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CanCon and April Fool’s Content All In One


 

For an appropriate April Fool’s Day clip, here again is the NewsRadio “B” story where Jimmy decides to play April Fool’s jokes on the wrong day (for the “element of surprise”) and his pranks take the form of a tribute to You Can’t Do That On Television.

Also, as part of my ongoing obsession with what makes a good sitcom set, I’ll point out that NewsRadio is an example of how a good set sometimes needs to completely abandon any attempt at realism. The giant booth hovering above the office would look kind of weird in a real radio station, and after the first couple of episodes, the show abandoned the idea that there was a room for tape editing and recording, instead replacing it with the break-room set. What they wound up with was a set where everything (except Dave’s office and the break-room) is bunched together on one side of a giant room, so that people can constantly pop up behind, in front of or next to the people who are talking to each other, and people can go from one part of the set to another while in full view of the audience. If they need a totally private moment, they can go into one of the “side” sets (Dave’s office, break-room, bathroom) but otherwise it’s a big multi-purpose set that’s stripped of anything that might get in the way of the comedy and characters: there are desks, there are chairs, there’s a window, there are some props to throw around or festoon the desks, and that’s about it. As the series went on, I think they even got rid of the pillar in the middle of the set. It’s uncluttered by reality. (The set on The Office has a similar minimalist look, but it has to look more realistic, because of the documentary format, and it’s constructed differently, because we need to see the office from multiple angles rather than from the theatre-style proscenium angle of NewsRadio.)


 
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