A Particularly Funny Filler Clip

Didn’t have a lot of posting time today, but here is a Filler Clip™ of a particularly For The Win nature: scenes from the second appearance of the second-greatest comedy guest characters of the last 25 years (after Mr. Bookman), Bob and June Wheeler, played by Brent Spiner and Annie O’Donnell. Written by series creator Reinhold Weege in a two-part episode called “Hurricane” that should have made the “top 100 episodes of all time” list, these scenes are not sophisticated in any way — including the old-fashioned reaction shots and “let me get this straight” type straight lines — but damn, low comedy is brilliant when it’s done right. Of course today, for the most part, it’s the good one-camera shows that are less afraid of corny jokes, old-fashioned plots and broad humour, like 30 Rock, which is in many ways the broadest and corniest show on the air. Many multi-camera shows, which theoretically are supposed to go for “hard” jokes to please the audience, in practice wind up going for very mild jokes because just about anything can make a studio audience laugh if it’s delivered with the right rhythm. But many of them would be better off with big, Vaudevillian turns.

Two other things of note: this clip is a great opportunity to hear the most famous intrusive laugh in sitcom history, that guy whose loud, incessant chortle could be heard above the audience after almost every joke. Legend has it that this was Reinhold Weege’s dad. And this clip also provides an example of real-life complaints being addressed on the show, as the scene is in part a response to public complaints the show had gotten from the government of West Virginia about the stereotypes embodied by these characters.


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