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The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Season 4 Episode 20

Better Late . . . That's a Pun . . . Than Never

Aired Saturday 9:30 PM Feb 02, 1974 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
28 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

To relieve her boredom, Mary jokingly writes a humorous obituary of one of the people in the WJM-TV file. Coincidentally, the same person dies the following day and the obituary is read on the air. Lou has no choice but to suspend Mary, but she threatens to quit in response.moreless

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  • A good episode that explores something interesting for the series, Mary really screwing up.

    Mary and Rhoda write humorous obituaries late at night, unaware that one will be read on air the next day.

    Lots of episodes of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" thrust Mary Richards into situations where she must make up for circumstances out of her control, often only partly successfully. The reason this installment stands out in my mind is that here, Mary herself makes the unwitting but serious error and must react to its consequences.

    The humor is supplied by the obituaries themselves, Ted's straight-faced on-air reading, and Mary's initial embarassment. What is more interesting is Lou - unable to accept the mistake (and telling tales from his newspaper days) - and Mary being initially contrite. The situation becomes more complex as she finds a level of uneasy pride and decides to make a stand, leading to a war of egos between her and her boss.

    Situations like this are common in the workplace, and this episode does a decent job of transferring it to the realm of situation comedy.moreless
Georgia Engel

Georgia Engel

Georgette Franklin Baxter (1973-1977)

Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Tyler Moore

Mary Richards

Ted Knight

Ted Knight

Ted Baxter

Gavin MacLeod

Gavin MacLeod

Murray Slaughter

Valerie Harper

Valerie Harper

Rhoda Morgenstern (1970-1974)

Edward Asner

Edward Asner

Lou Grant

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Ted: (reading a joke obituary on the air) And now we come to a sad part of the news; Wee Willie Williams is dead, at 110. For a long time, Wee Willie Williams was the oldest living citizen in Minneapolis. There were other citizens in Minneapolis who were older; however, they happen to be dead. When last interviewed, Wee Willie had no immediate plans for the future, but hoped to include traveling, gardening...and breathing. Wee Willie had two main hobbies, which were whittling, and going down to the bus station and not doing anything. He also enjoyed playing his favorite little game, which he called 'ignoring people'. How it was played was, no matter what anyone would say to him, he would turn his head away, and stare off into space. But look at it this way; now he can play it even better because he doesn't have to worry about blinking. This is Ted Baxter saying good night and good news!

  • NOTES (3)

    • This episode was filmed on January 11, 1974.

    • Mary: (in serious trouble with Lou Grant) Mr. Grant, I don't want any special treatment.
      Lou: This is the kind of thing people are fired for.
      Mary: Mr. Grant, I would appreciate any special treatment.

    • This is the second time in the series that Mary has been stuck writing obituaries. In "Put on a Happy Face" she had accidentally thrown out the obituary file and had to re-do them all.


    • In the tag sequence, Rhoda jokes that Robert Redford's last word would be "Rhoda", and it would be discovered that it was the name of his sled. This is a reference to the classic 1941 Orson Welles film "Citizen Kane", wherein Charles Foster Kane's last word was "Rosebud"--the name of his sled.