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April 01, 2012

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Jaime Weinman

This was also, I believe, the first show written by the team of Ed. Weinberger and Stan Daniels. Weinberger, who had taken over as producer of the show the year before, brought Daniels in to help him carry some of the work load, and the two would be a major producing team at MTM and Paramount for the next 10 years. I think they were the perfect additions to the MTM world: James L. Brooks and Allan Burns and their regular writers had a style of humor that was a little "soft," not so jokey, while Weinberger and Daniels were from the world of variety and talk shows, where you need a joke a second. The combination of the "soft" and "hard" jokes is what gives Mary Tyler Moore seasons 3-7 and Taxi a lot of their special quality, I think.

Also, I recall that when Daniels died, his obit mentioned a joke from this episode as an example of his touch: "I don't watch TV. I have a fireplace."

Robert David Sullivan

Thanks for adding some background about the writing of this episode. I agree that the "soft" and "hard" combo works very well here. In particular, there are some good moments with the well-rounded character Lou ("soft") interacting with more cartoonish Ted ("hard"); the pairing doesn't always work in other episodes.

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