Jasper: A Forgotten Sitcom Hurricane

Welcome to a new Wildcard Wednesday! With most of the country right now fixated on Hurricane Dorian, I got to thinking about, well, what I’m always thinking about: sitcoms. We’ve covered several Hurricane episodes here — Our Miss Brooks, Night Court, and Murphy Brown all have thematically appropriate shows that spring to mind. There are many others, of course — I Dream Of Jeannie, anyone? — and, naturally, no discussion of the subject would be complete without mentioning NBC’s memorable “Hurricane Saturday” block on November 09, 1991, which featured crossovers between The Golden Girls, Empty Nest, and Nurses

This week, however, I want to share a lesser-known sitcom storm, “Hurricane Jasper,” the December 16, 1978 installment of Carter Country (1977-1979, ABC), the two-season backwoods version of Barney Miller that hailed from Bud Yorkin’s company with Saul Turteltaub and Bernie Orenstein. 44 episodes were produced of this seldom-discussed workplace comedy, and if not for the fact that only about 75% of the outings circulate (taken from terrible syndication prints), the series would be a worthy two-week diversion for Wildcard Wednesdays next year. Since that’s not looking likely at the moment, this post gives me the opportunity to quickly call what I’ve seen of Carter Country an amiable ensemble-driven ’70s laffer with a uniquely era-specific charm — heck, its title locks its existence in with a finite, specific period in American history (the Carter presidency). I haven’t seen enough of the series to label any episodes “favorites,” but if the entire run was available, you can bet I’d be doing just that…

In the meantime, though, here’s a syndicated copy of “Hurricane Jasper” (opening credits deleted — see them here), a decidedly late ’70s storm!



Come back next week for a new Wildcard post! And stay tuned Tuesday for more Queens!

2 thoughts on “Jasper: A Forgotten Sitcom Hurricane

  1. I remember CARTER COUNTRY very well, having seen it on both ABC-TV & in syndication at times. It was an amiable-enough sitcoms that occasionally took on heavy themes like racism but usually seemed to copy other 70s sitcom themes, such as Chief Mobey having the office staff engage in a type of group therapy, where of course “hilarity ensued”.

    I’m surprised that you compared this to BARNEY MILLER but then stated you like this show enough to devote Sitcom Tuesday to it, where you don’t want to do the same for BARNEY MILLER, which was seen (rightly or wrongly) as a show w/ higher quality writing. I like both shows well enough, but I’m curious to know what about CARTER COUNTRY you like more than BARNEY MILLER. As for me, I’ve spent a lot of time in my past watching MR. BELVEDERE (developed by 2 B. MILLER writers), which I often enjoyed, but I think the critics hated it for the most part.

    • Hi, Jon! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      You’re surprised that I compared CARTER COUNTRY to BARNEY MILLER, another occasionally preachy ‘70s ensemble workplace comedy set in a police station and broadcast on ABC?

      Also, I never said I was interested in covering CARTER COUNTRY on Tuesdays — I said Wednesdays (where, if you haven’t noticed, most of the shows discussed are more curious than excellent and typically require a smaller time commitment). I would never discuss this series on Tuesdays.

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