Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The DVD Beat: Newsradio

What is the funniest sitcom of all time? That's a debate that could go on and on, and I'm not sure I have an answer. But I do know that "Newsradio" would be high up on my list, and I would definately put it down as the most underrated sitcom of all time. And now, after only a five season run in the late nineties and after dissappearing off television in its rerun form, the first two seasons came out on DVD last week.

This might very well be the best ensemble cast ever on a sitcom. Just look at the cast and how successful they all are now. The plot of the show was the daily shenanigans taken place at WNYX, a newsradio station in New York. The cast consisted of:

Dave Foley (Kids in the Hall, Celebrity Poker Showdown) as Dave Nelson, the station's news director.

Maura Tierney (ER) as Lisa Miller, on-air talent and Dave's love interest for most of the show's run.

Phil Hartman (SNL) as Bill McNeil, an arrogant on-air talent who caused more problems than he helped. He unfortunately passed away after the fourth season and was replaced with a new character played by Jon Lovitz, who gave probably his only funny performance of his career.

Andy Dick (The Andy Dick Show) as Matthew, who you're not really sure why the goofball worked there, but Dick gave a nice subdued performance here, and of course in his personal life tried his hardest to become the next Andy Kaufman.

Joe Rogan (Fear Factor) as Joe Garelli, the station's electrician.

Khandi Alexander (CSI:Miami) as Catherine Duke, Bill's sidekick in the newsroom. She would unfortunately leave after the third season.

Vickie Lewis (Finding Nemo) as Beth, Dave's secretary and office whore.

Stephen Root (Office Space,The Ladykillers) as Jimmy James, the station owner.

See, an unbelievable cast. And Root's Jimmy James is by far the funniest character ever to be on a sitcom. It's just one of those shows that if you haven't seen it, you just must to understand why it's so damn funny. I don't think me explaining anything here would do it any justice. It's simply just getting to watch a perfectly suited cast playing off of each other and it works like a son of a bitch. The closest thing to this kind of ensemble in TV today would be "Arressted Development." So, go buy it now; it will be the best thirty bucks you'll spend all year, and for sixty you could probably also snag the first season of "Scrubs," which is also well worth it.


At 6/01/2005 12:57:00 PM, Blogger Kennelworthy said...

I love News Radio!

And I'll go your Stephen Root comment one better: I think he's one of the funniest actors period. Bubbles in Finding Nemo. Bill on King of the Hill. Jimmy James, of course, on News Radio. Milton on Office Space. The radio station manager (hey, two similar roles!!) in O Brother Where Art Thou. And I could go on and on and on. This guy is a total chameleon. I've seen him and laughed at him in movies only to find out well afterwards that it was him! Voices, comedy, heck... even drama (From the Earth to the Moon, The West Wing)...he can do it all. He's probably in my top five list of most underrated actors. Glad to know we share the connection of enjoying this show, and the awesome Stephen Root!

At 6/01/2005 01:19:00 PM, Blogger MaraJade said...

I�m always amazed when I mentioned news radio to someone and they have on clue what I�m talking about. GREAT show. I didn�t know it was out on DVD, but I do now and I can�t wait to get it. (As soon as I have money. . .)

Phil Hartman was great and it�s so sad his life was cut short by his psychotic wife. Most of us just cut down on our husband�s life spans by about ten years, not outright kill him. So sad.

But good show. Must go to Best Buy. . . .

At 6/16/2005 03:30:00 PM, Blogger brian8 said...

I have to admit the pilot episode did not thrill me, but ever since then it just got better and better. Besides I was always a Dave Foley fan (Kids in the Hall), and who couldn't be a
Phil Hartman fan. There just isn't anyone like him today!!
For any true fans, I did find a website offering the Yellow Mugs from the "chaw spit" episode at the following location:


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