Everything I Need to Know, I Learned From Rhoda Morgenstern

Oh, you guys.

I have got to admit, and I have lamented it in the past, but growing older is really, really hard, because the people you have grown up with start getting, well, even more grown up. I know it is a natural part of life, but illness and inevitable death, is something that our society struggles to cope with. Even when you do not necessarily know someone personally, it can be a really tough realization that you may lose someone.

Even the threat of losing someone can be really, really tough, as well. Last week, news broke that Valerie Harper has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. Harper played Rhoda Morgenstern on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and its hilarious spin-off Rhoda, and even in that awesome reunion TV movie Mary and Rhoda. Harper is Rhoda, and so am I. And so might you be. For so many women, Rhoda stood as an example of strength and hilarity in the big, big business world, and the even bigger world of being a single lady, far before there was a cool song about it. Her fashion sense, her wit, her devotion to her best friend, her love of food–I mean, Miss Rhoda was the original., and all subsequent funny television characters since then have her to thank. All of you Liz Lemon fans, and Mindy, and Jess Day girls? If you don’t know Rhoda, you should get to know her. I am lucky that my mother had the sense to raise me in front of a television. I can never thank her, or Lucy, Mary, or Rhoda, enough.

Thank you, Miss Valerie Harper. I stand beside you, right here beside you. It ain’t over until it’s over. With strength and dignity, I know you will carry on.


1. How to be bold!

There was always a running joke about Rhoda being single (my kinda girl!), but she also had this fantastic way of treating men like they were not entirely necessary in her life. When she meets Joe, her soon-to-be-television spouse, after he notices her accent, she just asks him out. It was like, no big deal if he said yes or no, she still had her pride, and her perfect humility. 

I mean, she just asks him out! What a gal!

2. If nothing else, food will always love you back.
Even in the opening title of her show Rhoda, Rhoda hints at the relationship she has with food:

The first thing I remember liking that liked me back was food.”

I mean, the girl has a point. Food loves me, too. Especially my hips.

3. “Sidekicks” can be just as awesome as leading ladies.

As aforementioned, Rhoda was the “best friend” to Mary on The Mary Tyler Moore Show for years until her spin-off premiered. There are times, however (like with Lucy and Ethel) where the “best friend” role is just as vital as the protagonist role. Rhoda offered a much needed spice to Mary, as well as support, and humor. Don’t count the sidekick out. Where would Batman be without Robin? Where would Bart be without Milhouse? Where would Mary be without Rhoda?

(Though to death, I love Mary Tyler Moore.)

4. And how to be sassy.
Estelle: You’re still unmarried? I’ve been married twice.
Rhoda: She liked it so much the first time! 

Nothing stops Rhoda from sassing, because nothing should ever stop a lady from sassing.

5. Dating is for jerks, anyway.
Alright, if you guys know me at all, or pay attention to anything I say, you know that I hate dating. Like, I really hate it. Like, I really, really hate it. It is not because I am insecure, or not confident, or a hermit or anything, I just cannot stand the structure of it at all. I cannot stand the ask-me-for-my-number, followed by the take-me-out-for-a-drink, followed by the potentially-great-conversation, but probably more like talk-to-a-wall conversation…followed by that terrible “are-we-going-to-kiss-or-not?” moment…ughhhhh, dating is horrible.

And Rhoda so sums up how I always feel about it all.

Mary: You know how it is when you’re dating somebody–
Rhoda: No.

6. How to be dramatic.
Because even when everything is going swimmingly in your life, you never know when life will turn on a dime. 

“You’re having a lousy streak. I happen to be having a terrific streak. Soon the world will be back to normal. Tomorrow, you will meet a crown head of Europe and marry. I will have a fat attack, eat three thousand peanut butter cups, and die.”

But to be real, if I got to choose my way out of this life, three thousand peanut butter cups would likely be involved.

7. Fashion is what you make it.
Man, I cannot even talk about how awesome Rhoda’s sense of style is, I am just going to have to show you.

Who wouldn’t want to dress exactly like this unique, head-scarf-loving beauty?

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