Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thursday Movie Picks #177: Workplace (TV edition)

This being Thursday, it's time for another edition of "Thursday Movie Picks", the blogathon run by Wandering Through the Shelves. This being the last Thursday of the month, it's time for another TV edition, this month focusing on the workplace. I've selected three sitcoms, mostly because they're what I remember.

WKRP in Cincinnati (1978-1982). Sitcom about the adventures of a staff at a "full-service" radio station, that being a station that seems to have a department for everything, as opposed to just playing one genre of music as most FM stations do. Syndication was a nightmare for this show since the original run used real popular music, and getting the rights for syndication was a problem.

Newhart (1982-1990). Bob Newhart plays Dick Loudon, who run a bed and breakfast in Vermont, and the comedic problems that entails, thanks to the nutty staff including handyman Tom Poston and maid Julia Duffy. And then there were the neighbors Larry, his brother Darryl... and his other brother Darryl.

Are You Being Served? (1973-1985). Extremely low-rent British comedy about the menswear and womenswear staffs at the Grace Bros. department store. For an example of how low-rent this was, one of the running jokes involved Mrs. Slocombe (played by Mollie Sugden wearing a series of garishly-colored wigs, although that's not the running joke I have in mind), who had a cat named Tiddles that she consistently referred to as her "pussy". You can probably imagine the jokes, and if you can't somebody's compiled a bunch of them:


joel65913 said...

LOVE all three of these. I was a faithful WKRP watcher and still remember laughing hysterically at the turkey episode. Amazingly well cast.

Both of Bob Newhart's big hit series were terrific though very different though Bob was almost the same but that's what makes him one of the best straight men in the business. Julia Duffy is a comic genius.

I'm kicking myself that I didn't think of Are You Being Served? What a great group of characters.

I went all 80's with mine.

Murphy Brown (1988-1998)-After spending some time in rehab for her drinking problem broadcaster and tough broad Murphy Brown (Candice Bergen) returns to work on her news show FYI joining capable but insecure investigative reporter Frank Fontana (Joe Regalbuto), esteemed uptight anchorman Jim Dial (Charles Kimbrough) and perky former beauty queen turned features reporter Corky Sherwood (Faith Ford) and led by high strung producer Miles Silverberg (Grant Shaud) who frequently butts heads with the assertive Murphy. For ten seasons the team tackled topical subjects (including Murphy’s baby becoming a cause celebre when Vice President Dan Quayle condemned her for having a child out of wedlock) and Murphy’s inability to find a decent secretary-over the show’s run she had nearly 100. That is unless Murphy was home dealing with her permanent housepainter-daffy, endearing conceptual artist Eldin Bernecky (Robert Pastorelli). Winner of a massive amount of Emmys, Candice Bergen withdrew her name from contention after receiving her 5th.

Designing Women (1986-1993)-At the small Atlanta interior design firm Sugarbakers the four female partners-sisters, the fiery feminist Julia & shallow much married Suzanne Sugarbaker (Dixie Carter & Delta Burke) plus single mom Mary Jo Shively & naïve country girl Charlene Frazier (Annie Potts & Jean Smart) struggle to make a success of the business while discussing and quarrelling about their lives and the situations that cross their paths to humorous effect. Providing the male prospective is their handyman, ex-con Anthony Bouvier (Meshach Taylor). Brilliantly acted sitcom addressed many sensitive subjects including AIDS, racism, spousal abuse, homophobia and in the award winning episode “They Shoot Fat Women, Don’t They?” the cruelty towards people because one’s surface appearance has changed. Ironically for a show about a workable partnership between four people the show because infamous for its hostile work environment behind the scenes with Delta Burke and the producers clashing so strongly (and publicly) that she eventually left the show. It never recovered the special chemistry of its initial lineup.

Bay City Blues (1983)-Ensemble drama of minor league California baseball team The Bluebirds as they move from town to town. As the rookies, up and comers and one time big name players try and work together to form a winning team they have to deal with outside interference as well as each other. An entertaining “lost” series this extremely short-lived show (8 episodes) was Stephen Bochco’s follow-up to Hill Street Blues and starred many performers who appeared on that show or would on his next, L.A. Law including Dennis Franz, Ken Olin and Michele Greene plus a pre-stardom Sharon Stone.

Dell said...

I was a big fan of WKRP as a kid. How can you not love Johnny Fever and Venus Flytrap?

Birgit said...

We match with WKRP! A brilliant Show with a great cast of characters..I love the butler of Mr. Carlson’s mother and her calling...”Hirsch!” Some great episodes. I watched Newhart and loved this show, Tom Poston was great and I was sad when Mary Frann passed away way too young. I love Are You Being Served and almost picked this one and Fawlty Towers. People today would be upset from the burlesque style jokes but I love the pussy jokes and the gay type very funny and we should be able to laugh at oneself. Now I better go, with 4 pussies in our home, my hubby gets quite flustered.