
@jack Carter….You are yet another sock puppet of our whak a mole Jay/ Jimmy/ .to put it in a nutshell

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa-7a2gLDjI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=26-VzfBZg1w

And don’t be obteuse and act like I’m the only one who noticed….declining ratings for TV and the shift away from that media are because insulting your audience does not hold your audience. Becoming the hectoring strident nagging scolding chastizing voice that you cannot speak back to leads to divorce no matter how sweet the honeymoon was.

I was around when CBC television signed on the air. It went to Hell when it became feminist commandeered .

Nothing you have said would persuade me to watch TV again and frankly I don’t care about your oppinions as to why I don’t.

TV is to the mind as smoking is to the lungs.

I once thought that promiscuity was cool…then AIDS came along…I attended a lot of funerals because my wife’s twin brother was gay and his partner died of it. She was a co-ordinater of an AIDS NGO and I was an award winning volunteer. Promiscuity is not cool. It is only a matter of time before another deadly microbe that baffles medical science for decades falls into the Petrie dish of promiscuity.
commented 2017-02-08 01:03:44 -0500
Andrew Mirlach no one important.
commented 2017-02-07 23:08:00 -0500
I have no idea who Lena Dunham is…
commented 2017-02-07 22:56:47 -0500
I read Lena Dunham’s book, and felt so sorry for her. Surrounded with opportunities, she doesn’t know how to make herself happy and careens from one self destructive, bad idea to the next. I wish she could meet some psychologically healthy people.
commented 2017-02-07 22:39:38 -0500
SCTV was far and above anything on TV today, only thing that comes close is Family Guy because the show mocks everything, not just one side.
commented 2017-02-07 22:36:02 -0500
Golden age of television LMAO! Yeah bachelor and Kardashians and modern family are pathetic.
commented 2017-02-07 22:34:06 -0500
Jack Carter if you are ever in Edmonton let me know, we can take you to THE CLUB, see how open you are LMAO! Maybe get one of the women to tie you up on the cross, assuming you are not to squeamish.
commented 2017-02-07 22:29:21 -0500
Jack Carter TV does not have to fit your atheist needs. And there is so much garbage on TV now it is sickening. There are some good ones , but lots of it is pure and utter crap.
commented 2017-02-07 22:27:40 -0500
Jack Carter Girls is not well written and i would take Mary over a thing like Lena anyday. She is not sexy. And we are not the ones censoring , it is the left that are the prudes. Progressives would have a friggin cow if they watched Andrew Dice Clay.
commented 2017-02-07 22:03:53 -0500
Refreshing to hear from Barbara Kay. However the break out of MTM as the modern “liberated” woman was a utopian narrative – the fact is biology works against women more than men – and by and large the atomic family more were correct in assuming a woman unmarried and childless by a certain age will be a lonely piteous creature in elder years – the family is everything – if you choose a different lifestyle you forfeit this fundamental raison d’etre – the “modern woman” narrative neglects to inform its acolytes that it is indeed a trade-off.

I wonder if an MTM show showing Mary at 78, alone in a small inner city apt. living on her meager shrinking savings with her cats , talking to plants and boring the postman with mindless banter just to have some human interaction, as so many "creer women who never had careers beyond lower middle management do find themselves – think it would fly? portraying the reality of end product of Mary’s great gender roll experiment wasn’t as glamorous as the utopian dream.

There are so may single women in their 70s now who realize how they missed the biological imprint of life.
commented 2017-02-07 21:33:59 -0500
Barbara is an intelligent woman; perhaps she could make a show explaining how her son Jonathan
developed such abnormal left winged views. Maybe a physiatrist would be necessary to join her.
commented 2017-02-07 20:33:33 -0500
It’s so hilarious that an older lady is more hip and on the pulse of popular modern TV compared to many of the younger conservatives here who are easily offended, sexually repressed, uptight and puritanical.

Even watching a minute of Girls or Game Of Thrones makes these people want to vomit in disgust no matter how well written these shows are – because they are promote evil and remind them of Caligula.
commented 2017-02-07 20:22:40 -0500
Glenn Craig,

What exactly about the shows infuriated you and what specific shows? Entertainment doesn’t have to meet your conservative or religious needs.
commented 2017-02-07 20:10:19 -0500
God had it right! Any deviation from His perfect plan for human sexuality many give momentary pleasure, but inevitably leaves one completely empty. As G.K. Chesterton said, “Meaninglessness does not come from growing weary of pain, rather meaninglessness comes from growing weary of pleasure”.
commented 2017-02-07 19:46:23 -0500
Girls…empty and lost. No values, no integrity and no class. Can’t even stand to watch it!
commented 2017-02-07 18:19:00 -0500
@jack Carter…I stopped watching TV because it enfuriated me. The news…the shows…the ads….It alienated me to the point that I wouldn’t watch it again and every time I stay in a hotel with a TV within minutes it is like a room full of cigar smoke.

Netflix HBO and SHOWTIME are all available on the internet. Screw TV, it deserves to die of declining viewership.
commented 2017-02-07 18:01:29 -0500
I respect that Barbara Kay actually watches Girls and confirms that it is indeed a quality and well written show.

Credit to her for actually being open minded and actually aware of what has now been called The Golden Age Of TV due to the excellent writing and acting on current shows. TV has actually never been better if you do watch HBO, Showtime, Netflix and the like,

Typically conservatives here will complain about entertainment these days that they haven’t even watched and just assume it’s awful, because they are wishing for 1950’s television shows to come back.
commented 2017-02-07 17:56:42 -0500
Mary Tyler Moore told the story of how Gloria Steinhem was pushing her to include subjects such as abortion in her shows. Mary would not because she felt, and still felt at the time of the interview a few years ago, that women were meant to be Mothers. She did not want to portray this type of liberated woman in her shows though she did address other social issues.
Moore was also the producer of her show and the spinoffs.
Everyone told me I was ‘Mary Tyler Moore’ when I was ‘that age’, then I became Rhoda; now I’m as orney as Lou. Hm!
Haven’t watched ‘Girls’, don’t intend to, but I can say that either Dunham considers this simply to ‘be life’ and the show allows women and girls to commiserate with each other on their problems, or, it is to provide insight into how women are screwing themselves. I doubt if the show is that insightful.
commented 2017-02-07 16:54:16 -0500
Dean Johnson….

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dean_Johnson_(entertainer)

Was not a fan of Mary Tyler Moore

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dn4vkSH6Og8

And that was in the 1980s.

She just wasn’t “one of the girls”……..:-)

And for a group to do a cover version of that Weenies/Velvet Mafia hit today would be considered retro but cool and still relavent.

At no time in all of it’s existance would Mary Tyler Moore’s nor any of the characters she protrayed have had a chance to get a position at Status of Women Canada….she would not have been considered “collegial” enough.

Heddy Fry would give Dean Johnson an appointment in a blink and Paul Martin/Adrien Clarkson would have given zhir a senate appointment and no I am not exagerating he/she did in fact do worse than that……

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Ruth

retirement age is still 75 thank heaven

I was going to say “sorry if that came across as jaded and cynical”…..but I’m not really sorry.

If feminists were like the characters portrayed by Mary Tyler Moore, Justin Trudeau could fullfill his dream of evrybody finally “saying so what” when he virtue signals about being a feminist……but nobody other than the most militant careerists and the “vestal virgins” at status of womyn celebrates feminism any more.
commented 2017-02-07 16:21:56 -0500
“Not looking at men as their enemies” what a concept!
When Lou’s wife left him on the show, was around the time my Mother ‘found’ herself and left my Dad. It was short lived for my Mother, but many women ‘tried’ it out in the 70’s. I remember her going to see a prominent lawyer/outspoken feminist in Toronto at the time. Half of my friends parents were getting divorces and finding new partners. It was like the fashionable thing to do, mostly for women of some privilege with too much time and comfort on their hands. Mary Tyler Moore was at the cross roads of the change over. Marlo Thomas in ‘That Girl’ was of the same era.
The way things devolved after that is an embarrassment to ‘ladies’ everywhere.
Now a days to be civil, ladylike and ‘male friendly’ is considered old fashioned, prudish and is often ridiculed and mocked by the ‘hedonistic’ culture of the day.
I simply am unable to sit through any of what passes as entertainment these days, and don’t.
commented 2017-02-07 15:52:18 -0500
BARBARA KAY ! WECOME TO THE REBEL
Your probably not going to be every body’s brand of beer , but it does indicate to me that the REBEL is going to appeal to a more eclectic audience , that said I watched the entire video and found myself in the easy chair at the end

Love that mike