Friday, February 02, 2007

Why Are Armenians Eating Lasagna?

WKRP in Cincinnati: The Complete First Season is up for pre-order now, if you're into pre-ordering stuff.

While we're waiting for the set (and to find out what the music situation will be), here's a collection of highlights of my favorite character on the series, Les Nessman (Richard Sanders). That character had a tough challenge because he was, at least potentially, very similar to Ted Baxter; if the whole show was supposed to be MTM's successor to the recently-ended Mary Tyler Moore, Les was obviously the successor to Ted's Inept Newscaster mantle. Sanders, and the writers -- sometimes one in the same, because he wrote several scripts -- managed to sidestep comparisons by turning Les into a person who thought, at all times, that he was the world's greatest journalist and that everything he talked about was incredibly serious and important. So if Ted was a satire of journalists who don't know anything and are only hired for their voice and "distinguished" looks, Les was a satire of the unquenchable belief of journalists in their own importance, no matter how idiotic they are.

Even when he appeared on Solid Gold, a CBS show where B-list celebrities sometimes appeared to cross-promote other CBS shows, he stays 100% in character and delivers an introduction that is, believably, something Les Nessman would say if he were introducing Nicolette Larson.

(Note: All available Solid Gold clips can be found here, for those of you who can't get enough of everything that was wrong with TV and music in the early '80s.)

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