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Old 02-13-2016, 04:20 PM   #1
PracTz
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Default Any Ideas Why Mary Jane or Uncle Harry Never Wed?

No, I'm NOT trying to ship them into a union but I think it's a bit odd that these two clearly middle aged characters had never once been wed to other folks while Lucy was definitely widowed with two teens. I know that there were a few plots trying to unsuccessfully hook up the characters with potential spouses but if 'The Lucy Show' could have had Lucy's best friend Viv be DIVORCED why would it have hurt for this show that debuted six years later to have considered one or both these two to have had unsuccessful unions at some point of their lives? Seriously, if the former show could be popular then why would this show have had to worry about droves of viewers tuning out had the d-word ever been mentioned?
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Old 03-06-2016, 10:55 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PracTz
No, I'm NOT trying to ship them into a union but I think it's a bit odd that these two clearly middle aged characters had never once been wed to other folks while Lucy was definitely widowed with two teens. I know that there were a few plots trying to unsuccessfully hook up the characters with potential spouses but if The Lucy Show could have had Lucy's best friend Viv be DIVORCED why would it have hurt for this show that debuted six years later to have considered one or both these two to have had unsuccessful unions at some point of their lives? Seriously, if the former show could be popular then why would this show have had to worry about droves of viewers tuning out had the d-word ever been mentioned?

I think the better question might be, how did The Lucy Show manage to get a green light from CBS to have a divorced character on the show? And I'm guessing CBS was probably just too eager to get Lucille Ball back on the air that they had no concern about what the background of the characters would be. The Lucy Show got on the air without even a pilot. The fact that it ended up with a divorced character put the show out of step with all other shows on the air in 1962, including shows on CBS. There were plenty of single parents on TV shows at the time, but they were always widows or widowers. By the time Here's Lucy came along, CBS might have been paying closer attention and might have made an objection to having a divorced character on the show. After all, when The Mary Tyler Moore Show was being developed in 1970, CBS refused to allow the Mary Richards character be divorced.

Of course, the irony is all these Norman Lear sitcoms that CBS put on the air, starting with All in the Family in January 1971. It almost seems like the network was going through an identity crisis around that time. The same season CBS said Mary Richards canít be a divorcee, they put All in the Family on the air Ė a show which openly dealt with every culturally sensitive topic under the sun. And in an interview, Hereís Lucy writer Milt Josefsburg told a story about a Here's Lucy episode from that same 1970-71 season where CBS censors gave the Here's Lucy production a hard time over a scene featuring guest star Jack Benny, and a cameo by George Burns, in which their elderly dates show up at the door and one of ladies reminds them, "Don't forget the pill!" And a couple years after that, an incensed Carl Reiner swore off ever again doing a show for CBS when they refused to air an episode of The New Dick Van Dyke Show because of one scene that CBS decided was objectionable. In the scene, the viewer sees Dick's young daughter walk into her parents' bedroom, then walk out with a shocked look on her face. You never see the inside of the bedroom, or hear anything. You only see this look on the daughter's face, implying she had just walked in on her parents making love. The scene was actually done in a very non-offensive, innocent manner, yet CBS refused to air it. Carl Reiner was incensed because this same network had no problem airing shows like All in the Family (co-starring Reiner's son), Maude, and Good Times, which dealt with much more adult-oriented topics, all the time, and in a very in-your-face manner. It seemed extremely hypocritical. But I think CBS felt viewers had one expectation from their old guard TV stars like Lucy, Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore, and wanted those stars to maintain a family-friendly image, while the Norman Lear shows starred previously unknown (on a national level) actors, so they were given more latitude to do whatever they wanted.

So that's a very long-winded explanation of why I think Mary Jane and Harry were not portrayed as being divorced: CBS wouldn't accept it. That said, though, it's a great question. And now that I think about it, it could have opened up lots of possibilities for the show. Imagine if Harry had an ex-wife who showed up every once in a while to give him grief. Imagine also that said ex-wife was a close friend of Lucy's. That would help justify Harry's constant agitation with Lucy. Imagine also that the ex-wife was played by Vivian Vance. I think of episodes like "Lucy, the Matchmaker." That episode almost plays like Harry and Viv had previously been married. Instead, it is revealed that Viv once dated Harry. Itís a cute episode, but I think it would have been much funnier if the premise had been about a computer dating service matching Harry up with his ex-wife, rather than with someone he had only gone out with once. And the episode on the cruise ship in Hawaii: Harry jumping overboard to get away from Viv was rather over the top. It would have made more sense if he was trying to escape the clutches of his ex-wife.

As for Mary Jane, itís hard to imagine what kind of jerk would divorce her. In that case, I can imagine she got dumped by her former husband who eventually realized he had made a big mistake and shows up once or twice each season trying to win Mary Jane back. But sheís already learned her lesson: he had his chance and he blew it. But he keeps trying. And Lucy keeps having to come up with new schemes to send the guy packing and get him out of Mary Jane's hair.
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Old 03-07-2016, 09:00 PM   #3
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I think that Harry was a tightwad and perhaps he just was not interested in getting married and wanted to be a confirmed bachelor.

I am not disagreeing that Mary Jane was never married, but I do not remember reading or seeing anything about her character or her relationship history in any of the episodes. Perhaps it was revealed and I am forgetting or did not notice it.

Maybe she was a widower or a divorcee for all we know, if it was never revealed?
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Old 03-08-2016, 06:47 PM   #4
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Thanks for your replies!

Little Ricky,

Now that you mention, it WOULD have made more sense for Viv to have been Harry's actual ex-wife rather than having been a onetime flame. Not just for reactions you mentioned but also for when Lucy tried SO hard to convince Viv she 'knew' Lawrence Welk . I mean, what would she have cared had a one time acquaintance called her on not knowing Lawrence Welk but it WOULD have made more sense had it been a former-sister-in-law (though it was rather lame rip off of ILL's classic Lucy Meets Harpo bit and I think everyone involved wound up being sorry).
As for Mary Jane? Perhaps SHE might have dumped a no-good ex!
Yeah, too bad CBS got skittish over the possibility of sitcom regulars being divorced.

rcbrad,

The main reason why it's clear to me that Mary Jane was supposed to be single (as in never-married- not widowed or divorced) is that they always referred to her as 'MISS Lewis' not Mrs. or Ms. . 'Miss' was something that was ONLY used for never-married women on TV and I don't think any sitcom character would use 'Ms.' until Ann Romano in '75 (though it was clear she was divorced).
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Old 03-11-2016, 02:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PracTz
Now that you mention, it WOULD have made more sense for Viv to have been Harry's actual ex-wife rather than having been a onetime flame. Not just for reactions you mentioned but also for when Lucy tried SO hard to convince Viv she 'knew' Lawrence Welk . I mean, what would she have cared had a one time acquaintance called her on not knowing Lawrence Welk but it WOULD have made more sense had it been a former-sister-in-law

Weren't Lucy and Viv supposed to have been childhood friends? In the "Matchmaker" episode, Viv meets Kim and Craig for the first time since they were kids and tells Kim she looks just like her mother did at that age (which is so NOT true!).


Quote:
Originally Posted by PracTz
(though it was rather lame rip off of ILL's classic Lucy Meets Harpo bit and I think everyone involved wound up being sorry).

I agree it's rather lame, but still one of the better episodes. But it strangely seems to imply that Lawrence Welk never changed his clothes!

What makes you think everyone would up being sorry for this episode? I've never heard that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PracTz
The main reason why it's clear to me that Mary Jane was supposed to be single (as in never-married- not widowed or divorced) is that they always referred to her as 'MISS Lewis' not Mrs. or Ms. . 'Miss' was something that was ONLY used for never-married women on TV and I don't think any sitcom character would use 'Ms.' until Ann Romano in '75 (though it was clear she was divorced).

The title "Ms" didn't exist until about 1972, and didn't become widely used until years later, so it's very unlikely that it ever could have been used for Mary Jane. But even still, it would not have shed any light on Mary Jane's marital status as Ms. is the female equivalent of Mr.: it does not designate a marital status the way Miss and Mrs. do (Miss and Mrs. are sexist titles).
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