Monday, April 3, 2017

"Let's all have a Banapple!"

Oh, hi everybody. Belated April Fools' from our usual Monday Post! This time around, the Monday post comes after the release of a new episode, because this was our special surprise April Fools', 2nd Podcast Anniversary, Happy Gordon Jump's Birthday episode of Hold My New Order Terrible New Dresser!

We've actually gotten a fair number of emails asking us if we were going to take on The New WKRP In Cincinnati after we finish up with original recipe WKRP. I think you all can figure out after our decidedly mixed reaction, no, we're not going to be doing an actual full-on New WKRP In Cincinnati podcast. But this podcast episode definitely was a fun April Fools' lark!

I'm not sure what originally gave us the crackpot idea to do an episode as if we'd been doing a podcast about The New WKRP In Cincinnati all along... obviously, since the election, we've been thinking a lot about other timelines and alternate histories. From my perspective, I mostly wanted to have an excuse to have Season 3 of HMOTD match Seasons 1 and 2 at 13 podcasts long! But also, there's something to be said about the assertion that we would've given the history of WKRP as a whole short shrift if we hadn't at least somewhat covered this syndicated oddity from 1991-1993.

You can hear our deeper thoughts on the podcast, obviously, but I was most struck at how... different the nostalgia for all the signifiers of 1992 felt to me. All the memories of the late '70s/early '80s for me so far in this podcast have been... bittersweet, rich, deep, often moving. But the thing about the early '90s is that they feel just a little bit... tacky? Obvious? I'm not really sure of the best way to put it. While I can definitely enjoy recounting my own favorite media from 1992, they're so mixed up in the other stuff that was going on in my life at the time, being 16, 17 years old. And let's be honest, that's a pretty damn intense time in a young man's life.

My feelings and opinions about Ice-T and "Cop Killer" and the L.A. riots and the first Gulf War and George Bush vs. the Simpsons and Dan Quayle vs. Murphy Brown are so much less... incisive? Because unlike Carter and Reagan and so forth, I can consciously remember those events. Moreover, I remember them mostly through the politically-uncomplicated eyes of a naive teenager.

[Rob: Geez, you just had to mention one more time that you were just a teenager in 1992, while I was a venerable 21-year-old... Anyway, I've heard for years that The New WKRP was awful, a travesty, a desecration of the original. I gotta say: watching it in 2017, I didn't think it was that bad? I'm not saying it was good, and I understand how, back in 1992, it must have seemed blasphemous to reanimate the original in this way. But from the distance of 25 years, with expectations lower than low, it was fascinating to see this weird simulacrum of the show I know and love, so familiar and yet so strange. I will probably end up watching a few more, and if any of you HMOTD listeners feel like doing the same, I'd be very curious to hear your reactions.]

Yeah, I admit: it made me cringe no more or no less than any other middling sitcom of the very early '90s, before Seinfeld truly changed the landscape. These two episodes were as obvious and as corny as any other show I can think of from the era, but there were still weird glimmers of the talent and thoughtfulness that Wilson et al. brought to the original WKRP.

Show Notes of some kind will be coming on Friday! And while our exact kickoff date for Season 4 is still up in the air, you'll be hearing from us again before too long.

Now, what you've really come here to see: embarrassing photos of Rob and Mike in the early 1990s! The first two photos were from my friend Mark and I prepping for a road trip to Lollapalooza '93 in the summer between my senior year of high school and freshman year of college. That's me in the red hat. I think the button on the cap is not from one of my favorite bands but indeed a souvenir button from my senior government trip to Washington, D.C. ("Why do you have a fake ID?" "So I can vote.") The final picture in this row is my senior yearbook photo from 1993. Like Roast Beef Kazenzakis, I have Emotions Hair. And oh, that Stephen Crane quote! *barf*

[Rob: And here's me in 1992, 1993, and 1994: with my brother J and my beloved Queen's University jacket (Super Mario Bros hand-painted by yours truly); with my buddy Chris and I evoking a definite Bill & Ted vibe; and transformation into neo-hippy complete. I know you want to punch that guy, but as I often say when looking at old photographs: he meant no harm.]

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