I have to admit, I didn't watch NewsRadio too much when it originally aired. Sure, I'd catch an episode now and again, and always thought the show was very smart and very funny, but it wasn't until recently that I've been able to go back and catch up on the show through repeats. I do recall, however, that after Phil Hartman's death in 1998 I watched the show even less. It was hard to imagine the show without him, and while I like Jon Lovitz just fine, for me the series ended with Hartman's death.
The fifth and final season, which comes out on DVD March 20, begins with the episode "Bill Moves On" in which the team mourns the death of Bill McNeal, the arrogant radio personality portrayed by Hartman. I think many fans consider this the worst season, which is understandable. Still, if you're like me you hate to have any kind of gap in your DVDs, and you'll probably purchase it anyway. The set will retail for $39.95.
Actually, make that two.
Several months ago, I pointed out that the DVD version of the NewsRadio episode "The Injury" (the one where Matthew hurts his hand) is the edited version. In the subplot where Bill is doing on-air commentaries about broadcasters using the word "penis," Dave confronts Bill, and besides Dave saying the phrase "per penis" (referring to how much money Bill be have to pay as a fine), Bill calls Dave a penis under his breath. Both of these mentions of the word penis are not in the version on the DVD.
But I was watching the episode on TBS today (stations are starting to air NewsRadio again, including TBS and Nick at Nite) and it aired unedited! All the penises were intact (so to speak). I'm now wondering why the version shown on television has all mentions of a naughty word but the DVD version is edited? I understand that the episode wasn't shown until the third season (even though it was filmed in the second season) because of all of the penis mentions, but why is the original version intact on TV but censored on the DVD?
And I'm still wondering why the swears on the NewsRadio DVD commentaries are bleeped out. Seems odd to me.
(S01E07) Along with Mary Tyler Moore and Amy Sedaris, I've always had a crush on Janeane Garofalo. I remember being happy when this episode came on, since I had loved her standup and her work on The Ben Stiller Show (with Andy Dick). She plays Nancy, Dave's ex-girlfriend who seems nice on the outside but is really kind of a nut. She comes to New York City to be with Dave, who never quite told her that they were officially broken up.
Meanwhile, Jimmy meets a business and technology "visionary" named Tom at a conference and arranges for him to be interviewed by Bill, but that doesn't turn out quite as Jimmy or Dave had hoped...
Meanwhile, Dave discovers that the station is $6000 overbudget, and he does some investigating to figure out what's going on.
(S01E05) This episode has one of my favorite scenes of any sitcom ever. It's a scene that probably wasn't even that funny on paper, but Phil Hartman makes hysterical.
The plot: while Jimmy gives Dave the task of deciding who gets what bonus this year (and who gets "the shaft" - nothing), Bill has to contend with fellow employees leaving food and drink on his desk.
(S01E04) For some reason, I think this might have been the first episode of NewsRadio that I ever watched. That seems right to me, and I think I've seen it more times than any other NewsRadio episode, except maybe the episode where Matthew tries to get Dave to let him do a story about Dilbert.
This is the episode where we really see Dave getting in over his head as news director and his employees trying to take advantage of him. During a subway crisis, Dave wants the whole team to snap into action and cover the incident, but everyone is too obsessed with the new desk that Dave got Matthew.
The Simpsons has been using guest stars since the very first season. Some have returned on several occasions, sometimes as different characters (Albert Brooks), sometimes as the same character (Kelsey Grammer), and sometimes as both (Jon Lovitz). By my calculations there have been exactly twelve thousand guest stars on the show so far, so obviously a list of just five is going to be lacking just a tad. Nevertheless, these are five guest stars who stick out in my mind. Got some more? That's what the comments are for. Here we go:
Albert Brooks: Brooks first appeared in season one as Jacques, the man with the fake French accent who tries to woo Marge away from Homer with his knowledge of bowling and women. He later appeared as Hank Scorpio, a rather paradoxical character who is both very friendly and yet extremely evil. I think my favorite Brooks episode, however, was the episode "The Heartbroke Kid" when he played Tab Spangler, a ticking time bomb of a coach who tries to coerce Bart back to health after Bart gains weight and suffers a heart attack. "Every sign is wrong!" He'll also be appearing in the Simpsons movie, which is very cool.
While Dave and Lisa argue about how their relationship shoud progress, Bill annoys Catherine by throwing her a birthday party and Matthew screws up Joey Buttafuoco's name on the air.
This first episode focuses on Dave Nelson, a young news industry professional from the Midwest, who comes to NYC to be the new news director of WNYX. When he gets there, he finds out that not only are the other employees an "interesting" bunch, but he also has to fire Ed Harlow, the current news director.
I was checking out his offical web site, and besides finding out about the new film he has, Danny Roane: First Time Director (with an impressive cast: Ben Stiller, Maura Tierney, Jack Black, James Van Der Beek, and more), I also came across an entire page of free mp3s of songs he's written. Very entertaining. Check out "A. Dick Theme," about all the jokes that have been made about his last name (note: some songs are rather explicit).
- Gag reel
- Commentaries on several episodes
- The "One Man's Newsradio" short film.
This is just my roundabout way of saying that the fourth season of the show is coming to DVD on June 20! It will include a featurette, cast commentaries, and that special "pop up" episode that aired that season. More details coming soon.
Among the best: Eddie Murphy in Bevery Hills Cop, Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer, and Harry Shearer in This Is Spinal Tap. Among the worst: Eddie Murphy in The Adventures Of Pluto Nash, Adam Sandler in The Waterboy, and Jimmy Fallon in Fever Pitch.
OK, SNL fans, who's missing from this list?
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