Monday, August 20, 2007

Written by Treva Silverman

Here are some scenes from THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW written by Treva Silverman. These are from her first drafts. For those not familiar with the show, Mary's friends are Rhoda (Valerie Harper), Phyllis (Cloris Leachman), and her boss is Lou Grant (Ed Asner).


Rhoda, who has been dieting for months, has just returned from a meeting at Weight Losers and is telling Mary about it.

INT. MARY’S APT. - NIGHT

RHODA
So there was this big event tonight. Once a month the group leader announces how much combined weight all the Weight Loser groups lost in the whole city. And you know how much we dropped this month? Nine thousand, three hundred and thirty three pounds.

MARY
Really? Wow!

RHODA
(musing)
More than nine thousand pounds. I don’t really like to dwell on it, actually. I mean, if you took all that fat and shaped it around, kind of, you could make over six hundred strange little people –- six hundred mushy little round things. Who need a lot of muscle toning.

(As Rhoda's saying this, Mary unthinkingly starts unwrapping a candy bar. Suddenly she stops, flustered, uncertain what to do.)

MARY
Oh….uh --

RHODA
No. Look, I mean, you have a right to live, too. And I have to learn how to deal with the….candy area of life. I can’t expect the whole world to stop what they're doing and survive on cottage cheese, now, can I? (A slight, almost imperceptible licking of her lips; plaintively) Mair, what does chocolate taste like?

MARY
Taste like? Really?

RHODA
Yeah…Tell me…and don’t hold anything back.

MARY
(taking a bite) Well…uh…well, it tastes…dark….

RHODA
(a little involuntary moan emanates from her throat; embarrassed) Oh, sorry….(dreamily) Yeah…dark…right…it’s dark and…textury…and richly smooth, right?

MARY
Well, yes…in a way…

RHODA
(a far-off gaze) What about almonds? Does it have almonds?

MARY
(hesitantly) A few…

RHODA
Oh, good, I love almonds! Are you eating an almond right now?

MARY
Uh, yes. Rhoda --

(Mary, self-conscious, turns a little away. Rhoda follows her, mesmerized. Finally Mary finishes the candy bar as Rhoda lives along with each bite.)

RHODA
(sighs) Oh, Mary…that was the best candy bar I ever watched. (Hopefully) You know what I feel in the mood for? Why don’t you have some butter pecan ice cream right now?

MARY
No, I don’t think so. (doubtfully) Thanks.

RHODA
Maybe later?

MARY
We’ll see.


*************************************************************************************

Lou and Mary are in Mary’s apartment, talking.


INT. MARY’S APT. – NIGHT

(There’s a knock at the door. Phyllis bursts in. She’s wearing a very glamorous long dress.)

PHYLLIS
(upbeat) Hi, hi!

LOU
(unthrilled) Hi, hi.

MARY
Hello, Phyllis.

(Phyllis holds her arms out, demonstrating her dress.)

PHYLLIS
New dress. (whirls around) You likee?

MARY
(politely)
Oh, very much.

PHYLLIS
(to Lou)
Lou, you likee?

LOU
Yeah, I……likee.

(Phyllis, in her own little world, laughs merrily.)

PHYLLIS
I saw it on the rack…and I thought, but it’s so glamorous. Do I dare wear something this glamorous? I mean, I’m not a model or anything….the very idea….I mean, me? A model?

(There is no reaction.)

PHYLLIS (Cont.)
(laughs) Me?

(She waits She laughs again. No reaction.)

PHYLLIS (Cont.)
A model?

(She laughs. Nobody reacts. She slowly stops laughing. Her eyes narrow.)

PHYLLIS (Cont.)
(flatly) What I’m saying is I think I’m not beautiful. I’m saying I’m almost plain -- too plain to ever become a model. Under any circumstances. Whatsoever.

MARY
No, you’re not, Phyllis. You…I mean…you know, maybe you could be a model.

PHYLLIS
(after a beat, preens) Oh, you’re just saying that.

*********************************
Beginning tomorrow: my Fall Movie Preview. I summarize so you don't have to.

14 comments:

Ger Apeldoorn said...

What can I say? It's no Ugly Betty.

I am about to watch Mad Men. Any thoughts, Ken?

estiv said...

Thanks, Ken, this is great stuff, I can see why you're showing it to us. To note just one thing: taking a simple line like "Me? A model?" then splitting it in two the second time and managing to make it two more laugh lines--that's like Miles Davis playing two notes when the average musician would play twenty. Or like a haiku. Thanks for doing this, you're introducing me to a lot of names (Treva Silverman, Steve Gordon, for example) that I'm happy to learn about.

la guy said...

Not related to this post but since it comes up from time to time I present how to Amaze your friends by creating a links on Ken's blog...

Enter the following code in the comments, except with the appropriate link information.

<a href=
"Your Link Goes Here">Ken's Blog</a>

So to link to Ken's blog it would be:

<a href=
"http://kenlevine.blogspot.com/">Ken's Blog</a>

Which will look like:
Ken's Blog

Next week... how to make music notes ♫

VP81955 said...

The irony of Phyllis' "Me? A model?" comment is that Cloris Leachman was a beauty queen in her native Iowa. (I spent two years in grad school in Ames, and have a fondness for many things Iowan.) Great writing from a great sitcom.

BTW, Ken, thanks for the link info. I can now invite people to visit my LiveJournal community focusing on Carole Lombard in particular, and classic Hollywood in general:

VP81955 said...

Let's try it again:



Better?

Graydon said...

I remember at the time I had a little crush on the very attractive and really not very over-weight Valerie Harper; she's no America Ferrera. Remember the social issues that this show was trying to avoid / address at the time. Mary was TV's answer to the women's movement, but I don't think Silverman's treatment of the Rhoda Morgenstern character was reflecting the growing feeling that women were saying, I'm happy with my body and I'm happy with myself. Mary was a new character for TV, but Rhoda was still just a "fat chick."

Jim Donahue said...

Heck, even America Ferrara is no America Ferrara.

Jim Donahue said...

(I meant that overweight-wise, not talent-wise. When she's out of makeup, she's quite pretty.)

benson said...

Slightly off topic, but maybe not.

I just noticed that TV Land is runing Cheers again, once a day at 8am, ET.

benson said...

Gawd, I hate people who don't proof-read. It's just so lazy.

I just noticed that TV Land is running Cheers again, once a day at 8am, ET.

ojzgilty said...

Great blog with wonderful info and insights. I'm especially loving reading about Treva Silverman's amazing scripts. I can vividly remember these scenes from the broadcasts, but they're equally funny on the page. Thanks for letting us see them!

Rob Bates said...

The Mary Tyler Moore show remains my favorite of all time. When it hits its stride, nothing could beat it. If you talk to Treva Silverman, let her know there are many people out here who respect her work and still enjoy it.

Stratman said...

Does anybody feel Ugly Betty isn't really that ugly?

Anonymous said...

You're right,it's no Ugly Betty. It's BETTER. With all due respect, you just can't beat the classics!