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WKRP In Cincinnati

May 30, 2009

While I’m recovering from surgery, a kindly neighbor loaned me a DVD set of the first season of WKRP In Cincinnati, the 1970’s era MTM sitcom about a little AM rock radio station.  I remember loving the show when it was broadcast, and it’s a real pleasure to revisit.

One episode makes for 25 minutes on the treadmill, which is just about right because I wear out very easily.  A session now is 25 minutes at 1.4 mph, instead of 50 minutes at 3.6 mph.  I’m also doing 5-minute sessions every hour, so it still adds up to about an hour per day, only slower.  Much, much slower.

Anyway, my neighbor described the episodes as “dated” but on watching them again I can see why that show won so many awards.  It doesn’t try to dazzle the viewer with cleverness – they’re just small human stories, often very touching.  Each episode is like a little stage play, in fact.  A few end with hilarious zingers (“As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!”) but many episodes end with a moment of wry introspection and no dialog.

I’m also realizing how much I enjoyed listening to the radio back in the ‘70’s.  For those who don’t remember, it wasn’t dominated by syndicated conservative blowhards or self-help phonies. There were actual disk jockeys, who played records, cracked jokes, and took requests. That’s an actual human person who kept a microphone live whenever there wasn’t an ad running or a record playing.  They’d even bring in local musicians to talk and jam. The news was often local and immediate, too.  I guess those days are gone forever.

Categories: Media, Reviews
  1. May 30, 2009 at 11:28 | #1

    One of the reasons I so enjoy CBC radio is what you describe: human, live, local.  It makes Canada a huge village but with the intimacy of family.  It’s a lot like WKRP; thank Buddha for Sirius satellite.

  2. James Old Guy
    May 30, 2009 at 16:27 | #2

    You can find WKRP on HULU on your computer.

  3. May 31, 2009 at 09:21 | #3

    There was only one thing I liked about WKRP. Well, maybe two . . .

  4. May 31, 2009 at 11:22 | #4

    There was a lot to like about WKRP..

    Jan Smithers as Bailey Quarters is at the top of the list…


  5. gruntled atheist
    June 1, 2009 at 08:58 | #5

    Glad your on the road to recovery.  KRP was (and is) just great.  The actors and writers squeezed the very last drop of good out of their characters.

    “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!” may be the greatest line in the history of comedy.

  6. June 5, 2009 at 03:58 | #6

    I’m with you on Jan Smithers, MC.

    It finally dawned on me why the episodes seemed like stage plays, and why the ‘laugh track’ didn’t seem so artificial.  It’s in the closing credits: “WKRP In Cincinnati is recorded before a live studio audience.”  Maybe more shows should be done that way.

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