Wednesday, October 18, 2017

HMOTD 048: Harold, A Little Razorback Hog


Mike and Rob discuss Cincinnati chili, Hawaiian pizza, the future of journalism, Battle of the Network Stars, and (in passing) "Fire" and "Dear Liar."

(Full show notes appear at Hold My Order, Terrible Dresser two days after each episode is released. All audio clips are the properties of their owners/creators and appear in this work of comment and critique under fair use provisions of copyright law.)


Check out this episode!

Monday, October 16, 2017

An Important Programming Announcement

To our wonderful and loyal listeners: we wanted to pass along some important information about the final five episodes of Hold My Order, Terrible Dresser.

Our look at "Fire" and "Dear Liar" will drop as usual on Wednesday, October 18. But after this episode, we're going to be going on another hiatus of indeterminate length before we wrap the podcast.

Rob's family is currently dealing with a tough medical situation that requires we take a step back from the podcast for a little while.

We hope you'll rejoin us for the final two HMOTD podcasts that will cover WKRP's last four episodes, and for our planned two-part wrap-up on the show and the podcast as a whole. Stay tuned to the blog, our Twitter account, and Facebook for more details on our eventual return.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Show Notes for HMOTD 047: Lorraine's A Farmer?


1:00 "Man, I was so blown away by both of these episodes." That was all the way back in Season 1, at the beginning of HMOTD 009: Someday You're Gonna Buy It, which featured the pairing of "A Commercial Break" (the Ferriman Funeral Home episode) and of course "Who Is Gordon Sims?"

5:30 Les's sexuality: I do find it interesting to look at Les's sexuality through a modern lens, and gray asexuality does seem to fit the bill very well with what we've learned over these four seasons of WKRP. What his actual orientation is or whom he might be attracted to, I still have no idea, but boy, was that Cincinnati sports player's assessment of "queer little fellow" sort of unintentionally perfect. I do think Les's repeated mentions of broad-shouldered Russian and Soviet bloc women are a bit of a tell.

14:56 "Computer Love": Kraftwerk's 1981 album Computer World extolled the coming computer revolution and especially its ability to connect people. As soon as I knew this episode was coming, I was excited to use this clip. "Computer Love"'s hook was memorably stolen (with permission, but come on) by Coldplay for their 2005 single "Talk."

16:34 et subseq. Computers and their social acceptance: Mario Savio's speech is still chillingly prescient, more than a half-century after its fiery, impassioned delivery. This piece on the history of the punch card from 1991 (!) contains some of the stuff about the Free Speech Movement's co-optation of the punch card and the computer as symbols of modern dehumanization. Both George Lucas's student film Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB (1967, viewable here) and feature debut THX-1138 (1971) are a perfect example of this sort of feeling of alienation thanks to the faceless Computer. The Berkeley free speech movement's fear of computerization was indeed the primary mode of the youth counterculture's interaction with the computer up until the '70s and the arrival of computer "revolutionaries" like Stewart Brand.

Rob's right; Fred Turner's From Counterculture to Cyberculture is sort of the signal text for this transition of the American postwar counterculture from computerphobes to computerphiles; definitely check it out if this history interests you. And my Adam Curtis impression is in aid of telling you to RUN, don't walk, to your nearest grey-market Vimeo machine and watch all three parts of his still-shocking 2011 documentary series, All Watched Over By Machines of Loving Grace.

22:06 Computer Date Zero: In our Monday post, we linked to some of the pieces we used for research for our computer dating discussion. The clip we use here is from a fantastic Fivethirtyeight.com/ESPN mini-documentary on Harvard's Operation Match and other university computer dating efforts going on at the time. This piece on Joan Ball from Marie Hicks is an impressive piece of research and quite a time capsule of Swinging Sixties London.

30:20 Rob's in-laws: [Rob: Here's the story of my wife's parents and the first computer dates at Oberlin College--that is of course Oberlin, Ohio, not that far from Otterbein! As I say, my in-laws (who are wonderful) celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this past year. I don't know if this is relevant but it has occurred to me, in the context of the computer match-up, that their marriage was interracial: Janice is Japanese-American, Mike's descended from Russian Jews. They say that nobody at (famously progressive) Oberlin ever batted an eye about their dating, but still: at the time they got married (the same year as Loving v. Virginia) I think their marriage was illegal in like 12 or 13 states. Probably (?) the Oberlin punch cards didn't have a field for race or ethnicity; is it possible the algorithm fixed them up where human matchmakers in 1965 might not?]

33:05 Mike's online dating history: Prodigy, IRC, Usenet, OKCupid, Livejournal, yeah, I've been everywhere, man. I mean, I was and am an awkward chubby dude and back in the day, that was the way to meet people who maybe couldn't see right off that you were awkward and chubby. My philosophy about dating and meeting people online has changed a little bit since my very awkward 20s, but it was a very strange time to be single and mingling. I really can't tell you how many times I've recited that line about "the Livejournal" from The Venture Brothers, though. I probably even had an LJ icon for it.

35:53 The hooker with a heart of gold: Of course there's a TV Tropes page on this. I really liked Rob's observations on this, how it's all tied up with, of course, patriarchy and capitalism. It is interesting that despite their professed desire to demonstrate the interior and indepedent lives of the sex workers in all these '70s and '80s "hooker with a heart of gold" stories, they all seem to end with the woman ending up with the male protagonist (or, in the case of Taxi Driver, with the rescue fantasy/delusion that Rob mentions).

[Rob: It also occurs to me that whatever sex-worker positivity Risky Business and Pretty Woman manage to muster comes through their celebration of capitalism. It's been ages since I've seen either but my memory is that both films make it pretty explicit that prostitution is a form of capitalism and therefore a good thing, or at least not a very bad one. Corvette Summer maybe not so much--Annie never even gets paid!]

39:11 Corvette Summer: I remember catching parts of this 1978 movie on cable as a kid and being sort of confused by it. Mark Hamill is in his first film role since Star Wars (and since his 1978 motorcycle accident). And yeah, it had its own overly-wordy, mannered, nearly three minute long cinematic trailer.

[Rob: That trailer is something. The voice-over guy is determined to work every possible variation on "if X knew as much about Y as they do about Z..."]

43:44 "Baby, Come To Me": I should not be remiss in pointing out three more fun facts about this song, a) Michael McDonald, the very voice of Yacht Rock, is on there providing the background vocals, making this song a true pinnacle of smooth music, b) it was produced by Quincy Jones and written by Rod Temperton, two of the geniuses behind Michael Jackson's Off The Wall and Thriller, and c) it got its boost in 1982 thanks largely to its use on General Hospital (just like "Rise" by Herb Alpert, which we talked about back in HMOTD 029).

53:45 "Homer's Enemy": Hate this episode. DESPISE it. It is the beginning not only of The Simpsons' overall decline, but of the metamorphosis of Homer from a basically sympathetic all-American lug to a willfully selfish, destructive monster. Which may be the point in a greater cultural sense, given his role as sort of an avatar of post-Cold War America, but I digress.

Putting aside any "tradition" of the trope of the sitcom interloper who pulls aside the veil of illusion on a television show's wacky universe, the episode doesn't bother to temper this idea with any kind of empathy or actual humor. It's just a heartless, angry, bitter, spiteful piece of work. You can't have black comedy without actual comedy. It's awful and anyone who likes it is immediately suspect in my eyes. Here's a piece from the AV Club on its divisive nature, where more of the AV Club writers come out in favor of it than I'd like.

58:06 Jaime Weinman's post: Here is Jaime Weinman's look at "Circumstantial Evidence," where he shares some of our bafflement about the episode and the notes on its shortened length, filming with no studio audience, and Tim Reid's role in casting.

1:04:50 Guest cast: Here's our big guest cast for "Circumstantial Evidence": Daphne Maxwell as Jessica, Michael Pataki as Detective Alcorn, John Witherspoon as Detective Davies, Max Wright as Frank Bartman, Robert Hooks as the nameless prosecutor, and Winnipegger (and Academy Award nominee!) Jack Kruschen as Judge Newcomb.

1:09:00 John Davidson and ALF on Hollywood Squares: I swear, I wasn't holding out on y'all when it comes to the "I played ALF in a school play" story; it is just not something I have thought about very much lo these thirty years. But I thought you'd appreciate this clip of ALF taking over Hollywood Squares from host (and HMOTD repeat reference) John Davidson. And it is from... 1987, the very same year I was in 7th grade.

By the way, ALF is voiced (and operated) by Paul Fusco.

1:10:48 Permanent Midnight: Ben Stiller's first real foray into drama, this 1998 biopic of Hollywood screenwriter Jerry Stahl examines how soul-draining a job in Hollywood can be. ALF was changed to "Mr. Chompers" for the purposes of the movie.

1:11:33 Cop Talk spend: Sorry for the deep gaming talk here kids, but ever since discovering Robin D. Laws's wonderful GUMSHOE RPG system I tend to think of the world in terms of Investigative Spends.

1:14:30 Cincinnati Triangle: Yes, our very last Cincinnati Triangle (most likely), but it's a beaut. I would've loved to have explored more the differences between bilocation, tulpas, and Hugh Everett's many-worlds theory, but I also loved our look at Mirror Universe WKRP. I'm supposing Herb could be a sniveling toady to the Big Evil Guy in this universe; no big difference, but I suppose we could give him a conscience which he fights against relentlessly, much as Herb-Prime fights his venal, creepy side. [Rob: Yeah! Like the way Lex Luthor is a doomed hero on Earth-2.] Evil Venus, like Evil Bailey, is an exercise I'd rather not contemplate.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

HMOTD 047: Lorraine's A Farmer?


Mike and Rob take a look at computer dating (and prostitution) in the not-so-classic "I'll Take Romance" and dive into Venus's Kafkaesque, canned laughter-backed nightmare in "Circumstantial Evidence."

(Full show notes appear at Hold My Order, Terrible Dresser two days after each episode is released. All audio clips are the properties of their owners/creators and appear in this work of comment and critique under fair use provisions of copyright law.)


Check out this episode!

Monday, October 2, 2017

Computer Love


You all may have noticed over the past two and a half years that Rob and I kind of have a thing for the history of technology. I mean, okay, it's literally Rob's job and as for me, well, I think everyone knows that I love me some retrotech. So it's probably not surprising that with the computer dating-related plot of this week's Les-centric episode, "I'll Take Romance," Rob and I maybe went a little bit overboard in looking at the history of computer dating.

We had to cut a good 8 to 10 minutes from our discussion on the history of computer dating, video dating, and internet dating but we wanted to share some of the links we talk about (and some of the ones we cut) in our Monday post to whet your appetite for Wednesday's episode.

Computer Dating:

Operation Match at Harvard received all the media hype back in the mid-'60s, but computer dating was happening all over the US, UK, and elsewhere. This video from 538 and ESPN talks a lot about the Harvard boys and a little bit about some of the other university computer dating clubs around in the mid-'60s. But in this week's podcast we'll also give some of the other major competitors to Harvard's "Computer Date Zero" crown their due, including Joan Ball from East London.

Video Dating:

We clipped our 1980s video dating discussion from the episode, but I think folks should definitely take the time to check out a couple of sample montages of 1980s video dating. Also, we mentioned this on our Facebook pages ages ago, but Jan Smithers starred in a pilot for an unproduced romance anthology series based around video dating called The Love Tapes.

Internet Dating:

Cringe along with me through this Computer Chronicles episode from 1997 where they discuss "cyber dating." Knowing that my first real relationship, begun over IRC for goodness sakes in 1995, had come and gone by the time this aired on PBS is alternately humbling and troubling.

And, as a soundtrack for your link surfing, here's Kraftwerk with their ode to "data dates," "Computer Love."


Friday, September 22, 2017

Show Notes for HMOTD 046: Are You Earth, Wind, or Fire?


0:08 Monster Lizzard Ravages East Coast! Yes, this is a lovely little piece of Les comedy. The reference to the "worst lizzard since '78" immediately made me think of the Northeast Blizzard of '78 which lives on in local lore here in Massachusetts, but is more likely referring to the "White Hurricane" that hit the Midwest a couple of weeks previous. Here's a shot of the electronic warning signs I reference later in the podcast.

3:42 "There's a man exercising in the nude again." First off, I love hearing Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' "Magnolia," a deep cut off the second Heartbreakers LP You're Gonna Get It! in the background here. I could see Johnny digging their country-fried sound. I'm trying to remember what other context we accused Friends of ripping off WKRP in the past; we did talk in HMOTD 032 about Friends being emblematic of '90s sitcoms having awesome apartments. The Friends Wiki will hook you up with a précis of the Ugly Naked Guy.

[Rob: I think it was the wistful staring out the window shot, a la Bailey in “For Love Or Money.”]

5:20 "We're getting close to the end of the podcast." I talked about this more in the Monday Post, but yeah, I'm really going to miss these times where we get to breathe and hang out with the cast. I have to honestly confess, I've never understood the impulse to fanfic, but after deeply analyzing the entire run of WKRP, I'm beginning to get it. When a piece of narrative fiction leaves you wanting more depth into the characters' lives, you might want to stay in that world a little longer.

8:58 "Record (sic) station": One of many flubs by me this episode. Apologies.

10:55 "Black stations wherever Johnny grew up": See, I wrote my own fanfic right here! Johnny growing up listening to Black DJs, who in the 1950s had a broad crossover appeal with white teenagers. And much as white artists co-opted Black musical styles, so too did white DJs cop the attitudes, slang, and on-air personas of Black DJs. Again, Wolfman Jack was working within a long history of racial ambiguity; the white hipster strikes again.

Black radio stations were some of the most powerful Black-owned businesses during the middle part of the 20th century, with a media reach and economic power that supported Black social, cultural, economic, and even political life during some very difficult times, in metropolises both North and South. Here's a thorough virtual exhibit that opened last year thanks to Indiana University's Archives of African American Music and Culture titled "The Golden Age of Black Radio" that seems to this museum professional to be fairly definitive.

I wonder where Johnny grew up?

13:33 Code-switching/double consciousness: As Rob says, this phenomenon is nothing new in the Black community. W.E.B. DuBois's The Souls of Black Folk from 1903 takes on the cultural collision of colonizer and colonized head-on. In the first chapter, "Of Our Spiritual Strivings," DuBois describes the African-American a mere forty years from emancipation struggling to see through a "veil" that cloaks his vision, a veil placed there by the force of white supremacy in America. DuBois also interestingly evokes the veil as being like a caul and bestowing upon the Black American a "second-sight," the ability to see himself through this very double consciousness, living in two worlds at once. Powerful stuff, and still directly relevant to the Black experience in America.

16:20 "Searching for old Guy Lombardo LPs and smoking dope." I have never gotten high and listened to big-band music, but now I kind of want to. Thanks, Big Guy. Also, it'd be remiss of me not to link to the most notorious intersection of drug culture and old white square culture, the heartwarming performance of Brewer & Shipley's "One Toke Over The Line" on The Lawrence Welk Show.

[Rob: And it would be remiss of me not to observe that Guy Lombardo is, or at least once was, my home city’s most famous son. London, Ontario’s own Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians are believed to have sold between 100 and 300 million records during their long career; they also headlined CBS’ New Year’s Eve gala every year from, get this, 1928 (on the radio, naturally) to 1979, two years after Guy’s death. Sometimes when I’m jogging around London I’ll run across an abandoned Guy Lombardo museum or crypt or pavilion. Should auld acquaintance be forgot, indeed...]

16:52 "Are you Earth, Wind, or Fire?" Excuse my long exegesis of the fashion choices of EWF, but I do find it legitimately fascinating. Check their LP covers from '75 and previous and you see a ton of open shirts, or otherwise sleeveless vests and bellbottoms, very post-hippie. But when you get into the late '70s and early '80s, Afrofuturism takes over in a big way. (Check their legendary live performance at the Oakland Coliseum on New Year's Eve 1981 for evidence; leather is out, lamé is in, and the band basically fights Darth Vader live on stage. It's amazing.)

I wonder if P-Funk's more overt scifi wildness was partially the impelling force here. Anyway, I wrote about EWF's aesthetic for We Are The Mutants, as mediated through their groundbreaking sponsorship deal with Panasonic boomboxes. It's a good piece, if I do say so myself; check it out.

18:08 "Billy Jack/Indian appropriation": Speaking of leather jerkins and fringe jackets, the probably hashtag-problematic-by-modern-standards '70s franchise Billy Jack brought a bowlderized version of the very real rebellion of the early-'70s American Indian Movement to the white American drive-in.

18:20 Tim and Tom routine: Oof, yeah, this routine is a bit hard to listen to in this day and age; as we've talked about on WKRP, this kind of "clueless white guy" routine (mostly done by Les on the show) sometimes veers into out-and-out stereotyping. In Reid and Dreesen’s book, Tim and Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White, we can see that Tom's impression of "soul talk" was sometimes a tough initial sell to a Black audience. But reading the rest of the routine, you can really see how Tim and Tom used their knowledge of each other's cultures to get the crowd on their side. The story definitely goes in an... er, unexpected direction.

[Rob: You can see most of the “bus stop” routine here, but not the tense denouement described in the Tim and Tom book. Really, do check out the story of their Club Harlem debut in Mike’s Google Books links above.]

20:03 Ebony and Jet: Ebony and Jet have historically been the pair of African-American publications with the biggest profile and largest economic reach. Both were founded in the same era as Black-owned radio stations, the late '40s and early '50s. Black entrepreneur John H. Johnson brought out both magazines, sensing a void in the market for a literal Black Life magazine. As we mentioned, they featured advertising with Black models and celebrity sponsors, and featured both lifestyle pieces and hard-hitting reporting on racial issues. Jet published the disturbing and graphic post-mortem photos of Emmett Till in the aftermath of his murder at the hands of white terrorists in 1955.

21:15 Tim and Tom history: Check out HMOTD 008 for our first discussion of Tim and Tom, and seriously, buy the book! It's fascinating.

21:58 Tim Reid's background: Tim Reid bounced around a lot of locations in Virginia growing up but they weren't really rural; another error of mine.

27:15 Rick and the women at Black Life magazine: Again, that sentiment could never have worked in Tim Reid's mouth; it is often the prerogative of the outsider or the jester to point out the things we can't admit to ourselves, and when that jokester has the additional shield of white privilege like Rick/Tom does here, it's devastating.

29:25 90s Black sitcoms and Black WKRP: I guess Martin does technically count as a "Black WKRP" given Martin's role as a DJ at WZUP but the show only partially took place in the workplace.

29:45 Black Life before the Black Andy shows up: This was a genius idea of Rob's.

30:48 "I uh, do look rather good, don't I?" This is one of those moments where I feel like all our detailed analysis of Herb's conflicted masculinity from HMOTD 021: Huggable Herb pays off. Herb looks good and feels good and while he's always been a bit of a peacock, you can sense the confidence that comes with a really nice suit.

33:30 Gordon Gekko/Scaramucci/Eighties Guy From Futurama: The death of The Boneitis Guy is one of the more inspired animation sequences from Futurama.

And speaking of The Mooch... I also love to get together with my paisans and pose for imaginary Sopranos DVD box covers.

34:38 T-shirts of WKRP advertisers: There are already a few out there on various custom T-shirt sites, but they are of depressingly poor quality.

36:45 Police Academy: I am not gonna lie; the Police Academy series (maybe from 1 to about 4) were prime cable viewing in my late childhood/early adolescence. Hugh Wilson is right; they are uniformly tasteless and awful and dumb but they do have a certain low-budget charm (at least the first few). And yes, if you want to go diving for WKRP guest stars, you come up with a boatload. George Gaynes, Art Metrano, Howard Hesseman's fairly big role in 2, even Colleen Camp, who we discussed a few weeks ago!

41:20 PJ Torokvei: Again, we'll link to this piece on PJ Torokvei's journey which is alternately inspiring and incredibly sad.

43:52 Ulysses: [Rob: This is Irish actress Angeline Ball (you might remember her as Imelda Quirke in The Commitments) as Molly Bloom in the 2004 film, Bloom.]

[Mike:] I might have gone with Kate Bush's interpretation of the Molly Bloom soliloquy, the title track from 1989's The Sensual World, but that's just me.

49:32 "At least in 1982 the rich still felt a duty to help the poor..." I'm not trying to engage in class treachery here, pining for the days of "philanthropists" like Carnegie and Rockefeller, I'm just observing how that patrician sense of duty and generosity has completely evaporated after the combined assault of forty years of deregulation and neoliberalism and the rise of "do as thou wilt" postmodern libertinage. There was a certain superego that once held the ultrawealthy's predatory influences at least somewhat in check, call it noblesse oblige or clueless and needy attention-seeking, but now that's gone as New Gilded Age tycoons want to turn us all into either cog-like coders or blood batteries.

50:10 "There's something in the New York Times about rich people that makes me mad every week": Behold, this week's offense against the working class and just plain decency. Warning: this piece will make you Mad Online.

51:57 Hobo King: Rob and I and some of our gaming friends have always had a soft spot for the slightly-occult undertones of the hobo lifestyle. Mysterious chalk marks, sacred kingship ceremonies... it all adds up to an Emperor Norton-like innocent, a capital-F Fool who rides the rails for the sins of America.

53:07 Sheila Morgan: The realization that this guest star was the same Sheila "Bombs Away" Morgan that the Big Guy sang a tipsy paean to back in "I Am Woman" was a wonderful moment for me.

55:15 "What kitchen is this?" Our joy at being back in Jennifer's old apartment should be apparent; I really didn't think we'd see it again and I was so authentically pleased and surprised.

56:36 Microwaves: When I started going back through old TV Guides a few years ago, I found the early-'80s issues redolent with ads for microwave ovens that keep hammering you over the head with the versatility and user-friendliness of the appliance. Yes, a lot of these ads seem to prominently feature roasted turkeys. Rob and I share a fascination for this time in American history when a new piece of technology, desperate to shoulder its way into American kitchens, tries frantically to prove its familiarity and usefulness. The one thing I remember about getting our first microwave back in I think 1985 is that the instruction/recipe book featured very prominently two preparations that became standards in our house for their ease and familiarity: hot dogs (nuked, bun and all, wrapped in paper towel) and nachos (3 minutes on the low-medium setting so the cheese didn't dry up). The microwave I think became a leftovers machine for most Americans by the end of the '80s, but the way the appliance was marketed is much more versatile.

[Rob: Well, I know I always cook my lobster tails in the microwave. "Cooking without heat!" I’m afraid this link won’t work for anybody not on a university network, but there was a cool article in the history of technology journal Technology & Culture a few years ago about the microwave as “a terrifying … eruption of the uncanny in the domestic sphere” and how we eventually learned to stop worrying and love post-industrial food.]

[Mike: It's a great article and I am very sorry if you can't read it. You didn't tell me it referenced Scanners, Rob! (Sadly no mention of Back to the Future Part II's "pizza rehydrator"; speaking of which, y'all should check out Rob on the Netflakes podcast talking BTTF2; it's a great discussion.)

Speaking of exploding heads, this reminds me of one of the central events in my favorite novel, David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest, when tennis academy patriarch and creator of enslaving perfect Entertainment James O. Incandenza literally nukes and explodes his own head in his home's microwave. I get the feeling DFW was working out his own Gen-X microwave anxiety and/or impulse towards using urban legends in his work with this tableau.]

58:45 Carmen Filpi/Gurning/the Enigma: [Rob: It’s Carmen Filpi, not Filipi, my apologies. Not to be confused with Patrick Cranshaw from Best In Show and Old School (though Google Image Search does just that), Carmen Filpi got his start in minstrel shows (!), served in the Pacific during WW2, and had a film and TV career spanning fifty years. A brief list of his memorable roles includes: Homeless Guy, Elderly Guy, Bum #1, Bum #2, Bum, Old Guy, Old Man in Bar, Ancient Guy, Old Crusty Man, Wino, Stan the Bum, Old Man Withers, Old Geezer, Drunk, Jail Bum, Hobo Jack, The Bum, Panhandler, and Bus Station Bum. It sounds like I’m making fun of him, but that really is the list. Filpi’s credit for WKRP, as Percy Romanoff, seems downright dignified in comparison. He passed away in 2003 at the age of 80.]

[Mike: Wait, Percy Romanoff... is he supposed to be the heir to the Russian throne, Anastasia's son or something?? I may have been onto something calling him the Hobo King!

Also, regarding gurning, our timing on this episode was impeccable: the Egremont Crab Fair took place this very week and World Champion Gurner Ady Zivelonghi held his title as the best gurner in the world.

Body-mod-god The Enigma starred in the "first funny X-Files episode," "Humbug," about circus/carny folk, where he played circus geek "The Conundrum" opposite '90s Lollapalooza sideshow legend Jim Rose.]

1:02:50 Cheaplaffs Johnson: [Rob: I can’t say that “Six Gun Justice,” from the very uneven final season of SCTV, was ever one of my favorite bits. It’s a parody of an old Western movie serial, but my impression is that the SCTV gang were almost trying to play it straight--that is, they were more interested in accurately recreating the old serials, warts and all, than in trying to be funny. But I do love the framing sketch, “Happy Hour” with Happy Marsden, a kiddie show so bleak, low-key, and depressing as to gradually approach Scarfolk-style hauntology.]

[Mike: I can see a lot of the DNA of Three Amigos in those Six Gun Justice bits.]

1:03:50 Reaganonomics/homelessness/the mentally ill/drug abuse: I feel like we didn't even come close to doing this series of issues justice on the podcast; there's just so much to say about it, we could have easily done 70 or 80 minutes just on the social ills caused by Ronald Reagan's destruction of the social safety net. But here are the two pieces we mentioned on the podcast: the San Francisco Weekly piece on Reagonomics' impact on social programs and the homeless, and the Salon piece on Reagan and the mentally ill.

1:10:40 Intellivision/video games: Bless you, Rob, for including a clip of a George Plimpton Intellivision TV ad; like Henry on The Americans, all I ever wanted as a kid was an Intellivision. Have any of our listeners figured out what video game console that is supposed to be in this scene, by the way? The big controllers with the curly cords were used by both the Intellivision and ColecoVision consoles, as well as a bunch of lesser lights in the Second Generation of Video Game Consoles, but the size and color is wrong for all of them. [Edit: As I was pulling the screenshots, I noticed for the first time... they have little tiny hair-thin antennas! And they're connected to some kind of deck sitting on the couch! These are obviously some kind of jury-rigged prop. Weird!]


See what I mean about "gamer posture," by the way? [Rob: Is the Big Guy sitting on the floor with his back against the couch? That's perfect!] [Mike: Yep, he was being beaten by Andy - you were right - and sort of jumps/slumps down off the couch in the middle of play. The Big Guy is Sports Gamer Zero. I only wish I could've seen him throw his controller.]

1:15:45 Quarterflash/The Americans: Well, of course I tempted fate by saying Quarterflash was a one-hit wonder; back on Facebook, Mike Hernandez again schools me. But I will say that the moment I knew I'd be hooked on The Americans for its spot-on musical selection was not when they memorably used "Tusk" in the chase scene in the pilot but instead using Quarterflash in the very first scene to soundtrack Elizabeth's honeypot op in the fern bar.

1:18:30 Grace Jones: I am also super curious still about why Grace Jones got dragged like this on the show. My cursory research does show that Jones's overall aesthetic, both visually and musically, was tough for mainstream audiences to understand in the early '80s. This interview gives you a great look at an important and misunderstood artist and figure of our exact late-'70s/early-'80s WKRP period. Venus is not alone, though; Sondra Smuckles is also no fan of Ms. Jones. Raymond is careless... but not like that.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

HMOTD 046: Are You Earth, Wind, or Fire?


Mike and Rob watch Venus & Herb go through "Changes," then donate some time to "Jennifer & Johnny's Charity."

(Full show notes appear at Hold My Order, Terrible Dresser two days after each episode is released. All audio clips are the properties of their owners/creators and appear in this work of comment and critique under fair use provisions of copyright law.)


Check out this episode!

Monday, September 18, 2017

"It's still a nice place to work."


The two WKRP episodes we're covering this week – "Changes" and "Jennifer and Johnny's Charity" – were a pleasant surprise, a pair of episodes that cover Important Issues but in a witty and subtle way. In "Changes," we observe a pair of identity crises as Venus agonizes over appearing "black enough" for an interview with a black magazine, while Herb decides to ditch the polyester and Get With The Eighties... at least for a little while. And in "Jennifer and Johnny's Charity," Jennifer and Johnny fight a proxy war over President Reagan's cuts to aid to the homeless and mentally ill and the place of private philanthropy and charity to fill the gap caused by Reaganomics.

We've talked about the back half of Season 3 and its run of issue-based episodes' sometimes heavy-handed look at current events. There's a much defter touch in these two Season 4 episodes, helped considerably by Tim Reid's chance to work alongside his longtime comic partner Tom Dreesen. But the one thing that came to my mind, especially at the beginning of "Changes" as we casually hang out with the WKRP staff and in "Jennifer and Johnny's Charity" as we watch the Big Guy play video baseball against Andy, is that these little character moments, this thoroughly earned comfort with these eight characters, will all soon be over for Rob and me, and this podcast.

I'm going to miss the Big Guy and Johnny and Jennifer and Bailey and Venus and Herb and Les and yes, even Andy in a few months when this podcast has wrapped. And that's making me treasure the little stuff, the subtle touches – all those quiet character moments – all the more.

When I think about big ensemble sitcom casts that earned this kind of easy, almost effortless depth of character, it's tough to come up with those that can match WKRP! Cheers, maybe. Those other '70s classics Taxi and Barney Miller have to be in the conversation. But when the writers of WKRP trust their actors and their audience with all that rich worldbuilding and continuity, all that depth of character, there was nothing like it on television.

After this week, we've got four pairs of WKRP episodes left and a couple of final podcasts to wrap this whole thing up. We'll also be talking more about The End of WKRP and What Happened to Everyone After the Show both this week and in the weeks to come. Until then, I'm going to try to savor it all as best I can.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Show Notes for HMOTD 045: Are Those Crab Puffs?


3:27 Koko's death scene: Dave's big dramatic death scene in the second episode of the Yacht Rock webseries, which I also included because it hits so many elements of how awesome YR's Christopher Cross character is (thanks to the innocent hayseed portrayal of Rick & Morty's Justin Roiland). But yeah, I too heard this song in my childhood dreams, Koko.

4:57 Divorcecore: Here's the episode of BYR that I think first hooked both Rob and me; such a genius concept made all the more powerful by again, the childhood nostalgia connected to these 1980s albums featuring newly-solo Baby Boomer artists who had been through personal and/or professional divorces.

5:08 Coupland's Generation X: Here's a tumblr that collects all of Coupland's definitions from Generation X, and here's the entry for "musical hairsplitting."

5:40 George Orwave: Such a fantastic episode of BYR and a genre that needed a name desperately. (The video for top George Orwave track "Somebody's Watching Me" by Rockwell received an exhibit writeup at We Are The Mutants, by the way.)

7:13 Interview with Michael McDonald: I can't imagine what it was like for the Yacht Rock crew to see this interview only a year or two after the webseries wrapped. Also worth reading, and I know I've linked to it before, but this Rolling Stone oral history of Yacht Rock is great and has the "Showbiz Kids" story, which always elicits a smile. RIP Walter Becker, by the way.

7:45 "A handful of Porcaros": A great excuse to use the "my brothers in Toto" moment from Yacht Rock 4. If you aren't familiar with the history of Toto, they're not only session musician prodigies but three members of the band are the sons of legendary Wrecking Crew member Joe Porcaro. Here's a great LA Weekly piece about how the Wrecking Crew era naturally led into the Yacht Rock era.

10:22 Theme song to Dallas: Let's nerd out about '80s TV themes for just a moment. The Dallas theme was written by composer Jerrold Immel and he's kind of a one-hit wonder TV theme-wise, although he did do the themes for Dallas spinoff Knots Landing and a personal scifi favorite of my childhood, Voyagers!

11:38 Marina Rock: And here's a third episode of BYR for you to check out: Dave's genre of Marina Rock.

12:20 Retail Rock: I gotcha back on this one, fam: an archive.org site full of tapes from the late '80s/early '90s played over the PA at K-Mart stores. I've spent more time than I care to admit here.

14:57 "A Marina Rock Linda Ronstadt": I haven't stopped laughing at this since we recorded this episode a month ago: good one, Rob.

17:20 I Am Not A Stalker: Holy crap, this site is amazing; here's the "movie locations" section.

18:45 "Everybody had to bring someone on the Dip list": I only realized after recording this episode that this is a pretty common trope in a bunch of movies: Dogfight, a great little indie flick from 1991 with Lili Taylor and River Phoenix, and the French farce Le Dîner de Cons and the American remake Dinner for Schmucks (thanks to my wife Jenny for the reminder on this one).

24:45 The Big Guy's mascot costume: So satisfying to be able to reasonably surmise that the Big Guy made the WKRP Carp. Our discussion of sports mascots in the late '70s is back in HMOTD 011 Pig vs. Fish. A good episode to listen to if you're new to the podcast, by the way.

26:45 "The Baby": Discussed in our classic "Real Families"/"The Baby" episode with Leah Biel. Definitely for my money the high point of the Arthur/Carmen relationship; Gordon Jump's portrayal of a nervous middle-aged dad-to-be is a near perfect blend of comedy and drama.

28:15 "What'd you think? Little Carmen was trackin' The Moose?" Gotta give Hank the Hunk credit, that's a great turn of phrase. And Alice Nunn's cackle just perfectly brackets this scene, as I mention later.

31:45 Dave's "dumb show for smart people/smart show for dumb people" theory: One of my personal highlights of this episode. I have never liked Frasier, honestly, for just the reasons Dave discusses here. And yeah, MTM shows took the silly sitcom format and did something new and deeper with it, as we've discussed in earlier podcast episodes.

37:38 Alice Nunn: Thanks to Dave for bringing us the genius of Alice Nunn. I had to use the entire Large Marge scene, by the way; it'd be no good without the "tell 'em Large Marge sent ya!" coda. Fun fact: Nunn's first film role was as a nurse in the classic Dalton Trumbo 1971 anti-war film Johnny Got His Gun, featured prominently and memorably in Metallica's first-ever music video, for "One" off ...And Justice For All.

41:23 Revenge of the Nerds/college comedies/snobs vs. slobs: Probably my favorite part of the episode is this section talking about the evolution of the underdogs vs. rich kids trope from a reliable standby for comedy to something that leaves us all a little cold. We didn't mention the Deltas in Revenge of the Nerds installing spycams in the goddamn sorority house, or the statutory rape in Animal House... the nerds are the villains now, but maybe they were all along.

43:45 “There are just five or six stories” [Rob:] I just want to salute Dave's confident assertion that there are only five or six basic plots, and "rich skier's Dad buys the mountain and threatens to kick off all the snowboarders" is one of them.

48:05 Bailey wants a computer: Here's a good vintage computer ad of the type I was thinking about, and here's a little of my writing at We Are The Mutants on old Texas Instruments computer books. Do you dig Halt and Catch Fire Season 1-style computer nerds? Check this site from the creators of VisiCalc.

58:38 Diet trends of the '80s: Check this timeline of fad diets: the Scarsdale Diet in '78, Dexatrim came out in '79, Jane Fonda's first video workout in '82, Jazzercise on video in '83, and AYDS got taken off the market in '88 thanks to declining sales for obvious reasons.

1:01:03 Diet pill scares: Here's a fantastic time capsule of a New York Times article from... yes, February 1982, right around the time this episode aired, about the active ingredient in Dexatrim at the time (and about a dozen other diet pills), phenylpropanolamine, or PPA, and a 26-year-old who suffered a stroke from pills containing PPA. PPA was finally banned in 2000 by the FDA after being held responsible for "200 to 500 strokes a year" in people between 18 and 49. Jesus.

1:02:15 "Jogging In A Jug": Nothing bonds any two Americans together quicker than making fun of Canadians. But alas, unlike milk in a bag, Jogging In A Jug is not Canadian; it's actually from Alabama. I like how Rob's defense of it not being Canadian is "It's a real thing!"

1:03:46 "Five hundred and seventy dollars." Damnit, Dave, you tricked us both. I thought this was some kind of obscure background research for Yacht Rock that stuck in your head 12 years later.

1:04:50 "Oh great. A drug expert!" Another L. Ron Bumquist moment, this time from Les.

1:05:30 “As Frank Zappa once said…” [Rob:] I’m sorry Les got cut off here; I wanted to hear what Zappa said! Probably he was going to refer to a PSA Frank made in the late 1960s about the dangers of amphetamine abuse.

1:07:25 "Another Merry Mixup": That title is horrible; it sounds like a lost Looney Tunes cartoon. Here's Jaime Weinman's write-up of the script, and here's a link back to HMOTD 007: Nowhere Band, where we cover the "The cocaine? It's on Carlson's feet!" coke payola episode.

1:08:49 Robert Ridgley: Yeah, I'm a fan. The Colonel James is one of the most delightfully disgusting film characters of the past three decades; I debated whether to use this scene ("Oh, you think so, Doctor?") or the scene where he inspects Dirk Diggler's... er, equipment, but I figured the coke overdose scene fit better with this episode being about drugs. Here's The Secret History of Paul Thomas Anderson with a little glimpse at young PTA being around these foul-mouthed hard-drinking comics and being inspired by them to create his cast of characters for Boogie Nights. Here's Ridgely as Boris; goddamn, Blazing Saddles is STILL funny. If you can stand '60s camp gay stereotypes, here's Ridgely in a commercial outtake from the 1960s. I could've sworn Ridgely had a bunch of cartoon outtakes as well, but I think I was confusing his role as Thundarr with the famous Thundercats outtakes.

1:11:48 Max Wright: Yeah, a tragic tale that does tie in well to our Paul Reubens porn theater episode. And as Dave mentions, if you're a famous dude who needs to stay in the closet in the '80s and '90s, you've got to be dealing with tons of internal conflict. Spoiler alert: we'll be seeing Max Wright's "blue-haired lawyer" character again this season.

1:15:55 Swearing on television in the '80s: Dave's totally right; the impulse to open up the cuss horizons on broadcast TV in the '80s was largely due to HBO's subscriber numbers; here's a good video history of cursing on American TV. And here's the D&D scene from E.T. (also 1982!)

1:18:53 "Turn Your Love Around": Certified ESSENTIAL Yacht hit from George Benson's 1981 hits compilation, The George Benson Collection. Here's the cover to Breezin' , one of my first vinyl purchases in my middle age. He's wearing a Herb Tarlek tux!

Among the rest of the music in this pair of episodes: Midnight Star's "Hold Out" and David Sanborn's "Carly's Song" from the booth scene with Venus, Jackie, and the Big Guy, and "The Old Songs," the Manilow song that Shout! Factory could not get permission for. Lighten up, Barry, sheesh.

1:25:18 End-of-show plugs: Dave's Twitter is at @David_B_Lyons and here's the Beyond Yacht Rock website at Feral Audio.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

HMOTD 045: Are Those Crab Puffs?


Mike and Rob welcome very special guest Dave Lyons from Yacht Rock and the Beyond Yacht Rock podcast to Hold My Order. The three of them go back to school with Arthur in "You Can't Go Out Of Town Again" and enter the sleazy world of early-'80s "Pills."

(Full show notes appear at Hold My Order, Terrible Dresser two days after each episode is released. All audio clips are the properties of their owners/creators and appear in this work of comment and critique under fair use provisions of copyright law.)

Check out this episode!

Monday, September 4, 2017

"I felt the raw power of really smooth music."


I tell this story in a little more detail on this week's podcast, but back in 2007, I saw on a friend's Livejournal a link to a ten-part web comedy series that would absolutely change my life. Yacht Rock charted the fictional rise and fall of the highly-trained, West Coast pop music that pretty much soundtracked my entire early childhood. Much as I do WKRP, I associate the music of Steely Dan, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, and Christopher Cross with a more innocent time in my life, when the stereo of our huge station wagon was always tuned to Top 40 radio and these guys dominated the charts with their signature smooth sound.

The Yacht Rock series's combination of lovingly comedic piss-taking and dead serious respect for the music pretty much won my heart from the get-go. I guess the impulse in diving back into this music from the late '70s and early '80s is pretty similar to Rob's and mine in starting Hold My Order. You take a piece of pop culture that loomed large in your childhood and you critically engage with it as an adult, ferreting out all the mysteries within. I am guessing that the Yacht Rock guys had a similar feeling in finding the connections between all those session players in the liner notes of old vinyl LPs that we might in, say, connecting Jane Addams to Edie McClurg.

Over the past decade I've taken a lot of pleasure in sharing the series with friends and family who I think will "get" both the humor and the appeal of the music the show featured. Also over that same decade, the genius of the series (and of giving a name to this genre of music) has been co-opted and pretty blatantly misunderstood by mediocre tribute bands, feckless satellite radio stations, and washed-up sports writers. (Sorry, Bill.)

Last year, four of the guys from the series started a podcast called Beyond Yacht Rock, where they do for other as-yet-undefined genres what they did for Yacht. Reconnecting with the music, getting a new favorite podcast, and meeting tons of Yacht Rock fans on the internet has been for me one of the brightest spots in what's been (for a lot of us I think) a pretty crappy last twelve months or so. Getting to know the Yacht Rock guys as they've graciously given me a chance to talk about Yacht as revolutionary force and to defend Billy Joel on their website has been even better.


So this week, join me in welcoming our very special guest, Koko Goldstein himself, David Lyons, to Hold My Order! Dave's kept the WKRP fires burning on the BYR podcast by prominently featuring Steve Carlisle's WKRP theme on one of their episodes, and when I found out he was a big fan of WKRP I knew I had to ask him aboard our vessel. Our episode drops as usual on Wednesday and it's a jampacked edition of the podcast, with all kinds of backstage Hollywood stories from Dave, as well as a look at two very good episodes of WKRP: "You Can't Go Out Of Town Again" and "Pills."

Friday, August 25, 2017

Show Notes for HMOTD 044: Nice Teeth And Good Hair


1:50 "He's playing Solid Gold, that's crazy." An interesting way to put Johnny's roots-of-rock-and-roll playlist, but in the increasingly regimented radio formats at the dawn of the '80s, this was an established station format. "Solid Gold" or "Oldies" stations got their start in the early '70s as late Silents and early Boomers started entering early middle age and DJs like Johnny would mix in classics from the '50s and first half of the '60s. It's the American Graffiti/Happy Days nostalgia phenomenon again. In Boston, we had WROR, which has a fascinating history involving both this Solid Gold format and an early form of playlist automation in 1966 with a DJ using a "robot" voice to hype the computer-programmed Top 40!

[Rob: We tend to think of Johnny as a "Sixties" character, but Norris is right that Johnny's musical taste is not rooted in the "High Sixties" (which we could delineate as, roughly, 1966-1974) but, really, in the "Long Fifties" (let's say, 1950-1965).]

2:38 Norris Breeze: The actor who plays Norris Breeze, David Clennon, has another one of those great "That Guy" careers. We had to cut a bit on Clennon from this episode for time, but we both celebrated his role as Palmer in John Carpenter's The Thing as well as went into a long digression about the show thirtysomething and how much it baffled both of us back in the late '80s (Clennon played the evil ad exec). Also, Clennon's IMDB biography says he's a committed political activist who turned down roles on shows like 24 because of their politics. You go, Dave.

[Rob: The Thing is one of my all-time, top-ten, desert island movies, and Clennon has at least two of the movie's great moments: first, reacting to the spectacle of Norris' head growing legs and eyestalks to escape MacReady's flamethrower, and second, the jump scare in the blood-test scene. I guess it's really a petri dish of his blood that gets the latter moment, but still.]

6:18 Wine: You can tell I edited this episode because I included gratutious clips from both Red Dwarf and classic Doctor Who, but Lister's rant about wine-drinkers just begged to be used here.

7:03 That hotel room: Yeah, I admit, this was also pretty self-indulgent on my part, but goddamn, that hotel room (and the art on the walls) was pure VAPOR. Compare the angular modern grey hotel room with the cover of vaporwave albums like Initiation Tape: Isle of Avalon Edition or that abstract cloud-filled art on the wall with any PrismCorp Virtual Enterprises release.

10:20 "Andy gets everybody to act the opposite of what they are." I really should've used a clip from Seinfeld here.

12:13 Phyllis: That episode is "The First Date" from 1975. Blink in the first couple of minutes and you'll miss Loni; she looks near-unrecognizable!

14:20 Dunning-Kruger Effect: Boy, we have covered a lot of business history in this here podcast, haven't we? Conflict management, two episodes touching on labor unions, the Peter Principle, Rolodexes, and now the Dunning-Kruger Effect and sexual harassment in the same episode.

17:06 Stoned Bailey: What else can we say? Next to Sex Hair Bailey, Stoned Bailey might be my favorite development of Season 4. You get the feeling that Hugh Wilson et al. were gaining more confidence in Jan Smithers's ability to carry a scene comedically by this point in the series, maybe? The "When?" line-read is a killer.

19:00 The old Nestle's jingle: In my googling for the old '50s Nestle's Quik commercials (more on those in the next entry), I re-discovered a commercial from the '80s that repurposed the Nestle's jingle and combined it with some sweet aspirational '80s soft-focus Maxfield Parrish-iana. Naturally, I had to slow that shit down by 20% and slap an even softer-focus filter on it.

19:55 Farfel, Jimmy Nelson, and Danny O'Day: Okay, hang on to your hats, Gen-Xers and younger, because I'm about to enter the wild and woolly world of 1950s ventriloquism. As far as creepy puppets and puppeteers we've got: Senor Wences, Kukla, Fran and Ollie, Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, and finally Jimmy Nelson, Danny O'Day (his humanoid ventriloquial figure) and yes, Farfel the Dog. The story of how Farfel got his characteristic mouth-snap at the end of "chooooooc'laaaate" is kind of cute, but yeah, I'm with Rob. All these '50s ventriloquial figures are creepy as hell. But here's a couple of the old Nestle's commercials for you: the boxing one I sampled in this episode and one where Jimmy, Danny, and Farfel join the Space Race.

Zippy the Pinhead's creator Bill Griffith pretty much swam in this kind of Boomer-era kitsch, but the dog that Rob remembers is actually based on the giant dog head outside the Doggie Diner restaurant chain in the Bay Area. Griffith did explicitly mention Farfel at least once, though.

A few other links to help put ventriloquism to bed: this classic Mr. Show sketch (yeah, yeah, I know), and two bits from Mystery Science Theater 3000, a show that owes a lot of its DNA to Boomer-era ventriloquism: Tom Servo and Crow take a ventriloquism quiz at the beginning of 318 Fugitive Alien 2, and Tom Servo gets a new disturbing head at the beginning of 610 The Violent Years.

21:38 "I'm not saying that she and Johnny never burned one." Eh, not much to say about this comment, other than I do very much want to read Rob's Johnny-and-Bailey-get-high-and-order-pizza fanfic.

22:30 "I think you should know that Venus Flytrap is armed." Yeah, this kind of left a bad taste in my mouth when I got to it in the episode, because again, I literally did not see the racial angle until Norris Breeze spelled it out.

25:28 Office Space, the Bobs: When capitalism collapses and we all embrace our inevitable future of Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism, artifacts like Office Space will be carefully preserved as the prescient political warnings they should have been viewed as in the first place.

31:00 "Just how big is the TARDIS?" Finally, a real excuse to get a classic Doctor Who clip into the podcast. From the first episode of "The Masque of Mandragora" serial, a classic example of Robert Holmes/Tom Baker-era Doctor Who. The Doctor goes to late medieval Italy to stop an evil living energy helix bent on creating a cult to rule the Earth... yeah, you could say this is Extremely My Shit.

But yes, the secondary TARDIS control room! It's a beauty and it lasted through probably the best period of Doctor Who for my money: Season 14, from start to finish is probably the best Doctor Who ever was or would be.

33:25 Neo-Victorian fashion: I tried forever to find a good article online that explained the early-'80s tendency towards flounces, puffy shirts, and the like, but couldn't. Some fashionistas note the New Romantic movement that was breaking big into the mainstream in '81, '82, led by the club kids at Blitz and the post-punk era of Vivienne Westwood, but that's a bit too swashbuckle-y. Here's a piece on the rise of the prairie dress in the late '70s and early '80s, but again, that's a bit too homespun. I guess I have the whole "fern bars investing in Tiffany-style lamps" thing... I may need to write this early-'80s neo-Victoriana up for We Are The Mutants.

35:05 Dingy 1970s sitcoms: You can hear us talk the grungy sets of '70s sitcoms in the first 10 minutes of HMOTD 032, but you should really listen to the whole episode, it's definitely one of my favorites.

37:06 The Love Boat theme: Undeniably catchy, the subject of send-ups pretty much ever since The Love Boat debuted, and all anchored (ha, a pun) by the silky-smooth vocal chops of Jack Jones. It might be a perfect TV theme song.

40:52 Cincinnati Opera: I really shouldn't have harshed on the Cincinnati cultural scene; not only do I discover that Cincinnati has one of the oldest civic operas in the U.S., but the nearby Kentucky Symphony Orchestra is ending its summer season this Labor Day weekend with... yes, a concert featuring music from WKRP! I wish I could go.

42:18 "I mean, all you've got is Hirsch." I hope we faked out at least a few of you into thinking we weren't going to talk about Hirsch this episode. But yeah, this repartee is nothing new; I googled "butler and dowager" and found some similar schtick from the 1800s... there's also this dark take on the trope, Dinner For One, where a butler gets progressively more drunk as he impersonates all of the dowager's now-dead friends. This play has become an inexplicable New Year's tradition on German television, of all places, proving once again that you can never account for the Teutonic sense of humor.

44:53 Ian Wolfe: We discussed Ian Wolfe's tenure as Wizard Traquil on Rob's favorite limited-run, early-'80s, D&D-inspired, mid-season replacement Wizards and Warriors in HMOTD 036, and originally discussed it way back in our Season 2 premiere, so now Rob's managed to squeeze Wizards and Warriors in during each of the last three seasons of the podcast. Well done, Rob. :)

In all seriousness, Ian Wolfe worked right up until his 93rd year, playing the old forger in Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy! And take a look at this career!

48:18 "The Story of Everest": My Mr. Show stanning has gotten kind of out of hand lately, but this might be one of the show's finest achievements in terms of pure hostility towards the audience. The people in the live studio audience had to sit there as they re-set the thimble wall each of the more than half-dozen times Jay Johnston took a tumble into it.

49:15 Sexual harassment: This capsule history on Wikipedia was quite illuminating. I note with interest, speaking of conflict resolution, that the author of the 1973 MIT report on sexual harassment, Mary Rowe, has been professor of Negotation and Conflict Management at MIT's Sloan School since 1985.

53:03 "Until you can name it... you can't get at it." Sometimes I think this is at the root of all so-called "political incorrectness." If our linguistic tools to combat injustice are taken away or mocked or belittled as an "overreaction," all of a sudden, as Rob so expertly puts it, we don't have the "technology" to fix the problem. It's theft, basically, a re-colonizing force meant to steal something of value from the oppressed. A fantastic observation from Rob here.

53:18 Microaggressions: The term "microaggressions" has actually been around since earlier than "sexual harassment"! It was introduced by Harvard's Chester Pierce, an African-American professor at Harvard Medical School (seriously, check that link; what a fascinating life and career) who tracked the physical and medical implications of suppressed anger. And Mary Rowe again helped bring this term into the parlance of business literature and conflict resolution.

55:33 Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings: The hearings were incredibly omnipresent in the fall of 1991. CNN had really come into its own as a 24-hour news channel given the recent Gulf War. I had just turned 16 years old and at the time, I felt profoundly angry and uncomfortable with the ramifications of Hill's testimony. You can imagine what the reaction of the student body of an all-boys Catholic high school was to these revelations. Between these hearings and the aforementioned Gulf War, 1991 was the beginning of a political awakening for me in a lot of ways. Pop culture at the time had its fun with the ordeal as well (at the expense of those white male Senators, thank goodness, though that is a tough needle to thread, even in '91).

[Rob: I had the honor and pleasure of meeting Anita Hill a few years ago when we brought her to Western to talk about her book, Reimagining Equality. Not much to say about that other than how smart, generous, and passionate about equality and the law she was--and that pretty much every woman in the audience over the age of 45 came up afterward to tell her what an impact the Thomas hearings had had on them and their lives.]

1:08:04 Colleen Camp/They All Laughed: Okay, hold onto your hats, because I delved deep into IMDB to try to find out the reason for this odd scene and cameo from Colleen Camp. In the IMDB entry for "Love, Exciting and New," the "Trivia" section states: "The incongruous cameo by Colleen Camp as herself may be explained by the fact that Camp and Richard Sanders both appeared in the movie Valley Girl (1983) around the same time." But around the same time isn't exactly the same time, and Valley Girl, given its subject matter, wouldn't have begun filming until at earliest the summer of '82, well after WKRP had finished taping. I don't think this theory holds water, ultimately, but I present it in the spirit of completeness. (Also, I can't find any proof one way or the other if there's any familial relation between Colleen Camp and two-time WKRP guest Hamilton Camp, as suggested on Facebook by Leah Biel, but it's doubtful considering Hamilton was born in the UK and Colleen comes from California.)

1:11:40 Dorothy Stratten: Wanted to pass along a couple of links to help expand on the Dorothy Stratten story: first, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Village Voice piece (RIP to the print edition of the Village Voice, by the way) that told Stratten's story first, and the recent You Must Remember This episode on Stratten. I highly recommend checking both out.

1:13:00 EPK: The electronic press kit as an artifact is an invention of the Entertainment Tonight era (which we're just entering here in 1981) but the term itself wasn't coined until the CD-ROM/early web era of the mid-'90s.

1:15:08 Fleetwood Mac: Was I too harsh on competent drummer, wacky face puller, and noted Star Trek: The Next Generation guest star Mick Fleetwood? I mean, The Visitor shows he was dipping his toe into so-called "world music" probably earlier than everyone except maybe Talking Heads. One thing I will not apologize for is my devotion to Mirage; read this Pitchfork review of the recent reissue to see why I love it so much.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

HMOTD 044: Nice Teeth And Good Hair


Rob & Mike focus on the fine dentition and flowing mane of Andy Travis, watching him take on "The Consultant," and take out Mama in "Love, Exciting And New."
(Full show notes appear at Hold My Order, Terrible Dresser two days after each episode is released. All audio clips are the properties of their owners/creators and appear in this work of comment and critique under fair use provisions of copyright law.)

Check out this episode!