Saturday, October 11, 2008

WKRP Episode: "The Contest Nobody Could Win"

Another request, for a season 1 episode that is so heavily cut on Hulu as to be almost unwatchable in spots: the episode where Johnny mistakenly announces a prize as $5,000, and the station tries to come up with an unwinnable name-that-song contest. The Hulu/DVD version changes the song snippets and redubs the dialogue of the callers with new, fake group names; it is also missing both the opening (with "Suction Prints" by Captain Beefheart) and the closing (with "Lotta Love" by Nicolette Larson) plus some bits of music in between.

(To be honest, I can see how licensing six songs for one chord each would be a bit of a problem, and if Fox had made an effort to keep other music, I could have forgiven them for changing this sequence. But...)

This was the first episode produced after the show came back from hiatus, though it was probably written earlier. It is clearly an "early" episode because it's the last episode that uses the original premise of the show, which Hugh Wilson pitched to the network as "The suits vs. the dungarees" (a phrase that he actually wrote into this episode in a memorable scene). The idea that the station consisted of two factions, Mr. Carlson/Herb/Les vs Andy/Johnny/Venus, was a theme of some of the early episodes like "Turkeys Away," but was abandoned soon after this episode was produced. The credited writer is Casey Piotrowski, a real-life disc jockey.

Cold Open and Act One:

Act Two:

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