- List of WKRP in Cincinnati episodes
The following is a complete listing of episodes of the TV series "WKRP in Cincinnati".
eason One (1978-1979)
"Pilot (Part 1)" (9/18/78)
The series opens with receptionist Jennifer Marlowe watering plants in the radio station lobby while "beautiful music" plays in the background. Andy Travis arrives fresh from Santa Fe, New Mexico and announces he is the new program director. Initially, Andy receives a cold reception from news director Les Nessman and sales manager Herb Tarlek. The ineffectual, weak-willed station manager, Arthur Carlson, had forgotten that he had hired Andy and their initial interview almost ends in disaster.
WKRP is 16th in an 18 station market, playing outdated music. Andy meets
disc jockey(DJ) Johnny Caravela and remembers him as the host of a radio show in California. Johnny tells Andy he got fired for saying "Booger" on the air, and reveals Les' and Herb's own visions for the station (Les wants all news, Herb, all talk).
Andy soon changes the format to
rock and roll. On being informed, Johnny stops a song in mid-play by running the needle over the record, informs his listeners that "it is time for this town to get down!" and Dr. Johnny Fever is born. For good measure, Johnny says "Booger" on the air.
Mrs. Carlson, the owner of the station and mother of Arthur Carlson, arrives to find out what happened. Andy tells her that the station would make more money playing Top 40 rock music. She expects a quick profit; when Andy tells her that they will only break even the first year, she wants faster results, demanding he fire the incompetent staff. Andy refuses, expecting to be fired, only to have Arthur Carlson come to his rescue and stand up for him.
Venus Flytrap, a new DJ hired by Andy, picks this moment to show up. Mother Carlson asks Venus if he had a big audience back in New Orleans; Venus says he had the biggest. She then reluctantly agrees to try it Andy's way for a while, but promises that if he fails, she will tear the station down, brick by brick.
Johnny originally says that the station is a 50,000 watt station: "Now I am talking about your 50,000 watt intensive care unit, baby!" Later in the series, the map in the lobby shows that the station is only 5,000 watts and this line was rewritten during the episode "The Creation of Venus" when the format change scene was re-shot.
"Pilot (Part 2)" (9/25/78)
Andy is unable to get any money from Mr. Carlson or Mother Carlson to advertise the format change. He tries to find a way to notify the listening public. When a devoted group of former listeners show up to protest the format change, Andy finds the free promotional tool he needs.
"Les On A Ledge" (10/2/78)
Les debuts his new dramatic "Les Nessman and The News" theme music and makes his famous
Chi Chi Rodriguezreport, mangling the pronunciation of the name. Meanwhile, Johnny agrees to help Jennifer to get Herb, the married sales manager, to stop asking her out. Johnny tells Herb that Jennifer had had the most "cunningly devious" sex change operation in history.
Les is informed by Andy that he is barred from the locker rooms at the stadium because one of the players thinks he is gay. It turns out the player overheard some other reporters mentioning what a "queer" little fellow Les is (because of his lack of knowledge about sports). Les goes out on the ledge of the Flimm Building; the staff tries to talk him in, but he is determined to jump (while quoting Hamlet). They eventually get Les to talk to the player by phone and the matter is straightened out. Les is talked back in by Herb of all people. Herb's line, "Les, it's okay if you're a homo." was redubbed in syndication as "Les, it's okay if you're gay."
"Hoodlum Rock" (10/9/78)
A friend of Arthur Carlson, concert promoter Steve Pevey, is in town. Andy finds out that he can book a hot band, "Scum of The Earth" (Andy: "You book Scum?" Pevey: "Not as a rule, no."). The band arrives at the station very well-dressed (the lobby has a sign saying "Welcome Scum"), but the station personnel soon find out that the group is a "Hoodlum Rock" band and uses violence as a promotional tool, throwing Pevey out of their limo when he can't tell them the time.
When the band members refuse to go on stage for the station-sponsored concert, Andy, Johnny and Venus have to fight them to make them change their minds. The concert is a big success and WKRP becomes known as the station that "brought Scum to Cincinnati".
Michael Des Barresappears as one of the members of the band, Charles Whetherby (aka DOG). Des Barres would later go on to appear in "The New WKRP" as DJ Jack Allen. The episode also features a song by Detective, "Got Enough Love".
A brief running gag has Mr. Carlson not recognizing Bailey, even after talking to her face to face.
"Hold Up" (10/16/78)
Herb sets up a remote broadcast for Del Murdoch (
Hamilton Camp), owner of Del's Stereo and Sound, at his store. Things go awry when they are held up by "Bob Boogie", a former DJ who wants to get back into radio. He uses the opportunity to show off his talents, after having been turned down by Andy. This episode features the first appearance of series writer Bill Dialas engineer Bucky Dornster, and cameos by Hugh Wilson and Tom Chehakas police officers.
"Bailey's Show" (10/23/78)
Bailey Quarters gets a chance to produce her own show, much to the chagrin of Herb and Les. Andy believes in her, but when the show, which Johnny hosts, goes off on an extreme tangent due to the nature of the guests, she fears for her job. Herb tries to get her fired. Mr. Carlson, after hearing the show, wants to meet with Bailey. He is surprised to find out that she is female, but is impressed by her tenacity and her ability to stand up to Herb and Les. Bailey and Mr. Carlson go into his office to discuss things further and she shows signs of getting over her shyness.
"Turkeys Away" (10/30/78)
This episode was named by "
TV Guide" as the 40th greatest in TV history.
Arthur Carlson, feeling left out of the everyday station business, decides that he wants to get more involved. He goes around asking all the staff if anybody needs any help. In one memorable scene, he goes into the DJ booth while Johnny is on the air listening to the song "Dogs" by
Pink Floyd. Carlson finds out it is a Pink Floyd song and wonders what "Pigs on the Wing" sounds like, to which Johnny replies, "I don't do requests."
Without informing anybody, Carlson decides to stage his own promotion for Thanksgiving: dropping twenty-five live turkeys from a helicopter to unsuspecting shoppers below. The scene is reported live on the air by news director Les Nessman, breathlessly describing the unseen flightless birds plummeting to the ground, in a parody of Herbert Morrison's famous coverage of the
Hindenburg disaster: "It's a helicopter, and it's coming this way. It's flying something behind it, I can't quite make it out, it's a large banner and it says, uh - Happy... Thaaaaanksss... giving! ... From ... W ... K ... R... P!! No parachutes yet. Can't be skydivers... I can't tell just yet what they are, but - Oh my God, they're turkeys!! Johnny, can you get this? Oh, they're plunging to the earth right in front of our eyes! One just went through the windshield of a parked car! Oh, the humanity! The turkeys are hitting the ground like sacks of wet cement! Not since the Hindenburg tragedy has there been anything like this!" Afterwards, the shaken Carlson explains, "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."
1988, radio station WCSXin Detroit, Michiganhosted a "Turkey Drop" in Hines Park in Livonia, Michigan. Richard Sanderswas the emcee of this Thanksgivingpromotion in which paper turkeys were dropped from a helicopter to participants in an open field. The turkeys had coupons that were redeemed for prizes. This same contest was mimicked in 1990 by oldies station KONO-FMin San Antonio, Texas.
"Love Returns" (11/6/78)
Andy's former girlfriend, Linda Taylor, now a famous country and western singer, comes to Cincinnati on a promotional tour and is reunited with Andy. The two rekindle their love and she offers him a job on her tour. It is a tough decision, but he ultimately decides to stay at WKRP.
Meanwhile, Johnny and Venus are the prizes in a "Win a Date with a DJ" contest. Venus ends up picking the girl for Johnny, who turns out to be a man named "Kim".
"Mama's Review" (1/15/79)
Mother Carlson meets with Andy and her son Arthur to discuss the progress of the station since the format change. Clips from the first eight episodes are shown. Andy mentions that Del's Stereo and Sound went out of business shortly after the remote broadcast WKRP did at the store. After Mother Carlson rakes Arthur and the station over the coals, he again stands up to her, even going so far as to say, "I'm over 40. Wherever I go is none of your beeswax, and your 20 minutes... they're up!!" After Arthur storms out, Andy is surprised to observe that Mrs. Carlson is pleased by his eruption; her harsh upbringing of her son hasn't totally destroyed his self-confidence.
This episode aired after the series went on hiatus and was used to bring new viewers up to date on the show.
"A Date With Jennifer" (1/22/79)
Arthur Carlson decides to start writing memos to the station staff. Les proudly announces he has won the Ohio Valley's "prestigious" Silver Sow Award for news reporting; now he needs a date for the awards banquet. He talks to Herb about his fears of asking women out. Herb enlists Jennifer's help in building up Les' confidence. While Les is practicing with Jennifer, she agrees to go to the ceremony with him, much to Herb's surprise. Herb is so outraged, he convinces Mr. Carlson to write a memo banning interoffice dating, but Herb's scheme is found out and the date proceeds as planned.
The episode was written by series regular Richard Sanders with Michael Fairman. Fairman would play the owner of the shoe store who threatens Les in "Turkey's Away" and also pilot Buddy Parker in the Season 3 premiere episode, "The Airplane Show".
"The Contest Nobody Could Win" (1/29/79)
Johnny misreads a promo spot on the air, stating that the prize for a WKRP contest is $5,000 when it was supposed to be $50, so he, Venus and Andy devise a musical contest so tough no one should be able to win. They put together a sound montage of six songs whose components have to be identified by title and artist. It contains extremely short snippets of, in order, "Too Wild To Tame" by
The Boyzz, " Tumbling Dice" by the Rolling Stones, "YMCA" by the Village People, " Danke Schoen" by Wayne Newton, " Straight On" by Heart, and the US national anthem by Francis Scott Key. However, to their dismay, the second caller names them all correctly.
An impostor arrives and collects the money, outwitting Herb and Les, but Johnny quizzes the "winner" on his musical knowledge while walking him to his car and figures out something's wrong. He retrieves the prize money for the real winner, who shows up minutes later.
A tornado hits Cincinnati just as a group of Japanese businessmen tour WKRP. As the tornado warning is being printed on the
teletype, Herb unplugs it because its ringing bell is driving him crazy. Les is livid. Andy is injured, while Arthur Carlson helps a young girl who can't find her mother. Unable to locate the WKRP weather emergency instructions, Mr. Carlson gives Les the plan for "what to do in case of Communist attack" and tells him to substitute the word "tornadoes" for "Communists", resulting in Les announcing, "Ladies and gentleman, the WKRP listening area is under attack from the godless tornadoes."
"Goodbye Johnny" (2/19/79)
Johnny gets a job offer from a competitor of the station that fired him for saying "booger" on the air. The WKRP staff tries to convince him to stay. This episode marks the first appearance of
Edie McClurgas Lucille Tarlek, Herb's wife.
There is a small continuity error in this episode. When Venus hears about Johnny quitting, he says that one of his reasons for coming to WKRP was to opportunity to work with the Doctor, but Johnny hadn't created the persona of Dr. Johnny Fever until the format change.
"Johnny Comes Back" (2/26/79)
Murray Gressler, a sleazy local record promoter from Onslaught Records, hears of Johnny's quitting and brings in Doug Winner to audition for Johnny's job. Andy is impressed and hires him.
Shortly afterward, Johnny returns from Los Angeles, looking for his old job back. He was fired again, this time for saying "jive-ass" on the air. He is informed his old time slot has been filled and agrees to take the midnight shift for Moss Steiger (who tried to kill himself again), calling himself "Heavy Early".
While sleeping in the storeroom after his shift, Johnny accidentally witnesses Doug accepting
payolain the form of cocaine from Murray to play songs he wants aired. Johnny confronts Doug later and finds the cocaine. Doug figures Johnny will use this to get his job back. Arthur Carlson shows up, sees the bag in Doug's hand, and asks him what it is. Johnny tells him it is a powerful foot powder. Carlson asks for some and Johnny is more than happy to oblige, to Doug's shocked disbelief. In his office, Carlson applies the powder to his socks. Andy informs Carlson that he has made a few calls because of Doug's overplaying of some songs, mainly "Nowhere Band" by the Soundtastics and his suspicions were confirmed.
Doug denies the allegations and tries to pin everything on Johnny, but Andy knows better and fires him. When he demands the cocaine, Doug tells him Carlson put it on his feet. Carlson panics, saying he has lost all feeling in his left foot and is hooked ("I got a monkey on my foot!") Johnny gets his morning show back.
The catchy Red Wigglers commercial (the "Cadillac of worms") is introduced in this episode.
"Never Leave Me Lucille" (3/5/79)
Herb separates from his wife Lucille, and winds up staying at Johnny's apartment until he can get a bachelor pad of his own. Jennifer, horrified at the prospect of having to deal with an unattached Herb, tries to get Herb and Lucille back together again.
"I Want To Keep My Baby" (3/12/79)
Johnny finds a baby abandoned at the front doors of the station, left there because the mother listened to Johnny every day and felt he was the only person in town she really knew. The staff welcomes the child with open arms. For some reason though, the baby cries every time Herb enters the room. Johnny becomes attached to the baby and refuses to give her up to Family Services until he has a chance to talk to her mother.
"A Commercial Break" (3/26/79)
Randall Ferryman, the owner of Ferryman's Memorial Homes, contacts Herb about advertising on the station. He wants a lively upbeat jingle to entice younger listeners to buy funeral arrangements early. Jennifer, Bailey, Venus and Les sing the cheery lyrics, "There ain't no way to deny it. Someday, you're gonna 'buy it'!" while Johnny does the voice over. Even though it is a success, Mr. Carlson pulls the commercials and the account because he feels the jingle is in bad taste. Ferryman is unable to get Carlson to change his mind and quips that he will just have to find a station with worse ratings than WKRP which will be desperate enough for his business. However all is not lost; the song gets reused by another one of Herb's clients, Morrison Tires.
"Who Is Gordon Sims?" (4/2/79)
Les and Herb want to take pictures of Johnny and Venus for a promotional ad. Venus refuses, even going so far as to threaten to hurt Les and his camera if he takes his picture. Andy finds out that Venus is trying to protect a "friend" named Gordon Sims. Sims, who is of course Venus, deserted from the army after seeing one of his platoon members, "Crazy Larry", intentionally walk out of an airborne helicopter and kill himself. When his platoon came home, it went one way and Sims another.
Mr. Carlson agrees to help Venus clear his name, accompanying him to the local military authorities. Since Venus had already finished his tour of combat, the charges are dropped and he returns to the station.
There is a continuity error in this episode. Andy did not know that Venus' real name was Gordon Sims in this episode until Venus revealed it. Yet in "The Creation of Venus" episode, Andy knew Venus as Gordon Sims before they both came to WKRP.
"I Do, I Do For Now" (4/23/79)
A childhood friend of Jennifer's from her hometown of Rockthrow, West Virginia, TJ Watson (played by country singer and actor
Hoyt Axton) shows up to keep their promise to get married. In a panic, Jennifer tells TJ that she is already married to Johnny, who has just walked into the lobby. To make sure that the marriage is legitimate and that Johnny is treating Jennifer well, TJ wants to see the two of them at home together, so the entire staff meets at Jennifer's house for a party.
TJ arrives and sings a song he wrote, "Della and The Dealer" (an actual Axton 1979 hit). Andy realizes that TJ has real talent, but before he can talk to him about it, the ruse is found out and TJ leaves. Jennifer runs after him and finds out that the real reason he came to Cincinnati was to get her help breaking into the music business. She arranges for him to cut a demo in WKRP's studios. The song continues to play in lieu of the show's regular closing theme.
Jennifer's apartment is shown for the first time (her unique doorbell plays "Fly Me To The Moon").
"Young Master Carlson" (4/30/79)
Arthur Carlson's son, Arthur Jr. [played by Sparky Marcus] , runs away from the military academy he was attending (where Mother Carlson suggested he enroll). Mr. Carlson takes him along to the station. Little Arthur's attitude towards members of the station alienates all of them (calling Herb "addle-minded", Les "obtuse" and Venus "boy"), causing Johnny to give him the nickname "
The Omen". Bailey later tells Mr. Carlson that little Arthur got into Jennifer's drawers.
Mr. Carlson finds out that his is flunking out of the academy and confronts his son about it. The two become closer as a result.
Little Arthur would be mentioned again during the episode "The Concert" and would grow up to work at the station in the spinoff series, "The New WKRP".
"Fish Story" (5/28/79)
A reporter does a story on the progress of the station since the format change and witnesses the typical mayhem that pervades WKRP. Johnny and Venus participate in an on-air demonstration on the effects of alcohol. To the growing annoyance of the state trooper administering the test, Johnny's reflexes improve after each drink.
Meanwhile, Herb, Les and Bailey go to the local college campus for some promotional work, with Herb in the new WKRP fish costume (Arthur and Herb figured that KRP spells
Carp). The trio gets arrested after Herb gets into a fight with arch-rival station WPIG's pig mascot.
All the while, a painter takes his time repainting the WKRP lobby. Later, the WPIG pig, still in costume, takes his revenge by joyously singing and dancing while defacing the WKRP lobby with the brush and paint left behind. Johnny happens upon this sight, whereupon he staggers back to the control booth and confesses his intoxication.
The episode was written by creator Hugh Wilson, but he was so embarrassed that he insisted on substituting a pseudonym for the writing credit ("Raoul Plager").
Former wrestler "Little Ed" Pembroke is the head of the Church of the Mighty Struggle. He has a dedicated Sunday morning radio audience that includes many former wrestlers. However, Little Ed uses his program to sell "religious artifacts", such as "John The Baptist Shower Curtains," "World Is Coming to an End Lawn Furniture," and other related materials. Andy wants to fire him, but Mr. Carlson is afraid of him. Andy finds out from Venus that Little Ed once put
Haystack Calhoun's head through a soda pop machine.
Andy tells Little Ed to stop the selling or his show will be pulled. But he continues until Bailey suggests getting the
IRSto audit his "non-profit" organization. Little Ed appears to relent, but on his next show, after denouncing the sale of his items, he announces he will be offering indulgences, which he calls "Heaven Insurance". The episode ends with him saying "You send me...," even as Andy and Carlson sprint to the studio to stop the broadcast.
eason Two (1979-1980)
"For Love Or Money (Part 1)" (9/17/79)
While in the DJ booth with Johnny, Bailey mentions that she has an extra ticket to a movie festival at the local college. When Johnny agrees to go with her, she is surprised and excited. Shortly afterwards though, an old girlfriend of Johnny's, Buffy, comes to town and wants to see him. Johnny borrows Jennifer's apartment to impress her. Buffy is indeed impressed and likes Johnny's taste, even if it seems a bit effeminate. Bailey is left waiting at the station for Johnny.
"For Love Or Money (Part 2)" (9/24/79)
While Bailey waits for Johnny, Johnny discovers that Buffy wants to sue him. In a panic, Johnny calls Venus for help. Venus gathers the staff together and Johnny waits for them. Meanwhile, Buffy "poisons" Johnny's drink, then confesses the deed. "How medieval of you," quips Johnny. After the staff arrives, Buffy decides not to proceed with the lawsuit and leaves. The poison turns out to be speed. Johnny goes out with Bailey.
Les agrees to a softball game with WPIG's news director and enlists the aid of the staff. Les was always stuck indoors taking violin lessons as a child and sees this as a chance to be a sports hero. During the game, he has flashbacks of his childhood and his domineering mother. Arthur Carlson and Bob Callahan, the WPIG station manager, have a longstanding rivalry. WKRP wins the game when Les, of all people, catches a pop fly ball to get the final out. This episode marks the second appearance of
Bill Dialas engineer Bucky Dornster.
"Bad Risk" (10/22/79)
Les comes in to start his day, depressed as usual. Jennifer tells Les to stop being depressed over nothing, because it's boring. Herb calls him over and hands him a business card. Les reads it and to his growing horror, finds out that Herb is now selling insurance, comprehensive insurance to be exact. Les runs through the station to warn the others. Johnny and Venus quickly hide in the DJ booth and escape detection, but Herb corners Les in his "office". He sells him life, motor scooter and boat insurance (even though Les doesn't own a boat - Herb sells him his).
Andy discusses Herb's new sideline with Mr. Carlson and tells him it has to be a scam. Later, Les tells Andy, Mr. Carlson and Herb that he got into an accident. Les was on his way to a city hall news conference, but lost control of his scooter and crashed into the house of Mr. and Mrs. J. Garnet Hopkins as they were having tea. Les goes to the hospital to visit the couple and tells them his insurance will pay for everything, much to Herb's dismay.
Later, Herb gets fired from his insurance job because of the accident. He also learns that Les lost Herb's boat when the trailer hitch came loose. The last time Les saw the boat, it was passing him on Interstate 75.
"Jennifer Falls In Love" (10/29/79)
Bailey and Jennifer discuss Jennifer's new boyfriend, Steel Hawthorne, a poor handyman. As Jennifer is describing him, Johnny enters the lobby and mistakenly thinks they are talking about him. As Jennifer's relationship with Steel develops, she finds out that he is a gold digger and she ends the relationship. Johnny finds out from Bailey that he is not Jennifer's love interest. Later, when Jennifer turns to Arthur Carlson for support, Johnny again walks in and witnesses her telling Mr. Carlson she loves him and hugging him. Johnny tells Mr. Carlson that he is a fan.
Meanwhile, Les does his best to get a raise.
"Carlson For President" (11/5/79)
Mr. Carlson decides to run for city council and enlists the aid of the staff with his campaign. Bailey discovers that one of the front runners, Charles Tillman, has a drinking problem and has missed many council meetings because of it. Mr. Carlson promises Bailey not to use the damaging information on the televised debate.
During the debate, Mr. Carlson appears with excessive make-up and uses "no comment" for most of his answers. His one prepared answer, which he got from Les, gets pre-empted by Tillman early on. When Tillman pushes Carlson too far by mocking the station and Carlson's performance as station manager, Carlson blurts out "Listen, I'm at that station every day. I'm not off somewhere getting drunk, Tillman."
This boosts Carlson into the lead, but he feels slimy and unethical. In his guilt, he tells the staff to sabotage his campaign, with hilarious results. In his campaign poster picture, Carlson looks like a deranged
sociopath, and he tells the League of Women Votersthat they look like men. The staff celebrates when Les Nessman walks in and gleefully announces: "We've lost, and I mean big!"
"Mike Fright" (11/12/79)
Cincinnati is in the midst of a garbage strike. Johnny facetiously tells his listeners to dump their garbage on the steps of City Hall. When the station receives a complaint that people are actually doing it, Johnny develops "mike fright" (fear of speaking into the microphone) and is unable to go on the air.
Mr. Carlson calls in his attorney, Elgar Neese (played by diminutive actor Christian Seaborn), to discuss the station's liability resulting from Johnny's actions.
Later, Venus talks to Johnny at Snooky's Bar, followed shortly by Andy. Johnny agrees to go back to the station and, with Bailey's encouragement, he goes on the air and tells the listeners to stop dumping their garbage at City Hall; once he gets his confidence back, he suggests they dump it at the mayor's house instead. (
Jerry Springerwas the mayor of Cincinnati at the time.)
"Patter Of Little Feet" (11/26/79)
Carmen tells Arthur that she is pregnant. Carmen looks at the calendar and realizes the conception occurred the night
Anson Williamswas on the Johnny Carsonshow, but Arthur argues that it was the Friday night that they went to the theater to see Superman. Arthur is not sure whether Carmen really wants to have the baby or is only doing it to please him. Mother Carlson feels that her daughter-in-law is too old to be having another child and pressures the couple to get an abortion. In the end, Carmen and Arthur decide to have the baby.
"Baby If You've Ever Wondered" (12/3/79)
The new ratings book shows that the station has climbed from 16th to 14th place. Most of the staff feels happy that the station has moved up. But Andy is disappointed, taking out his frustration on his desk. Bailey talks to Venus and Johnny about Andy's mood and Venus agrees to find out what the problem is.
Andy tells Venus that the book is bitterly frustrating considering at every other station he worked at before, he always got much better results. The station moved up the two spots the day the format was changed and that the failure of the station was due in part to his refusal to fire Herb and Les. Venus reminds Andy that if he were to fire them for not doing their jobs, the next person he would have to fire is Mr. Carlson. Andy finally realizes that unlike the other stations he worked at, he actually has friends at WKRP. He begins to feel better about his "imperfect" situation and joins the others in celebration.
"Bailey's Big Break" (12/10/79)
Les and Andy are listening to tapes of news reporters auditioning for a job, because Andy feels that Les needs some help. Les disagrees. Jennifer convinces Bailey to submit her tape. Andy feels that Bailey deserves a shot at the job, but Les doesn't want to work with a woman. In the middle of the debate, Mr. Carlson goes to get Jennifer's advice and decides in Bailey's favor. However, Les has no intention of cooperating.
Bailey later catches Les going through her news tear sheets; he finds out that she had edited his sports story (he called a competition a "swim meeting" and the
breast stroke"breast stroking"). Les realizes that Bailey saved him from embarrassing himself on the air and relents in letting her go on, but she refuses because she feels sorry for him. Unaware of all this, Andy reprimands Les for his behavior and Bailey finally gets to go on the air.
"Jennifer's Home For Christmas" (12/17/79)
The staff all has plans to leave Cincinnati for the holidays. At the staff Christmas party, Jennifer tells everyone that she has nothing planned for Christmas, not even a tree, and they suspect that she is spending the holiday alone. One by one, the rest of the staff show up at her apartment, each bringing a tree, except Herb. Johnny, Venus and Andy tell him that he can't come in without a tree. Just as about Herb is about to go buy one, they let him in.
Jennifer is very touched by their friendship, but tells them that she is in fact flying to
Mr. Carlson hires former
Cincinnati Redsmanager Sparky Anderson(appearing as himself) as the host of a radio show. But when the show doesn't do very well, he has the tough task of firing him, only to find out that Sparky understood and was expecting it. Sparky tells Carlson to ask if he ever needed anything. But when he requests one of Sparky's World Series rings, Sparky immediately refuses. The show ends with Les telling Herb and Mr. Carlson they're "just jealous" because they "didn't get a ball" signed by Sparky, which "goes with the ring."
"God Talks To Johnny" (12/31/79)
In the middle of the night, Johnny thinks he hears God speaking to him. He and most of the staff think he is slowly going insane. This opinion is reinforced when Johnny finally reveals that God's message is "John, I want you to be a golf pro." Mr. Carlson, a man of quiet faith, tries to convince Johnny that he isn't crazy.
"A Family Affair" (1/7/80)
Jennifer has the day off and Mr. Carlson agrees to substitute for her, just as Andy's younger sister, Carol, comes for a visit. Andy had initially asked Johnny to show her around town. But Venus winds up taking her out instead, after giving her a tour of the station.
When Venus doesn't show up for his show, Andy has to substitute for him as "Apollo Flytrap". When Venus and Carol finally show up, Andy is more than a little upset that they were gone so long. Venus thinks that perhaps Andy's anger is more racially motivated then he wants to admit. Johnny takes Carol down to Snooky's Bar while Andy and Venus cool off.
Later, Andy and Venus meet up with Johnny and Carol, having worked things out. A man stops Carol and Venus while they are dancing together and calls Venus "boy". Andy tries to help out, but the racist winds up punching Johnny by mistake, whereupon Andy and Venus knock the man out.
The next day Jennifer returns to work, only to find Mr. Carlson suffering from
laryngitisfrom answering the phone, Herb on crutches, Andy's nose broken, Venus' hand bandaged, Bailey dressed as the WKRP Carp Mascot, and Johnny in a neck brace. When Jennifer asks Johnny what happened while she was gone, he replies, "Oh, Andy's sister came to visit for a while..."
This episode was written by series regular Tim Reid.
"Herb's Dad" (1/14/80)
Herbert R. Tarlek Sr. (from whom Herb apparently gets his taste in clothes) arrives at WKRP to the shock and disbelief of Jennifer and then Herb. Herb finds out that his father has run away from The Shady Rest Home. Herb Sr. tells his son he is dying. Much to Herb's relief, he finds out his father was only pulling his leg and the two come to a compromise on his father's future.
Herbert R. Tarlek Sr. was played by
Bert Parks, longtime game showemcee and host of the Miss America Pageant.
"Put Up Or Shut Up" (1/21/80)
Bailey convinces Jennifer to agree to go on a date with Herb, believing that he is all talk and will back down. Bailey's plan backfires: Herb is both shocked and overjoyed that his dream has come true. Jennifer is horrified, but has no way out. However, once in Jennifer's apartment, Herb begins to hyperventilate and does not come off as the suave and sophisticated lover, the image that he had always wanted to project.
The next day, Herb shows up for work singing "Just The Way You Are". Jennifer joins him in a duet, much to the surprise of Johnny and Mr. Carlson. It would seem that Herb and Jennifer have developed more respect for each other. As the series went on, Herb bothered Jennifer less and less.
"The Americanization Of Ivan" (1/28/80)
Les attends a press conference for visiting Russian hog experts, planning to expose a communist plot. Andy asks Les to take Bailey along for her first reporting assignment, and Les reluctantly agrees.
Les and Bailey are the only ones at the press conference. Les starts to ask some rather skewed questions, prompting the puzzled Russians to compare him to
Howdy Doody. One of the delegates, Ivan, slips Bailey a note asking for help defecting. She invites the delegation to the station for a tour and hides him from the others.
Later, Bailey and Andy take Ivan to the local government office for help. The official on duty, Mr. Anderson is quite surprised. This is the most excitement he has had in his entire career. "Occasionally I authorize the local green card. My wife sometimes comes by and we go to lunch." The office is so underused, it still has a picture of former President
Richard Nixonon the wall. ("They never sent me a Carter.") Andy and Bailey find out that Ivan can only defect at the main office in Cleveland. The Soviet delegation is going there the next day, but Andy and Bailey offer to drive Ivan there that night.
At the station, as Bailey and Andy are getting ready to take Ivan to Cleveland, his former boss comes looking for him. Ivan, to save his new friends from getting into trouble, pretends to spy on the station, and announces, "We go to Cleveland." Andy and Bailey know that Ivan is indeed going to defect as planned.
Sam Anderson— who first appeared during the first season episode "Johnny Comes Back" as Mason Noble, an auditioning DJ — played Mr. Anderson in this episode. He would appear later as Special Agent Burwick in a third season episode, "Secrets of Dayton Heights" and then as Rex Erhardt, the mid-morning DJ, in fourth season episode "Rumors".
Michael Pataki, who played Ivan, resurfaced in the fourth season, in "Circumstantial Evidence" as Detective Alcorn.
"Les' Groupie" (2/4/80)
Les receives a phone call from a female groupie, much to Johnny's surprise (he thought the woman was calling for him). Les and Darlene begin to date. Les takes her to his apartment, introducing her to his dog, Phil, (who terrifies Les) and the female tenant next door. Darlene quickly begins to take over his life, changing his living room to look like "Star Trek" and befriending Phil.
Darlene continues her controlling behavior at the station. When she sees the tape around his desk, she thinks it is a prank. The staff tries to warn her how important it is to Les. It represents walls that he believes a news director should have and they all respect it. But she proceeds to tear the tape off the floor, just as Les walks in. This is just too much for him; he promptly ends their relationship.
"In Concert" (2/11/80)
December 3, 1979, and The Whoare going to perform in Cincinnati. WKRP gives away concert tickets if listeners can guess the answer to the question, "Disco is...."
The whole staff is eagerly looking forward to the event. Everyone seems to have a date, except for Johnny, who is turned down by everybody, even Les. Finally, Mr. Carlson (who is suffering from a cold and is wearing a blue aqua mask) tells Johnny he can go with him and little Arthur. Johnny seems resigned to his fate. "Great, now it looks like I'm going to see The Who in the company of a narc."
The next day, everybody is in shock. Eleven young fans lost their lives before the concert even started. They were crushed to death as others tried to push their way to the front. Because the concert had
festival seating(first-come, first-served), the fans grew restless for the show to begin. They began pushing forward and tragedy ensued. The only one unaware of the tragedy is Mr. Carlson, who apparently had a great time at the concert. Upon learning what happened, he is more moved than the rest of the staff.
Later that night, a candlelight vigil is held at Fountain Square. The staff meets at Snooky's first before heading to the vigil. Mr. Carlson talks to Venus about the tragedy and, much to Venus' relief, tells him WKRP will remain a rock and roll station.
As Venus says goodnight, a graphic dedicates the episode to the eleven people who lost their lives. He plays a record to close out his show, "Just The Two Of Us" by Bill Withers. Another graphic states that, on
December 27, 1979, Cincinnati passed a bylaw banning general admission or "festival" seating. In some airings in syndication, this graphic has the original voice-over.
This episode was based on a actual incident, as were some other WKRP episodes, including the most popular episode ever, "Turkeys Away" (which ranked #40 in TV Guide's all time greatest TV episodes). The information in the screen over at the end of the "In Concert" episode refers to the actual incident that occurred in Cincinnati at Riverfront Coliseum (now US Bank Arena) on December 3, 1979 in which eleven people were crushed to death at a Who concert. They were killed when the crowd surged, seeking the best seats in the general admission (unassigned seating) area, and they were pinned against concrete retaining walls. This incident led to what was ultimately a national ban on "Festival", or unassigned, first-come, first-served general admission, seating.
"The Doctor's Daughter" (2/18/80)
Johnny's daughter Laurie, from his first marriage to Paula, arrives in town to visit him. She brings along her boyfriend Justin. They proceed to move in with Johnny for a while until Laurie can get herself settled. Johnny begins to disapprove of her relationship with Justin, but is unsure how to tell his daughter without seeming to be an overprotective parent like Paula. Finally, he tells her. She decides to move out, but she and Johnny become closer.
Johnny later receives a letter from her telling him how well she is doing. Much to Andy's surprised delight, Johnny finally plays a hit, "The Long Run" by the Eagles.
This was the first episode of WKRP directed by series regular Frank Bonner.
"Filthy Pictures (Part 1)" (3/3/80)
Jennifer and Andy reluctantly agree to pose in bathing suits for a "Surf's Up Cincinnati" poster for Mr. Carlson. Photographer D. Arnold Gonzer, who is a client of Herb's, takes nude pictures of Jennifer while she is changing, without her knowledge.
When Mr. Carlson comes to the studio to pick up the pictures, he accidentally sees the photos of Jennifer but can't do anything about it because she signed a release form.
Later, Johnny suggests that they "
Watergate" (break into) Gonzer's office. Andy, Venus and Mr. Carlson reluctantly agree. They break into the studio, but after hearing sirens, they panic and run away before they can find the photos.
"Filthy Pictures (Part 2)" (3/3/80)
Mr. Carlson breaks the news to Jennifer. She is a little shocked and tries to use her feminine charms on Gonzer, but he tells her he is gay. The staff gets Herb to pose as a gay man to try and get the photos back since Gonzer is a friend and client of his. Herb tries, but is unsuccessful. Finally, Bailey and Johnny pose as "Ginger" and "Phillipe", partners in a new men's magazine, "Navel". They convince Gonzer to part with the pictures (and some money) for a share in the magazine and a job as their photographer.
Johnny and Bailey give the photos to Jennifer and the cheque to Mr. Carlson for the Kiwanis Children's Fund. Before Jennifer burns the pictures, she looks at them and remarks "Perfect".
"Venus Rising" (3/10/80)
Venus gets a job interview at WREQ Radio for program director. He finds out though that WREQ is fully automated and they only want him because he is an African American. Meanwhile, Herb starts a rumour that he has a job in television in sales, but the reaction isn't what he expected - everyone is anxious to see him go. He confides to Venus that he just wanted a raise.
When Andy negotiates a raise with Venus, Venus stipulates that Herb get one as well: "We're a package deal." Andy agrees and Herb is grateful for Venus' assistance.
Terry Kiser, who later played Bernie in "
Weekend at Bernie's", appears as Jason Realli, station manager of WREQ.
"Most Improved Station" (3/31/80)
Johnny Fever wins a broadcast award. Les is hoping that WKRP will win an award for most improved station because it moved up from 16th to 14th. However, the station loses to a rival. In the aftermath, everyone at the station begins to fight, blaming each other for the loss.
eason 3 (1980-1981)
"The Airplane" (11/1/80)
During a daily traffic report, the WPIG helicopter (the "Pig Eye in The Sky") is buzzed by an old World War I vintage
biplane. It is Les, WKRP's "Fish Eye in The Sky", doing his traffic report. The plane is piloted by a crazy old war veteran, Buddy Parker. Andy and Mr. Carlson, who never authorized Les to perform such a stunt, "ground" him and warn him not to fly again.
Les ignores the order and goes back up in the air on Veteran's Day. Once airborne, he learns that Buddy has a hidden agenda. He contacts Johnny, who is on the air at the time, and gets him to gather staff together (they are all on holidays). Les informs them that, unless the people of Cincinnati show their support for the veterans, Buddy intends let the plane run out of fuel and crash, with both him and Les aboard. With encouragement from WKRP's competitors (all actual Cincinnati-area stations), the people honk their car horns in support of Veteran's Day, satisfying Buddy, who lands safely.
"Jennifer Moves" (11/8/80)
Jennifer buys a $125,000 house in the quiet suburb of Landersville and asks for the staff's help in moving. Everybody shows up and lends a hand, though Les seems bent on hurting Herb for spitting coffee on him earlier at the office, when Herb heard the price of the house (this sale price would be approximately a million in a 2005 market with inflation). Les later calms down and investigates the basement of Jennifer's new home for ghosts and tells creepy stories of an insane woman who lived alone in a Victorian home with hundreds of parakeets. Herb is stuck moving the piano by himself.
As the move progresses, Jennifer meets her new neighbours, Ken and Dottie Dahlquist, Ken seems enamoured with Jennifer, much to Dottie's dismay, but Jennifer manages to get Ken to help Herb move the piano. A Mr. Furgood shows up with a petition to stop the building of a fourteen story office building four houses down from Jennifer's. It seems Jennifer has made a bad decision in moving to Landersville. Wayne Draven, from the phone company, drops by too.
Dottie runs out and grabs Ken, just as he and Herb were about to get the piano up the driveway. Then, Herb tells Jennifer that he lost the piano, but not before he chased it a couple of blocks. Andy and Venus, on hearing that Herb ran after the runaway instrument, think that he is "okay". Shortly afterwards, a police office warns Jennifer to be on the lookout for a pervert disguised as a representative of the phone company.
The next day at the station, Jennifer relates a ghost story to Les, as the other staff members get caught up in the tale. She tells Les that the ghost appeared to her and asked "Where's Les?" So she gave the ghost his address and phone number and it went away.
"Real Families" (11/15/80)
"Herb Tarlek is a hard worker, loyal husband, and all-around fine person" or so the staff at WKRP tells the people at "Real Families", a fictional early
reality showthat reveals the lives of actual American families in their homes.
However, all is not as it seems, as the cameras begin to show that life in the Tarlek household is far from perfect. Herb Jr. plays with dolls, the family lies about going to church on Sunday (mistakenly arriving at a
synagogue). Lucille claims the family only watches only educational, family television. In her lying she gets the premise of Little House on the Prairieher "favorite" TV program wrong (smiling and happy, she says it is about blind children and every week there is a fire or some horrible disease or someone dies). Herb finally has enough and kicks the TV people out, but not before letting them know exactly how he feels.
The obnoxious hosts were portrayed by actual "
Hollywood Squares" host Peter Marshall and Daphne Maxwell, with Johnny Olsonas the show's announcer. This was Maxwell's first appearance. She would later return in the fourth season episode, "Circumstantial Evidence", and go on to marry series regular Tim Reid. This was also the first of two appearances of Stacy Heather Tolkin(Bunny Tarlek) and the only one of N.P. Shoch (Herb Tarlek III).
The episode was shot without a studio audience or laugh track.
Continuity Error: Herb, even though he is known as "Herbert R. Tarlek, Jr., is referred to as Herb Sr. in this episode, to distinguish himself from his son, who Real Families refers to as Herb III.
"The Baby" (11/22/80)
Carmen goes into labor. The staff gathers at the hospital to support Mr. Carlson during the birth. As each person arrives, he or she is given directions to the waiting room by the orderly on duty: "Take the green line until it comes to the red, then follow that until you get to the blue..." Everybody gets lost, except for Bailey and Jennifer, who have the orderly take them there.
Johnny ends up spending his time with an older lady named Peggy Sue, Andy meets a very attractive Candy Striper who is going to pose in
Playboy magazine, and Venus wonders around trying to avoid smelling the "hospital air". In the end, the staff finally gets to the right place, where Mr. Carlson announces the birth of a girl, later named Melanie.
"Hotel Oceanview" (11/29/80)
Andy, Herb and Mr. Carlson travel to Dayton to meet with Vicky Von Vickey in the hopes that she will advertise on WKRP. Before they leave, Les warns them to watch out for the Dayton Poisoner.
Once in Dayton, they meet Mickey the bartender and Nikki Sinclair, Von Vickey's assistant. Nikki recognizes Herb, though Herb doesn't remember her. Undeterred, Herb begins to romance her, while Andy frantically searches for a replacement for the burnt-out light bulb in his slide projector. Mickey and Mr. Carlson discuss what drink he wants (something with a little fruit in it).
As Herb and Nikki share a passionate moment alone, she reveals that she was once Nick Sinclair, an old school buddy of Herb's, who has had a "very" successful sex change operation. Herb is so shocked, he curls up into the fetal position on the bed.
Meanwhile, Mr. Carlson is left alone with Mickey, who begins to play organ music. Carlson begins to get nervous, wondering if maybe Mickey is the Dayton Poisoner, when they begin talking about it. Back in Herb's room, Nikki and Herb begin reminiscing about old times and how Nikki was turned on by Herb in high school. The more they talk, the more uncomfortable Herb becomes, eventually letting out a scream in the bathroom.
A little later, the power goes out in the hotel room. Everyone panics, convinced that Mickey is the poisoner, causing him to ask, "Do you gentleman always tumble around in the dark before a big meeting?" When the lights come back on, Vicky Von Vickey shows up wondering why the WKRP guys are praying in the dark. Nikki then reveals that Mickey is in fact only a part-time bartender; he is a full-time cop. Vicky notices approvingly that all three WKRP men are wearing her brand of jeans. The sales presentation begins, complete with Andy's vacation slides and a misplaced pornographic one.
The next day, back at the station, Jennifer asks Andy how the trip went. Andy tells her that his projector exploded, Herb had a touching reunion with an old high school friend who was once a guy and is now a girl and Mr. Carlson mistook an undercover cop for the Dayton Poisoner. When she asks if Vicky Von Vickey is going to sign with WKRP, Andy replies, "I don't think she's going to sue, if that's what you mean." Andy leaves to go to his office to look for his gun. Johnny asks Mr. Carlson if the trip was successful. Mr. Carlson expresses the same sentiment as Andy, "She's not going to sue us, if that's what you mean." When Venus asks Herb how the trip went, he is extremely defensive. "Look I don't know what they told you, but she's not a she and if I kissed him, it doesn't mean I'm gay, okay?" Johnny and Venus leave the lobby perplexed, leaving Jennifer to ponder everything that has happened.
"A Mile In My Shoes" (12/6/80)
Herb asks Mr. Carlson to sign a letter excusing him from jury duty. Carlson refuses, forcing Andy to fill in as acting sales manager, while Venus takes over as temporary program director.
One of Andy's duties is dealing with a client, Smilin' Al, who has not paid his advertising bill. When Andy sees him, Al fakes a phone call from another station, pretending to take his business to them. This stampedes Andy into agreeing to a contract at a rate of $20 per commercial, a great deal for Al. When Al hands Andy a cheque for the overdue amount, Andy notices that the amount has one too many zeroes on it. Al acts surprised and tells Andy he will mail the cheque to him later that afternoon. Andy says he will air the commercials as soon as he receives the payment, but Al reminds him that they do have a signed contract. Andy realizes he has been duped.
Meanwhile, Venus has to deal with Les's plan to disguise himself as a black man for a series of exposés similar to
Black Like Me.
"Bah Humbug" (12/20/80)
Christmas time arrives. Mr. Carlson plans to give the staff almost no Christmas bonus. He eats one of Johnny's "special" brownies and ends up having a dream based on Charles Dickens'
A Christmas Carol.
The first to visit him is the Ghost of Christmas Past (Jennifer). She shows him the station when Mr. Armour was the general manager, Don Basset the news director, with Les just a young cub reporter and Arthur as sales manager. Armour goes against Mother Carlson's wishes and gives the staff Christmas bonuses, which results in his firing.
The Ghost of Christmas Present (Venus) reveals to Carlson how the staff feels, and the general displeasure aimed at him.
Finally, Arthur is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Future (Johnny). Carlson sees the WKRP of the future. Herb, the only employee left, periodically checks on the computer that runs the automated station.
Arthur awakens from his dream and decides to hand out well deserved bonuses.
"Baby It's Cold Inside" (1/3/81)
When Jennifer arrives at work, she asks Johnny why it's so cold inside the station. Johnny tells her that the furnace has broken down and offers to share some brandy with her. At first, she refuses, but then accepts and proceeds to get all tingly "...down to the toes." She winds up playing footsies with Johnny and they make a toast to her shoes, "...to pale grey..." Just then, Mother Carlson appears, looking for her son. Jennifer takes her to Mr. Carlson's office and quips that he usually arrives at 6 A.M. Mother Carlson gets Jennifer to ring the booth to have Johnny bring the brandy, which they start drinking.
Mother Carlson begins to tell her of the days when her husband, Hank, ran the station. She began to slowly learn the business, eventually taking it over and feels that perhaps that was part of the cause of his death.
As the rest of the staff arrives for work, they find Mother Carlson, Jennifer, and Johnny all drunk. Johnny, fearing for his job, says "If I had been drinking and the "Ice Queen" caught me, would I get fired?" Herb attempts to get Jennifer alone, only to be threatened by Andy. Les tries to seduce Mother Carlson so he can get real walls for his office.
Later, Mother Carlson shows up in the DJ booth and asks Johnny to play "Gershwin". When Johnny refuses, she asks, "Weren't you drinking this morning? Want me to forget about it?" When that doesn't work, she wonders, "Do you enjoy working in this hemisphere?" Johnny relents and winds up playing "Someone to Watch Over Me", as Mother Carlson sings the song in the staff bullpen.
Mr. Carlson finally arrives. It is the anniversary of Hank Carlson's death and the two of them are going to pay their respects. Arthur couldn't get violets to place on his father's grave this year. Mother Carlson replies, "Then I guess we'll just have to without this year." and reminds Arthur that, "You don't forget a man like your father."
"The Painting" (1/10/81)
Herb buys a painting at Mr. Carlson's church auction, but he offhandedly gives it to Bailey in the heat of an argument, only to find out later that it might be valuable after all. He tries to buy it back, but Bailey refuses to part with it.
Mr. Carlson has to give a speech at a business luncheon, but is worried how well it will be received, so Andy gets him to give the speech in front of the staff first to see how they like it.
As he talks, each staff member winds up having a daydream related to the topic of the speech (the history of radio). Herb sees himself as a Latin American dictator, who gets overthrown in a coup. Jennifer is a 1930s movie star. Les is a reporter in London during
World War II, covering the Blitz, with Bailey as his romantic sidekick. Bailey imagines herself as the President of the United States. Andy is a radio mafioso, who tries to get Johnny to play the hits. Venus is a stand up comicwho gets heckled by Johnny, and finally, Johnny is a rock star who gets overshadowed by someone else, who turns out to be Mr. Carlson.
Everyone applauds the speech, misleading Mr. Carlson into believing he has a winner on his hands.
"Frog Story" (1/24/81)
"His name is
Greenpeace. My daughter named him after the people who save whales and dolphins, and I painted him pink, so don't tell me he's pink when you see him." explains Herb, when he shows up for work with his daughter Bunny's sick pet frog. His coworkers sympathize with Herb, some sincerely, others tongue in cheek (Andy jokes, "He looks like Pinkpeace."). One asks Venus that he "must know some Black thing" to heal the frog.
Les offers to get Dr. Hunniset from upstairs, but Herb reminds Les that he's a podiatrist, only to have Bailey quip, "Well Herb, why don't you call him up and tell him that you have a sick frog and ask could he come down and take a look at his feet..." Les does bring Dr. Hunniset down to look at Greenpeace, but he is more interested in talking to Jennifer.
Greenpeace eventually dies. Herb buys a new frog for Bunny to try and pass it off as Greenpeace. He almost succeeds, but finally tells his daughter the truth (which she knew all along).
"Venus And The Man" (1/31/81)
The station's cleaning woman, Cora Isley, stops in to visit Venus during his show and he promises to play some
Ella Fitzgeraldfor her during the evening. They begin talking and Cora confides in Venus that her son, Arnold, wants to drop out of school. Venus agrees to talk to Arnold, not knowing that Arnold is a member of a local gang.
When Arnold arrives, Venus is at first intimidated by his size, but overcomes this and takes him into the back storeroom to talk. Venus bets Arnold that if he can explain the atom to Arnold in two minutes, he will stay in school. If he loses, then Arnold can do whatever he wants.
Venus describes the atom as being a round neighborhood with three gangs, the "New Boys" (who are neutral), the "Pros" (who are positive) and the "Elected Ones" (who are negative) and that the neighborhood is block after block of nothing. The gangs all go round and round, circling each other. The Pros and the Elected Ones keep the same number of members in their gangs. He then explains that a gang member takes his gang's name and adds "-tron" to the end, so that there are
Neutrons, Protons and Electrons. After Venus is done, all Arnold seems to have learned, in his own words, is that there is "a group of black guys walking around in a round neighborhood". Venus explains that what he has just described is the atom. When Venus goes over it again, Arnold catches on and Venus tells him he gets an "A".
Later that night, Cora thanks Venus for his help.
"Dr. Fever And Mr. Tide (Part 1)" (2/7/81)
Johnny is hired by the local TV station to host a dance show, "Gotta Dance". He figures it will be exactly the same thing he is doing at the radio station, just done in front of a TV camera. But when he arrives at the TV station with Venus, he finds out from the show's producer, Avis Dropkin (
Mary Frannof Newhartfame), that he will be hosting a discodance show. Even worse, he will have to wear a disco suit. Johnny tells Avis that he won't do disco, "It's like the man says, it's gotta be rock and roll music if you wanna dance with me." She sympathizes, but tersely reminds him that if he walks out, the station will sue and Johnny will be living on a third of next to nothing. Johnny is left to ponder his decision.
When Venus gets back to WKRP, the staff is about to watch the show. Venus explains that there was a big misunderstanding and is convinced Johnny will quit. To everyone's shock, Johnny appears on TV in his disco suit. He denounces Dr. Johnny Fever and announces the name of his new persona, "Rip Tide".
Later, the staff has mixed feelings as Rip Tide's popularity begins to skyrocket locally.
"Dr. Fever And Mr. Tide (Part 2)" (2/7/81)
Johnny's alter ego, Rip Tide, is very successful, but at the radio station, his new personality alienates even his closest friends. However, Herb recognizes that Rip Tide is the money maker WKRP has been looking for, someone who can give a huge demographic boost to the station's ratings. Andy agrees. Mr. Carlson can't believe Herb had a good idea.
Jennifer confides that she really liked Johnny, as opposed to Rip Tide. Bailey and Venus also act coolly to him. Seeing this, Johnny wrestles with his two personalities. When he goes back on TV, he abandons his Rip Tide persona and returns to being Johnny Fever, which gets him fired. Avis tells Johnny that she never wants to see him again. Johnny leaves the studio, but not before taking all the liquor in his dressing room.
Note: Originally this was a one hour episode, but in syndication it was shown in two parts.
"Ask Jennifer" (2/14/81)
Herb is in charge of producing a call-in, advice show and hires a seemingly reputable host, Arlene Allen, but she takes some medication to deal with the stress and promptly passes out on the air. Jennifer takes over and becomes an overnight success.
However, at the height of her popularity, Jennifer tells a woman who is having problems with her boyfriend to leave him. The woman calls back later to say that he beat her up. Jennifer thinks it was her fault and resigns, leaving Johnny as host.
"I Am Woman" (2/21/81)
The staff finds out that the Flimm Building, which houses WKRP, is to be torn down and a new modern building erected in its place. All of the tenants meet in the bar downstairs to discuss what to do. Bailey finds out that the building is a historical landmark; she heads up the campaign to "Save The Flimm Building".
Mr. Carlson finds out that his mother is behind it all. She reminds him of his dream of a new and better WKRP and he becomes less enthusiastic about saving the Flimm Building. But Bailey is determined. She outwits Johnny while he is on the air, by telling him that there is a call for him outside from a woman who wears blue jeans, has a boat with twin outboard motors and likes to get weird. Johnny hurriedly exits, allowing Bailey to play a public service announcement by Mr. Carlson without permission, angering her boss in the process.
In the end the building is saved and the new WKRP building is put on hold indefinitely.
"Secrets Of Dayton Heights" (2/28/81)
A Presidential press conference is coming to Cincinnati. Les wants to cover it, but after a security check, the
Secret Servicerefuses to grant Les his press credentials. Mr. Carlson, Andy and Les go to the local Secret Service office, where Special Agent Berwick informs them that Les' father was a card-carrying Communist. Les doesn't believe it and storms out. Mr. Carlson questions Berwick and finds out that the agent wasn't referring to Les Nesman Sr., but another man, Harvey Moorhouse, who was once a barber at The Pentagon. Carlson breaks the news to Les that his real father lives in Kentucky and works as a barber.
Les goes to the barber shop in Kentucky. Sitting down for a haircut, he questions Harvey without revealing that he is his son. Harvey mentions that he was married once and had a son, but left his wife and child after some of his activities came back to haunt him; he didn't want that trouble to affect his wife and son. Les leaves with an understanding of his father's actions, while Harvey is left pondering who the strange visitor was.
This episode marks the third guest appearance of Sam Anderson (agent Berwick). It was directed by Frank Bonner.
"Out To Lunch" (3/14/81)
Herb is using his three martini lunches a bit more than usual, especially when he is trying to woo a big advertising executive and friend, who he hopes will send a lot of business his way. However, the excessive drinking is causing major problems at work, especially when Herb loses a record store account that could have meant long term business for the station.
Then Herb finds out that his friend had been fired. To add insult to injury, he gave his winning Irish Sweepstakes ticket to Ray Margison, the owner of the record store whose account he lost. Finally Herb has to confront the fact that he may indeed have a drinking problem.
Craig T. Nelsonguest stars in this episode as Charlie Bathgate.
"A Simple Little Wedding" (3/21/81)
For their 25th wedding anniversary, Mr. Carlson decides to give Carmen a real wedding (they eloped the first time around). They talk to Mother Carlson. Arthur reminds her of what happened the last time, how she planned the whole affair, even going so far as to invite the President. She agrees not to interfere, but is not happy about it. Arthur agrees to let her throw Carmen a wedding shower and Herb plans a bachelor party for him. When both events turn out to be embarrassing failures, Arthur and Carmen elope again.
This episode marks the first appearance of Ian Wolfe as Hirsch, Mother Carlson's butler.
"Nothing To Fear But..." (3/28/81)
While Johnny is on the air covering the night shift again for Moss Stieger, the station is robbed, causing urban paranoia among the staff. Mr. Carlson installs an alarm system that nobody seems to be able to program properly, causing it to set off false alarms. Herb buys a gun. When Johnny and Venus think the station is being robbed again, they first go to Herb's desk and get the gun. Then they go into Mr. Carlson's office to confront the robber, however Venus mistakenly points the gun at Andy. In the end, while the staff was all upstairs to see what was going on, someone downstairs at the promotional party the station was holding steals all the coats and purses.
"Till Debt Do Us Part" (4/5/81)
Johnny receives word from his first wife, Paula, (who is the mother of Johnny's daughter Laurie) that she is about to get married again, which means that he will no longer have to pay alimony. He finally has some extra money for a vacation that he couldn't afford before. He invites Bailey to go with him.
Paula's new husband-to-be, pilot Buddy Gravers, arrives at the station with Paula for a surprise visit. Johnny finds out that Buddy is nothing more than a goofy, obnoxious womanizer. When he tells Paula this, she explains that she is at a point in her life where she needs a little goofiness. Johnny and Paula come to an amicable understanding of one another. When Johnny receives his trip tickets from Herb he finds out the trip is to Nebraska not somewhere tropical as he had asked. Bailey sees the tickets and decides to go home to see her parents instead so Johnny is left to take Les on his vacation with him instead.
This episode marks the second guest appearance of Hamilton Camp (Buddy Gravers).
"Clean Up Radio Everywhere" (4/12/81)
Mr. Carlson reluctantly meets a nice, well-dressed gentleman in the lobby, Dr. Bob Halyers of the group Clean Up Radio Broadcasting (CURB). He has a list of songs considered obscene by his group, which he asks Mr. Carlson to stop playing. Carlson agrees, but soon Halyers returns with a new list and more songs. Andy sees it as nothing more than censorship.
Mr. Carlson goes to Halyer's office to discuss the situation and to find what would happen if WKRP didn't follow CURB's mandate. He reads him the lyrics to John Lennon's "Imagine" and asks Halyer's opinion. Halyers deems it to be obscene - in his words, "If there is no Heaven, then no religion." Eventually the station stops following CURB's recommendations and Halyers and his fellow members start pressuring WKRP's clients. Little by little, they stop advertising on WKRP, including Harvey Green, the owner of Red Wigglers, who sees Carlson in person to find out what is going on.
Carlson ends his relationship with CURB, but not before giving Halyers a very insightful warning. "..watch out for those broadcasters who cave into your...'pressure'. Principles are not gonna mean a thing to them. All they'll be doing is saving their swimming pools. Oh, they'll be the first ones to come and sit at your table, but I think the good ones are going to be the ones that are going to take a loss and put up a fight." When Halyers replies that he'll just have to learn to love his enemies, Carlson replies, "I hope so, because I don't think you'll be able to trust your friends." Andy tells Mr. Carlson that if worse comes to worst, he'll sic Les on CURB. Arthur ponders Andy's statement and muses to himself, "Boy, that could signal the end of organized religion as we know it."
eason Four (1981-1982)
"An Explosive Affair (Part 1)" (10/7/81)
Joyce Armour, the former receptionist of WKRP, returns for a visit. No one is around when the lobby phone rings, so she answers it. She tells the caller "I'm sorry. Mr. Carlson is in a strategy meeting at the moment." Jennifer returns and recognizes Joyce. Herb arrives shortly after. Joyce calls him "Little Guy", much to Jennifer's amusement. Mr. Carlson comes out of his office and is just as surprised to see Joyce. As the two get reacquainted in his office, Andy shows up and tells Jennifer to file the complaints about Johnny and call the police about a bomb threat.
A group called Black Monday has called in a bomb threat against the station and everyone is asked to evacuate. Andy tells Johnny and Venus to take some albums and head out to the transmitter to continue to broadcast. Both are reluctant to return to the booth. When Venus reminds Johnny that the police will check every inch of the building, including Johnny's desk drawers, he goes to get the albums.
Meanwhile, over lunch, Joyce tells Arthur that she has a hot proposition for him, making Arthur think that she is trying to come on to him. Reluctantly, he agrees to go back to her hotel room to discuss it further.
At the transmitter, Venus tries to place a bet on a horse race with Johnny's Chinese bookie, but can't get through the language barrier. The two wait to hear from Andy.
"An Explosive Affair (Part 2)" (10/14/81)
Back at the station, Les interviews Andy for his newscast. He reveals that Black Monday blew up the transmitter of a Dayton TV station (during a broadcast of "The John Davidson Show"). Andy then realizes that the bomb is at the transmitter and tries to call Johnny and Venus to warn them. However he can't get through because Johnny destroyed the phone with a tool box after getting upset about a bet he couldn't get down in time.
At Joyce's hotel room, Arthur becomes increasingly nervous. Just when he thinks Joyce is about to seduce him, she reveals that she just wants WKRP to sign up for her media service, much to his relief. At first, he denies that he thought anything else, but then comes clean and the two have a laugh about the whole incident.
Meanwhile, the police are dispatched to warn Johnny and Venus, while the staff anxiously waits. The bomb goes off, taking the station off the air. Everyone fears that Johnny and Venus have perished in the blast, but Johnny rushes in, thinking the phone cops are after him for destroying the equipment. A shocked Venus walks into the station, muttering "...at the transmitter, the bomb was at the transmitter."
Later, WPIG agrees to let WKRP use its auxiliary transmitter until a new one can be built.
"The Union" (10/21/81)
The station finally rises to number 10 in the ratings. As a result, the staff members are contacted about joining a union. At first unaware of this, Mr. Carlson decides to give all of them a raise and dinner as a reward for their hard work. But when Herb tells him about the union, he becomes furious and cancels everything.
Carlson tells his mother the news. She suggests starting a rumor that she will sell the station if the employees unionize. Meanwhile, she will meet with the other station owners to present a united front against the union.
Les is initially reluctant to participate, but when Bailey tells him he can cover it as a news story, he agrees to attend the meeting. Herb is against the union, and Jennifer tells Johnny and Venus that she is already part of "The International Sisterhood of Blonde Receptionists", an exclusive organization with only twelve members, who meet every two years. Andy tries to remain neutral, but finds it difficult. He states that the only side he is on is the station's.
Les tells the rest of the staff of Mother Carlson's threat to sell. Venus tells him she is bluffing. Andy speaks with Carlson during the staff meeting. He tells Carlson that he thinks he is taking the staff's plan to unionize personally. Andy reminds him that he can't, because the staff is mad not at him, but at his mother. Andy tells Mr. Carlson that the staff loves him. He then prophetically states that he'd make a deal with the devil to get more financial investment in the station. Finally, Mr. Carlson informs the staff members that the station is not going to be sold and reminds them that they can always come to him with their problems, and that, no matter which way they vote, they will still be family.
Later, at the Carlson estate, Mother Carlson finds out that the staff voted five to four against the union and agrees to grant Andy's request in return for a small favor. The next day, Andy gives Jennifer the task of redecorating the station lobby. Mr. Carlson comes out of his office to tell him that he just finished talking to his mother. She has agreed to put big money into the station. Andy tries to act surprised, but he already knew this as part of his deal with the "devil".
While all of this is going on, Jennifer receives gifts from a French admirer, Henri, who has mistaken Jennifer's friendship for something more. First, he arranges a
skywritingmessage, then delivers roses, and finally a Mariachi band.
Johnny's apartment is being fumigated for lizards. He asks his friends at the station if he can stay with any of them for the time being. One by one, they refuse, except for Bailey, who very casually tells Johnny he can stay with her. Andy gives Johnny some time off.
While Johnny is away, mid-morning/afternoon DJ Rex Erhardt fills in for him. Slowly, the staff begins to think that Johnny and Bailey are sleeping together. Bailey tells Johnny about the rumors and Johnny takes it upon himself to put a stop to the gossip and to fight to get his show back.
When Johnny confronts Andy about the speculation about Bailey and him, Andy agrees to deal with it. When he asks about his morning show, Andy promptly gives him a raise.
Jennifer begins remodeling the lobby.
This episode marks the final guest star appearance of Sam Anderson (Rex Erhardt).
"Straight From The Heart" (11/4/81)
Herb goes on "vacation", but the staff soon discovers that Herb has checked into the hospital for heart tests.
Jennifer is surprised by a sudden appearance of the Harlem Globetrotters in the station lobby. Johnny and Andy get into a verbal argument with Meadowlark Lemon, which escalates into a brawl with the team involving the entire WKRP staff.
Arthur Carlson commits suicide by leaping out of his office window, but it turns out to be a dream induced by accidentally drinking from Johnny's coffee mug, which was laced with peyote.
"Who's On First" (11/11/81)
While Herb is the hospital, Mr. Carlson and Jennifer see a concert promoter client of his, Pat Perillo. Since they have never met face to face, Mr. Carlson pretends to be Herb. Perillo is a little nervous, having had some brushes with the law, and won't agree to any deals until he goes to the station and sees the "incompetent Mr. Carlson".
At the station, Jennifer gets Les to play Mr. Carlson. His natural ineptness is enough to convince Perillo that Carlson is just as Herb had described him. Meanwhile, a thug named Dave shows up at the station to collect a gambling debt from Johnny for his boss. To save himself, Johnny tells Dave that he is program director Andy Travis, and that Andy is his brother Randy, much to everyone's growing confusion, including Andy's. After all the confusion subsides and Perillo leaves the station, Carlson says, "Jennifer, remember what's been said about me today and by who. A certain little sales manager I know is going to pay." Andy then comments to Mr. Carlson, "Gee it's nice to see the sales department running so smoothly. Good job, 'Herb'". Mr. Carlson replies, "Just doing my job, 'Johnny'." Andy looks up to see Dave coming over to "collect".
Later at the hospital, the staff visits Herb and Andy (after his encounter with Dave). Mr. Carlson asks to see Herb alone, and slowly rolls up his shirt sleeves menacingly.
"Three Days Of The Condo" (11/18/81)
Johnny receives a settlement cheque of $24,000 from the station in California from which he was fired for saying "booger" on the air. Johnny starts spending his money recklessly on items he does not need such as "soap you can see through" (transparent, luxury glycerin soap) until Venus convinces him to invest in a
condominiumfrom "Gone With The Wind Estates". When Johnny begins to feel confined due to all the rules, he tries to pull out of his investment.
When he can't get out of the contract, he threatens to throw loud, wild parties "night, after night, after night" until the contract is released. The female condo committee head responds that she will just have Johnny arrested, "...night after night after night, until you learn to behave yourself like a good little 'Gone With The Winder'."
Venus and Johnny then pose as an interracial, stereotypically limp-wristed gay couple that plans to just "live in the spa" and talk non-stop about "
Liza Minnellithis-Liza that...". The aghast committee quickly tears up the contract.
"Jennifer And The Will" (12/2/81)
Jennifer's elderly friend, Colonel Buchanan (Pat O'Brien), dies suddenly during their dinner date. She is named executrix of his will and must contend with the press and greedy relatives. During the reading of the will, via a video the Colonel had made, he states that none of his relatives are going to receive anything, because of the terrible things they had said about him (when they thought he was asleep). Jennifer receives the first dollar the Colonel ever made, and the balance of the estate is to be used to hold a parade for the surviving members and the families of the deceased members of his old army unit.
This episode marks the introduction of the new, remodeled lobby.
"The Consultant" (12/30/81)
Andy Travis meets an old colleague, Norris Breeze, who is now a high-priced radio consultant hired by Mother Carlson to evaluate how well WKRP is being run. Although the episode revolves around the contrast between laid-back country boy Andy and his "bright lights, big city" friend (Norris casually offers Andy some cocaine, which Andy turns down), it also reveals quite a bit about the mentality of the radio markets in the 1980s (Norris is shocked that Andy actually lets his DJs pick their own music rather than songs off a designated list).
Andy gathers the rest of the WKRP staff to fool Norris and discredit him with Mother Carlson. When Norris arrives to begin his evaluation, everyone is behaving the polar opposite of how they normally would. Andy pretends to be totally clueless and indifferent regarding his plans for the station. Mr. Carlson wears an accountant's visor and studiously pores over business figures, Herb wears a respectable, black, three-piece suit and is the model of an efficient salesman, while Les comes off as a "tough" newsman with influential contacts. Bailey sits at her desk talking about
M&Msand chocolate, apparently under the influence of drugs, while Jennifer adopts a voice reminiscent of Betty Boopand prances around like the stereotypical, bubbleheaded, bleached-blonde bombshell. She offers to get coffee for everyone, then comes back without it. Carlson, without missing a beat, then asks "Where's the coffee?" Norris even witnesses Venus using a carpet knife to shake down Johnny Fever for drug money in the hallway.
When she gets the report, Mother Carlson immediately realizes that Andy has pulled one over on Norris.During Andy's meeting with her, there is an update of the situation at the station since the episode "The Union". The staff got much-needed raises, and the station has a newly remodeled lobby due to her financial injection.
"Love Exciting And New" (1/6/82)
As part of their "agreement", Andy begins taking Mother Carlson out after hours to ensure that she will help pay for the new transmitter and put money into the station. Soon the staff finds out about the situation, much to the surprise of Mr. Carlson.
When Andy goes to the Carlson Estate to discuss things with Mother Carlson, she begs him to run away with her, causing Andy great discomfort. In the end, she drops the ruse and tells Andy she was only kidding, but does enjoy his company.
In this episode it is revealed that Mother Carlson's first name is Lillian.
"You Can't Go Out Of Town Again" (1/13/82)
Arthur and Carmen Carlson head out of town to their college reunion. Arthur finds out that Carmen's first date with him was nothing more than a sorority bet. Meanwhile, back at the station, Bailey tries to get a computer to help her with the billing, to no avail, and Venus can't get any time alone with the date he brought into his booth.
This episode was directed by Howard Hessman.
Herb sells some commercial spots to Dave Wickerman (the late
Robert Ridgely, of Boogie Nightsfame), whose product is "diet pills". Unbeknownst to Herb and the rest of the staff, it is just a legalized way of selling "speed". When they find out the truth, they try to stop the ads, but are forced to honor their contract.
When a high school student collapses during a football game, the pills are found in his locker. Herb goes into the studio to record a public service announcement denouncing the product. When Andy questions him, Herb shows him the news story and Andy decides that Herb should go on the air live. The station awaits Wickerman's reaction.
This marks the first appearance of
Max Wright, as Mother Carlson's lawyer, Frank Bartman.
For an interview with a militant black magazine, Venus decides to adopt a new wardrobe more in keeping with "black culture", only to find out that the reporter is actually white. Meanwhile, Jennifer gives Herb's image an overhaul by choosing new tasteful clothes for him, which seems to have the wrong effect on his clients.
"Jennifer And Johnny's Charity" (2/3/82)
Les does a story on a fire that destroyed the
soup kitchenat the Vine Street Mission. Johnny, who frequents the mission, asks the staff for help raising the $40,000 needed to rebuild it. Jennifer graciously offers her help and the help of her rich philanthropistfriends.
When Jennifer throws a fundraising party at her apartment for them, Johnny brings along some friends from the mission without her knowledge. At first, it appears as if there will be a clash of cultures between the two very different groups. However, they get along remarkably well and the mission gets the money it needs.
"I'll Take Romance" (2/17/82)
Herb tries out his new client, the "I'll Take Romance Dating Service", by filling out a questionnaire for Les without his permission. Everyone is stunned when they meet Les' gorgeous date, Lorrayne. Les takes Lorrayne to a broadcasters' banquet, going with Jennifer and Mr. Carlson.
Mistakenly believing Jennifer to be in the same line of work, Lorrayne inadvertently reveals to her that she works for an
escort service. The next day, Jennifer tells Les the truth about Lorrayne, but she is in for a shock. Apparently, Lorrayne really liked Les, because she phoned him back for a real date. Later, Andy reveals that when he filled out a questionnaire for the service, he got matched with Lorrayne too. Les then tells him it's time for him to learn the facts of life.
"Circumstantial Evidence" (2/24/82)
Venus' date, Jessica Langtree, gives him an expensive diamond earring as a gift. Shortly afterwards, she runs out on him. Then the police take Venus into custody, as a suspect in a recent jewelry store burglary in the building.
Found guilty despite his best efforts, Venus, with Jessica, is escorted to sentencing by a detective. In the elevator, Venus prays, which the detective remarks will do him little good. While the elevator music plays "High Hopes", a police officer boards with a suspect, a man with a remarkable resemblance to Venus; while Venus continues to pray, the suspect and Jessica gaze at each other nervously, clearly recognizing each other. Noticing this, the detective questions the officer about his charge and learns he is a known jewel thief. As "High Hopes" reaches its crescendo, the detective, realizing the true state of affairs, stares at Venus and can only whisper to himself, "Oh my goodness..." Venus is cleared of all charges.
This marks the second appearance of Daphnee Maxwell. Shortly after this episode, she married series regular Tim Reid (Venus) and went on to star in the TV show "
The Fresh Prince of Bel Air".
Note: This is one of few times that Venus is addressed as "Gordon Sims".
A fire breaks out on the fifth floor of the Flimm Building, trapping the staff members and stranding Herb and Jennifer in the elevator. As the fire fighters work to extinguish the fire, Johnny attempts to rescue Herb and Jennifer, while Les talks to a fire fighter on the air. Meanwhile, Herb begins to panic. Jennifer does her best to calm him down. Johnny eventually reaches them and gets the elevator to take them back up to the main floor of the station, just as the fire is put out.
"Dear Liar" (3/24/82)
Bailey writes a news story on the Northside Children's Clinic. But before she can add a
disclaimerto it, Les, in a jealous moment, reads the story on the air as his own. Jennifer is outraged that Les would do such an underhanded thing to Bailey. Then Bailey reveals that the child mentioned in the story, as well as the drawing he made, was fake. Jennifer tells her that the station could lose their license over the story. When Edna Parkins, the head of the clinic, shows up at the station with drawings the children made based on the story, Bailey confesses the truth to her and promises to write a disclaimer stating that the child was a composite of all the different children at the clinic. Just as things seem to be resolved, Les reads another story, this one about a hog named Arnold, much to Andy's dismay.
"The Creation Of Venus" (3/31/82)
Andy and Venus are joking around after hours and chasing each other through the station. Andy jumps out to grab Venus and mistakenly grabs Mother Carlson by mistake, much to their mutual surprise. She says, "If you want to grab me, Mr. Travis, do it some place more discreet, like the back of my Rolls."
After the commotion, Venus lets slip that he was a school teacher four years ago. Mother Carlson remembers that when she hired him four years ago, he had said he was a DJ in New Orleans, "...you said your audience was the biggest, I remember the quote." Andy finally admits the truth about the hiring of Venus and about Andy's first days in Cincinnati, remarking "...I was kind of tired of packing and unpacking, town to town, up and down the dial...."
A flashback reveals that Andy hired Gordon Sims away from a station in New Orleans, where he was known as "The Duke of Funk". Together, they come up with the persona of "Venus Rising". ("...you talk about love, and the stars and my friend you will be a hit.") At the pivotal moment when Andy is about to quit over the format change, Venus shows up in Mr. Carlson's office and Andy introduces him as "Venus Flytrap", much to Venus' surprise.
After Andy tells his tale to Mother Carlson, she mentions that she did some investigating after he was hired and knew the truth all the time.
There are two continuity errors in this episode. In the pilot episode, Johnny said that the station used 50,000 watts of power, while in this episode, it is said to be 5,000 watts. Also, in the first season episode, "Who is Gordon Sims", Andy did not know Venus' real name.
Scenes from the pilot were re-shot for this episode, largely because Carol Bruce had replaced Sylvia Sidney in the role of Mother Carlson. The original lobby set also had to be restored since it had been changed since the pilot aired.
This episode was directed by Gordon Jump.
"The Impossible Dream" (4/7/82)
Les announces that he is going to New York City to pursue his dream of becoming a world famous journalist on the CBS Evening News. He makes an audition tape through one of Herb's clients. Les shows the video to the staff members at Jennifer's apartment and realizes that the tape only embarrasses him, and he quickly leaves before having to face his friends.
The next day at the station, Mother Nessman shows up. At first, the staff thinks it is really Les dressed as a woman, but soon everyone realizes the truth, except for Herb, who proceeds to "goose" Mother Nessman, just as Les arrives.
This was originally the last first run episode shown. The closing credits read "Mother Nessman - Herself". Of course, it was just Richard Sanders in drag.
"To Err Is Human" (4/14/82)
Herb makes a major error for a big client, Soul Suds Shampoo, mistakenly using a picture of himself barbecuing instead of Venus. Mr. Carlson is finally fed up with Herb's incompetence, saying "....you can't even tell how well the product works because you're wearing a hat!!" and decides it is time to fire him.
Jennifer, feeling sorry for Herb, tells him to go to Hester Sherman's office to make amends and stalls Mr. Carlson by having him meet with Les to discuss the metric system. Herb heeds her advice, but when he discovers that Sherman is blind, he proceeds to make fun of his handicap. While Herb is on his way back to the station, Jennifer receives a call from Sherman stating that he never wants to deal with WKRP again. She tells Andy, unaware that he had already smoothed things over with the client. She convinces Andy not to tell Mr. Carlson right away about the phone call, so she can go talk to Sherman herself, convinced that she can use her feminine charms to change his mind. When she gets there, she is disconcerted to find out he is blind, but they wind up having a nice conversation and Sherman decides to give the station another chance.
This was the last episode taped for the series and the second to last broadcast. Tom Sullivan guest stars as Hester Sherman.
There is a continuity error in the episode. Jennifer informs Mr. Carlson that his metric appointment with Les is from 10:45 to 12:30. After Les leaves, she allows a bothersome salesman to speak to Mr. Carlson. She tells Mr. Carlson that that this second appointment is from 4:15 to 6:00; it should have been from 12:30 to 3:00 pm.
"Up And Down The Dial" (4/21/82)
The new ratings book reports good news for the station. It finally reaches number six in the Cincinnati market, Johnny is the number one DJ in the morning drive time and Venus is number one with the female demographic.
However, Mother Carlson hires a new news director, Charles Van Sanker, and decides to change the format from rock and roll to all news. Everyone is shocked and Andy, after talking to her, decides to quit. The majority of the staff proceeds to get drunk.
Johnny Fever goes to confront Mother Carlson. When he enters her mansion, he is greeted by her sardonic butler, Hirsh, who upon learning of Fever's identity quips, "So you're the DJ that has caused her so much discomfort over the years. Please, make yourself at home." Confirming that it is "Dr." Johnny Fever", Hirsch calls out, "Madame, your physician is here" and departs chuckling. Fever has figured out that WKRP was intended to be no more than a tax write-off. Mother Carlson couldn't care less how well the station does. As she explains it, "It's not the plus and minus, it's the plus and plus, if the minuses are played correctly." Fever replies "You're telling your own son that you want him to be the general manager of the number one station, and you'd be happier if it were 16th. How do you think he'd feel if he knew?" Mother Carlson realizes that she cares more for her son's feelings and his success than her finances and keeps the old format.
Unaware of this decision, Arthur, Andy and Venus show up drunk. Andy quips, "Mrs. Carlson, I'm tired of your crud..." and promptly falls to the ground and passes out. Arthur says "You know, Mommy, I don't think we've all had a chance to get together like this before..."
Later, the staff presents Andy a cake, though Herb promptly trips over Les' tape machine and drops the cake on Andy. The staff makes a quick getaway, except Johnny who grabs a piece of cake and casually leaves the office.
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