Thursday, July 29, 2010

NewsRadio: Seasons 1 & 2

NewsRadio has been one of my favorite sitcoms since I first discovered it as a teen. It’s the story of a New York news radio station that is filled with eccentric characters as they go through the running’s of their studio and they are owned by the eccentric billionaire, Jimmy James.

This is a show made by its characters. Dave Foley plays the stations new News Manager, who has to fire the man he’s replacing as his first act of business. Stephen Root is Jimmy James who you’ll find more often in the mens room or behind Dave’s desk than crunching numbers. Andy Dick plays Matthew, the reporter who apparently has no skill whatsoever besides annoying his coworkers. Maura Tierney is Lisa Miller, the straight edged reporter who though she was a shoe-in for Dave’s job and ends up entwined in a relationship with Dave. Vicki Lewis is Beth, the world’s most memorable secretary who would rather skip out on a bonus than get Dave coffee. Joe Rogan is Joe the handyman who makes things out of reclaimed parts and without an instruction manual instead of making a trip to the hardware store. Khandi Alexander is Catherine Duke, regal news anchor and office spitfire. And rounding out the cast is Phil Hartman is Bill McNeal the stations egotist news anchor.

This show makes me miss Phil Hartman in a way I haven’t since he first died. This man was a comic of unparalelled skill and his star was only starting to shine when he was murdered. The only issue I have is that in hindsight the first Christmas episode, where Bill has a stalker that is trying to kill him is very hard to watch knowing how he actually died. When the stalker finally cuts his brake line and the episode ends with Bill unable to stop his care I was unable to laugh knowing that Phil Hartman was murdered.

Even with that tragedy hanging over the show, it’s impossible not to fall in love with NewsRadio. This show is one of the best written sitcoms that may have ever been on the air, and the fact that it was cut down in its prime still makes me a bit sad.

Dave: Have you thought about how this will make you co-workers feel?
Bill: Actually, one of the great things about the cubicle is not having to think about my co-workers at all.
~ The Shrink

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