At iTunes the hits just keep on coming. I couldn’t resist their offering of the thirty-year-old TV series, Lou Grant, a show you can’t even get on NetFlix.
A spin-off of the old Mary Tyler Moore sitcom, Lou Grant featured the title character, once the head of Mary Richard’s Minneapolis television newsroom, but now, having been fired, moving west to become City Editor of the Los Angeles Tribune.
At first he is daunted by the spanking new technology; call waiting, Pong, things like that.
But in mere minutes he’s his old crabby self. Dishing opinion and criticism and wagging a forceful pencil. No one but no one can arch an eyebrow like Ed Asner, the actor who plays Lou Grant. I love how he can look assertive and browbeaten all at the same time. James Gandolfini owes him bigtime.
Speaking of Gandolfini, one of the counter-forces comes in the shape of Tony Soprano’s Mom, Nancy Marchand! She plays Mrs. Pynchon, the stodgy old filthy-rich dog-coddling owner of the paper who needs to be taught a lesson or two about muck-raking journalism. Don’t worry, Lou saves her crusty old soul from conservatism.
Another obstacle is doddering old (50!!) friends-with-police reporter who won’t rake the muck like the young Turks. You can tell that he’s a fuddy-duddy conservative because he wears a bow tie. The Young Turks are identified by their open collars and 70s style permanents.
After lots of soul-searching, the Stodgy Old Reporter yields to the taunts of the Young Turks and the pleading of Lou Grant (also 50 but hip) and turns in a great story that crucifies a whole division of cops for getting frisky on the beach with a girl’s volley ball team. I am not making this up.
In the final scene, everybody is practicing being sardonic in the local watering hole. At first, they think they’ve been canned, but no: Mrs Pynchon, bless her heart, has come around to Lou’s views, the Young Turk has learned to respect the long experience of Fuddy-duddy Reporter, and Fuddy-duddy Reporter has ditched the bow-tie. They all start to yuk it up like madmen. Jimmy Carter is in the Oval Office, All’s Right With the World.