Weekend Viewing: "Real Families"

I didn’t have time to seek out something to embed this weekend, so in honour(?) of Jerry Seinfeld’s “The Marriage Ref,” here again is the famous 1980 WKRP episode about a network reality show where the hosts make fun of ordinary people with imperfect marriages. Replace Peter Marshall with Jerry Seinfeld and you’ve got the future of NBC. Incidentally, it seems like in the late ’70s and early ’80s there was a lot of worrying, in popular culture, about reality television and its inherent cruelty. Albert Brooks’s Real Life, which undoubtedly influenced this and a number of other TV episodes, and Stephen King’s “The Running Man,” which was published in 1982. So reality-bashing isn’t exactly new.

The announcer is Johnny Olsen (The Price is Right). Music includes “Peg” by Steely Dan, “You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC, “She’s So Cold” by the Rolling Stones and the then-new “Once In a Lifetime” by Talking Heads. Oh, and for an unplanned connection to last week’s weekend viewing: the daughter, Stacy Heather Tolkin, was the voice of Sally in The Charlie Brown and Snoopy Show.

Part One


Part Two


Part Three