Monday, December 12, 2016

United we stand, divided we fall! Loose lips sink ships! Diamonds are a girl's best friend!

We've been talking all season about what a weird, oddball animal Season 3 of WKRP is. But it's in this back third of the season (right around Disc 3 of the Shout! Factory DVD, if you're keeping score at home) where WKRP goes from odd to... kinda dark.

The upcoming weeks of Hold My Order will cover such fun-filled topics as spousal abuse, alcoholism, the Red Scare, censorship, and the paranoia one feels after being the victim of a robbery. Fun! The final third of WKRP's third season, in the words of creator and show-runner Hugh Wilson, was a victim of its own success, driving Wilson and the writers' room into darker and darker corners of life.

It's also probably in keeping with the odd synchronicities between WKRP, the world in 1978-1982, our podcast, and our lives here in 2015-2017 that just as WKRP takes a darker turn in the aftermath of an election, so does Hold My Order, Terrible Dresser.

Let's be blunt; things are Very Not Good right now. It's not 1981, no matter the similarities. Things feel desperate. Scary. Unhinged. No matter what our heartfelt pleas in the immediate aftermath of the election, nothing has changed and nothing likely will change. We're heading into a political universe the likes of which the United States has never seen before. Where do we turn in times like this? How do we fix this trainwreck?

The answer lies within ourselves, of course.

The one bright spot I had in those couple of weeks post-election was watching the WKRP episode "I Am Woman," and seeing the lady from Chicago herself, Bailey Quarters, fight like hell for the future of the Flimm Building. Her activism has long been a part of her character, and in this episode, it becomes way more than just a character note.

The ups and downs of Bailey's campaign to Save the Filmm in "I Am Woman" of course echo the ups and downs of real-life activism, and we talk about those in great detail in Wednesday's episode. But more importantly, the relatively low stakes and light mood of a sitcom character fighting for a fictional historical building were enough to give me a little bit of a boost.

You know, we know that times are hard and scary. We can't promise that this run of downer episodes won't be a bit of a bummer. I suppose at the very least, they'll certainly give us a lot to talk about from the History-Nerd perspective. But in the coming weeks and months, one thing I'm going to try to keep in mind is the image of Bailey drunkenly rallying the troops in the face of an impossible task. I'm going to build bridges, and set goals, and most importantly, agitate. I'm going to be at my best. I'm going to try my hardest to Be Like Bailey.

No comments:

Post a Comment