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Flow Volume 23 Special Issue:

Women & Television Comedy: A Tribute to Mary Tyler Moore

From her roles as Laura Petrie to Mary Richards, Mary Tyler Moore brought a modern, sophisticated woman to the situation comedy who was educated, independent, and assertive. Not only were The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961-1966) and The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-1977) critical and commercial successes, but they were also landmark series in the development of the U.S. sitcom. These series critically engaged with contemporary women’s issues and pushed the boundaries of female representation; Laurie Petrie presented a wife who was in many ways her husband’s partner and equal, while Mary Richards embodied the single, independent working woman of the 1970s. Through Moore’s iconic comedy, feminism found a home on primetime television, laying the groundwork for the future of funny women on television.

This Special Issue of Flow serves not only to reflect on the legacy of Mary Tyler Moore as a producer, star, and icon, but also to consider the continuing role, influence, and politics of women in sitcoms, and in comedy more broadly. In the Age of Trump, we might also think about the power of comedy to serve as a vibrant space for feminist discourse and activism. We welcome submissions that consider any of the following topics related to Moore and her legacy:

  • The Dick Van Dyke Show, its importance and its influence
  • The Mary Tyler Moore Show, its importance and its influence
  • Television wives and mothers
  • Family sitcoms
  • Gender in workplace comedies and workplace families
  • Quality television and the MTM Style
  • Women in situation comedies or comedy more broadly
  • Feminism and primetime television
  • Moore and stardom
  • The politics of TV comedy
  • Women’s TV roles and Women’s Movements
  • Domesticity and Domestic TV Spaces/Roles
  • Clothing, style, and feminism

To be considered for inclusion in this Special Issue, please send completed short essays of 1000-1500 words, along with at least three image (.png) or video files and a short author bio, to Selena Dickey at flowjournaleditors@gmail.com by Monday February 13. The Special Issue will be published at flowjournal.org on Monday February 20.