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Funny / WKRP in Cincinnati

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  • Many critics have regarded the Thanksgiving Episode "Turkeys Away" as one of the funniest in TV history. In addition to the critics, readers of TV Guide voted "Turkeys Away" the best single episode of television in the history of the medium.
    • Show Creator Hugh Wilson noted the show was having trouble with ratings its freshman season and was close to cancellation. The huge fan response to this episode secured it a full first season.
    • Les Nessman's line: "It gets pretty strange after that..."
      Les: "I really don't know how to describe it. It's like the turkeys mounted a counter-attack. It was almost as if they were... organized!."
    • Richard Sanders' nearly-word-for-word re-enactment of ''The Hindenburg'' broadcast. "Oh my God, they're turkeys!!"
    • All of which drama is perfectly followed up by Johnny's world-weary deadpan when Les' live remote suddenly cuts out: "Les? Les, are you there?" (heaves himself upright to resume broadcast) "Les isn't there...Thanks for that on the spot report, Les!"
    • And every Thanksgiving, someone somewhere in the world is saying "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!"
    • Johnny's story about the failed wig giveaway:
      Johnny: I still have this picture in my mind of quake victims stumbling through the rubble, all looking like Dolly Parton.
  • The first clip show, where Mama Carlson does a quarterly review of the station, summarizes the rather abrupt format change perpetrated by Johnny Fever at Andy's behest.
    Mama Carlson: "......Booger."
  • In the pilot, Johnny dozes off while the commercial for Shady Hills Rest Home plays: "You may be asking yourself, what happens when I can no longer feed myself..." when Bailey walks in. He wakes up and says "Bailey! You've come to feed me!"
  • When Sparky Anderson (playing himself) is given a job hosting a sports talk-show in the afternoon, Les (of course) gets jealous because he considers the show part of "the news", which is his job. When it turns out Sparky is completely unqualified to host a radio show, Les gloats horrendously, at one point sharing a dream he had with Carlson in which "You were a muffin. And you sang a happy muffin song: 'I'm a big fat muffin that loves to eat! A big fat muffin that has no feet! But most of all I'm a big fat muffin that looooooves to explode!' And then you did!"
    • The best part is the look of utter glee he has while insulting Carlson to his face.
  • Johnny vs. the 'phone cops'... the ones who exist only in his head.
    • This being precipitated by him getting frustrated and destroying a telephone (which was phone company property in those days) with a toolbox. The toolbox that was revealed to have had a bomb in it, that he was bashing against the table.
  • The Tarleks' appearance on "Real Families"
  • The funeral home jingle designed to attract today's youth.
    Yeah, there ain't no way to deny it.
    Someday, you're gonna buy it!
  • Johnny and Venus perform an on-air drunk test for reflexes. As the test progresses, Johnny's reflexes get faster, flummoxing the By-the-Book Cop and mocked by an increasingly inebriated Venus.
  • Andy's reaction when he realizes that Johnny is actually playing a top 40 song. He actually runs into the booth, and tries to read the turning record's label, all the while Johnny just looking at him with a bemused expression.
  • The episode where the staff all conspire to give a visiting auditor a horrifically incorrect impression of the station. To wit:
    • Carlson wears a banker's visor and sits in his office spewing figures out of an adding machine, appearing so overworked he barely has time to visit with the consultant.
    • Herb becomes the epitome of a professional and ethical sales executive. He wears a nice suit, devoid of the usual white-shoe-and-belt combo, and strikes all car-salesman-speak from his vocabulary—except for one brief slip-up where he says, "No problemo!...Problem!"
    • Les acts as though his meaningless hog reports are intended to be funny, coming across as a hard-nosed reporter with a sense of humor.
    • Bailey pretends to be high on drugs, ending her interview by singing, "N-E-S-T-L-E-S, Nestle's makes the very best...choooc-laaaaaate!"
      • Complete with hand-puppet gesture (there was a hand-puppet cow in the real Nestle's commercials back in the day).
    • Venus is caught in the hallway holding Johnny by the shirtfront and threatening him with a knife.
      • Andy pops up at the other end of the hall and wordlessly avoids him.
    • And in the episode's most glorious role reversal, Jennifer pretends to be the vapid blonde outsiders expect her to be.
      Jennifer (in high-pitched voice): I think I'll go get everybody some coffee!
      (Carlson's meeting with the consultant continues; several minutes later, Jennifer reenters.)
      Jennifer: Hi! I'm back!
      Carlson: Where's the coffee?
      Jennifer (looking horrified): Uh-ohhhh!
    • Mama Carlson's incredulous response to each "revelation" counts as CMoF as well. In the end she seems more impressed that they pulled it off than angry.
  • Civil-defense-minded Les rewrites the station's emergency procedures manual as a guide to what to do should Cincinnati be invaded, as always keeping the Communist threat firmly in mind. A tornado comes and Les is given the manual to read on-air. Hilarity Ensues.
    Les: The city of Cincinnati has just been attacked by the Godless... tornadoes! Citizens are advised to arm themselves immediately...
  • The episode where one of Jennifer's old male friends dies and wills everything to her. The man's family objects and tries to get a legal injunction. Upon playing a taped will at the hearing, the old man correctly predicts and even replies to the snotty and pouty remarks his family members make, because he knows them so well... neatly illustrating why he willed his estate away from them in the first place.
    • What makes it better is that only the press and family members thought she got everything. In reality, he only gave her one dollar, but it was a sentimental as it was the first dollar he ever made. He donated most of his money to charity.
  • Three polite well-dressed British punk rockers show up. "Hello, we're Scum of the Earth!"
    • Les, upon seeing the banner welcoming the band: "Isn't that going to attract the worst sort of people?"
    • When the band first comes in, they're absent the promoter, who was supposed to ride back with them. When asked where he is, the following conversation ensues:
      Jennifer: Where is Mr Peevey?
      Dog: He got out of the car. That's actually the last we saw of him.
      Johnny: Was the car...moving...when he "got" out?
      Dog: Yyyyes, (cheerfully) I believe it was!!
      Mr Carlson: Why would he do a thing like that?
      Blood: We don't know! But that's our story and we're sticking to it.
    • Venus attempts to interview them on air, which consists of the three of them trolling him non-stop.
      Blood: Why don't you ask Dog about his musical training?
      Venus: Okay...Dog, tell us about your musical training.
      Dog: (matter-of-factly) I have none!
    • At the end of the episode, The Scum refuse to perform the concert(due to perceived mistreatment on WKRP's part), and, completely fed up with their crap at this point, Andy, Venus and Johnny managed to change their mind by kicking their asses offscreen.
  • Johnny Fever announces the radio's format change to the unsuspecting city of Cincinnati: "Oh, and one more thing, fellow babies: BOOOOOOOGGGGEERRRRRRR!"
  • When the two old protesters come into the booth and try to destroy the turntables:
    Johnny: All right, you two, up against the wall! (they comply) I don't know what you're doing here, but you should know that I've killed a lot of old people in my time, and I'm not above doing it again!
  • The episode "Jennifer Moves" ends with Jennifer telling her increasingly-enthralled co-workers about a spooky encounter in her newly-purchased home, until she reaches the end, where it's revealed the whole thing is a glorious bit of shaggydog-esque revenge aimed at Les, who had been annoying Jennifer earlier in the episode.
    "Where's Les?"
  • In the final episode, Johnny shows up at Mama Carlson's house, fairly drunk, to deliver a riot act to Mama about her real reasons for switching the station's format. Hirsch, her butler, who is less than her biggest fan, answers the door.
    Hirsch: Johnny Fever? You must be that DJ that's caused her so much discomfort! (devilish smile) Please, make yourself comfortable!... It is Doctor Johnny Fever?
    Johnny: Yes.
    Hirsch: (calling offscreen) Madam, your physician is here! (leaves the room snorting)
    Mama: (as she walks in) Doctor Tyler, how nice...(she sees Johnny) Fever!
    • Later, Mr. Carlson, of all people, manages to talk her into changing her mind. Just as soon as he does, Andy and Venus, who are drunk enough to make Johnny look like a preacher on Sunday morning, burst through the door.
      Andy: Mizzus Carlzon! Ah'm tahred a'yer crud!
      Venus: (as he sinks to his knees) Yyyeaaaahh...
      Andy: Ah got (holding up three shaky fingers) four things t'say t'yoo...
      Mr. Carlson: Tr-Tra-Tra-Travis...
      Andy: (seems to lose his train of thought) Num-mer two... (falls over)
  • When the building that WKRP was housed in was being slated for demolition, Bailey spearheaded the campaign to save it. At one point, she asked Herb to make petitions to circulate, a job he decided to shirk. When Bailey found out, she asked Andy for a book of matches, and then, as Herb kept trying to pathetically explain away his behavior, lit and flicked the LIT MATCHES at Herb until he finally gave in and went to make up the petitions.
  • The Running Gag about their hated rival WPIG: "Those swine!"
  • Johnny's introduction as "Rip Tide" is the best kind of ham:
    Johnny/Rip: (who has just jumped out on stage wearing an eye-gougingly loud disco suit) Howdy-hi, guys and gals! Hey, it's time for Gotta Dance! And we've got a stack of wax with a beat for your feet! But first — a few words about Johnny Fever. Turns out the cat was a primadonna, so who needs him, huh? (cut to the WKRP Bullpen where jaws are dropping) Right. The man was definitely stuck back in the '60s. and these are the '80s! So, let's move with today, let's move with the groove, let's ride the tide, and that's me — Rip Tide, and I! Gotta! Dance! (Johnny jumps into the air and performs some dance moves) So, let's do it, Cincinatti! You ready? Let's start off with that enchantress from the silver screen, the incredibly soulful, Miss Oblivious Neutron Bombnote ! (Johnny smiles mischievously, as the theme song from the movie Xanadu begins playing)
  • From "Most Improved Station", when Les voices another demand for walls for his office:
    Andy: The point is, we don't need any more walls, we need to tear down the walls that separate us. (beat) And I can't believe I just said that, that's the corniest thing I've ever said in my life. I'm gonna go right back over here and be sick.
  • Mrs. Carlson's butler, Hirsch, made very few appearances, but they were always memorable and amusing.
    Mrs. Carlson: Why Hirsch, this coffee's delicious!
    Hirsch: Uh-hm. That's because we were having a guest, Madam. When it's just you and me, I prepare it a little differently.

    Mrs. Carlson: You've been eavesdropping.
    Hirsch: Oh no, madam... very handy, as usual.