Sunday, April 19, 2009

WKRP Episode: "Jennifer and Johnny's Charity"

Episode 14 of season four. This episode kicks off a sweeps period with an episode focusing on the two most popular characters at the time. CBS was always after the writers to put more emphasis on Loni Anderson and/or Howard Hesseman -- understandably, since they were the two most famous members of the cast -- which explains why their characters have a little more to do in the fourth season. As opposed to the previous season, when a third of the episodes were about Herb.

The episode is kind of a 1982 time capsule, with several Reagan jokes and a lot of oblique references to the rich vs. poor, charity vs. federal funding issues that were in the news at the time. But the most enduring part of the episode is the last and most elaborate of Les's news screw-ups, the "monster lizard" routine. The guest stars -- this is one of the few episodes that calls for a lot of guest actors -- include everybody's favorite TV bum, Carmen Filipi.

And for lovers of wardrobe trivia, the dress Loni Anderson wears in Act 1 appears to be the same design, if not necessarily the same dress, that Suzanne Pleshette wore in some early episodes of The Bob Newhart Show.

The music in the opening scene is, of course, "Come Together" by the Beatles, the third and last use of a Beatles song on this show. (The Beatles were usually too expensive to license, even with the lower rates for videotaped shows.) I don't remember what song is playing near the end of act 1.

Cold Opening and Act 1

Act 2

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

FYI, Jaime, the song at the end of Act 1 is "Harden My Heart" by Quarterflash. Thanks for posting these episodes! You're doing a great public service.