2/18/2007

There's Something About Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman

Hearing that the first volume of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman is soon to be released on dvd started a flood in my brain that may just help wash clean that waxy yellow buildup.

In order to escape the insanity of my own family, I needed an even crazier family to latch on to and the Hartmans did not disappoint. My twelve year old self was mesmerized by the daily doings of the denizens of Fernwood. Proud Mary and her husband Tom had lots of problems of their own but once you added in sister Cathy, their off balance mother (played by Dody Goodman) and Grandpa, well, you had a quite a big bowl of mixed nuts in front of you.

Living next door to my family was a seldom seen single mother and her sullen teenaged son. Next door to Mary was the endlessly fascinating Loretta Haggers, an aspiring country and western singer and her older husband Charlie. Mary Kay Place would have been enough to keep me watching even if the rest of the cast had all disappeared. Her turns in Citizen Ruth and Being John Malkovich have kept the spark alive for me.

Watching the show was a little like looking at a picture frame that's always slightly askew no matter how many times you straighten it. What other program gave you death by drowning (in a bowl of soup), a flasher terrorizing the town, Mary's inner monolgues being forced into the open, and those braids?

I'm not sure how I managed to watch this show in peace considering the number of other inmates siblings doing time with me but maybe it was just one of those things that was meant to be. The dvd release promises to bring back some great memories, some good laughs and
of course, that theme music.

I really hope my nervous breakdown is televised!

18 comments:

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Oh lordy Dale, you've opened a floodgate of memories. At the time of that show I had a summer job where one of my coworkers was named Gary or Larry (I can't exactly recall, it being 100 years ago) Hartman, and of course he never heard the end of it. No wonder he was such a shyte.

Bubs said...

This is great news! Can "Fernwood Tonight" be far behind?

By the way, which Martin Mull character came first, was it Barth Gimble or Garth Gimble? I get them mixed up.

Coaster Punchman said...

It's things like this that accentuate our slight age difference. Being just a few years younger than you, I remember the show being on, but a) I was not allowed to watch it and b) I didn't understand it at all when I did. I distinctly remember an episode when some guy (Loretta's husband?) got shot in the groin and he was panicking, asking "Is my thing going to be able to do what it has always done?" I thought he was talking about going to the bathroom. Ah, those were the days.

Dale said...

Sounds like you had a lot of fun with Gary, Larry and Mary Barbara. Don't drown in the flood!

They're starting slow Bubs, I think Vol. 1 of Mary only has the first 25 episodes so it could be a while but I'm sure it'll show up. You know, I'm not sure which came first with Mull.

I'm not sure how I got away with watching either CP. The Abba song Does Your Mother Know is playing somewhere. Maw must have been too busy wrangling the other kids to know. I think it was on at lunch hour if I'm not mistaken although I know it was a primetime to late night type show. I can recall some things I wasn't allowed to watch though.

Angela said...

Errr, I don't know who Mary Hartman is...glad you're having fun though!

Beth said...

I cannot WAIT for this to come out! Thanks for the heads-up, doll.

Johnny Yen said...

I always confused Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman with Soap, for some reason.

Jen said...

I've never
seen this show..

Now
I feel that
I've missed out...

netflix here I come

Melinda June said...

I used to sneak to the basement to watch MH, MH, Soap, and Monty Python's Flying Circus. It all seemed so exotic and interesting to me, stuck in a happy family in rural Iowa with Hook and Eye Dutch to keep me company. Can't WAIT for this DVD!

Shroom-Monkey said...

I always thought Mary Hartman was the old chick on Entertainment Tonight...

well you are a bit older than me Dale....

Writeprocrastinator said...

I watched this show before I watched soap operas, though I had a vague idea just what they were parodying. It was a good show from what I can remember, though it will be interesting to see how well it has held up over the years.

Dale said...

That's because you're just a baby Angela, and I'm old.

Me either Beth! And it's so great to see your head down there again! You know what I mean.

They were mucho different Johnny Yen but both excellent.

Again with the babies commenting! Hi Jen!

Melinda, you're a woman of distinction. Do you have any back copies of Hook & Eye laying around?

Haha, that is her Shroom Monkey, just with different hair.

I'm hoping it will be a blast Write P. just as I remember it.

X. Dell said...

Where I lived at the time this came out (Cincinnati, OH), the local censors were all over this show. After deciding whether or not to air it all, the UHF affiliate put it on late at night, so I never got to watch it.

At the same time, the local ABC affiliate wouldn't air Soap because of the gay character played by Billy Crystal. Fortunately, there were reruns of it on Comedy Central where I watched it for the first time and fell in love with it. Now, it's part of my OnDemand package.

Now if they only do that with Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman...

The Gifted Typist said...

I never saw this show because I lived in a place that didn't have - gasp! - CBS in those days. It was like a big empty spot on my pop cultural landscape. And now you're telling me I have a second chance...

Tenacious S said...

Like CP, that show was forbidden in my house, which made it all the sweeter when I managed to sneek in a show. I just mentioned this show the other day to someone younger than me and they stared at me blankly. Interesting that it's out on DVD. I'm glad it gave you some sort of solace as a child. Although having said that, I do hope you have professional help at your ready.

Chancelucky said...

Wow, I'd forgotten that MH2 was the first time I ever saw Mary Kay Place. Are you buying Fernwood 2night as well?

Old Lady said...

Then there was "All That Glitters", member that?

Dale said...

It might be time to start a letter writing campaign to your On Demand people X. Dell. I wonder how MHMH ever made it to my sleepy town without a hoopla. Maybe the bumpkins didn't realize what they were looking at.

You always have one more chance Gifted Typist but blow this one and you're screwed.

No professional help Tenacious S, just you. Can I have your phone number please? I need to make an appointment.

I may just have to Chancelucky, unless you're getting it for me and I just spoiled the surprise?

You stumped me Old Lady, I looked it up and it sounded good and was quickly cancelled by some small minded type.