Tuesday, June 30, 2009

WKRP Episode: "Pills"

By request, here's one of the episodes I haven't got around to yet. This is a season 4 episode that always feels like its story and structure would have been more at home on an Embassy TV sitcom, and also feels like Hugh Wilson may not have done his usual final rewrite on it. Everybody's just a little bit out of character. (James Wolcott, back when he was at The Village Voice, wrote a scathing review of this episode, particularly the predicability of Herb's last-minute conversion and speech.) Peter Torokvei may have done some work in this episode, or at least the lawyer scenes.

In terms of TV history, it's interesting to note that a lot of "issue" sitcom episodes from this early '80s period had downbeat or ambiguous endings. The Facts of Life, which Asaad Kelada was directing at the time, used to do this all the time, and that's what I was talking about when I said that the structure of this episode is more like an Embassy TV (producer of Facts of Life and Diff'rent Strokes) episode.

I'm not sure what the songs are in this episode apart from "What'd I Say" at the beginning.

Cold Opening

Act 1

Act 2


Geoff said...

The song at the start of Act 2 is "Spirits in the Material World" by the Police.

Also, that appears to be a Manilow song that the "guy on tape" plays, but I can't place it.

Todd Mason said...

I do like the line about Carlson enjoying working with women. A bit preachy, but not nearly as inane as the Embassy sitcoms and their ilk.

Hal said...

You want a preachy take on the lookalike drugs, from the exact same season, check out the QUINCY, M.E. episode "Bitter Pill" which aired in January 1982. I have to say I agree that the script is a little "off" for WKRP, but it's still far less preachy than the QUINCY take...if not as funny. Few things on TV can compare with the sight of Jack Klugman trashing the local head shop with his bare hands. :)

Anonymous said...

This didn't seem like the typical WKRP episode, but it was still pretty good. Thanks for posting it.

Anonymous said...

@Geoff: You're absolutely right. It's "The Old Songs" by Barry Manilow.