People who watch the sociological trends in television often cite important series that are milestones and landmarks for various factions. When discussing "independent female" roles, programs from the 1960s such as Diahann Carroll's "Julia" and Marlo Thomas' "That Girl" are frequently pointed out as important, and certainly in the 1970s, a big boost was given by "Maude" and "Mary Tyler Moore." I offer up the next important series in that chain: Blair Brown in "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd."
Ten years and two months after Mary Richards exited WJM-TV, Jay Tarses (who happened to be in the MTM stable as a frequent writing contributor to "The Bob Newhart Show" back in the day) created this next logical evolutionary step for "The Television Woman."
Molly Dodd was an attractive, 30something, single Manhattan woman who was, basically, a mess. There was nothing together or even mildly prepared about this woman, either in her work, her home life or her romantic relationships. She had been married to, then divorced from a modestly successful saxophonist who somehow wasn't quite out of her life and whose only worthwhile contribution to her was his surname. Her door/elevator man was an amateur philosopher. Her mom was a reflection of herself, and not in a good way. Her career was stuck in dead-end jobs. And when relationships did come along, there were always bizarre complications attached: such as her relationship with an NYPD undercover detective named Nathaniel Hawthorne, or when it devolved into a love triangle with a bookseller named Moss. Or when it got even more complicated, and then tragic.
Somehow, Molly managed to take everything that happened to her in stride, at least in many cases, and that approach helped make her situations bearable, at least for the audience! The other charming and wonderful thing about the lead character was in her imperfections, and her willingness to be OK with them. She rarely had the answer, and even when she did, she often didn't know it! Yet, even as her world was spinning out of control, she kept her equilibrium, and continued on her way, in a sprightly manner. If she could make it there (with all of the people in her life *attempting* to help), she just might make it after all.
Clearly, Molly owed some things to Mary Richards, and definitely paved the way for a character like Ally McBeal, who also had many of the quirky traits that Ms. Dodd had, albeit Ally was a successful lawyer. The "Dramedy" genre that Ms. McBeal dwelled in was first presented here, and that makes this series a very important link in the "History of Women on TV" chain.
As such an important part of television history, the series should be available on DVD for everyone to see! There were only 65 episodes, so this shouldn't be that difficult.
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