Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Mashing together two of my top five favorite TV series......

I often wonder about the "atmosphere people" you see in the backgrounds of many TV shows, especially in the opening credit sequences of old series.  This came to mind with the recent passing of Jack Klugman - who could that Boy Scout be in Toobworld?  What did he grow up to become?

And then there's 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' - everybody wonders about that old lady seen when Mary "flips her lid", (and she finally met Mary on a talk show a few years before she passed away.)  But how about those two joggers in the park?  Who were they?  Mary looks back at them - did she find them attractive?

Or did she notice that they both had an extra eyeball in the middle of their foreheads?

'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' ended in 1977, more than a decade before this sculpture was completed.......

From Wikipedia:
The centerpiece of the garden is the Spoonbridge and Cherry (1985–1988) water sculpture designed by husband and wife Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. The grounds also include the Cowles Conservatory, which has more flora and sculpture inside, such as Frank Gehry's Standing Glass Fish. A pedestrian bridge, the Irene Hixon Whitney Bridge (1987), designed by Siah Armajani now crosses I-94, once again connecting the sculpture garden to Loring Park.

But that doesn't mean Mary Richards wasn't around when the Eighth Doctor (I prefer the Eighth Doctor in the mash-ups.) came to call.  It just means that we never would have had the chance to see her on screen when he showed up.  "Mayr" lived in Minneapolis until 2000, perhaps the end of 1999, when she moved to New York City after the death of her husband, local Congressman Stephen Cronin.

Supposedly Cronin died while he was rock-climbing.  As with the splainin behind the explosion of the Klingon moon Praxis, couldn't this have been a cover story?  What if the Doctor had come to Minneapolis in time for Christmas of 1998* and found himself involved in some Christmasy alien threat against the Twin Cities?  One that came to the attention of newswoman Mary Richards Cronin and her husband Stephen (who probably replaced Congresswoman Gettys)?

Having just seen this year's Christmas special for 'Doctor Who', I'm feeling a bit influenced by it.  Perhaps the Doctor was living above the clouds (but below radar level and flight paths) in Minneapolis during a typical Minnesota winter.  And perhaps, like Clara Oswin Oswald back on the Christmas Eve of 1892 in London, Congressman Cronin fell from such a height while helping the Doctor battle the aliens.  (If they did have a third eyeball in the middle of their foreheads, then they were Traskians - as seen in 'Farscape' and 'The Twilight Zone' episode "Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up?".)

(They don't have to be Traxians.  I just thought it should be an alien race already established with intent to invade and who could almost pass for human.  A third eye in the forehead could be easily disguised - say, with a sweat band worn by joggers?  At any rate, the Traxians - passing themselves off as "Venutians" because of their base colony on that planet - should have had a successful invasion by now.  So who stopped them?  Why the Doctor, of course!)

Why didn't Mary mention any of this to Rhoda rather than make up a story about rock-climbing?  Perhaps because she wasn't the one who made it up.  Perhaps the Doctor had her bitten by a memory worm and then he created new memories for her in order to spare her the horror and anguish of the Truth.

Of course, that picture of the sculpture is of a beautiful spring day in Minneapolis; no six foot snow drifts.  But maybe the Eleventh Incarnation of the Doctor came back to visit, only to find that Mary was gone.  And maybe that's why he was visiting New York City with Amy and Rory on that last fateful trip they made together......


*My suggested timeline for Mary Richards Cronin:

  • Christmas 1998 - Adventure with the Doctor; her husband Stephen dies
  • End of 1998 to Spring 1999 - Mourning period
  • Summer of 1999 - Four month tour of Europe
  • Fall of 1999 - Attempt to readjust to life in Minneapolis; both parents now dead
  • Late 1999 - Decision to make a fresh start in New York City
  • January 2000 - Move to NYC
  • February 2000 - Events of "Mary & Rhoda"

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