ID this TV Sitcom episode

Ok, I think this was an old Mary Tyler Moore show episode but I’m not 100% sure.

Female lead is having a party/get-together. Her father(?) is there. Somehow someone (one of the guests at the party?) sees a manuscript in the spare bedroom where dad(?) is staying. The guest (who, if it was the Mary Tyler Moore show, would have to be Ted Baxter) takes it into the main gathering. He announces that he will read the manuscript. Dad protests that it’s not read, not complete, guest pooh-poohs Dad’s objections. Guest (and one other guest?) go into the spare bedroom and start reading.

Party continues. A little while after, the guests who were reading the manuscript come out, in awe and in tears–“This is magnificent! < sob > The part where he has to sell the couch his dad made <sob sob> It’s the saddest, most beautiful thing I’ve ever read. We’re only partways in but this is wonderful”*

Other guests are now intrigued. First/Pushy Guest separates the first chunk of the manuscript (that he’s read) from the rest and pushes into the hands of someone else. More people go into the bedroom to read it. As they do, they also rave about it, sobbing at various parts.

Party is losing momentum fast. The manuscript gets more and more sub-divided as more guests disappear to read it. Finally, it’s just heroine and dad in the living room.

Eventually, first guest gets to the final page of the manuscript…which just stops.

Dad shrugs and says “I told you it was incomplete, unfinished”.

Slowly guests leave. Heroine and dad talk, she says “Why didn’t you tell me about your book?”, Dad says something about how he’s been lugging it around for 10 years(?) hoping to get the spark of inspiration back that got him through the first 2/3ds. Hugging and stuff concludes the ep.

This ring any bells for anyone?
*I have no memory of the specific part. Don’t get fixated on “the couch”. I just made that up as an example.

You’ve probably got the wrong show. Bill Quinn, who played the father of Mary Richards, only appeared in three episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. None of them sound like the episode you describe. Go down to the entry for the show and click on each episode for the plot of the show:

Not to mention that Mary had no guest room. The episode description doesn’t sound familiar to me at all.

Yeah, Mary’s apartment was a studio. She was always making and unmaking the sofa bed.

Correct, but in the last one or two seasons, she moved to a real apartment (after Rhoda and Phyllis had left).

Actually, this sounds a lot like a “Frasier” plot to me (leaving aside the obvious, uhm, gender issues :rolleyes: ). I’ve only seen about a third of that series, but I can certainly visualize the characters playing out that scenario.

There was a Frasier episode about a famous author and a manuscript, but I think only Frasier and Niles read it.

Yes, but the plot didn’t follow the OP’s at all.

That description sounds really familiar, but I can’t place it. I’m trying to think of various sitcoms I’ve watched to see if I can come up with any other details or just a face or something.

The only things I’m 100% sure of are:

  1. The main protagonist was absolutely a woman (so, not Frasier)

  2. The author was an older male relative (I’m 99% certain it was dad, but it could have been uncle/grandfather, etc). Erm…thinking about it, what if it wasn’t actually a relative but a father-figure. Mr. Grant, say?

  3. There was a “Ted Baxter” type character. Phil Hartman’s character from News Radio fits closely enough. So does Frasier from Cheers. A blustery guy who grabs the manuscript without asking permission. If Diane was throwing the party and invited the gang from Cheers, it could have been Coach’s manuscript and Frasier grabs it to read with an “I’ll be the judge of how good this manuscript is Coach. I have and extensive background in English literature” type comment. (except that Coach was dead by the time Frasier showed up. But you see how it would fit the formula…hell, even Sam could have been the manuscript grabber, except that I’m not sure he actually reads)

  4. The Ted Baxter type guy coming out sobbing at some point, and describing the scene in a way that doesn’t make it sound like it would be all that moving (“The part where he finally fries an egg < sob >” or "The part where he paints his room blue. At last < sob >.) Something like that. I remember that being one of the funniest bits–with the sobbing, utterly emotionally overwraught guy breaking down over something incredibly mundane.

  5. IIRC, there was a bit where you see the manuscript in probably 8 or 10 sections being handed around from person A who gives his part to person B, and everyone sobbing while the hostess/protagonist is reduced to offering hors dourves and kleenex.

The reason I was thinking Mary Tyler Moore is that there was an ongoing joke about how bad Mary Richard’s parties were and this fits right in. If it was MTM, it would have been in her high-rise apartment later in the series after she moves out of Phyllis’s house.

Thanks for the help and the extra brains on this everyone. I was kinda daydreaming a few days ago and something kicked that memory into the front of my brain and it’s been driving me nuts ever since. :slight_smile:

Do you remember what year you saw this show? Was it new then or was it an old episode?

I honestly don’t remember when I saw it. I’d guess (just by when I was really into watching sitcoms) it was '75 to '85-ish, but that’s just a guess. I doubt it would have been much earlier, but it could have been as late as the mid '90s.

Part of the problem is that I’m now mentally “stuck” on the visuals from Mary Tyler Moore. I realize that’s almost certainly not it, but any recollection of it now is tainted by the mental images of those characters, if you know what I mean. It really has a MTM Productions “feel” to me.

(Another set of characters who could do the episode: the old Bob Newhart show. Emily is the hostess, Emily’s dad (or hell, Bob Newhart) in “dad’s” role, the angry guy (Mr Carlin?) is the “Ted Baxter” character, etc. )

WAG - could it have been a Friends episode? There’s something about this routine (going into another room, handing off pieces of the manuscript, etc.) that sounds like it would fit that ensemble, and we were always meeting people’s dads.

I have seen this, sometime within the last twenty years (probably a Repeat ep). I will rack my brains and see if I can narrow it down.

The old Bob Newhart show came to mind also, though I can’t place the episode. Emily’s dad visited at least once. The neighbor guy played by Bill Daly is a good comic foil, usually not angry, but he could do that. Has the feel of a Newhart episode maybe.

Possible female driven sitcoms that it may have been on:
Murphy Brown
Kate and Allie
Love Sidney

Other Ted Knight sitcom:
Too Close for Comfort

It definitely wasn’t Friends. You’re right, it sounds like it might fit, but due to my wife’s obsession with this sitcom, I’m more familiar with it than anybody should be, and there’s no episode that meets the OP’s description.

Other than that, I can’t add much toward answering this, but now I’m anxious to find out as well.

ETA: I’m sure this isn’t what you’re thinking of, but this kind of reminds me of a MAS*H episode in which somebody tears all the chapters out of a mystery novel and they get passed around from person to person. Then (IIRC) the last page is missing.