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NewsRadio: One Last Look

March 16: Destroyer of Dreams
March 16: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes
May 12: I Was Goosed By Stephen Root!
You know the little story that appeared here a few days ago -- the one about Stephen Root goosing me and Maura Tierney supposedly cursing at me and me just generally acting like a ninny? Well, it's all true and not just some work of fiction that I concocted to amuse you folks. Boychuk and I actually did visit the NewsRadio set on the very day they were filming the last episode of the season -- the "Titanic" episode that no doubt amused those of you clever enough to watch the show Tuesday.

You see, every now and again, us Vidiots get tired of running off at the mouth about Tori Spelling or Fran Drescher or any other poor unfortunate who runs afoul of our sense of right and wrong. And whenever that mood strikes us, we start behaving like actual reporters, setting up interviews and chasing down stories and whatnot.

You can imagine what comfort this gives the many and varied publications that employ us.

On this particular occasion, Boychuk and I high-tailed it down to the NewsRadio set to see just how much work goes into creating an unusually funny, vastly under-appreciated sitcom. The answer? A damn lot of work involving constant revisions and hours of back-breaking blocking and filming. And the duct tape... we must never forget the duct tape.

The NewsRadio creative team tolerated the presence of Boychuk and me with Christian forbearance. They greeted us warmly. They showed us around their spacious offices. And they subjected themselves to probing questions like "How do you come up with script ideas?" and "Describe a typical week of production for the show" and "Would you mind taking a look at my unproduced screenplay?" and even "Do you think anyone would mind if I helped myself to some more celery?"

I can't speak for Boychuk -- and neither can he, ever since that vow of silence at the monastery a few weeks back -- but me, I had a fine time on the set of NewsRadio. I walked away confident that the season finale would be a very funny half-hour of television. Provided, of course, that right after I left the set, the producers didn't set fire to the script and replace the entire cast with a troupe of high school drama students from Ohio.

As it turned out, I was right. About the season finale being funny, that is. Not about that part where the cast gets fired in favor of teenage Buckeye State thespians. NewsRadio's parody of "Titanic" was extremely clever, superbly well-acted and flat-out enjoyable. That's not earth-shattering news -- most episodes of NewsRadio are clever, well-acted and enjoyable.

But then again, you wouldn't know that, would you? Because if the ratings are any indication, whenever NewsRadio's on, you're off watching Home Improvement reruns, thrilling to whatever wacky antics Tim will find himself ensconced in this week.

And that's just deeply wrong.

I mention this only because of the horrible rumor that NBC has no plans to renew NewsRadio for next season. That would be a pity since -- as we've stated so many times that we might as well mention it again -- NewsRadio may well be the best damned sitcom on network TV. That hasn't stopped NBC from jerking NewsRadio around its schedule like a yo-yo, all the while frantically trying to breath life in a never-ending stream of dead-on-arrival effluvia.

So if you get the chance, by all means, catch NewsRadio in reruns this summer (Tuesdays at 8:30 -- It's New To You!) and light a candle for its safe return next fall.

And a special note to our good friends at NBC: I know TeeVee has cracked wise at your expense and at the expense of Sinister Programming Genius Warren Littlefield on a number of occasions. Maybe you were amused by our little jests. Maybe you weren't. But believe me -- cancel NewsRadio and brace yourself for a constant barrage of hatred and bile aimed at you and all you hold dear. We will browbeat you with taunts -- nasty, vile taunts -- that will send you running home, crying to your mammies. We will heap abuse on you until the streets of Burbank echo with the sounds of cruel lamentations, as the living envy the dead.

And believe me, I'm not just saying that because the NewsRadio crew let me gorge myself on their celery.


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