YOU’RE GONNA MAKE IT AFTER ALL: A Zine o’ Love about The Mary Tyler Moore Show
by Blue Chevigny.
Digest-size, 20 pages, xeroxed, 1994.
Granted, an unlikely (mainstream) subject for an underground
zine, but cultural deconstruction has always been one of the
many important mechanisms of zines, be it political or, in this
case, personal evaluation. This title is such an example.
…and it also helped that I’m a recovering MTM fanboy.
Regardless, when I bumped into a Factsheet Five review of
this, I just barely hesitated before stuffing some cash in an
envelope and sending it off.
It was soon after I hyperactively mailed my doe off when doubt
creped into my system. I’m usually wary about fanzines in
general, 95% of them try too hard with too much filler, worse
for nostalgia sake. I remember a 1994 zine that was named a
Brady Bunch reference that was knee deep with this, they
were relying on the cliqued jokes like listing reasons why
Scooby Do was on drugs and the over usage of the word “we”
as in “don’t we all love The Brady Bunch!” People Magazine
screws the word into the ground in their ‘special issues’ of the
70’s, 80’s and the 90’s. A BIG turn off.
However, I needn’t worry much about this when I
got Blue’s MTM zine. It was refreshingly
constructive, personal and smart. This issue
starts off with ‘Mary & Me’, an introduction piece
that sets the pace for the rest of the zine. After
listing off the surface connections Blue has with
the show, she goes a little deeper: “I want the
internal workings of Mary (Richards), and
operating in me at the total capacity. I want Mary’
s enthusiasm for life and work, and her
unquestioned ability to set out for hat she
wants, or believes in. Even when Mary doubts
herself, we, the viewers, never do…..Mary is
insecure at times, and she stammers her way
through uncomfortable situations. But it’s as if
underneath all that external nerdness there is
some innermost rock of kernel of coolness. That’
s why I love about Mary – it’s the hope she give
me for myself and vaguely lost and self-
conscious women everywhere.”
There are fun and interesting pieces like the
evolution of Mary’s hairstyle (I’m big time on the
last one), a multi-page chart of the many ‘love
triangles’ of the show (Lou, Ted and Murray?
“Hmmmm…”), a breakdown of Sue Ann Nivens
and a brief interview with a friend who dressed
as Rhoda for a Halloween party, but underneath
it all, you can pick up on Blue’s philosophical
connection and deep personal appreciation for
the show. It’s a level of understanding and
intelligence I wasn’t used to see in more
standard fanboy/girl circles at the time.
Soon after enjoying this, I wrote Blue an encouraging
letter and asked when number two was coming out.
Well, I never heard from her and there never was a
number two….at least, from what I know. Maybe that
was good thing. The show has none of the traits that
would attract a fevered following like sci-fi shows like
Star Wars or Buffy, being that Mary was based more on
reality and human nature than those show. Successful
sitcoms may go down in pop culture history, but it’s the
sci-fi shows that gain that ‘cult’ status and the hopefully
related profits every producer and studio salivates for.
Maybe Blue didn’t have enough quality material to fill
another issue? I suppose so. The MTM Show was more
about quality than quantity, which explains why the
producers bailed out on top after the seventh
season…and maybe that’s why Blue bailed after the
first. A good strategy for longevity.