Norman Lear Stephanie Harrington - Essay

Stephanie Harrington

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[On] "Mary Hartman"—the material is there, just as life is there; the writers respond to the absurdities they perceive around them; the actors either identify with the writers' impulses or substitute their own….

And this is appropriate since, if "Mary Hartman" is about anything, it is about reactions. Specifically, it is about the way working-class people in a factory town of tract homes, who are intellectually, morally, and emotionally outfitted by soap operas, television commercials, and the Reader's Digest, respond to insecurity, disappointment, rejection, frustration, infirmity, and death…. But the success of "Mary Hartman"—it has achieved the status of a media...

(The entire section is 1038 words.)