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Series / The John Larroquette Show

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A 1993–96 NBC Work Com created by Don Reo (Blossom) and starring John Larroquette (Night Court) as John Hemingway, a recovering alcoholic and the night shift manager of a bus station in St. Louis.

Other characters include John's assistant, Mahalia Sanchez (Liz Torres); lunch counter attendant Dexter Walker (Daryl Mitchell); janitor Heavy Gene (Chi McBride); high-class escort Carly Watkins (Gigi Rice); beat cops Adam Hampton (Lenny Clarke) and Eve Eggers (Elizabeth Berridge); and starting in season 2, a nurse named Catherine Merrick (Alison La Placa).

This show provides examples of:

  • Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: Played with and lampshaded when John's boss sends in his ne'er-do-well nephew to be trained by John. The nephew is played by Bobcat Goldthwait so this is to be expected.
  • The Alcoholic: A major part of John's characterization, at least in the first season. He literally woke up with a job at the bus station after a month-long bender.
  • Animal Sweet on Object: The third season had a Running Gag where an elephant escapes from the zoo and can be seem roaming St. Louis. During this season, John wins a writing contest and receives an electric car as a prize. In the season finale, he buys a dark grey cover for the car with a similarly colored sleeve for the recharging cord. After he covers the car with it, the elephant can be seen looking over the covered car with admiration.
  • Building of Adventure: Pretty much the entire series takes place inside the bus station.
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: John fancies himself a genius art critic and literature buff. When he actually attempts to get published, his books are almost incomprehensible and uniformly terrible. The only one that even comes close to getting published is a Conspiracy Theorist novel created due to his misunderstanding of how obituaries work.
  • Companion Cube: The carnival sign "This Is a Dark Ride" hangs in John's office.
  • Crossover: "More Changes" features John calling into Frasier Crane's radio show for some relationship advice.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: John briefly becomes one when he thinks the newspaper knows who will die ahead of time due to having obituaries prepared ahead of time. It takes Dexter pointing out that's how they do it to get John to realize he was being an idiot.
  • Cut Short: The show was abruptly cancelled during the fourth season, resulting in the second half of the season being unaired.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: A flaw of John's that was subject to Flanderization. John believes himself to be a Renaissance Man and genius writer. Later seasons show he's never actually written anything of note and his understanding of literature is apparently not that much greater than a typical college graduate. He even calls out his favorite author over not understanding his own work.
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: The bus station has one of these as a Running Gag.
    John: People did that? Bears, I could imagine. But people?
  • Door Dumb: One episode has Bobcat Golthwait as a neurotic safety inspector that always tried to open the door wrong, whether it was push or pull.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first season was a more introspective show that more closely focused on John recovering from his alcoholism, with his AA meetings being a big part of the show. Then Executive Meddling came in and forced the producers to tone down the "recovering alcoholic" aspect, resulting in the show becoming a more generic sitcom for the remainder of the show.
  • The Eponymous Show: Though Larroquette wanted it to be called Crossroads
  • Everything Is Racist: Dexter, who especially plays it up around John.
  • Evolving Credits: The original opening sequence showed John getting wasted at a bar, waking up in an alley with a hangover, and deciding to go into Alcoholics Anonymous. About halfway through the first season, when the AA stuff started getting downplayed, it was replaced with a more standard Title Montage. After the first season, it was replaced again, with two much shorter intros; The second season featured John standing next to the St. Louis arch, while the third has him next to a neon sign with the show's title on it.
  • Fairytale Wedding Dress: A wedding with a Cinderella theme.
  • Fatal Flaw: John Hemingway's (recovering) alcoholism.
  • G.I.R.L.: In The Teaser of an episode John goes to an internet lesbian chatroom pretending to be a woman.
    John (typing): What are you talking about?
    Girl 1: [something mundane]
    John: Sounds hot.
    Assorted girls: MAN IN THE FORUM! LOG OFF!! LOG OFF!!
  • Flanderization: John was originally a Renaissance Man who was trapped in a job he was grossly overqualified for due to, essentially, waking up in it after a month-long bender. Later seasons emphasized he was neither as intelligent or cultured as he thought he was, even getting into an argument with an author he loved over what the author REALLY meant.
  • Foil: Dexter and John while also being Mirror Characters. They're both the most intelligent and rational people at the bus station but have had their lives derailed by forces outside their control. They eventually become Vitriolic Best Buds.
  • Girly Skirt Twirl: The normally tough cop Eve is a bridesmaid for a Cinderella themed wedding, and twirls around the room in her dress, accidentally tripping over a chair.
  • How We Got Here: "John's Lucky Day" begins with John in a hospital bed, having sustained multiple different injuries. The guy in the bed next to him asks how he got there, and so John tells him what happened, which takes up the entire episode.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Carly is a sensible and unromanticized version of such.
  • Instant Cosplay Surprise: Happens to John, who refuses to dress up for a charity collection... until Ms. Fanservice purrs like a kitten. Cue next scene and audience laughter as John is standing there dressed like a duck.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Carly, for obvious reasons.
  • Named After Somebody Famous: John Hemingway's last name may be a Shout-Out to Ernest Hemingway, particularly considering John has a masters degree in English literature.
  • Non-Gameplay Elimination: The episode "Hello, Baby, Hello" has the subplot of Dexter getting cast on a parody of The Real World called "The Reality House". He doesn't get along with any of his castmates, and eventually gets himself kicked off for promoting his lunch counter on the show.
  • Only Sane Man: John fancies himself this but later seasons make him every bit as weird as the rest of the cast.
  • Punny Name: A double pun with police partners Adam Hampton and Eve Eggers (Adam & Eve/Ham & Eggs)
  • Race Lift: In-Universe, One of John's friends included him in a novel, describing him as an African-American hero. A letter included by his friend says he changed races on John because he sold the movie rights to Wesley Snipes. John grins and remarks, "I like it."
  • Recovered Addict: John Hemingway is a recovering alcoholic, having given it up that very day. Going to AA meetings is a regular part of the first season but dropped after that.
  • Replaced the Theme Tune: The first season used a bluesy Scatting tune, while the second season used a shorter version of it. The third season replaced it with a whimsical-sounding jazz tine.
  • Self-Soothing Song: Gene, the janitor for the bus station, sings The Minstrel Boy while holding an abandoned baby that is having to be turned over to Child Services, both to quiet the child and to come to terms that he has to part ways with the child, whom he had become attached to.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Eggers. After all, she is Constanze Mozart.
  • Shout-Out: The nephew of John's boss is named Bob Barker.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: John essentially is a one-man version of the Snobs here, while everyone else is the Snobs. A Downplayed Trope example, as he doesn't really look down on the others, just has very different mannerisms and education level. Even then, Dexter often shows him up by pointing out his lack of general knowledge.
  • Spicy Latina: Mahalia is a middle-aged example of such.
  • The Sponsor: John had as his AA sponsor David Crosby, perhaps the Poster Boy for rock star addicts. Once at the start of a meeting, Crosby admitted he had had fallen off the wagon, leading John to respond: "My sponsor needs a sponsor?"
  • Taking Advantage of Generosity: John wins an electric car. He charges it at home, where he gets free electricity included in his rent. His landlord complains and cuts him off, so John starts charging it at the bus station where he works.
  • Thematic Theme Tune: The Skrewy St. Louis Blues; basically no lyrics (just scat), but the title alone is very appropriate to the show.
  • Theme Naming: The two police officers are named Adam Hampton and Eve Eggers. For additional fun their surnames contain the words "ham" and "eggs", frequently referred to as "Adam and Eve" in Hash House Lingo.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: The B plot in one episode centered around John being forced to rent a bus to a group of neo-Nazis.
  • Unions Suck: John learns fairly early after arriving to manage the bus depot that getting Gene to do any actual work is near impossible, because he's a Union employee.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: In one episode, John is forced to rent a bus to a group of neo-Nazis. After spending the episode trying to find a way to avoid this, he finally admits that the law says that he must rent them a bus. He then adds that the law doesn't say anything about not shoving a screwdriver through the gas tank as he holds up a screwdriver.
  • Work Com: The majority of the action takes place in the bus station and involves the employees.
  • World of Snark: Every single person in the show is a sarcastic jerk, but lovable despite (because of?) it.