NewsRadio: Pilot
November 8, 2022 8:26 AM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

Dave Nelson begins his new job as WNYX News Director, but first he has to fire his predecessor.

"NewsRadio fits comfortably into the multi-camera sitcom wheelhouse. But it goes one step further by trying, as much as possible, to make everything really feel like a stage play you just happen to be watching on your television. Rather than trying to create energy through editing, NewsRadio creates energy through the simple mania of its staging. The camera sits, holding the frame in a long or mid-shot. Characters burst in and out of the frame, creating an escalating sense of chaos. It is, in its finest moments (and there are many), almost perfectly executed farce." -- NewsRadio was the best sitcom of the 1990s (Vox)

An Oral History Of ‘NewsRadio’: The Show That Refused To Play By The Rules (Uproxx)

AV Club review of this episode and the following one.
posted by gauche (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
So much of what made this show great is already present in the pilot. The staging, the escalating stakes, the mild surreality that the cast absolutely sells.

It's currently available on Amazon Prime.
posted by gauche at 8:27 AM on November 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

I hope I never learn anything bad about Stephen Root but man so many of the men involved in this show turned out to be terrible.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 9:23 AM on November 8, 2022 [3 favorites]

Obviously Joe Rogan and Andy Dick are a bit hard to take, each in their own ways. I have not heard anything especially terrible about Dave Foley or Phil Hartman.

Still, and surely this is a bit of my own privilege showing, but on this rewatch I've been able to bracket off my feelings about the first two and still appreciate this show. Totally understand if others aren't able to do that.
posted by gauche at 9:57 AM on November 8, 2022 [1 favorite]

Foley has had some issues, too, though not to the same extent, and there were pretty obviously some other things going on in his life.

It's interesting, in a way, to see how much of the proto-Rogan exists in the character he plays and to what extent he has come to occupy the joke persona he depicted on the show.

Issues about problematic cast members aside, this was for many years my favorite television program ever, and possibly still is. While it was a good show from the beginning, IMHO it really starts firing on all cylinders around season 3.

It's been years since I read the AV Club recaps of the show but as I recall they were very well done. I'm glad to see the FPP links them and I would encourage people to check them out if you continue to follow along as the show progresses.
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:11 AM on November 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

I loved this show back in the day. I still find myself, every now and then, trying a radio voice by going "I'm Bill McNeal."
posted by Marticus at 1:35 PM on November 8, 2022 [2 favorites]

My favorite sitcom ever. I am able to compartmentalize my feelings about Rogan, somehow, but seeing Phil Hartman and the incredible heights of comic genius he brought to this role still makes me sad. I also have said "perfect cane weather" a few times to people who have no idea what I'm talking about - phrases from Newsradio are lodged pretty firmly into my brain and will come out when I least expect it.
posted by lizard music at 2:29 PM on November 8, 2022 [11 favorites]

I loved this show. It was one of the first times I noticed direction in a three-camera sitcom, the way they used the full depth of the set with three layers of action potentially in play at any given time. So often the joke was just foreground/background juxtaposition.
posted by migurski at 10:24 PM on November 8, 2022

I am temporarily walking with a cane for a while and am getting lots of mileage out of "perfect cane weather" and other quotes from "The Cane". Also surprisingly useful, from The Simpsons: "Away with you, lest my cane find your backside!
posted by Servo5678 at 8:09 AM on November 17, 2022 [1 favorite]

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