Politics As Usual


WKRP was one of those shows that felt over my head as a child. Like the episodic version of M.A.S.H., I always felt that this show was too adult and boring for me to grasp or appreciate the humor. Seeing this show was a sign that it was time to go to sleep, so it never made my list of shows that I was into.

That said, I should revisit WKRP, because; One, I'm a huge fan of how radio works enough so that I majored in broadcasting when I first went to college. That and many people that I genuinely respect comedy wise have fond memories of the show, and I'm pretty sure my sophisticated palate would appreciate the radio career-related content.

As I sat here writing the breakdown of how Howard Hesseman stood out in my mind, I almost completely forgot about his run as the star of the show Head Of The Class. This is how I got used to Hesseman's style of delivering his stance on political situations and why I wasn't all that surprised that this was the most political visit to date even including George Carlin.

From the sound of it, this show took place soon after the '79 Iran Hostage situation which added to the political tone that made the show more interesting to watch for its historical content over the laughs that would have made it a classic.

With that, it's now time to share what I say as I give you...

The Wicker Breakdown:

  1. The show starts with a Great Moments In Rock 'N Roll where Don Kirshner introduces a segment that shares the humble beginnings of James Brown, back when he was a Scottish performer.

  2. Howard Hesseman the opens the show with a political statement about the Iran Hostage situation and his issues with the network for trying to silence the shows input on the events of the day.

  3. This was followed by The Bel-Arabs and Beverly Hillbillies parody with a funny premise and a very long-winded and racist delivery.

  4. Randy Newman then hit the stage to perform It's Money That I Love then goes directly into performing I'm Going To Take Off My Pants.

  5. Once again, Jane and Bill anchor the news. This week Chico Esquela checks in again with a sports segment, and Al Franken discusses the upcoming decade change which he claims with be the decade of Al Franken.

  6. Howard and Gilda then hang out at their home when they are joined by Gilda's ex who is played by Bill Murray. What follows is a long-winded sketch where Gilda realizes she still has feelings for Murray and Howard isn't as confident in the relationship as he puts out to the world. This isn't a comedy sketch, it's more of a boring swinger story gone wrong where everyone ends up alone without making a comedic point.

  7. Harry Shearer then plays his morning radio DJ character that he played in the movie Wayne's World.

  8. The Nuclear Family is a sketch about a radioactive family that lives by a Nuclear Power Plant, and the family is run down and falling apart despite the fact that everyone keeps saying that it has absolutely nothing to do with radioactive interactions with the environment around them.

  9. Randy Newman returns to the stage to perform The Story Of A Rock And Roll Band.

  10. This was followed by a short film with was an interview with Jane Curtin about her first love who happens to be Walter Cronkite.

  11. Next, we go to The Holiday Inn Of Horror where sleeping guest get woken by the maid who is hell-bent on cleaning the room even though it's 6:00 in the AM.

  12. Finally, Howard Hesseman closes the show by thanking the audience and saying his goodnights.

Once again, this wasn't the most exciting of shows, but here are my favorite moments. First, I loved Harry Shearer's radio DJ character because as a fan of talk radio and a broadcasting major I love how accurate he is in his multitasking ways while putting in the bare minimum to keep up the conversation. Next, I liked seeing James Brown as a Scottish performer because that was rather entertaining. Finally, I was a fan of The Holiday Inn of Horror because it was the funniest of the remaining sketches to choose from.


Watch More From Howard Hesseman:

Hear More From Randy Newman:

Matt Bunker

I started out with a goal of becoming a paid screenwriter. I had no interest in any other aspect of filmmaking. I received and scholarship to The Vancouver Film School's Writing for Film and Television program where I graduated in 2005. I fell in love with being on set during my first non-school produced short, . I loved being around all the creative people, seeing people having fun while working. The whole liking your job was a new world to me, so I decided to give it a shot. I volunteered for any project I could, doing what ever was needed. The set was my Film School this time. While working as a PA on a feature I was informed that the DP wanted the three tallest PAs to help out in the grip and electric department. That is when I found the department that felt like the best fit for me while I continued to write.