Lileks: Mary Tyler Moore slept here ... sort of
- Article by: JAMES LILEKS
- Star Tribune
- December 22, 2012 - 4:00 PM
The Mary Tyler Moore house is up for sale, which means news stories reminding people we haven't had a TV show set in Minneapolis for four decades.
The house is still famous around here, due to the fact that it was never occupied by a fictional person. Other than that, it's practically Mount Vernon.
Legend says people used to come to the house looking for Mary, which suggests that some people believe TV is a magic window that looks into people's real lives and adds a laugh track. The first time it would be cute; the 10th time the owner would want to say, "Are you surprised to look up at the night sky and see the moon? Because according to 'Space 1999,' it was blown out of orbit by a nuclear explosion," and slam the door. Me, I'd hire someone who looked just like Mary Tyler Moore, and have her stand in the upstairs window when tourists came by, mouthing "help me" and holding up her wrists to show they were in shackles.
Stories on the house rarely mention that Mary Richards moved out after five seasons to live in Cedar Square West, aka the grim concrete human-storage facility. She lived in C building, aka the Chase House; this was regarded as the swanky neighborhood, inasmuch as it had no Section 8. Mary Richards might live next to subsidized housing, but not in it.
Do we write stories when a new tenant moves into the unit she had? No. But we should!
Everything, wherever possible, should have an MTM reference. It's easy:
"The downtown vacancy rate, which includes the IDS Center, setting for three short vignettes in the opening credits of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, continues to tighten, not unlike Mary's smile when someone told a sexist joke. ... "
"MnDOT announced plans to resurface I-494, the highway shown in the opening credits of the early years of the Mary Tyler Moore show. ... "
Perhaps some day Ms. Moore herself will buy the building, if only for a practical joke: She could hang out in a ratty bathrobe and answer the door holding a drink and a cigarette, shouting WHAT DO YOU WANT?
No one would ever believe the people who said they'd seen her.
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