Guide The Manhood of Benjie Lasser

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Lear, believing in the work, decided to try and syndicate it sell it directly to local stations , where it would air five days a week, for the full season, with no repeats. It was a smash hit with viewers, and caused an uproar with some critics and religious leaders who felt the show was immoral. Ostensibly a spoof of soap operas, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman frankly touched on subjects the network soaps wouldn't have dreamed of discussing, such as impotence, masturbation, flashing, venereal disease, and the terrors of waxy yellow buildup on kitchen floors.

The citizens of fictional Fernwood, Ohio weren't the glamorous, rich, attractive people that seemed to populate most of network daytime soaps, either. They were decidedly plain and average, with average jobs and average houses. And the heroine of the show, TV-obsessed Mary Hartman, would make a most astounding journey, even within these first 25 episodes, from nearly comatose housewife to outraged, confused feminist.

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There seems to be a large contingent of fans who remember Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman as this outrageous, hilarious spoof of soap operas and small town, middle America, where noted Hollywood liberal Norman Lear showed all the rubes out there what boobs they really were. They point to the irony of Mary's Louise Lasser zoned-out preoccupation with everything on the TV, particularly her obsession with buying products advertised on the commercials in the hopes that her own life might mirror the fantasies she sees daily on the tube.

And they laugh at the satirical, slightly buffoonish "yokels" - in particular Mary's next-door neighbor, country singer superstar wannabe, Loretta Haggers Mary Kay Place , and her gun-totin', factory-working husband Charlie Graham Jarvis - that populated Fernwood. And certainly, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman does operate on those levels, and wonderfully so. But when the viewer becomes acclimated to the bizarre nature of the show after the first few episodes, a disquieting seriousness starts to creep in between the marvelously skewed one-liners and the purposefully outlandish and comedic melodramatics.

Real emotions and feelings begin to come out of the seemingly broad, cartoonish characters. Tom Greg Mullavy , Mary's insensitive, emotionally arrested husband he still wears his high school letterman's jacket, a baseball cap - when that was still considered a kid's hat to wear - and kiddie pajamas is impotent.

And Mary, who can't reach her husband, is just as confused and bewildered about being physically rejected, as she is desperately worried about what will happen to her safe, cocooned world should her marriage fail. But unlike the mainstream soap operas where a "good" wife would suffer in silence if there was a problem with her marriage, Mary rebels. She insists something is wrong with her marriage, and she won't take Tom's evasions at face value. And when Tom, who blithely has an affair with pathetic, lonely bombshell Mae Salome Jens , Mary is outraged. She's humiliated, she's angry, and she's vengeful, going so far as to almost sleep with Sergeant Dennis Foley Bruce Solomon , a police officer who's gently, but insistently, pursued Mary.

And what's more, she needles Tom about it -- and about his impotence. The scenes of Mary howling in anger and confusion at what Tom has done to their marriage, how he's ruined forever what they had together, is about as raw and honest a set of scenes on marital infidelity as I've ever seen, and a true feminist statement that allows no blame to be put on the wife for a husband's philandering. Now, of course, head writer Ann Marcus and series directors Joan Darling and Jim Drake make sure we're still laughing, by having Mary interrupting her very real breakdowns with constant kevetching about freeze dried crystals versus drip coffee, or having her endlessly evaluating that pesky yellow waxy build-up on her kitchen floor.

But that's the brilliance of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman ; it constantly snaps you back and forth between outrageous, exaggerated spoof, and deadly serious drama. Killer of the Lombardi family including two goats and eight chickens, which seems to fascinate Fernwoodians much more than the plight of the Lombardis themselves , David Jessup initially takes Mary's daughter Heather Claudia Lamb captive, but then accepts Mary as a hostage. As Mary spends hours and hours in the abandoned store front with the killer, poor Davey, who only wants to please people, often tries to reach out and tell Mary the sad story of his growing up.

Much of it is hilariously common, but occasionally, his story is horribly sad, and you start to feel sorry for him. That is, until Mary treats him in the same condescending, dismissive manner that his family and everyone else must have treated him throughout his life, and you start laughing again - until it sinks in at how brilliantly Lear and Marcus and the actors have roped you in to this push-me, pull-you world. While all of the actors are uncommonly good here Dodie Goodman, as Mary's mother Martha, is like a gift sent from heaven , Louise Lasser really carries the tone of the show on her shoulders, and she's almost supernaturally attuned to her character.

As the enervated, zombie-like Mary Hartman, typical housewife from "flyover country" Ohio, Lasser channels Mary Hartman in a most spooky manner. I remember watching Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman when I was a kid, and while I laughed often at the more pronounced comedic scenes, I found the show at times terribly frightening, particularly when Lasser would do her patented, unblinking stare at someone, where she's trying to decipher what the other person is saying through the fog of her own preoccupations.

And when normally soft-spoken Mary finally explodes on Tom for his cheating ways, it's a scary, loud, believably unhinged performance. Lear's use of cheap, garishly lit video, the choppy, jerky camera movements, the too-long held, uncomfortably tight close-ups, and the absence of a laugh track, only increased the sense that you were watching something It was almost too real at times something that couldn't be said for the derivative, sitcom-y Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman knock-off, Soap.

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Couple that with the totally unpredictable nature of the show, and the rather startling, realistic performances in-between the obvious mugging , and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman can, at times, be a very unsettling, creepy viewing experience. Now, after that build-up, are you ready for the sucker punch? I'm not recommending you buy Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman: And it's very simple why you shouldn't: One of the most disturbing sequences in the first season of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman involved the Haggers' journey to Nashville, where Loretta and Charlie were sure music superstardom awaited them.

On their way South, their car breaks down, and while Charlie attempts to fix the car, two hillbillies right out of Deliverance assault Charlie and suggest raping Loretta. Again, it's one of those scenes in Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman that brilliantly switches from uneasy laughs to stone cold seriousness. Volume 1 DVD box set. On episode 21, at the end of the show, upcoming scenes are highlighted for the next Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman a common practice on the show, to mimic the soaps , including a scene that shows the Haggers with the hillbillies, with one of them telling Charlie they're out for a "little fun.

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In episode 23, the first time we see the Haggers, the hillbillies are already at the car. They hit Charlie, and suggest they're going to rape Loretta, before they discover she's a singer. Hearing this, they sing a song of theirs to her, before helping Charlie and Loretta to get back on their road trip. Somehow, the whole initial set-up with the hillbillies is missing here - we don't see the car break down, we don't see Charlie and Loretta discuss the status of the car, and we don't see the hillbillies initially approaching and engaging the Haggers.

As it appears here on the disc, it's a totally nonsensical scene without any context - if you had never seen the episode before, you would have no idea what was going on here.

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As well, this scene is followed by a repeat scene from the previous episode, with Mary and Tom discussing their marriage. Now, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman often repeated scenes at the head of an episode, to catch up viewers who may have missed a show they'd even use an announcer sometimes to alert the audience to this practice. But they never repeated scenes in the middle of an episode, so something has been scrambled around here in this episode.

The next time we see the Haggers is in episode It's a brief, silent shot of Loretta asleep next to Charlie, who suddenly sees a bright light before his car smashes into a station wagon full of nuns perhaps one of the most controversial - and hilariously sick - scenes in the show, with nuns littered all over the fake highway set, played for laughs. The scenes prior to the accident, where Charlie and Loretta discuss what happened with the hillbillies, Loretta's song about their attackers, and their discussion on whether or not Charlie is too tired to drive, are missing, as well.

Just to make sure my memory wasn't faulty after all, it's been some time since I've seen reruns of the show , I checked several episode guides to make sure those scenes actually existed, and that I wasn't just imagining them. The Telephone Book Invasion of the Body Snatchers The Voyage Home The Berenstain Bears The Little Mermaid The Beverly Hillbillies Sid and Nancy Lost in Space The Bob Cummings Show National Lampoon's Vacation The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour The Manchurian Candidate The Meteor Man The Last of Sheila Lamb Chop's Play-Along An American Tail The Joey Bishop Show The Rat Patrol Norman Fell Jack 'J.

Tammy and the Millionaire Gone with the Wind She-Wolf of London Gentlemen Prefer Blondes The Crawling Eye The Little Shop of Horrors The Strongest Man in the World Charlie Chan in the Secret Service The Green Hornet Paint Your Wagon Revenge of the Cheerleaders The Dick Van Dyke Show Breakfast at Tiffany's Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Clash of the Titans The Nude Bomb Jesse James' Women Support Your Local Sheriff! Hutton segment "Love and the Bashful Groom" Mrs. In a Lonely Place The Big Chill Night at the Museum Little Big Man Coming to America The High and the Mighty In the Heat of the Night From Here to Eternity Beach Blanket Bingo Our Miss Brooks The Time Tunnel Bringing Up Baby It's a Wonderful Life High Plains Drifter The Woman from Tangier Here We Go Again The Partridge Family Fiddler on the Roof The Lion in Winter Back in Training The Pajama Game Big Bad Mama Bride by Mistake Learn more - opens in new window or tab.

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The Manhood of Benjie Lasser by Harvey Malcolm Rosen 9780595000197

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