WKRP in Cincinnati
Off the air since 1982, this widely praised sitcom about an ever-struggling rock radio station returns to TV with new episodes, this time in syndication. Of the original cast, it’s the wacky second bananas who remain: Gordon Jump’s ineffectual station manager; Richard Sanders’ neurotic newscaster; and Frank Bonner’s smug, sleazy ad salesman. They’re aided by new characters that include a squabbling husband-and-wife morning team, played by Kathleen Garrett and Michael Des Barres (a real-life would-be rock star in obscure, defunct bands like Silverhead and Detective), as well as a slinky late-night disc jockey, played by Tawny Kitaen, familiar to millions of MTV viewers as that girl in the Whitesnake videos.
The gags are mostly broad and vague (Des Barres’ character jokes that he and his wife ”have less sex than Charles and Di”). As revivals go, WKRP‘s return is smoothly executed; after all, it’s well known that employment in rock radio is a constantly revolving door, so it makes sense that many of the ‘KRP employees would change over the years. But in this week’s episode, Howard Hesseman and Loni Anderson make guest appearances in their old roles of DJ Johnny Fever and secretary Jennifer Marlowe, and they’re funnier and more self-assured than anyone else, new or old. This doesn’t bode well for all those weeks when Hesseman and Anderson won’t be around. C-