6. "The Dinner Party," The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1973)
Welcome to the “100 Best Sitcom Episodes of All Time,” a countdown for 2012. Each episode will get a separate blog post, counting backward toward No. 1. A list of the programs revealed so far is here (and on Pinterest), and an introduction to the project is here.
So much of human interaction revolves around food: church suppers, holiday feasts, first dates at restaurants, business lunches, etc. The dinner party is probably the most nerve-wracking for all involved. It's a way for someone to make a mark as a host or hostess, but so many things can go wrong that no one really relaxes until the dishes are cleared away. It's not as easy as Julia Child would have you believe.
Mary, dear, do you have any idea what happens if you let Veal Prince Orloff sit in an oven too long?
Mary: No, what?
Sue Ann: He dies!
Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) is a warm, generous person who wants guests to enjoy themselves in her home. She's also rather uptight and desparately wants to avoid "scenes." In the world of sitcoms, this is a combination that guarantees trouble.