Mary Richards' landlady, Phyllis Lindstrom, moves back to her hometown of San Francisco with her teenage daughter Bess following the sudden death of her husband, Lars. She intends to make a...
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Susan Saint James,
Mary Richards' landlady, Phyllis Lindstrom, moves back to her hometown of San Francisco with her teenage daughter Bess following the sudden death of her husband, Lars. She intends to make a new life for herself and her daughter by moving in with Lars' scatterbrained mother, Audrey and her second husband Judge Dexter and getting a new job as an assistant to Julie Erskine, the CEO of a photography studio.
The "Mary Tyler Moore" spinoff, "Phyllis", is often hounded as a failure where spin-offs are concerned. Actually, it is a very funny show and, if it hadn't followed up such an astounding breakthrough show as its predecessor, it would have been quite successful. Though the character of Phyllis, by far the most interesting character on MTM, was changed somewhat in her switch to her own show, it was only to make her character more likable, which worked most of the time and was a very pleasant experience to finally see the softer side of that downstairs bubblehead. The ensemble cast of the first season was wonderful (and would have been even more so if Barbara Colby hadn't have been murdered after the third episode. She was terrific as Phyllis's boss Julie Erskine.) Henry Jones is especially good, as are Jane Ross and Richard Schaal. And, of course, Cloris Leachman is a treasure. The real problem was in the show's second season, when Phyllis changed workplaces to the downtown city building, where the characters were far less interesting and oft times depressing. The ratings show it, too, because in its first season, "Phyllis" was in the Top Ten, higher than "Rhoda" or "MTM". But in its move to the second season, it did very poorly, hence its cancellation. It's a show that tried hard, so give it a chance. You won't be too disappointed!
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