Thursday, April 9, 2009

I Think About Stupid Things Too

Every morning when I wake up, I ride my exercise bike for about a half hour, usually while watching some old sitcom on TV. Recently, I've been watching the first season of WKRP in Cincinnati. You probably remember the program-- a down-in-the-dumps radio station is reinvigorated when the new program director switches the format from easy listening to rock and roll, though some of the older staff don't quite understand why. I guess you could say the main theme is one of generational conflict ("the suits vs. the denims" in the words of WKRP Sales Manager Herb Tarlek). It's a funny show, and it helps makes the cycling go by quickly and painlessly.

Anyway, here's what I wanted to mention: in watching the show I've become obsessed with trying to figure out the layout of the WKRP offices. There are a number of sets seen suggesting just how big, physically, the operation is, and of course there are a lot of scenes where we see characters moving from one set to another, suggesting something of the spatial relationship of one to the other. Among those sets are the reception area (Jennifer Marlowe's domain), Mr. Carlson's office, the broadcast and production studios, Andy Travis' office, the bullpen (where everyone else hangs out) and a storage room. All of these appear on screen, and provide certain clues as to their dimensions, layout, and proximity to one another. Here's how I've mapped it all out, so far:

The problem is, I know this can't be right. Windows are one of the prime features I use to orient the different rooms to one another, and although this is close, it does not, for example, accommodate the window clearly seen in shots of Andy's office (which in this configuration would look into the bullpen). Also, in the window looking out of the bullpen, we clearly see another side of the building, suggesting it sits inside an L-shaped wing, which seems impossible in relation to this layout when one considers there is an open sky outside the window of the broadcast studio. Another anomaly: there's a sign in the hallway of the left doorway in the reception area with an arrow pointing to the left labeled "Studio;" but if that is accurate, then it implies the studio is behind Carlson's office , which we know can't be right from the episode in which Les climbs out on the ledge threatening to commit suicide.

This is like some intricate puzzle that I haven't cracked the code of yet... but I plan to keep trying. And yes I know "it's only a TV show" but now it's gotten under my skin and I can't let it go. So, if you have any suggestions (any architects or architecture buffs reading this?), please feel free to comment (and maybe put me out of my misery).

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm obsessed with mapping out the place too. The added difficulty for me is that, living in Cincinnati, I am familiar with the building they showed to be the location of WKRP. It is an I-shaped building, which you can see from Google Earth or the Satellite View on Google Maps (617 Vine Street). This could help, I'm thinking the hallway outside the studios might be along the center, narrow part of the building. Still doesn't all work out though. Also, there was a reference in one episode to the station being on a different floor than what is suggested by the number on the door. I'm going to have to just start at the beginning and watch every episode until I figure it out; or, it's just a set and there's no way it could exist in the real world.

rob said...

One immediate improvement is to put a hallway between the Bullpen and Programming (Travis' office). That solves one problem.

Anonymous said...

Great try but there is a window in the hall to the right as you exit reception from directly behind Jennifer's desk..

Anonymous said...

Ha! I tried to do this once, too, and got frustrated! Loved that show.

Danny Kid said...

Needs cleaning up and scaling but I think after watching this show since the early 90s as a kid I have a floor plan that solves most of the problems. Windows backing into rooms etc. https://www.instagram.com/p/BKHlfcrglt8/

Danny Kid said...

Needs cleaning up and scaling but I think after watching this show since the early 90s as a kid I have a floor plan that solves most of the problems. Windows backing into rooms etc. https://www.instagram.com/p/BKHlfcrglt8/

Anonymous said...

I really think your way off on the plan.