Wednesday, June 20, 2007

What The Hell Has Loni Anderson Done To Herself?

Good Sweet Mary of Wadsworth, is that a woman's face or a new addition to Mount Rushmore!? That capture is from one of the featurettes on the WKRP IN CINCINNATI: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON 3-disc DVD box set. In the featurettes and the audio commentaries, it's clear that Anderson is a very nice, literate woman, but I wish she had been aware enough to not subject herself to plastic surgery(ies?) that deformed her so badly that she barely looks like someone from Earth.

The quick good news/bad news on the discs. All 22 episodes are presented uncut and in pretty decent condition. Unfortunately, a lot of the distinctive source music cues have been replaced by generic stock cuts because of the cost involved in licensing them. Often, okay, one can live with the substitutions, but often you can't. For instance, the famous scene in which Les Nessman (Richard Sanders) prepares for his date with Jennifer (Anderson) by slapping on a toupee while Foreigner's "Hot Blooded" cranks on the soundtrack has been neutered by the replacement of some boring library cue, totally destroying the humor of the moment.

On the other hand, I do have bootleg discs of the entire WKRP series with the original music, but they are syndication versions, meaning they are missing 1-2 minutes from each episode. We'll probably never get a perfect WKRP IN CINCINNATI DVD release, which is a shame, considering it's one of the great TV sitcoms. It was not especially respected by its production company, MTM, or its network, CBS, which moved it to eleven different timeslots in the four seasons it was on the air (one of them was after the shortlived and little-watched THE TIM CONWAY SHOW, IIRC), but critics loved it, and so did audiences, when they could find it. I believe WKRP even hit #1 in the weekly Nielsens on occasion. When it went into syndication, it was at least as popular with audiences as its fellow MTM shows that received more respect, including THE MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW.


Hal said...

It is a real shame re: Loni and the plastic surgery. One thing she and ex-husband Burt Reynolds have in common. Unfortunately for both IMO.

I followed the weekly Nielsens pretty closely in the paper back then, and I remember WKRP pretty regularly making the top 25 during the 1979-80 season when it aired on Mondays. I remember it making the edge of the top 10 on occasion, during summer months, but typically, 60 Minutes, Dallas and the Dukes were topping the CBS shows at that time. I also remember the ratings slide started in 1980-81, the 3rd season, when CBS really started farting with it. TAXI suffered the same fate, audiences had trouble finding it.

It's a real shame about the music rights for sure. So many WKRP scenes really, REALLY need the original music.

Neil Sarver said...

I thought the previous information was that there were cuts, even if they were less extensive than some of the syndicated cuts. Man, I really wish so many of these shows were such a mess. I hate trying to figure out how many problems are too many and all of this. All I know is that I love KRP.

Marty McKee said...

I only watched two episodes (the ones with commentary tracks) and they were uncut. Doing some research, it appears that two of the episodes are indeed the shortened syndicated cuts. In addition, several others are missing a few seconds here and there, where the DVD producers cut pieces of music out rather than replacing them.

Anonymous said...

The real shame is that in Hollywood men won't let women grow old. They expect them to always look twenty and then complain when they try. I think she looks great. She has had work done but she is no cher! She is just trying to live up to expectations. Good or Bad. It is a shame about the music. I think it won't be the last tv show to suffer.