Friday, April 10, 2015

Show notes for HMOTD 002: Scum of the Earth

6:45 I first read of the "benign violation" theory in the pages of Slate; this article summarizes the theories of Professors Peter McGraw and Caleb Warren, and this page has some of their published work on the idea, as well as a TEDx talk. Yes, the name of their humor research lab is HuRL.

10:00 Here are the details of the groundbreaking case that won women journalists access in locker rooms (in theory) and here is the sad story of the Lisa Olson case from Wikipedia. The Olson case loomed large in my own history, as a New Englander, a Patriots fan, and at the time, as an aspiring journalist. I was editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper and I remember the details of the case being debated VERY intensely and fiercely by the editorial staff of my very Catholic all-boys' high school newspaper. I should also add that a large part of Lisa Olson's decision to relocate to Australia (by the way, sorry Australia, I did make a cheap shot at you there) was the Boston sports fans' harassment and threatening her after the story broke. There is sadly a long history of this in Boston sports fandom; sometimes it's really embarrassing to be a Boston sports fan.

14:10 Steve Buckley's excellent coming-out article is sadly now behind the Boston Herald's paywall, but this article from competitor the Boston Globe offers a good summary of the reaction.

I'd be remiss if I also did not mention two recent, very tragic stories around how badly the sports world and specifically the sports journalism world treated trans issues: the story of trans sports journalist Christine Daniels and Grantland's horrific handling of the case of "Dr. V," Essay Anne Vanderbilt.

17:30 The Golden Age of Dramedies! Listener Len McCain reminded us in an email this week about Hugh Wilson's late-80s project with Tim Reid, Frank's Place, which sits squarely in the dramedy movement of that period.

17:40 TVTropes is the best. Also... yes, in this first season of WKRP there is certainly a whole lot of humor at the expense of the mentally ill. Hello, 1978.

18:30 Abe Vigoda: still alive.

19:30 Rob's theory that sitcoms line up with the ages of comic books is entirely sui generis and all credit should be given to him. The various ages of comic books Rob discusses here can be unpacked and explored in more detail here. Or you could just read Grant Morrison's Flex Mentallo.

23:20 That Dilbert cartoon can be found here. And that just goes to show you... man. I was reading Dilbert VERY early in its existence.

26:30 Check Rob's post from earlier in the week on The Wall Street Journal article about the birth of WKRP In Cincinnati.

28:30 I regret citing Silly Election and not The Upper-Class Twit of the Year Show.


31:15 Erratum 1: Rob of course meant to say Quincy M.E., for "medical examiner."

32:10 Am I crazy, or is Quincy's interlocutor here indirectly quoting or referencing Plato's Republic on music?

33:40 Erratum 2: Mike of course meant to say "Subaru" and not "Volkswagen." Jeremy Davies still remains guilty.

36:50 Much like Apple Records, look upon Swan Song Records' works, ye mighty, and despair.

37:40 The secret history of Captain Beefheart and Frank Zappa.

39:25 What You Want Is in the Limo: On the Road with Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, and the Who in 1973, the Year the Sixties Died and the Modern Rock Star Was Born. Good title.

40:30 We are going to officially christen the Weirdness segment of our show, "The Cincinnati Triangle." Also, let's be sure to note that a scant couple of months after this episode aired, Ohio State football coach and local legend Woody Hayes had his infamous on-field incident at the Gator Bowl and was dismissed summarily. JOHNNY FEVER IS THE DEMIURGE

42:30 Charles Fort. Charles Fort is the best, guys.

43:30 We come full circle with Slate with this article about order vs. chaos muppets.


  1. I have really enjoyed the first two podcasts! I want to add three show notes for items you discussed.

    I am surprised during the time spent on Dragnet that you did not mention one of Joe Friday's anti-drug rants has a WKRP connection. In 1968, Friday was invited to appear on a panel show. Playing the role of the publisher of a local underground newspaper was Howard Hesseman. Unfortunately, this clip is not currently available on YouTube.

    Speaking of unfortunate, Xenia, Ohio does have a claim to fame with somewhat of a WKRP connection due to the subject (which is a sad one so I'll avoid the obvious jokes). It was the most prominent of the many cities and towns hit by a major tornado during the "Super Outbreak" that occurred on April 3, 1974. This same outbreak also included the F4-rated twister that hit Cincinnati and Salyer Park that, in a rarity for those days, was caught live in part by one of the city's television stations. I have no proof of this but I would imagine some sort of storm coverage in Hugh Wilson's past if not inspiration from this actual ourbreak (including the famous live radio coverage by helicopter reporter Dick Gilbert on WHAS-AM in Louisville) led to what was seen in the "Tornado" episode.

    Finally, one thing on the comparison between 'KRP and NewsRadio (a program that I also loved). I have always found it interesting that both shows were treated like red-headed stepchildren by their respective networks when it came to time slots...something that I think hurt both shows badly in being kept around for more seasons. Yet, both have ended up with a cult following. One has to wonder what we missed from both programs due to so many people never knowing when they were on.

    1. Nope, didn't know about the Hesseman connection or Xenia either! We just wrapped recording Episode 6 of the podcast on "Tornado," so we won't be able to include your note in that episode, but we'll make sure to credit you in the Show Notes for that episode! I will echo Rob's thanks!

  2. Wow, what a great comment! Thanks so much for listening, and for writing in.

    I'm not sure about Mike, but I did not know either of these stories (about Hesseman being on Dragnet or Xenia and the tornadoes of 1974). We just recorded a podcast about Tornado - I wish I'd known about the latter. I also learned (from my mother) that one of her mother's favorite novels was set in Xenia. I am pleased to know that we have listeners who know this stuff even better than we do - even if it means we have to up our game!

    Totally agree about NewsRadio. Of course, that show never truly recovered from Phil Hartman's death, so that was another contributor to its demise. Todd VanDerWerff had a nice piece on Vox recently that called NewsRadio "the best sitcom of the 1990s" - strong words given that's the peak decade of Seinfeld and The Simpsons, but he makes a good case.

    Anyway, thanks so much. Hope you continue to listen and enjoy. Write in any time! .

  3. Xenia was hit again by some bad tornados in '89 and 2000. Also in 2000, a DJ from a country music station in Cincinnati was busted to-catch-a-predator style in Xenia, which lead a WEBN DJ (the closest thing to a real WKRP type station in Cincnnati) to comment, "This year, Xenia has been the site of TWO natural disasters" and then he played "She's 16, she's beautiful, and she's mine".

  4. Sadly in 1990, in Cincinnati barring women from the locker room was STILL a thing.

    Of course, Wyche is still loved in Cincinnati though, not only for taking the Bengals to the Superbowl but more importantly for the following:

  5. Hey guys- I just discovered your podcast last week and have listened to the first 4 episodes. You are doing a great job! Love the commentary on 'KRP coupled with insights of the era in which it was made. You guys have connected some dots to real-life events of the time that, as a 41-year old, I had no awareness of, and it helps me appreciate my favorite show that much more.

    One comment about the "Scum" episode I wanted to make. I do agree that Hollywood wasn't quite sure what to "do" with punk rock, but I disagree that Johnny was "scared" of the band. I think Johnny's reaction to them was perfect for his character. We know Johnny was an old school 60s LA DJ that probably spent lots of time with rock n rollers (ex. We know from a later episode he was acquainted with Jagger.) His reaction in the hotel room "I think you're boring...I take it back, you're FASCINATING" shows he sees right through their attempts to shock people and isn't really scared of them at all. I think it's great because Johnny sort of acts as a character contrast between the 60s-early 70s rock n roller burnout attitude, and the (admittedly flawed) representation of the punk attitude. Just one more little character nugget that reinforces Johnny's character.

    Thanks again for the amazing podcast- i know you're on hiaitus right now. PLEASE keep going!

    1. Doug, that's a great observation. When we get to "Preacher" later in Season 1 we explore the comedy of "being scared of someone who's not really that scary" even further, and that's definitely more relevant for the Reverend Little Ed.

      We're enjoying hiatus but definitely itching to get back into producing more episodes; watch this space and our Twitter and Facebook for updates and previews this summer!

    2. Will do, and I'll definitely keep listening. Thanks!

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  6. Just discovered the podcast. Totally made my day when I found lofty academic types evaluating the show in the exhaustively comprehensive manner it so obviously deserves. Pleased about the UWO connection--couldn't be prouder of my alma mater. Now I must go sync my Shout DVDs with my dvd-burned vhs copies of the syndicated episodes so I don't miss a single vital second.

    1. Bunny = a Western alum? I _knew_ that girl was going to grow up right! Thanks for listening and thanks for commenting here. Enjoy the podcast and keep spreading the word. :)