Before Rizzoli and Isles, Before Xena and Gabrielle, before Jo and Blair, there were Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern, two straight best friends with crackling chemistry played by Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. There were no Slash Madness Tournaments in 1970, no crackshipping Tumblrs, no place to even share fan fiction, but if there had been, you’d better believe Mary and Rhoda would have been femslash fandom favorites. So it’s no surprise that my eyeballs bugged right out of my head last night when the cast of the The Mary Tyler Moore Show reunited on Hot in Cleveland and Moore and Harper kissed each other right on the mouth!
The much-hyped episode reunited the cast of The Mary Tyler Moore Show — including Betty White and Georgia Engel, who are both a part of Hot in Cleveland, and Cloris Leachman — as a former championship bowling team that had an ugly split 50 years ago when Moore and Harper’s characters became kingpin divas. (One of them even stole an Ovaltine commercial from the other one!) The team reminisces about their championship bowling days/greatest ever feminist sitcom:
“We were the best there ever was,” Harper says.
“Every Saturday night all eyes were on us,” Moore counters.
Ultimately, the ladies gets into an argument over old wounds, but Moore and Harper solve their decades old resentment issues by kissing and holding hands. When the other members of the team spot them, Engel’s character says, “Huh, maybe that’s what the tension was about all along.” (I laughed and laughed; my grandma did not.)
Valerie Bertinelli said on The Today Show that filming with The Mary Tyler Moore Show cast was a dream come true: “No one went back to their dressing rooms when they weren’t in a scene (on that day). We all stayed in the audience and we were all watching, and we all had our little camera phones out, filming everything. It was pretty spectacular.”
It was, indeed.
Did you watch The Mary Tyler Moore Show reunion?