A contemporary update of the absurdist 1970’s half-hour comedy series Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman is being developed at Sony Pictures Television by two major Canadian talents, Variety reports. Schitt’s Creek actor Emily Hampshire (My Awkward Sexual Adventure) and Letterkenny series director Jacob Tierney (Preggoland) are teaming up to pen the remake of the Emmy-winning comedy, originally developed for television by Norman Lear (One Day at a Time), as reported by Deadline. According to Variety, Hampshire and Tierney’s previous collaborations have exclusively been big-screen offerings, including the drama The Death & Life of John F. Donovan and Good Neighbors, a horror movie set in a Montreal suburb.
Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman followed the titular character (Louise Lasser, Happiness) as she reacted to increasingly bizarre goings-on in the small town of Fernwood, Ohio. The show broke new ground back in the day with its oddball sense of humor and labyrinthine story threads that lampooned the melodramatic contrivances common to the soap opera genre.
Despite being labeled as a cult hit, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman ran for over three hundred episodes and, as was the case with other Lear projects, introduced many characters who would appear in multiple spinoffs. When the series’ conclusion in 1977 marked Lasser’s departure from the property, the world of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman expanded via Fernwood 2 Night, a parody of local access talk shows starring Martin Mull (Clue) and the late Fred Willard (A Mighty Wind).
Mary’s husband Tom (Greg Mullavey, Rituals) was the focus of a different spinoff titled Forever Fernwood. Aside from Mullavey, other cast members who reprised their Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman roles in Forever Fernwood included Mary Kay Place (Lady Dynamite), Dabney Coleman (The Slap Maxwell Story) and Claudia Lamb (CoTrip Quarterly). Lamb, who played Mary’s daughter Heather, actually reached out to Hampshire on Twitter hoping to get involved in the remake. The child star-turned-news journalist even volunteered to contribute her personal archive of old scripts as reference material for the new show.
You are going to ROCK this roll – I know it.
I am now too old to play Heather now, but I would LOVE to be a part of this in any capacity. You want to look at the old scripts? I have almost all of them.
I am here to see you slay this roll, and will do anything to help.
— Claudia Lamb (@ClaudiaLamb) February 5, 2021
Hampshire and Tierney’s fresh take on the program will reportedly put an Information Age spin on its satirical themes: “A small-town woman… feels like a nobody in every aspect of her life until she suddenly becomes a ‘Verified’ social media somebody… ‘America’s Typical Consumer Housewife’ […] become[s] the product consumed when her nervous breakdown goes viral,” via Variety. Mary had a public breakdown of her own in the original show, although the event occurred during the season one finale instead of the pilot, according to Tribeca Film News.