Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

Daniel Avery

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Maybe they had 'taken some time off' (hiatus) and they produced a recap episode to air upon their return. I can't imagine MHMH fully embraced the real production model of a soap opera, even if they tried to look like one. Seven weeks of episodes sounds like a good chunk of time to complete before taking a break. Or maybe they had a Knots Landing Season 13 type of situation where they had to stop and retool the show because things were a hot mess behind the scenes. :D
 

tommie

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Maybe they had 'taken some time off' (hiatus) and they produced a recap episode to air upon their return. I can't imagine MHMH fully embraced the real production model of a soap opera, even if they tried to look like one. Seven weeks of episodes sounds like a good chunk of time to complete before taking a break. Or maybe they had a Knots Landing Season 13 type of situation where they had to stop and retool the show because things were a hot mess behind the scenes. :D
I don't think they took any long break or anything in production as I don't really notice any difference, though it wouldn't surprise me if they did film episodes in "blocks" rather than the daytime soap model. I guess it's not impossible that they filmed those first seven weeks to pitch it properly to unsure syndicators and then took a short break to see how much clearance they could get.

On a related note, I never made the connection that Cathy's deaf-mute boyfriend is Ed Beagley Jr - he was a handsome devil, wasn't he? I wonder if he actually knows sign language or if he had a coach.
 

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Poor Coach LeRoy, he has the cold from hell. But at least Mary is there with her infamous chicken soup...
 

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Not Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman name-dropping Barbara Walters (episode 51)!
 

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Honestly, I've kind of hit a boring batch of episodes where the main problem seems to be Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman's marital woes in the bed. There's not much happening right now and certainly not as exciting as having a slasher/flasher on the street!
 

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Ok, they've really gone into it about Mary's sexual frustration and had it turn into a sort of weird proto-Sex and the City.

As a male I must admit that this stuff just flies over my head.
 

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So now Mary's back with her no-good husband, her sister Kathy's broken up with her deaf-mute boyfriend and is dating the police officer who was previously into Mary - except the police officer isn't so much previously into Mary as he is currently! Oh Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman - what have you gotten yourself into?
 

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Charlie's ex-wife Muriel pulling off her scar and revealing that she's faking it is sort of a reverse Kimberly Shaw moment :lol:
 

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I finally made it to the Dinah Shore episode that @Snarky's Ghost mentioned where they make sure to mention that it's Dinah's first live program across the country. It's sort of interesting because I wonder if it actually was live - there's a noticable difference between cutting from Mary talking at home about the program being about to start to the Dinah show. The actors (and Dinah) are kind of fumbling and there's a studio audience that's distractingly laughing at really random bits, which ends up showing us how Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman would work with a laugh track (hint: not well).
 

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I finally made it to the Dinah Shore episode that @Snarky's Ghost mentioned where they make sure to mention that it's Dinah's first live program across the country. It's sort of interesting because I wonder if it actually was live - there's a noticable difference between cutting from Mary talking at home about the program being about to start to the Dinah show. The actors (and Dinah) are kind of fumbling and there's a studio audience that's distractingly laughing at really random bits, which ends up showing us how Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman would work with a laugh track (hint: not well).
It's definitely in front of a live audience. It worked very well for that one episode.
 

Daniel Avery

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and there's a studio audience that's distractingly laughing at really random bits
Perhaps the Dinah! producers asked the studio audience (who were obviously in on the 'joke' and act like a fake audience) to stay quiet(er) so the MHMH folks could insert the laugh track where they thought it should go. Had the audience not have been given some instructions, members of the studio audience who did not follow MHMH would have reacted in different ways than they should have--sort of a 1970s equivalent of "WTF???"
 

tommie

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It's definitely in front of a live audience. It worked very well for that one episode.
No, I mean live, as in live on air. There were obviously pre-shot bits with Mary in the kitchen watching, but the parts of Loretta on the show felt as if it actually aired live from the actual footage. I'm not sure how feasable that was since I'm sure it aired in different time slots on various stations though... but if it wasn't they did a good job capturing that "live" feel.
 

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In these days of people being cancelled it's sort of amusing to see how Loretta handles being cancelled over saying jews killed Jesus.
 

Daniel Avery

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No, I mean live, as in live on air. There were obviously pre-shot bits with Mary in the kitchen watching, but the parts of Loretta on the show felt as if it actually aired live from the actual footage. I'm not sure how feasable that was since I'm sure it aired in different time slots on various stations though... but if it wasn't they did a good job capturing that "live" feel.
Dinah! was likely filmed rather than videotaped, which would give it a different look. Soaps are videotaped to allow them to be edited quickly and cheaply, but they have an odd look because the footage tracks differently than the individual frames-per-second of film. MHMH was likely taped to have that same "look" that soaps have to give it a level of authenticity as it tried to look like a 'real soap' even as it was a parody. Besides, the different look accentuated how one (Mary and Co. at home) was 'real' and the other was 'being seen on TV'---even as both were obviously TV. The writers probably wrote that "Dinah is going out live" twist so that MHMH characters could have their embarrassing moments supposedly seen on a national scale. I'm pretty sure Dinah! was syndicated, so it would have indeed aired in all kinds of time slots nationally.

The differing looks of film versus videotape was even worse in the 1970s than it is today; if you ever watch reruns of Monty Python's Flying Circus you will see how different the exteriors (on film) look to the interiors (on tape) as the show tried to edit it all together to look seamless but failed miserably.
 

tommie

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Dinah! was likely filmed rather than videotaped, which would give it a different look. Soaps are videotaped to allow them to be edited quickly and cheaply, but they have an odd look because the footage tracks differently than the individual frames-per-second of film. MHMH was likely taped to have that same "look" that soaps have to give it a level of authenticity as it tried to look like a 'real soap' even as it was a parody. Besides, the different look accentuated how one (Mary and Co. at home) was 'real' and the other was 'being seen on TV'---even as both were obviously TV. The writers probably wrote that "Dinah is going out live" twist so that MHMH characters could have their embarrassing moments supposedly seen on a national scale. I'm pretty sure Dinah! was syndicated, so it would have indeed aired in all kinds of time slots nationally.

The differing looks of film versus videotape was even worse in the 1970s than it is today; if you ever watch reruns of Monty Python's Flying Circus you will see how different the exteriors (on film) look to the interiors (on tape) as the show tried to edit it all together to look seamless but failed miserably.
I'm sure you're right, but watching the next episode (76) the minor "live" part included does look different from the previous episode, as if it's been processed. Either way, it's a good enough gimmick for me to be questioning if it's live or not 44 years later in a country that's across the Atlantic! I'm sure Norman would be proud to know this.
 
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tommie

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Poor Mary Hartman! She and her crush have finally confessed their feelings for each other... and then he has a heart attack!

Life just doesn't let up on Mary Hartman.
 

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I'm closing in on the end of the first "cycle" of episodes (130) and poor Mary's currently filming a segment called The American Housewife Consumer (an obvious satire of An American Family), Tom's an alcoholic, her mom's an Indian, Dennis the Hot Cop has left her, Heather's a brat, the next door psychic lady is trying to set Mary up with her gay son, her best friend is turning more and more into a religious nut and there's constant air traffic flying above the house. I honestly feel like I'm going insane along with Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman - I'm not even sure how much acting Louise Lasser is doing here as she's that good.
 

tommie

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So.... Mary's officially gone insane and is imagining herself in a dollhouse. I guess that's where the picture of Heather @Daniel Avery originated from earlier.

Mary's gone completely nuts and you can feel it through the screen. Holy shit, this is so good.

ETA: no, it was the picture I posted in the opening post of this topic. See what I'm saying about this show? :lol:
 
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tommie

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Holy f***. Episode 130 is basically a tour de force for Louise Lasser - no wonder people thought she had a real life break down!
 

Daniel Avery

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Look up "the dollhouse incident" on Louise Lasser's bio to see how everything was up for parody on this show. I vaguely recalled some of the details so I looked it up and filled in some of the blanks. I can't imagine any producer spoofing their star's offscreen embarrassments so blatantly. Well, there was Two and Half Men, but that was because the producers hated Charlie Sheen's guts and Sheen obviously has no shame.
 
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