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Category:Classic TV Clips
Tags:WKRP in Cincinnati, Groupies, gender roles, loni anderson, nerd blackface
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Comment count is 8
Old_Zircon - 2015-04-29
How is "nerd blackface" not an active tag yet?
That guy - 2015-04-29
Isn't nerdface just a little more elegant?

God I hate Big Bang Theory so much.

5 for reminding me of that, and because I remember this episode.

Bort - 2015-04-29
If you want WKRP / nerd blackface overlap, that would be the episode where Les wanted to do a "Black Like Me" thing and he kept chasing Venus around as he painted progressively more of himself black all episode.

I liked this too:


BHWW - 2015-04-29
Among my favorite Les Nessman moments from the series was when there was a tornado and he has to read the citizens' emergency procedures manual on the air - except he'd already rewritten it awhile back with foreign invasion on his mind.

"The city of Cincinnati has just been attacked by the Godless... tornadoes! Citizens are advised to arm themselves immediately... "

BHWW - 2015-04-29
Sometimes it helps to watch WKRP because it's always a reminder of how this was a pretty solid series.

The people at MTM which produced it never considered it a prestige project. Even Mary Tyler Moore was quoted in a interview as saying she wouldn't watch it. CBS suits hated it, it was a seen as a second-tier product.

Then when CBS cancelled it and the four seasons of episodes went into syndication - well it was a surprise for everybody when WKRP become the biggest moneymaker in MTM history. It did better in syndication than other MTM productions like "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "Bob Newhart," "Rhoda". For a while it was the top-rated sitcom in syndication or very close to it. WKRP was a cult sensation and I've noticed people tend to remember it fondly and not in a "ironic nostalgia for a cornball sitcom" way but a "that was a great show".

Not to write a essay here, but what made WKRP a good show was how the writers and performers created memorable, distinctive characters and could create comedy from those characters, instead of a lot of extraneous jokes. The characters on "WKRP" were all so well-defined that seeing them act out of character, even slightly out of character, could be inherently humorous, and the characters all had different and well-defined relationships to each other, so you could put any two characters together in a scene and get a different type of comedy out of it.
Bort - 2015-04-29
Yes indeedy. WKRP also didn't mind touching on touchy subjects too, like race, by having the characters be more or less honest rather than regurgitating the smooth half-true platitudes that usually accompany such things. For example, Andy Travis objected to Venus dating his sister on the basis of race alone, and had to admit that, while he tries not to be racist, the roots run deep.

Hulu's got only the first season, but here, watch the episode with Reverend Li'l Ed Pembroke and the Church of the Mighty Struggle. "Whooo-EEE, I'm gonna put that devil in a Bulgarian headlock and throw him through that soda pop machine in the sky!"


Old_Zircon - 2015-04-30
I've always seen it as kind of a forerunner of Cheers.

Bort - 2015-04-30
That's doing WKRP a disservice. "Cheers" was originally a "will-they-or-won't-they?" sitcom that eventually morphed into an ensemble comedy, but the characters were never as rich or nuanced as on WKRP.

Mother Carlson alone, as the antagonist (but not villain) on the show, is enough to make WKRP something special. Thirty-five-year-old spoilers.

Many years ago, when she married Hank Carlson, she realized he was a sweet man with a fair amount of money but not much business sense, and so she gradually began running his businesses and made him fantastically wealthy ... but a little bit of him died every day as she took that away from him. It wasn't indifference or cruelty on her part -- she never stopped loving him (or mourning him) -- she was just doing what you're supposed to do (use money to make money) and she never found a way to decide when enough was enough.

And when it came to Arthur Carlson (the Big Guy), he was another sweet man without any business sense, but Mother Carlson had a plan for him. According to Mother Carlson's insane (yet apparently successful) business model, you need some of your enterprises to fail for the rest to succeed. So she chose WKRP to fail, and if Arthur was in charge of a failing station where he at least felt like he was putting in a day's work, well, that's two problems that solve each other. Except one day, Arthur decided to switch to a rock format, hired Andy Travis, and not only discovered success but backbone and even a smidgen of business acumen. At first, Mother Carlson was proud of her son for taking a genuine passionate interest in the station, but WKRP grew increasingly successful and that was becoming a problem. So the final epsiode of WKRP had Mother Carlson having to make the choice: pull the plug on WKRP altogether for the good of her financial empire, or let it keep going for the good of her son? She chose the latter.

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