Can we just take a moment to discuss Valerie Harper? She’s been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, and that makes my heart so heavy.
My favorite of her acting credits, of course, was her role as TV’s Rhoda Morgenstern. She was light-hearted, sharp-tongued, witty, fast-talking, artsy, independent, and just wonderful. She was so amazing as Mary Richards’s best friend and neighbor on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, that she starred in her own awesome spin-off, Rhoda.
Rhoda is hilarious, in case you’ve never watched it. She’s moved to NYC and is always looking for work as a window dresser. She lives in a teeeeny tiiiiiiny apartment with her sister (Julie Kavner, voice of Marge Simpson), hates on her teeeeny tiiiiiiny mother, Ida, and has a high-as-hell doorman you never see (Lorenzo Music, voice of Garfield).
A lot of kids born in the mid-80s grew up on Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, and other 90s Nickelodeon “classics”…but the real magic was on Nick at Nite. I was fluent in The Monkees, I Love Lucy, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Mary Tyler Moore, Dick Van Dyke, Bob Newhart, and — of course — Rhoda by age seven.
My buddy, Maria, and I actually used to play Mary Tyler Moore when I would come to her house. Her little brother had bunk beds, which transformed into our apartments in Minneapolis. I was always Rhoda. She was gorgeous to the nth, and, I won’t lie, she made me wish so hard that I was Jewish.
Because, contrary to what Romy and Michelle have led you to believe, I have never understood who would ever want to be the Mary when you could be the RHODA.