Friday, March 13, 2009

WKRP Episode: "The Impossible Dream"

By request, here is the 20th episode of the fourth and final season, written by Richard Sanders and Michael Fairman (their fifth script for the series).

This one, according to the book America's Favorite Radio Station, was almost completely rewritten from beginning to end. It was originally conceived in 1981 when Walter Cronkite announced that he was leaving CBS Evening News; Sanders' idea was that Les would want to go to New York, with his mother's prodding, to try and replace Cronkite. But the script was written around the idea of getting Cronkite to appear as himself, and CBS decided against having Cronkite do another scripted TV cameo (he hadn't done one since The Mary Tyler Moore Show seven years earlier). So the episode was delayed and finally rewritten into its current form, where Les wants to go to New York for reasons that aren't altogether clear, and the surprise cameo at the end is not Walter Cronkite but Richard Sanders in drag as Les's mother, a gag I've never been wild about.

The episode feels kind of choppy, and felt that way to me even before I knew about all the revision, but the first act does end with a great line delivery from Loni Anderson, making a huge laugh out of a line that probably didn't look like much on the page. (I've said this before but it's unfair to lump Anderson in with Suzanne Somers and other '70s TV bombshells; in terms of comic timing she was probably the strongest link in this whole cast.) Also, Les says in 1982 that "newspapers have had it," and 27 years later he'd be saying the exact same thing.

Cold Opening and Act 1

Act 2

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice! You're absolutely right, I never gave Loni Anderson the credit she deserved - she's great and always funny.