Rhoda is an American television sitcom starring Valerie Harper and was a spin-off from The Mary Tyler Moore Show which ran for five seasons between 1974-1978. Harper played the lead role of Rhoda Morgenstern, who was the spunky, weight conscious, flamboyantly-fashioned best friend of Mary Richards who left Minneapolis and returned home to New York City. The series was a ratings success (even beating its parent show) and was also the winner of two Golden Globes and two Emmy Awards. Rhoda was filmed in front of a live audience at CBS Studio Center, Stage 14 in Studio City, California.
The series opens with a slimmed-down Rhoda Morgenstern traveling to New York City from Minneapolis to visit her family. While in New York, she meets Joe Gerard (David Groh), a handsome divorcé who runs a wrecking company and has a young son. Rhoda decides to stay in New York, initially moving in with her younger sister, Brenda (Julie Kavner) at 332 E. 84th Street. Brenda, an overweight bank-teller, had self-esteem problems, similar to Rhoda herself at the outset of The Mary Tyler Moore Show four years earlier. Brenda's small apartment can't hold the both of them, so Rhoda tries moving in with her parents Ida (Nancy Walker) and Martin (Harold Gould) at their apartment in The Bronx. Ida and Martin are the archetypical Jewish parents. Ida is overbearing, overprotective, benevolently manipulative, and desperate to make sure Rhoda finds a good husband. Martin is her dutiful, more mild-mannered dad. At first, Ida goes to great lengths to baby her daughter. But when it becomes apparent that Rhoda is sliding into a rut by staying in the room where she grew up, Ida forces her to move out for her own good. Meanwhile, Rhoda's relationship with Joe blossoms. Joe invites Rhoda to move in with him, and Rhoda accepts the offer. However, she quickly realizes she wants to be married, and after some hesitation, Joe agrees and a wedding is planned.
Eight weeks into the series, on Monday, October 28, 1974, Rhoda and Joe are married in a special hour-long episode. Heavily publicized, the episode became one of the highest-rated events in 1970s television, even defeating the competing ABC ratings juggernaut, Monday Night Football. At the time of its airing the episode had the distinction of being the second most-watched television program in American history, surpassed only by the birth of Little Ricky on the 1950s comedy I Love Lucy. The episode was watched by more than 50 million Americans. Almost all the main characters from The Mary Tyler Moore Show show up, including Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore), Lou Grant (Edward Asner), Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod), Georgette Franklin (Georgia Engel), and Phyllis Lindstrom (Cloris Leachman). In the Mary Tyler Moore show episode "The New Sue Ann," airing Saturday, Oct. 26, 1974, two days before Rhoda's Wedding, the characters frequently discuss Rhoda's upcoming event and buy wedding gifts. At the end of the episode Murray and Lou are leaving the TV station to drop off Mary at the airport. During Rhoda's Wedding it is revealed that on a lark they had all decided to fly to New York to surprise Rhoda. During the episode, Phyllis promises to pick up Rhoda and drive her to her parents' apartment in the Bronx for the ceremony. The self-absorbed and forgetful Phyllis neglects to keep her promise, forcing Rhoda, unable to find another ride or a taxi, to take the subway in her wedding dress, run through the streets of the Bronx, and cross the Grand Concourse to dash into her parents' apartment building in one of the series' most memorable moments. Ida is furious with Phyllis, and threatens to kill her; Rhoda herself is just as furious with Phyllis, as is most everyone at the ceremony. The only one who forgives her is Georgette, who however warns Phyllis to get her tail out of the room when Rhoda arrives. The episode also features special closing credits, showing Rhoda running through the city streets in her wedding dress, and an altered theme song including passages from The Wedding March.
* Valerie Harper - Rhoda Morgenstern Gerard
* Julie Kavner - Brenda Morgenstern
* David Groh - Joe Gerard (1974-77)
* Nancy Walker - Ida Morgenstern (1974-76, 1977-78)
* Harold Gould - Martin Morgenstern (1974-76, 1977-78)
* Ron Silver - Gary Levy (1976-78)
* Ray Buktenica - Benny Goodwin (1977-78)
* Kenneth McMillan - Jack Doyle (1977-78)
* Lorenzo Music - Carlton, the Doorman (voice only)