I'm not going to lie. I loved Phil Hartman, and I loved NewsRadio. That said, I'm going to try and give as un-biased a review as possible. This episode had quite an unhill battle for the show. Not only is it the season premiere for the 5th season, but also lost one of its key cast members during the summer hiatus. Now I'm not sure what the actual season openner was to be, but the quick turnaround to write this episode was not apparent as the homage to Phil was beautifully produced. It is so hard to create an episode to pay tribute without falling into many corny or flat performances, and they succeeded. Even today, it is hard to watch that episode without getting emotional - especially when they are reading the notes!
Phil Hartman was an absolute legend in the comedy world. He was the star of SNL and he was the funniest member of this cast. His tragic death affected all fans and people involved with this show. Sitcoms have had to deal with real-life deaths of their stars before and it is never easy to write that kind of episode, but I think that Newsradio did a good job here. The episode had some funny moments, but more importantly, everything felt real. The sadness these characters were going through felt real, so yes, we could laugh, but we also struggled to cope with the loss, just like these characters did.
This episode always makes me sad. This is the first episode of the show that does not feature the late Phil Hartman, and begins season five in a sad way. Phil Hartman basically was the glue of this show, just like he was on Saturday Night Live. Jon Lovitz did a good job on the show afterwards, because I think it must have been difficult for the writers to find someone that will fit the show after Phil. Phil was an irreplaceable individual, who always brougt a smile to people's faces. I think this was a wonderful way to salute Phil Hartman and all he has done. I highly recommend this episode.
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