A preacher with Clean Up Radio Everywhere wants WKRP to stop playing specific songs due to the lyrics. Mr. Carlson thinks the station should cooperate, while the rest say the songs are classics and ...
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Pat Harrington Jr.
Arthur "Big Guy" Carlson tries to run a failing Cincinnati radio station owned by his "tough as nails" mother. His own incompetence is overshadowed by the strange employees that work at the station. From wild Disc Jockeys: Dr. Johnny Fever and Venus Flytrap to the geeky news director, Les Nessman and obnoxious advertising sales manager, Herb Tarlek. With the help of saner employees such as Bailey Quarters; the rather shy journalism major; Jennifer Marlowe, the beautiful receptionist who is the very opposite of a stereotypical "Dumb Blonde" and Andy Travis; the studly program director, Carlson tries gimmick after crazy gimmick to bring money into the station and make it a success. Written by
Not one single negative review. Finally some people who get it
WKRP is the show that I may have the toughest time reviewing. I would like to make my love for this show clear without simply stating it was the best show of all time, but there may be no other way. I Love Lucy, MASH, Cheers, Seinfeld, Mary Tyler Moore, and any other sitcom regarded as classic all pale in comparison to WKRP in Cincinnati. This show focused on eight characters, rarely devoting too much time to any one individual. The cast did not change in four years. They didn't even add anybody for a few episodes to play a love interest or something like that. They didn't have to. Each one of the eight could have carried the show by themselves.
I was born during WKRP's initial run and I have grown up in an era where almost every sitcom is populated by characters whose personality is exaggerated beyond reality, and who can't seem to laugh at anything that doesn't involve sex. KRP had its share of these types of jokes, but they never dominated the show. There were rarely any episodes trying to figure out who's dating whom. There was never a season ending cliffhanger wondering which two characters were going to get together. In fact, the episodes where this did happen are some of the show's weakest such as Andy's country western girlfriend, and the episode where Johnny stays at Bailey's apartment prompting rumors around the office. That being said, there is not one single episode of WKRP in Cincinnati that isn't funny. Even the two I referenced earlier have their moments.
The character development and subtlety of this show is unmatched. Each character built a relationship with the other seven, and the writers were able to tap into those relationships whenever it was needed. There are episodes that you have to watch several times to get the full effect of what is going on. The union episode is one of the best because of the way Andy deals with the other characters, but this is something that goes unnoticed unless you pay attention to all the little details that you can see watching the episode a second time. Everything down to his wardrobe is just perfectly crafted. Another great KRP moment comes when station critic Norris Breeze refers to Jennifer as a "total airhead" in front of Mama Carlson. The one person Mrs. Carlson considers her equal, and she is called a "total airhead." What a great moment.
The final episode ties everything together perfectly. It was not guaranteed at that time whether KRP was returning, so they made an episode that could be the last, but it didn't have to be. Johnny's explanation of how KRP is supposed to lose money explains why Mrs. Carlson went along with the new format in the first place four years earlier.
There has certainly never been a more socially consious sitcom, and there are many great dramas that didn't deal with as many issues as WKRP. Every political issue that is important even today is tackled in a KRP episode. Abortion, racism, homosexuality, censorship, unions, alcoholism, drug abuse, and education to name a few. There are also episodes involving the rich vs. poor, and a classic involving lying, scheming politicians. I have literally tried to think of an issue that wasn't addressed on WKRP, and I can't do it.
It's unfortunate that none of the eight actors ever made a real splash after WKRP. Tim Reid, Howard Hesseman, and Loni Anderson have had their moments, but none of these actors are considered to be big stars. For four great years, they created a show that a lot of people missed. For those of us who have gotten to see it, we will never forget.
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