Usually Sally's love interests have quirky personalities and interesting names. [Leo Fassbinder, Herman Glimpshire and Mr. Defenthaler (Sally's code name for all boyfriends) come to mind.] However, in at least one episode about Sally's new beau, the guy has nondescript nomenclature and is completely secondary to the main plot.
In "Sally is a Girl," Laura (Mary Tyler Moore) believes Rob's female co-worker is still single because Rob (Dick Van Dyke) and Buddy (Morey Amsterdam) treat Sally like a guy. Rob counteracts the habit by being overly chivalrous, to disastrous results - Buddy now believes that his two office mates are having an affair!
Although this is technically a Sally episode, the show is less about her new boyfriend (who appears briefly in the 1st and 3rd acts) and more an excuse for Van Dyke to exhibit his virtuosity in physical comedy. After agreeing with Laura to make "Sir Walter Raleigh look like a boor," Rob not only rises when Sally needs assistance, he springs from the couch as if shot out of a canon. When Sally picks up typing paper, Rob kisses her hand before gingerly threading the paper through the typewriter, as if the machine itself might be female. Rob is chivalrous to the point of impracticality.
|Sir Walter Petrie on the move|
What this means for Sally is that instead of her usual routine of cracking hilarious nonstop jokes, she has to react to insanity, which in itself is funny. Rob's sudden effusive behavior initially makes Buddy and Sally think he's pulling a prank when he pulls out her chair. "Alright, what's the gag?," she asks. "All I know is I'd check my accident policy before I sat down," answers Buddy.
After rumors of an affair begin, Rob calms down and Sally returns to being just a part of the team. However, in the end the Sir Raleigh bit has an unintended consequence - the pronounced contrast between her being appreciated at work and not so much on a date. It's obvious how valuable Sally is to the team, even without Rob throwing his coat over a puddle, but the new boyfriend doesn't appreciate Sally's bank of knowledge. When he's at a loss for the name of a car part, Sally chimes in with the answer and the date seems perplexed or affronted that she would know this information. Sally covers her gaffe, and laughs it off, but this is a bittersweet conclusion, especially since we know the guys at the office appreciate her talent on a regular basis.
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