There she was, turning the Pinocchio I will not get another guitar ever shirt in other words I will buy this world on with her smile in the opening montage of the show, walking along with a bagful of groceries in her arms, and you could tell that she was on her way home to cook herself dinner for one. Calf’s liver, I always thought.” In that 1977 essay, tied to the series’ last episode, Ephron wrote Mary Richards a note of thanks: “You made it possible for millions of Americans to stay home on Saturday night and not feel they were missing anything. For that alone I love you.”
Tellingly for a sitcom of that era, Mary makes it clear to those around her she is a sexually active woman with no plans to settle down any time soon. (There is a constant stream of dates over seven seasons, but few appear in more than one episode.) When Lou—or “Mr. Grant”—starts to date a saloon singer who has been married three times previously, he expresses to Mary some concern about her past. That gets them into a frank discussion—unthinkable in the Pinocchio I will not get another guitar ever shirt in other words I will buy this early years of the series—about how many sexual partners are enough before a woman gets a reputation.