Remembering Ed Asner’s Iconic ‘You’ve Got Spunk’ Scene From the ‘Mary Tyler Moore Show’

by Megan Molseed
remembering-ed-asners-iconic-youve-got-spunk-scene-mary-tyler-moore-show

The world lost a great actor today when Ed Asner passed away this morning at the age of 91.

The Emmy-winning actor is well known for many of his amazing roles. But, few roles can top Ed Asner’s portrayal of the cranky news director Lou Grant on the hit 1970s sitcom “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

When Mary Richards (Mary Tyler Moore) entered the WJM-TV newsroom in 1970 to interview for a job as a secretary, she was full of energy and positivity.

As the young ingenue spoke to the WJM-TV news director, Lou Grant, (Ed Asner) she showed him her undeniable ability to “turn the world on with her smile.”

She lit up the room with her spunk. A trait that Asner’s Lou Grant noticed almost immediately.

The thing is, however…Mr. Grant hates spunk!

Ed Asner And Mary Tyler Moore Make Television History

In one of the greatest sitcom scenes of all time – from one of television’s greatest shows -the late Ed Asner delivers one of the most iconic television moments.

When Mary Richards enters the WJM-TV newsroom, she needs a job after recently moving to Minneapolis after breaking off a recent engagement.

As the young, hopeful secretary-to-be waits in the newsroom, she is ushered into an office by a gruff, fast-talking Lou Grant.

What follows is comedy gold.

Not the Typical Job Interview

First, the lovable, but often rotten-tempered Mr. Grant sits Mary down for what will quickly become a less than ideal job interview.

One exchange in the interview sets the scene.

As she sits down for the interview, Mary is asked a rather personal question by the news director who is portrayed by Ed Asner.

“What religion are you?” Grant asks the shocked interviewee.

“I don’t know quite how to say this, Mr. Grant, but you’re not allowed to ask that,” responds Mary as Grant leans into his desk to pour a drink from one of the bottles he has stashed in a lower drawer. “It’s against the law.”

“Wanna call a cop?” the news director asks Mary; in what would soon become the character’s iconic deadpan manner as the series continues.

“No,” Mary responds, not expecting the next inquiry Ed Asner’s Lou Grant was preparing to send her way.

“Would I be violating your civil rights if I asked if you’re married or not?” Lou Grant asks the unprepared Mary Richards.

Clearly, the fact a broken engagement brought Richards to Minneapolis, and ultimately the newsroom where she sits with Grant is one of the reasons she resists answering the question.

“Presbyterian,” she stammers.

Making Comedy History

The scene continues along these lines as we see why Ed Asner and Mary Tyler Moore are some of the most memorable duos in televisions history.

Eventually, Mary Richards stands up and gives Ed Asner’s Mr. Grant an earful regarding how his questions are overly personal and have nothing to do with her qualifications for the position.

To which Grant stands. up, walks over to Richards, and gives her a look of intensity, with a slight grin.

“You know what?” the director asks. “You’ve got spunk!”

“Well, yeah,” responds a blushing and giggling Mary Richards.

“I hate spunk!” Grant growls; much to the dismay of his soon-to-be associate producer.

Despite the disastrous interview, however, Mary lands the job.

Mary Tyler Moore and Ed Asner would continue to work together during the entire seven-season run from 1970 until 1977.

Ed Asner passed away surrounded by family on Sunday, August 29.

Outsider.com