I first caught a peek of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in 1994, twenty-four years after it first aired and seventeen since it was cancelled. I was eight. Nick at Nite, that mainstay of nineteen-nineties family-friendly throwback programming, was re-introducing the youth to Mary Tyler Moore through a week-long “Marython.” My parents, sick of policing me as I watched snippets of “90210” riddled with casual sex and hints of violence, decided that any show produced during their youth was a safe bet and left me alone to sink into Mary Richards’s life in Minneapolis. My father would occasionally stroll by the TV: “God, I had such a crush on her on ‘Dick Van Dyke.’ “
Swimming Lessons is a story suffused with the poignancy of miscommunication between people who love each other, of the things we can never really know.
But Mr. Coffee did more than mansplain. It played into stereotypes of men as arbiters of coffee quality, and encouraged men to get into the kitchen themselves. Since it was so easy to use, men no longer had an excuse to cede coffee-making to their wives. This corresponded with women’s increased entry into the workforce and helped men contribute more to their households.