Fans of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (and even people who’ve never seen it) can easily remember Moore twirling around and tossing her knitted hat in the air as the theme song promises, “You’re gonna make it after all.” It’s a sweet and uplifting moment — but the original lyrics weren’t quite so optimistic.
I was recently surprised to discover this while making my way through the show on Hulu. After hitting play on the first episode, I expected to hear familiar words about how Moore’s character can “turn the world on with her smile.”
Instead, I was greeted by a slightly more somber message: “How will you make it on your own? This world is awfully big and girl this time you’re all alone…”
Not exactly a hopeful way to kick things off! It still showed her twirling at the end per usual, but the lyrics at that point had positivity toned down, too: “You might just make it after all.” It was still sung by Sonny Curtis to the same tune, but feels much less cheerful than you probably remember.
Take a look to refresh your own memory:
At first I thought this might just be in the pilot episode. It’s normal for shows to change things quickly after their premiere based on the audience’s response — even switching out casting choices or shifting major plot lines. But that wasn’t the case here.
All 24 episodes of the first season featured this less encouraging version of the theme song. I’m sure no one thought much of it when the show began in 1970, especially with it airing on a weekly basis. But as a single woman binge watching the entire season in just one weekend, it felt a little bit like a personal attack.
Thankfully, the second season brought along the more upbeat lyrics, which remained through the seventh and final season of the show. Here’s a look back at that version:
Of course, the first season was still full of a lot of charm and fun regardless of the song, but I think we can all agree they made the right choice with this change!