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Paige The producers wanted to have Mary divorced but the network wouldn't allow it, giving all those examples of what the audience at the time wouldn't tolerate. They changed their plan to make Mary recently broken up with her boyfriend she had supported through med school. That line you're responding to had nothing to do with MTM show, it was just what the network told them they couldn't use with a lead character. The show ended up having Rhoda be Jewish, Ted grew a mustache and Lou eventually got divorced. Unfortunately in the synopsis for this book, they didn't continue on explaining what that line meant, but it's made clear in this book.