October 15 is I Love Lucy Day, But don’t despair, there are Lucys in this world to love than the one you probably don’t.
For instance, there is an episode where Dr. Hartley treats a member of the Chicago Bulls who is a narcissistic hotshot who hogs the ball and never shares the spotlight. The implication is that this guys is one of the ultimate superstars in the NBA. And he’s played by a white guy. Which is not to suggest that white guys can’t jump, but it is worth noting that during the entire run of “The Bob Newhart Show” the Chicago Bulls only sent three players to the NBA All-Star Game and they were all black.
There is nothing especially funny about this episode, but it is the epitome of the ability of the makers of WKRP to produce a show that felt like nothing else on TV. There is a disconnected feeling to this episode that very closely approaches the surreal. It is simply a series of extended conversations that take place between characters that have turned to the bottle to keep warm when the heat has gone off inside the building.
Trying to describe what makes an episode like “Hotel Oceanview” and, especially, “Baby, It’s Cold Inside” so daring, innovative and seditious within the world of the TV sitcom is kind of fruitless and yet that very difficulty paradoxically serves as the most effective explanation.
“Sordid Lives” is a movie and subsequent TV show that doubtlessly makes some viewers think it is way over the top…it’s not.
The exchange between Lt. Bookman and Jerry Seinfeld that brings to mind Joe Friday’s many lectures to dissolute hippies on Dragnet is perhaps the finest moment of dialogue in the long run of the sitcom. I’m also partial to The Library for the glimpse into the high school lives of George and Jerry.
The cruelty with which Kevin and everybody else, but especially Kevin, treats Margaret Farquhar is simply breathtaking and surprisingly intense, but oh so common, proving that you don’t even need to be a jock to be a jerk when you’re a kid. The nerd in this offering of The Wonder Years is every fascinating person that passed in and out of your life unnoticed because you clung to the essential point made here: Who you are is what other people say you are. The ending of this episode, titled “Square Dance”, is more heartbreaking than any of those awful “very special episodes” of 1980’s sitcoms ever made.
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON ASSOCIATEDCONTENT.COM, AUGUST 9, 2008 Bob Newhart is one of the towering figures…