Friday, March 07, 2008

WKRP Episode: "Real Families"

Again, I should really be doing this more in order, but before I get back to the second season episodes I thought I'd upload one of the most famous third-season episodes: "Real Families," where Herb and his family are profiled on a reality show hosted by Peter Marshall (Hollywood Squares) and Daphne Maxwell (who met her future husband, Tim Reid, on this show and later co-starred with him on Hugh Wilson's Frank's Place).

Apart from taking potshots at three current shows -- Real People, That's Incredible and 60 Minutes, with some nasty comments about what people will put themselves through to get on TV -- it's influenced by the gimmick episodes of M*A*S*H and Albert Brooks's Real Life, but it works on its own terms as a funny/painful look at Herb -- who pretty much dominated the third season -- and his relationships with his family and co-workers from an "outsider" perspective. And because it's shot in mock-documentary style, with no laugh track and many awkward pauses, portions of it seem to present Herb as a predecessor of David Brent/Michael Scott on The Office. It was also the last time we got to see Edie McClurg as Herb's wife (she reappeared on The New WKRP but that just doesn't count).

This version restores the original guest voice, Johnny Olson as the announcer (his voice was replaced in some reruns). Music includes "Peg" by Steely Dan, "She's So Cold" by the Rolling Stones, "Once In a Lifetime" by Talking Heads, and a bunch of other songs playing in the background at the station.

Cold opening (where the WKRP characters don't appear at all except in a picture; the decision to go two minutes pretending to be some other show apparently caused this episode to get poor ratings, as viewers thought WKRP had been moved again and changed the channel):

Act 1:

Act 2:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love how Les races through his canned lines so that he can address what's REALLY important: him.

A fun episode overall, and one that "humanizes" Herb to a great extent. We come to realize that WKRP represents somewhat of an "oasis" in his humdrum life.