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Rhoda Morgenstern: Icon

Rhoda Morgenstern: Icon

I’ve had a Mary Tyler Moore Show obsession lately. I mean, what’s not to love about a show revolving around a thirty something single girl trying to make a career for herself in the news biz in the early 70’s? I love, love, love that the character of Mary never gets married during the series, even if a lot of jokes revolve around her combating that spinster stereotype (she does, however, get to go on lots of dates with tons of rotisserie-tanned hunks). The supporting cast is amazing. Everyone whom you’ve ever loved from any TV show in the 70’s and early 80’s is on this show – whether they’re series regulars or guest stars: Gavin Macleod (Love Boat), Ted Knight (Too Close For Comfort & Caddyshack), Betty White (Golden Girls), John Amos (Goodtimes), Cloris Leachman (the queen of everything because she is absolute perfection), and Ed Asner (every TV show ever) – just to name a few. The supporting cast is so awesome that they’re in danger of outshining Mary in almost every scene.
Enter Rhoda Morgenstern played by Valerie Harper, the Yang to Mary’s Yin. It’s no wonder after four seasons this woman got her own spin-off series (and for a time outdid MTMS in the ratings). A professional window dresser from New York, Rhoda is funny, quirky, self-deprecating, an awesome dresser (oh, the outfits!), and openly Jewish. Now that may sound a little weird, but there weren’t a lot of straight forward Jewish characters on television back then. Sure there were plenty of Jewish types and Jewish caricatures, but not many principal characters who mention that they are, in fact, Jewish in like every episode. This issue is even addressed during Season 2 in the episode, “Some of My Best Friends are Rhoda.” Mary becomes pals with a woman named Joanna who seems curiously uninterested in getting to know Mary’s best friend, Rhoda. When the lengths Joanna goes to in order to avoid spending time with Rhoda become increasingly awkward, Joanna is forced to admit it’s because Rhoda is Jewish. Mary tells Joanna to take a hike.
Did I mention she has a pink apartment? SHE HAS A PINK APARTMENT. And her clothes. The clothes! She always looks amazing. UH-MAZE-ING:

This is just a little sampler to get your heart going pitter-patter. If you’re not as in love with Rhoda as I am after a few episodes, then there’s no hope for you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I just have to go tie a scarf around my hair and start chatting my cats up with a phony New York accent.



Angie (143 Posts)

Angie lives in a house with a Greg, two cats, and some plants. She works in an office doing officey type things. In her free time she enjoys playing music, drawing, and fantasizing about unicorns, zombies, and werewolves. You can find more of her writing at kissthechicken or follow her on twitter: @kisstheechicken


  • My nickname comes from the mysterious dermatologist character on MTM so… no point really.

    • Cloris Leachman’s husband that no one ever sees? Awesome! You’ve been blessed by the TV gods, Lars. BLESSED.

  • I don’t even know what to say, except that every word and every image of this post makes me feel like crying out in ecstasy.

  • […] Rhoda: Just go read what Angie wrote here and then get yourself to a video type screen and watch […]

  • […] Rhoda‘s mom is their housekeeper: […]

  • I’ve been watching reruns of MTM and Rhoda a lot lately, and have come to the same conclusion about Rhoda’s wardrobe. She’s fanfreaking fabulous. I’ve even been inspired to start a tumblr to document her uh-maze-ing style. 🙂

  • Great blog, Angie…I agree with all of your observations and idolize Rhoda, too.

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