The Mary Tyler Moore Show

Season 2 Episode 11

The Six-and-a-Half-Year Itch

Aired Saturday 9:30 PM Nov 27, 1971 on CBS

Episode Recap

The episode opens up in the newsroom, where Lou is bemoaning the fact that his wife, Edie, is away in Ann Arbor for the week, visiting relatives. He says that she always does this once a year to make him miss her…and he confesses that he misses her very much. Lou asks Murray if he wants go join him for dinner, and Murray has to decline because of a PTA meeting that night. Mary suggests that Lou come with her and Rhoda to the new Fellini film that's in the cinema; Lou declines that. However, when Ted offers to hang out with Lou, Lou tries to come up with an excuse and defers to Murray for help. Murray tells Ted that Lou is going to dinner and the movies with Mary and Rhoda, and Ted declines joining them, mistaking the film name (Fellini) for Italian food. Lou, however, insists after Ted leaves that they make it a John Wayne movie instead.

At the movie theater, Lou is surprised to see his son-in-law Bill…without his wife (Lou's daughter). Lou asks him what he's doing by himself and Bill mumbles that he's "working late tonight." Lou frowns, unsure what to think. Awkwardness reigns a few moments later when a young woman asks Lou, who is sitting next to his son-in-law, to get out of her seat. As Rhoda rejoins them, pushing past everyone to get in her seat, she recognizes the girl and they make small talk, all while Mary, Lou and Bill sit uncomfortably in between them. Finally, in a huff, Lou leaves. A concerned Mary and a puzzled Rhoda follow him out the door.

Back at Mary's place, Lou is beside himself with anger and confusion about what to do next. To make matters worse, he is supposed to be having dinner with his daughter and son-in-law the very next evening. He asks Mary if he can use her phone to call Edie, but Mary discourages him from doing that. Lou calls anyway, but his voice his high-pitched and unnatural as he tries to keep his cool. He assures his wife that he hasn't been drinking, and then hangs up without telling her what happened. Mary encourages him to talk about it, asking him, "Don't you think you'd feel better?" Lou insinuates that violence is the only thing that would help him to feel better, and leaves.

In the newsroom, everyone is the butt of Lou's wrath, even Murray and Mary. Lou tries to pick a fight with her, but Mary lets his insults slide, explaining that she's sympathetic to why he's so upset. She goes into his office and tries to get him to open up to her about what he's feeling, but he has no desire to cooperate. Lou has already canceled his dinner plans with his daughter and Bill, and expresses fury that no one will spar with him, comparing the office to "trying to play racquetball without a wall."

Later, while Lou is out in the studio, Bill walks in looking for him. Lou stiffens when he sees his son-in-law, then invites him into his office. After Lou shuts the door, Bill confesses to Lou that he was planning to have an affair. Lou bristles, and Bill goes on to explain that everyone seems to be doing it these days, and that it's all you read about in the tabloids. Finally, Bill jabs at Lou, saying as a married man, he must understand. Lou turns around and stares him straight in the eye, and says "No." Lou explains that there are too many things in life that one can compromise, twist, or betray, and he decided that his marriage would not be one of them. Lou tells Bill about Edie, gruffly, "I guess I love her." Bill tells Lou that he'll never do such a thing again, and Lou assures him that if he does, Bill's wife will be a widow. Lou then invites his son-in-law to have lunch with him.

The final scene depicts Rhoda and Mary having a discussion about everything back at her apartment.

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