Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman is a 1976 syndicated soap opera parody produced by Norman Lear, directed by Joan Darling and starring Louise Lasser. The series writers were Gail Parent and Ann Marcus.
The show's title was the eponymous character's name stated twice, because Lear and the writers believed that everything that was said on a soap opera was said twice. Lear conceived Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman as satire, but it was viewed as so controversial that many stations aired it well after their 11 P.M. newscasts. The irony was that while Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman dealt with many of the same topics found in episodes of daytime soap operas, the topics were called by their names (impotence, sexual perversion) instead of being referred to in the hushed tones and euphemisms typically favored by "straight" soaps, although the cast had a tongue-in-cheek performance style. For this reason, the series was even more controversial than it might otherwise have been.
The storyline followed Mary Hartman, played by Louise Lasser, her husband Tom (Greg Mullavey), her mother Mrs. Martha Shumway (Dody Goodman), and Mary’s best friend and next-door neighbor, Loretta Haggers, (Mary Kay Place) and Loretta's much older husband Charlie ("Baby Boy") Haggers, played by Graham Jarvis.