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Bill Bittinger is the egotistical host of a local daytime talk show on WBFL in Buffalo, NY., unhappy at being a big fish in a small pond (but unable to break into the big leagues). Bill makes life miserable for his crew, guests, and especially his station manager, Karl Shub, who is constantly dodging lawsuits resulting from Bill's behavior. The one person Bill is unable to bully is his director and on again/off again lover, Jo Jo White. Written by
Only once in a while does a show this clever come along. Buffalo Bill Bittiner (Dabney Coleman) is an arrogant, self-centered, misogynistic pig, who hosts a low budget local talk show in Buffalo, NY. While the concept of an off-color comedy based on such a vile character will not appeal to all audiences, this show had many layers, and was very well written and executed. On the surface, the show focused on the offensive, yet hilarious, antics of Dabney's character, but below the surface is an insecure, paranoid, confused, and cowardly train wreck of a man -- not that one should feel sorry for him. Bill Bittiner may think his "assertive" antics conceal his flaws and insecurities from his co-workers and talk show audience, but these antics are transparent to everyone but Bill, and only added comedic and ironic flavor to the show.
Not only was Dabney Coleman brilliant in this role, but so was his supporting cast. His research assistant was played by a young Geena Davis, his faithful stage hand by the late John Fiedler (the voice of Piglet), and his makeup man was played by Charles Robinson, who later directed Night Court. There were also a number of notable guest appearances such as: Oscar winner Martin Landau, comedian Julie Brown, and an uncredited appearance by Jim Carrey. Most of the show focused on Bill Bittinger's antics, but there were also some genuine moments and meaningful side-skits acted out by Coleman's diverse cast of supporting characters.
This show did not do so well in prime time, and I was very disappointed to see it canceled.. I suspect that too many viewers found Coleman's character too much to bear, even if taken with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, I was thrilled when I found out that the complete series was released on DVD, even though it took 20 years.
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