Thursday, July 16, 2009

WKRP Episode: "Up And Down The Dial"

Well, here it is. With this episode, the last of the fourth and final season, I've posted all the episodes from seasons 2 to 4, complete or near to it, plus some of season 1. I will probably do a sort of mopping-up operation to post season 1 musical sequences that were cut from the DVD/Hulu versions.

This episode doesn't need a lot of introduction. It's a half-hour that could sort of serve as a finale in case the show gets canceled (which it did) while still leaving the door open for another season. The script makes it clear that the approach of a fifth season would have been to have WKRP as a semi-successful station, and I think the idea (which they'd been building up to in increments for a while) would have had a lot of potential: they'd already done all the stories about running a failing radio station, but I wish they had been able to do some episodes about a successful radio station staffed by failures.

That is, WKRP's staff was assembled with the intention of making a money-losing radio station, but what happens when these same people are in charge of an operation that -- accidentally -- makes a profit, gets legitimate clients, and so on? They dealt with that a bit in the episode produced right before this one, "To Err Is Human," but they never had a fifth season to really get all the potential out of the idea. And one of the many mistakes The New WKRP made was turning back the clock and making WKRP a failing station again, dooming themselves to re-hash a premise that the original series had already exhausted (and abandoned) by the end of its run.

The episode was directed by veteran actor George Gaynes, the husband of MTM favorite Allyn McLerie. He had made one guest appearance on the show, and later was cast by Hugh Wilson in the first Police Academy movie.

Cold Opening and Act 1

Act 2 and Tag


Geoff said...

Another season would have been great, but I think this is a fitting-enough end to the series, what with Mrs. Carlson's heart growing three sizes that day.

Anthony Strand said...

That's a beautiful thing you've done, Jaime. Don't think it isn't appreciated.

Andy Rose said...

I love the very subtle dig at consultants in this episode. Given her ultimate intentions, one can assume that Mrs. Carlson would hire a consulting firm only because she knew that whatever it came up with would be awful!

That said, the upshot of this episode always struck me as a little hard to swallow. While the station may have been financially beneficial to Mrs. Carlson as a write-off, surely it would be much more beneficial as a burgeoning success. (Note how she and Johnny speak about this in a very roundabout way... I presume the writers could never come up with a more precise explanation that would make sense.)

mstove said...

It has been great watching all of these episodes again. It would have been great for it to continue. The show was never treated with the proper respect when it first ran, which sort of mirrors the station itself.

Thanks again for doing this. Having watched when it was new, as well as in repeats, it is great to see the full episodes posted.

Anonymous said...

Thankyou so much for all these episodes. This was my favourite series and after seeing them again as they were intended to be, with original music it still is. What a shame that the people in charge couldn't see the brilliance in front of them and keep it going. Thanks for all the intro's lots of great info.