Thursday, April 4, 2019

Mr. Smith Goes to Nowhere

By popular demand (OK, really we just wanted to write more about it), let's take a closer look at one of early-Eighties NBC's more notorious flops (and that covers some ground): Mr. Smith.

When Mr. Smith debuted September 23, 1983, it had it all: proven vets behind the scenes in Stan Daniels and Ed. Weinberger (who voiced the title character), a proven box office star (C.J., the orangutan from Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can), and a cushy slot leading off NBC's blockbuster Friday night lineup, which included Jennifer Slept Here, Manimal, and For Love and Honor.

Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad.

Viewers rejected those 2 out of 3, though, and the premiere did poorly. It garnered mostly negative reviews and became a bit of a joke for NBC, only airing 13 episodes before being yanked in December. In January, Friday night on the Peacock would go: Legmen, The Master, and Lorne Michaels' The New Show.

Of course, none of those series lasted, either!

Mr. Smith is a runaway orangutan named Cha Cha (Mr. Smith is his code name) who winds up in an experimental lab, then drinks an experimental potion that gives him an IQ of 256. Naturally, he runs a political think tank in Washington D.C. Even better, his secretary is Batty Award winner Leonard Frey!

I remember this show being "a thing," but not actually watching it. Am I crazy for wanting to see this now?

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