The John Larroquette Show
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The John Larroquette Show

The John Larroquette Show
JohnLarroquette.jpg
Series intertitle from the first season.
GenreSitcom
Created byDon Reo
Starring
Opening theme"Skrewy St. Louis Blues" by David Cassidy (1993-1995)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes84 (6 unaired during original run)
Production
Executive producers
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time30 minutes
Production companies
Release
Original networkNBC
Original releaseSeptember 2, 1993 (1993-09-02) -
October 30, 1996 (1996-10-30)

The John Larroquette Show is an American sitcom television series that aired on NBC from September 2, 1993, until October 30, 1996. Created by Don Reo, the show was a star vehicle for John Larroquette following his run as Dan Fielding on Night Court. The series takes place in a seedy bus terminal in St. Louis, Missouri, and originally focused on the somewhat broken people who worked the night shift, and in particular, the lead character's battle with alcoholism. The series was produced by Reo's Impact Zone Productions and Witt/Thomas Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.

Plot

John Hemingway, recovering alcoholic, has been appointed to the role of night shift manager of the St. Louis bus depot. He must deal not only with the intricacies of keeping the station running smoothly, but also the employees and other personalities who frequent the station, all while dealing with his own demons. This was highlighted in the first episode, with a running gag of every character offering to buy him a drink upon his meeting them.

Much of the first season dealt with John's attempts to stay sober, with episodes representing each of the AA program's Twelve Steps. John constantly struggled to maintain control of the station, with regular conflicts with his secretary, Mahalia, the janitor, Heavy Gene, and most strongly with sandwich bar attendant Dexter, who had been turned down for the position to which John was appointed. Adding sexual tension to John's life was high class escort Carly, who was a friend of Dexter's.

Cast

The show was unusual for having a multiracial cast, unlike most American sitcoms in the 1990s.[1]

Recurring role

Over the course of its run, the show also featured cameos from a number of celebrities. Bobcat Goldthwait guested for one episode, playing an assistant to John who was constantly a mess but became suddenly efficient and 'normal' as soon as he became drunk. Boyz II Men appeared in a 1994 episode that saw their tour bus break down at John's station. In one episode Richard S. "Kinky" Friedman appeared as himself in a jail cell. Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty played themselves for one episode while referencing their Golden Girls characters.

Episodes

Season 1 (1993-94)

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
11"Pilot"John WhitesellDon ReoSeptember 2, 1993 (1993-09-02)
22"Thirty Day Chip"John WhitesellJudith D. Allison & Don ReoSeptember 7, 1993 (1993-09-07)
33"Celibate!"John WhitesellJames VallelySeptember 14, 1993 (1993-09-14)
44"This Is Not a Step"John WhitesellMitchell HurwitzSeptember 21, 1993 (1993-09-21)
55"The Unforgiven"John WhitesellEva NeedlemanSeptember 28, 1993 (1993-09-28)
66"Pros and Cons"John WhitesellBill RichmondOctober 5, 1993 (1993-10-05)
77"Jumping Off the Wagon"John WhitesellBrenda HamptonOctober 12, 1993 (1993-10-12)
88"The Past Comes Back"John WhitesellJudith D. Allison & Don ReoOctober 26, 1993 (1993-10-26)
99"There's a Mister Hitler Here to See You"John WhitesellJ.J. WallNovember 2, 1993 (1993-11-02)
1010"Amends"John WhitesellJudith D. Allison & Don ReoNovember 23, 1993 (1993-11-23)
1111"Newcomer"John WhitesellJudith D. Allison & Don ReoDecember 7, 1993 (1993-12-07)
1212"My Hero"John WhitesellBill RichmondDecember 14, 1993 (1993-12-14)
1313"God"TBATBADecember 21, 1993 (1993-12-21)
1414"The Big Slip"TBATBAJanuary 4, 1994 (1994-01-04)
1515"Death and Dishonor"TBATBAJanuary 11, 1994 (1994-01-11)
1616"Don't Drink and Drive Nuclear Waste"TBATBAJanuary 18, 1994 (1994-01-18)
1717"Eggs"John WhitesellEve NeedlemanJanuary 30, 1994 (1994-01-30)
1818"Dirty Deeds"TBATBAFebruary 1, 1994 (1994-02-01)
1919"Another Average Night"TBATBAFebruary 1, 1994 (1994-02-01)
2020"John and Carol"TBATBAFebruary 8, 1994 (1994-02-08)
2121"Grit"TBATBAMarch 15, 1994 (1994-03-15)
2222"Date Night"TBATBAMarch 22, 1994 (1994-03-22)
2323"Wasted Lives"TBATBAMarch 29, 1994 (1994-03-29)
2424"A Dark and Stormy Night"TBATBAApril 12, 1994 (1994-04-12)

Season 2 (1994-95)

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
251"Changes"John WhitesellTBASeptember 20, 1994 (1994-09-20)
262"Hiding Out"John WhitesellTBASeptember 27, 1994 (1994-09-27)
273"A Bird in the Hand"John WhitesellTBAOctober 4, 1994 (1994-10-04)
284"Good News/Bad News"John WhitesellTBAOctober 18, 1994 (1994-10-18)
295"The Tutor"John WhitesellTBAOctober 25, 1994 (1994-10-25)
306"Acting Alone"John WhitesellTBANovember 1, 1994 (1994-11-01)
317"Vacation"John WhitesellTBANovember 8, 1994 (1994-11-08)
328"The Book of Rachel"John WhitesellTBANovember 15, 1994 (1994-11-15)
339"Freedom's Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose, But Then So's Desperate"John WhitesellTBANovember 22, 1994 (1994-11-22)
3410"Just Like a Woman"John WhitesellTBANovember 29, 1994 (1994-11-29)
3511"A Cult to the System"John WhitesellTBADecember 6, 1994 (1994-12-06)
3612"The Job"John WhitesellTBADecember 13, 1994 (1994-12-13)
3713"Faith"Gil JungerTBAJanuary 10, 1995 (1995-01-10)
3814"The Defiant One"John WhitesellTBAJanuary 17, 1995 (1995-01-17)
3915"Wrestling Matches"Gil JungerTBAJanuary 31, 1995 (1995-01-31)
4016"Whipping Post"John WhitesellTBAFebruary 7, 1995 (1995-02-07)
4117"Bad Pennies"John WhitesellTBAFebruary 14, 1995 (1995-02-14)
4218"Time Out"John WhitesellTBAFebruary 28, 1995 (1995-02-28)
4319"In the Pink"John WhitesellTBAMarch 7, 1995 (1995-03-07)
4420"You Bet Your Life"John WhitesellTBAMarch 14, 1995 (1995-03-14)
4521"Rachel Redux"John WhitesellDon Reo & Judith D. AllisonMay 9, 1995 (1995-05-09)
4622"Several Unusual Love Stories"John WhitesellDorothy ReoMay 23, 1995 (1995-05-23)
4723"The Wedding"TBATBAAugust 22, 1995 (1995-08-22)
4824"And the Heat Goes On"Gil JungerTBAAugust 29, 1995 (1995-08-29)

Season 3 (1995-96)

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
491"More Changes"John WhitesellMitchell HurwitzSeptember 30, 1995 (1995-09-30)
502"Even More Changes"John WhitesellMitchell HurwitzOctober 7, 1995 (1995-10-07)
513"Rachel and Tony"John WhitesellDon Reo & Judith D. AllisonOctober 21, 1995 (1995-10-21)
524"A Moveable Feast"John WhitesellMartin WeissNovember 4, 1995 (1995-11-04)
535"Johns"John WhitesellMichael Davidoff & Bill RosenthalNovember 14, 1995 (1995-11-14)
546"Night Moves"John WhitesellMichael Davidoff & Bill RosenthalDecember 12, 1995 (1995-12-12)
557"An Odd Cup of Tea"John WhitesellJohn RidleyDecember 19, 1995 (1995-12-19)
568"Love on the Line"John WhitesellJohn RidleyDecember 26, 1995 (1995-12-26)
579"Master Class"John WhitesellPam BradyJanuary 2, 1996 (1996-01-02)
5810"Ring of Fire"John WhitesellMartin WeissJanuary 9, 1996 (1996-01-09)
5911"John's Lucky Day"John WhitesellDon Reo & Judith D. AllisonJanuary 16, 1996 (1996-01-16)
6012"Black and White and Red All Over"John WhitesellUrsula Ziegler & Steve SullivanJanuary 30, 1996 (1996-01-30)
6113"The Housewarming"John WhitesellPam BradyFebruary 6, 1996 (1996-02-06)
6214"Cosmetic Perjury"John WhitesellLes EberhardFebruary 13, 1996 (1996-02-13)
6315"The Train Wreck"John WhitesellDonald SiegelFebruary 20, 1996 (1996-02-20)
6416"Some Call Them Beasts"John WhitesellMartin WeissFebruary 27, 1996 (1996-02-27)
6517"Here We Go Again"John WhitesellMichael Davidoff & Bill Rosenthal & Jim Vallely & Mitchell HurwitzMarch 12, 1996 (1996-03-12)
6618"The Dance"John WhitesellDavid LandsbergMarch 26, 1996 (1996-03-26)
6719"A Night to Remember"John WhitesellJim Vallely & Mitchell HurwitzApril 9, 1996 (1996-04-09)
6820"Independence Day"John WhitesellPam BradyApril 23, 1996 (1996-04-23)
6921"Hello, Baby, Hello"John WhitesellJim Vallely & Mitchell HurwitzApril 30, 1996 (1996-04-30)
7022"Intern Writer"John WhitesellWill GluckMay 7, 1996 (1996-05-07)
7123"Running for Carly"John WhitesellJohn LevensteinMay 14, 1996 (1996-05-14)
7224"Happy Endings"John WhitesellCatherine LePardMay 21, 1996 (1996-05-21)

Season 4 (1996)

No.
overall
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
731"Untying the Knot"David TrainerMitchell HurwitzSeptember 18, 1996 (1996-09-18)
742"Mother of the Year"David TrainerPam BradySeptember 25, 1996 (1996-09-25)
753"Bathing with Ernest Hemingway"David TrainerDonald SeigalOctober 2, 1996 (1996-10-02)
764"The Blues Traveler"David TrainerPaul PerloveOctober 9, 1996 (1996-10-09)
775"Copies"David TrainerTom Saunders & Kell CahoonOctober 16, 1996 (1996-10-16)
786"Isosceles Love Triangle"David TrainerWill GluckOctober 30, 1996 (1996-10-30)
797"Napping to Success"David TrainerJohn LevensteinUNAIRED
808"Cheeses H. Taste"David TrainerPam BradyUNAIRED
819"When Yussel Learned to Yodel"David TrainerTom Saunders & Kell CahoonUNAIRED
8210"Humble Pi"David TrainerWill GluckUNAIRED
8311"Friends"David TrainerDonald SeigalUNAIRED
8412"Pandora's Box"David TrainerJohn LevensteinUNAIRED

History

Season TV Season Episodes Time slot (ET)
1 1993-94 24 Thursday at 9:30 pm (Episode 1)
Tuesday at 9:00 pm (Episodes 2-16, 18)
Sunday at 10:00 pm (Episode 17)
Tuesday at 9:30 pm (Episodes 19-24)
2 1994-95 24 Tuesday at 9:30 pm (Episodes 1-23)
Tuesday at 8:30 pm (Episode 24)
3 1995-96 24 Saturday at 9:00 pm (Episodes 1-4)
Tuesday at 9:30 pm (Episodes 5-24)
4 1996-97 12 (6 unaired) Wednesday at 8:30 pm

Despite receiving early favorable critical reviews,[2][3][4] the first season finished 96th overall, in part due to its time slot opposing Roseanne (which was fourth overall during the same season).[5] By Larroquette's own admission, though, the show's first season wasn't prime-time material due to its dark nature[6] - at least not for network television.

The show faced cancellation,[7] until Larroquette requested the chance to retool the series, which NBC granted. Much of the dark humor was removed, for a more "toned-down" feel. The sets were brighter, and the cast were transferred from the night shift to day. John's dingy bed-sit was traded for a nice apartment. Oscar, the old bum who lived in one of the bus station phone booths, was cleaned up and became a shoeshine, and the prostitute character Carly (Gigi Rice) went "straight" - buying the bar and becoming a model citizen. The producers also gave John a wholesome romantic interest in the form of nurse Catherine Merrick, played by Alison LaPlaca. The series continued in this more prime-time-friendly format for two more years.

TV Ratings

Season 1[]

  • Ep 1: 14.3 rating [series high]
  • Ep 2: 12.5 rating
  • Ep 3: 10 rating
  • Ep 4: 9.6 rating
  • Ep 6: 13.3 million viewers; 9.3 rating
  • Ep 10: 10.9 rating
  • Ep 17: 12.3 rating
  • Ep 24: 8.9 rating

Season 2[]

  • Ep 1: 16.4 million viewers; 11.4 rating
  • Ep 2: 11.2 rating
  • Ep 3: 12.5 rating
  • Ep 4: 10.9 rating
  • Ep 21: 11.5 rating
  • Ep 24: 9.8 rating

Season 3[]

  • Ep 1: 7.4 rating
  • Ep 4: 5.8 rating [series low]
  • Ep 10: 13.1 rating
  • Ep 11: 12.4 rating
  • Ep 21: 11.2 rating
  • Ep 24: 10.3 rating

Season 4

  • Ep 1: 8.3 rating
  • Ep 2: 6.6 rating
  • Ep 6: 7 rating

Decline and cancellation

In an attempt to boost the third season opener, but without increasing the budget, it featured a faux guest appearance by Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Frasier Crane, whom John calls for advice (not knowing he is on Frasier's live radio program). Ratings did not improve, however. John and Carly got married in the third-season finale while Catherine was seemingly pregnant with John's child. It was revealed that Catherine was experiencing a phantom pregnancy and left the show. The John Larroquette Show was cancelled abruptly one month into its fourth season, the last episode airing on October 30, 1996 showing John and Officer Eggers on a date at a Halloween party. Six episodes remained unaired until being shown on the USA Network years later.[]

Production

The series was originally to be called Crossroads; however, NBC wished to make the most of John Larroquette's popularity from his previous role on Night Court, and insisted on naming the show after him.[8]

The show was videotaped, but processed by NBC to make it look like it was recorded on film.[9]

Theme song

The series' theme song, "The Skrewy St. Louis Blues", is a bluesy tune performed by David Cassidy on acoustic guitar with a scat vocal. A version of the performance lasting approximately one minute was used in the opening and closing sequences of the show during its first season. A much shorter edit of the song (lasting less than ten seconds) was heard only during the opening logo during the later seasons. An upbeat, jazzy instrumental tune was occasionally used for the closing theme in seasons three and four.

Steve Cochran, a radio host on 720 WGN from Chicago, uses the Cassidy song as the theme music for his own radio program.

Critical reception

The Los Angeles Times once referred to the series as "sitcom noir".[10]

The show was nominated and won several technical awards over its four-year run,[11] and Larroquette was nominated in 1994 for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Guest star Betty White won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series in 1996 for her appearance in the Season 3 episode "Here We Go Again".

Liz Torres, also nominated in 1994 for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, won the NCLR/ALMA Award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Comedy Series in 1996 for her role in the series. She would also win a Nosotros Golden Eagle Award for Outstanding Actress in a Television Series in 1997.

Thomas Pynchon

After the series made several references to reclusive novelist Thomas Pynchon's work and reputation, Pynchon (through his agent) reportedly contacted the series' producers to offer suggestions and corrections. When a local Pynchon sighting became a major plot point in a 1994 episode of the series, Pynchon was sent the script for his approval; as well as providing the title of a fictitious work to be used in one episode ("Pandemonium of the Sun"), the novelist apparently vetoed a final scene that called for an extra playing him to be filmed from behind, walking away from the shot.[12][13] Pynchon also insisted that it should be specifically mentioned in the episode that Pynchon was seen wearing a T-shirt showing psychedelic-rock musician Roky Erickson.[14] According to the Los Angeles Times, this spurred an increase in sales of Erickson's albums.[15]

References

  1. ^ Diana Werts (January 26, 1996). "Segregation Lives On In Sitcomland". Columbia Daily Spectator.
  2. ^ Ensign, Tom (September 2, 1993). "Dark Humor Brightens 'Larroquette'". Toledo Blade. Retrieved 2011.
  3. ^ Burlingame, John (September 2, 1993). "'Night Court' Wit Heads Own Show". The Spokesman-Review. Cowles Company. Retrieved 2011.
  4. ^ Heimer, Mary (September 2, 1993). "Everyone's a Critic". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Retrieved 2011.
  5. ^ "The Bus Stops Here As 'Larroquette' Starts New Season". Times-Union. September 19, 1994. Retrieved 2011.
  6. ^ "John Larroquette: This is a Dark Ride". The Star. Toronto. March 31, 2011. Retrieved 2013.
  7. ^ Richard Ouzounian (April 1, 2011). "John Larroquette: This is a Dark Ride - thestar.com". thestar.com. Toronto. Retrieved 2011.
  8. ^ "John Larroquette - Random Roles". The AV Club. Retrieved 2015.
  9. ^ "FILMLOOK "MUSCLES" ONTO WB NETWORK". Filmlook Inc. Newsletter. Archived from the original on October 17, 1997. Retrieved 2015.
  10. ^ Weinstein, Steve (January 8, 1996). "Larroquette: Less Whine, More Roses : But Series Remains True to Its Black Comic Vision by Using Symbolism to Deal With the Issue of Alcoholism". latimes.com. Retrieved 2020.
  11. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106039/awards?ref_=tt_awd
  12. ^ "Where's Thomas Pynchon?". CNN. Archived from the original on December 3, 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  13. ^ Glenn, Joshua (October 19, 2003). "Pynchon and Homer". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2014.
  14. ^ Pappademas, Alex (September 25, 2013). "Purple Drank, Britney, and The Rachel: The Weird But Logical Pop Culture Obsessions of Thomas Pynchon's Bleeding Edge". Grantland. Retrieved 2020.
  15. ^ Kipen, David (May 8, 1994). "Brevity's Raincheck". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020.

External links


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