Mary Hartman Mary Hartman is a mock soap opera starring Louise Lasser and developed by television legend Norman Lear. Lear was responsible for All in the Family, Maude, The Jeffersons, Good Times, One Day at a Time, and Fernwood Tonight (Mary Hartman Mary Hartman takes place in Fernwood). While it has many absurd elements, it is not like Soap, which was more of a direct parody. Mary Hartman Mary Hartman is a dry, dry satire of the soap opera, consumerism, suburban fear, and the sexual revolution.
|Louise Lasser as the titular "Mary Hartman"|
The story in season one has many arcs, but the "impending doom" aspect comes from the murder of a family that no one in town really knew. It is a clever device that writers can go back to without getting to deep, and smartly without tying the show to a specific time. The impending doom could be any of the things going on in '76, but murder is universal.
|Bedroom troubles plague Mary and Tom (Greg Mullavey)|
|Mary and her sister Cathy reading Orgasm and You|
|Cathy Shumway (Debralee Scott), Loretta Haggers (Mary Kay Place), and Mary questioned by reporter Clete Meizenheimer (Michael Lembeck) about the Lombardi murders|
In all this is a fun show, but dry, dry, dry. It is so subtle at times, and then smacks you with something silly, or something silly goes on in the background; you don't miss it, but it looks like reality. Well worth checking out if you have a strange sense of humor.