Friday, May 09, 2008

WKRP Episode: "God Talks to Johnny"

I really like this season 2 episode, written by Hugh Wilson and directed by Will Mackenzie. The structure of it is quite odd, though: essentially, the plot stops after the cold open and doesn't start up again until Act 2. The first act is mostly a series of self-contained scenes with Johnny talking to other characters who aren't involved in the story, getting their perspectives on the situation. It works because the scenes are very strong, culminating in the famous physical-comedy routine in Carlson's office (Gordon Jump gives an object lesson in how to play off a big laugh from the audience and even extend it), but today the other characters in the office would be given a B story to give them something to do, instead of commenting on the A story. Music: "Arrow Through Me" by Paul McCartney and Wings.

Unfortunately this episode is missing a few seconds: originally at the end of the scene in the broadcast booth, after Johnny turns the Paul McCartney music back on, Herb enters the scene and says: "John?" Johnny, without looking around, stands up and says "Yes, yes, Lord, what is it?" Herb replies: "New advertising copy," hands Johnny the papers and leaves, looking confused. This bit was cut from the old syndication versions, and on the Comedy Network's complete version it was badly redubbed with voice actors (to get rid of the music). What I did was dub over the music from the beginning of the act, turning it into a silent sequence, to at least show how it played. If I ever get an original CBS version of this episode, I will re-post the episode with the missing lines. Update: The episode now has the missing scene restored.

WKRP s02e13 God Talks To Johnny by carpalton


Barry Wallace said...

Just discovered you were posting old WKRP eps - fantastic! The ones I remember best:

1) The tornado
2) Venus Flytrap Explains the Atom
3) Mrs. Carlson and Andy's "deal with the devil"

and of course

4) The famous Thanksgiving turkey drop

But one I'd really like to see again is the episode that took place after the tragedy at The Who concert. Can I request you post that one if you have it? I don't know what season it was in, but WKRP supposedly was a sponsor of the concert and had to deal with the real-life aftermath of the tragedy. Reminds me, in retrospect, of some of the shows that addressed post-9/11 issues in a fictional setting.

Barry Wallace said...

Oh, and especially the episode where Carlson speaks to the minister that wants to boycott the station, and Carlson invokes, "Imagine".

Anonymous said...

Wow... I'd completely forgotten this one. What a great ep, proving yet again that there's much, much more to Mr. Carlson than the gently befuddled klutz we mostly remember. Gordon Jump simply radiates compassion and wisdom in that final scene with Johnny. If only we all had bosses like Carlson...