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86 Segments




Breaking the Sitcom Rules

The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd dispenses with laugh tracks and multi-camera shots, which allows the show to explore new territories in television comedy.


A Role Close to Home

Best known for his role as Colonel Klink in Hogan's Heroes, Werner Klemperer plays Herr Schulz in the revival of Cabaret. Klemperer grew up in Berlin during the time the musical is set.


New TV Shows Worth Watching

David Bianculli is in Los Angeles along with other television critics to preview the fall season. He says he's most excited about two ABC comedies and a new version of Star Trek currently in production.


Nostalgic Yearnings for Bygone Times

Guest critic David Marc looks at the growing popularity of 1950s TV sitcoms. He thinks the trend reveals a troubling desire for an idealized suburban culture where whiteness and paternal authority ruled.


Making "Frank's Place"

Hugh Wilson created the television show WKRP. His much-anticpated, new program, Frank's Place, centers on a restaurant in New Orleans, and features many roles for African American actors.


"The Wonder Years" is Wonderful.

Television Critic David Bianculli reviews "The Wonder Years," a new ABC series. The show is an extended flashback to 1968 and the junior high school days of Daniel Stern ("Diner" and "Breaking Away"), the show's narrator, and Fred Savage ("The Princess Bride"), who plays Stern as he was in 1968.


The "Eccentric" Career of Annie Potts.

Actress Annie Potts. She's becoming familiar to audiences for her role in TV's "Designing Women." But before that, she was cast often as quirky, off-the-wall characters in films like "Ghostbusters" and "Pretty in Pink."


"The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" Pushes the Limits of the Sitcom.

Television Critic David Bianculli previews the return of "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd," the short-lived but highly praised NBC series that ran for 13 weeks in the Spring of 1987. The series stars Blair Brown as Molly Dodd, the eccentric New Yorker who lurches from one mid-life crisis to the next.


Two New Sitcoms After the Olympics

TV critic David Bianculli is burnt out on the Olympics' packed, frantic broadcast schedule. Now that the games are over, he tries to squeeze in reviews of two new sitcoms. Dear John is about a divorcé; Empty Nest is a Golden Girls spinoff.


The Best New Sitcom Since the Cosby Show

Roseanne was created by the same producers who pitched The Cosby Show to networks. The new sitcom is also helmed by a standup comedian. But instead of an upper class black family, Roseanne Barr's show features a working class white family. TV critic David Bianculli says Barr's jokes hit home, bolstered by costar John Goodman, who plays Roseanne's husband.


Actress Jane Curtin

Curtin is an alumnus of Saturday Night Live, and now stars in the sitcom Kate & Allie. She joins Fresh Air to talk about the direction of her new show and some of her favorite SNL sketches. Curtin also reflects on how actresses and women writers on SNL always had to fight for airtime.


Finding a Place for Women on TV

Critic-at-large Laurie Stone says that, while movies tend to be male-dominated, television has had the power to give more substantial roles to women. She reviews three new sitcoms about women at home and in the workplace.


Television Actor Peter Scolari

AKA Michael Harris on the Bob Newhart Show. He joins Fresh Air to talk about his character's developing love life. Scolari also juggles, a talent which will soon be featured on sitcom.


"Anything but Love" Is Anything but Cutting-Edge

TV critic David Bianculli calls the new sitcom, starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Richard Lewis, has an intriguing premise and promising cast, but it follows a familiar, cookie-cutter formula, and its writing needs work.


A TV Critic's "Comic Visions"

David Marc considers his new book about classic sitcoms as a kind of autobiography: each show he reviews reminds him of the time in his life when he first watched it. He joins Fresh Air to talk about the history and politics of television comedy, especially in how it restricted the roles of women and people of color.


Robert Guillaume's Next Role

The Soap actor stars in a new sitcom, about a divorced man and his children. TV critic David Bianculli says that, unlike Guillaume's career and talents, the show has a long way to go.


Three from NBC's Upcoming Season

TV critic David Bianculli reviews the network's latest pilots, including a ghastly sitcom, a thirtysomething ripoff, and a magical hour from the Muppet's creator.


The Comedic Legacy of "Tattinger's"

The new half-hour comedy Nick and Hillary is a reworking of the hour-long barroom drama Tattinger's. TV critic David Bianculli is a fan, though he admits the show's groan-worthy jokes are polarizing.


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