Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

url-2The Mary Tyler Moore Show
didn’t shy away from controversial topics, though it didn’t tackle them with nearly the same frequency as its contemporary, All in the Family. It took a while for the producers to figure out exactly how to approach hot issues in a way that felt right for them — not like an All in the Family rip-off. Two key episodes illustrate the differences: One, called “Some of My Best Friends Are Rhoda,” hammered away a little too much at the central issue, Rhoda being excluded from a country club because she’s Jewish; the other nailed the issue of Phyllis’ gay brother beautifully, subtly, and very Mary Tyler Moore-ly.

“Some of My Best Friends Are Rhoda” does boast one of the best episode titles on a show with lots of great episode titles. (“Toulouse Lautrec Is One of My Favorite Artists,” about Mary dating a…

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