will be making changes to the Private Message system the week of Jan 26, 2015. For more information click here

The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Season 2 Episode 1

The Birds . . . and . . . um . . . Bees

Aired Saturday 9:30 PM Sep 18, 1971 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
42 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

After Mary produces a "What's Your Sexual IQ?" documentary for the Six O'Clock News, Phyllis calls on Mary to teach Bess the facts of life. Meanwhile, the WJM-TV newsroom is shelled with phone calls responding to the documentary.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

No results found.
No results found.
No results found.
  • After producing a provocative show about sexual knowledge, Mary is enlisted by Phyllis to tell her daughter, Bess, the facts of life.

    This episode is, after stripping away all the jokes and gags, a very tender and touching episode about a girl coming to grips with love, sex and life.

    Not to get too maudlin, it is a funny episode. The antics of the gang are the usual hilarious best. Lou’s proud boast of his high score, Ted’s strutting about, and Rhoda’s and Phyllis's jabs. They all do not disappoint, but the show is stolen by young Bess, played brilliantly by Lisa Gerritsen.

    Much to her mother’s ignorance, Bess actually does know about the facts of life. Her naivety and anxiety are rooted in the more subtle questions of when, why and whom.

    She does an absolutely amazing job with understated charm, playing a young girl confused with her feelings. Her little face exhibits both the innocence and fear that we all go through. She is utterly heart wrenching as she wrestles with the new feelings of love confused with questions of sexuality. You can’t help but ache for her, as you see her little face is so full of worry, because she thinks she has to be sexual because she’s in love. Your heart soars with hers as you see the relief in her young face, as Mary tells her that she can love without worrying about sex, for a long, long time.

    It is truly an astonishingly poignant and moving episode.moreless
Lisa Gerritsen

Lisa Gerritsen

Bess Lindstrom

Recurring Role

John Amos

John Amos

Gordy Howard

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • Goof: In the second-to-last scene, when Bess is talking to Mary but facing the camera, a crew member's shadow passes very visibly over the armchair on which Bess is leaning.

    • Mary's apartment is slightly altered in appearance from the previous season. In addition to minor changes in furniture, there is an extra set of carpeted steps in the middle of the low shelves that separate the upper level from the sunken living room.

    • A new version of "Love is All Around" debuts with this episode and will be used for the remainder of the series' run.

    • According to this episode, Bess is in the 8th grade and has a boyfriend.

  • QUOTES (6)

    • Gordy: (fielding the stream of obscene phone calls for Mary) Yes, this is Miss Richards speaking...uh-huh...uh-huh...(other phone rings) Hey look, man. I got another obscene caller. Let me call you back.

    • (phone rings in Mary's apartment) Phyllis: I'll get it. Hello? (to Mary) You're right. It is an obscene phone call. (hands her the receiver) It's Rhoda.

    • Rhoda: (talking to Mary and Phyllis about a talk show she saw) They had on the woman who wrote The Sensuous Woman, and the man who wrote The Sensuous Man. Unfortunately, I never did get to see the end of the show. They both left together during a commercial break!

    • Rhoda: How d'ya like that? I flunked a sexual IQ test and passed a national driver's test...and Mary, I'm a lousy driver!

    • Lou: (grinning widely) I got an 88!
      Mary: T-t-that's a good score.
      Lou: I would have got a hundred, 'cept I wear a flannel nightshirt!
      Mary: (rather uneasily) T-that, umm, was the, ah, trick question.

    • Rhoda: Howdy! Everyone got their 'birds and bees' sweatshirts on today?!

  • NOTES (2)

    • This episode was filmed on June 11, 1971.

    • Ted says he read the book God's Little Acre when he tells Murray how he first learned about sex. God's Little Acre is a 1933 novel by Erskine Caldwell which was so controversial at that time that a literary board in New York attempted to censor it, leading to the author's arrest and being tried for obscenity.