The news that Hollywood legend Mary Tyler Moore died at the age of 80 on Wednesday has left fans looking back on her long, groundbreaking career. Thousands of words have been devoted to the actor's turns as career woman Mary Richards in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and the hilarious Laura Petrie in The Dick Van Dyke Show, but there is one Moore role that deserves more love. In Season 8, Moore guest starred in That '70s Show for three episodes, and played a funhouse mirror version of her signature character, Mary, that is far too often overlooked.
The actor took on the role of Christine St. George, the morning news anchor of What's Up Wisconsin and a local celebrity idolized by her Midwestern audience. Much like Mary, Christine was a woman working hard to make a name for herself in the world of news during a decade when women were fighting to be taken seriously in the workforce. That is where the similarities between the two characters ended.
Where The Mary Tyler Moore Show's Mary was sweet and generous, Christine is cutthroat. After discovering Fez is the talk show host's hairdresser, Jackie becomes obsessed with working for her. Jackie sees Christine as a role model — a beautiful woman who commands respect, owns every room she walks into, and is beloved by the public. Basically, everything Jackie has ever wanted.
Unfortunately for Jackie, Christine's true persona is nothing like the one she presents on TV. Moore seemed to delight in delving into Christine's self-obsessed, egotistical side. In one scene, Jackie confesses she hasn't been baking the brownies that keep her in Christine's good graces, and Christine chastises her for telling the truth. She reminds her young protege, she'll get nowhere in show business by telling the truth.
It's not exactly a Mary Richards line, but that's part of the appeal. Moore's That '70s Show appearances came late in the show's run, as the story was naturally winding down, but her presence gave the comedy a renewed sense of energy. For three glorious episodes, Christine reigned as the queen of mean, ultimately firing Jackie because she got too close to the woman behind the grand entrances and sharp comebacks.
Christine was among the last characters Moore brought to life on screen, and she is also one of the most memorable. She was proof Moore could do anything, including make an audience love to hate her, even with her reputation of being the most lovable woman on television. Now that's what talent looks like, kids.