Television: Tickled to Death

It must have seemed a good idea doing a parody soap opera. For the opening minutes of its first episode last week, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman — which Producer Norman Lear is syndicating because, he claims, the networks were afraid of it — still seemed like a good idea. There was the bird-brained heroine in the dreary suburb pouring endless cups of coffee for her girl friends.

Their conversation revolved hilariously around the question of whether or not a waxy yellow buildup was forming on Mary's kitchen floor. The scene was an expert put-on of the soaps' traditional method of stretching...

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