MOVIE #1,361 • 🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿 • 02.08.24 If you ever wanted to see what David Lynch doing a ZAZ-style gag-a-minute routine looked like, well,...

On the Air

MOVIE #1,361 • 🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿🍿 • 02.08.24
If you ever wanted to see what David Lynch doing a ZAZ-style gag-a-minute routine looked like, well, here's On the Air, the sitcom he created with Twin Peaks collaborator Mark Frost that aired for three episodes on ABC in 1992 (a full seven were produced and are available online in horrible VHS rips). Of course, everything is sent through his absurdist lens so it's more than a little bit off. The idea of the TV director having no control, who no one can understand (and thus rendered a bumbling idiot) seems like a clear analogy of Lynch's own prior experience working in television. There’s also a lot of other motifs that seem more like the vision of Frost as well. In short, these 22-minute episodes are dense and strange, though rarely LOL funny.
There are many recurring goofs and side characters that run the gamut from mildly amusing to fairly annoying, especially when you watch the full series in totality. At over 2.5 hours, the show is not meant to be binge-watched. The performances are mainly good for what this is (Miguel Ferrer is essentially playing the same constantly annoyed guy he did in Twin Peaks, and star of the show Ian Buchanan, also a T.P. alum, is perfect in the titular role of washed-up movie star forced into TV work on the show-within-a-show “The Lester Guy Show”). Character actor Tracey Walter plays Blinky, a master sound effects technician who suffers from "Bozeman's Simplex," a disease that causes him to see 25.62 times more than everyone else. What does that mean, well, this (in every episode)…

It’s no surprise that the series is at its best when it leans into the Lynchian weirdness and very bad early 90s video FX…

This is a wacky comedy (duh) but there are no grounding characters like Sheriff Truman in Twin Peaks and the one-note nuttiness becomes grating rather quickly. I’m glad I finally got around to seeing this, though I doubt I’ll ever revisit it.

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On the Air is an American television sitcom created by Mark Frost and David Lynch. It was broadcast from June 20 to July 4, 1992 on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC). The series follows the staff of a fictional 1950s television network, Zoblotnick Broadcasting Company (ZBC), as they produce a live variety program called The Lester Guy Show—often with disastrous results. On the Air was produced by Lynch/Frost Productions and followed Lynch and Frost's previous series, Twin Peaks. In the United States only three of the seven filmed episodes were aired, but the first-and-only season was broadcast in its entirety in the United Kingdom and several other European countries. It was released on June 20, 1992.


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