Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman


“Ahead of its time” is a cliche for cult shows, but it may also be an understatement in this case. I’m not sure the time will ever quite come for Norman Lear’s fantastically weird, deadpan parody of soap operas and consumer culture. A nightly comedy-drama, set in a small town in Ohio, its stories involved country music, a murder mystery and the title star, played by Louise Lasser in her iconic pigtails, a housewife obsessed with waxy buildup on her kitchen floors. Following the binge of the ’60s and the purge of Watergate, Lear’s unsettlingly sardonic show captured a hungover America, wandering in a Valium-like haze, morally adrift, and addicted to—you guessed it—television.

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