What a Country!

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What a Country!
GenreSitcom
Based onMind Your Language by Vince Powell
Developed byMartin Rips
Joseph Staretski
Written byFrank Mula
Martin Rips
Leonard Ripps
Mike Scully
Joseph Staretski
Directed byPeter Baldwin
Robert Claver
Linda Day
Dolores Ferraro
Russ Petranto
StarringGarrett M. Brown
Yakov Smirnoff
George Murdock
Vijay Amritraj
Harry Waters, Jr.
Ada Maris
Julian Reyes
Leila Hee Olsen
Gail Strickland
Gregory Sierra
Theme music composerRichard DeBenedictis
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes26
Production
Executive producer(s)Martin Rips
Joseph Staretski
Producer(s)Wendy Blair
Eric Cohen
Leonard Ripps
Running time30 minutes
Production company(s)Ripstar Productions
Primetime Entertainment
Tribune Entertainment
Viacom Enterprises
DistributorViacom Enterprises
Release
Original networkSyndicated
Original releaseSeptember 27, 1986 (1986-09-27) –
May 23, 1987 (1987-05-23)
Chronology
Related showsMind Your Language

What a Country! is an American sitcom that aired in syndication from September 27, 1986 to May 23, 1987. It was based on the 1977-1979 British sitcom Mind Your Language. The series was intended as somewhat of a showcase for comedian Yakov Smirnoff, whose catchphrase provided the show's title. Although it was treated as being a comedy series, the show also does touch on some serious subjects and issues including things like American citizenship, nationality diversity, politics, government, romance, debating, amendment rights, free speech, insecurity, employment, unemployment, foreign languages, discrimination, renting, substitute teaching, friendship, family, culture, credit, debt, constitution, amendments, ten commandments, sex, class, creed, color, war, gun control, racism, dating, immigration, social standing, state senators, legislate, bill of rights, linguistics, legal problems, sexual harassment, imprisonment, racial equality, trust, naivety, vulnerability, finance, investment, stock market, court hearings and deportation.

Synopsis[edit]

What a Country! is set in a class of recent immigrants to the United States who are trying to pass the citizenship test. Their teacher, Taylor Brown (played by Garrett M. Brown) is an American English language teacher, while the students include Nikolai (a Russian taxi driver), Laszlo (a retired Hungarian doctor), Ali (a Pakistani), Robert (the son of a deposed African king), Maria (a housekeeper working for a rich Beverly Hills family), Victor (a Hispanic in love with Maria), Yung Hi (a shy Chinese woman) and Sheikh El Hamid (an Arabian sheikh). Gail Strickland initially played the character of Principal Joan Courtney, though she was replaced by Don Knotts during the series' run.[1]

Cast[edit]

Episodes[edit]

No. Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1"The First Class"TBATBASeptember 27, 1986 (1986-09-27)
2"The Soul Man"TBATBAOctober 4, 1986 (1986-10-04)
3"A Busboy Named Desire"TBATBAOctober 11, 1986 (1986-10-11)
4"Don't Leave Home Without It"TBATBAOctober 18, 1986 (1986-10-18)
5"My Fair Yung Hi"TBATBAOctober 25, 1986 (1986-10-25)
6"Holiday on Ice"TBATBANovember 1, 1986 (1986-11-01)
7"The Best Laid Plans"TBATBANovember 8, 1986 (1986-11-08)
8"Chicken a la Prince"TBATBANovember 15, 1986 (1986-11-15)
9"A Birthday With Class"TBATBANovember 22, 1986 (1986-11-22)
10"Ali's Arrangement"TBATBADecember 20, 1986 (1986-12-20)
11"Taylor Loses His Cool"Russ PetrantoBernie WestJanuary 10, 1987 (1987-01-10)
12"The Road From Morocco"Dolores FerraroMike Scully & Frank MulaJanuary 17, 1987 (1987-01-17)
13"Nikolai Speaks"TBATBAJanuary 24, 1987 (1987-01-24)
14"California Dreamin'"TBATBAFebruary 7, 1987 (1987-02-07)
15"Moonlighting"TBATBAFebruary 14, 1987 (1987-02-14)
16"Play it Again, F"TBATBAFebruary 21, 1987 (1987-02-21)
17"Citizen Pain"TBATBAFebruary 28, 1987 (1987-02-28)
18"Educating Inga"TBATBAMarch 7, 1987 (1987-03-07)
19"Victor at an Exhibition"TBATBAMarch 14, 1987 (1987-03-14)
20"What a Tangled Web We Weave"TBATBAMarch 28, 1987 (1987-03-28)
21"Love Finds Nikolai"TBATBAApril 4, 1987 (1987-04-04)
22"We're in the Muboto's"TBATBAApril 11, 1987 (1987-04-11)
23"What Are Friends For?"TBATBAMay 2, 1987 (1987-05-02)
24"The Candidate"TBATBAMay 9, 1987 (1987-05-09)
25"The Apartment"TBATBAMay 16, 1987 (1987-05-16)
26"Old World Charmer"TBATBAMay 23, 1987 (1987-05-23)

Stations[edit]

City Station
Boston WLVI 56[2]
Chicago WGN 9[3]
Cleveland WOIO 19[4]
Denver KWGN 2[5]
Detroit WJBK 2[6]
Edmonton CFRN 3[7]
Fargo KVRR 15[8]
Harrisburg WHTM 27[9]
Houston KTXH 20[10]
New York WPIX 11[11][12]
Oklahoma City KTVY 4[13]
Rawlins KFNR 11[14]
Sacramento KRBK 31[15]
Vancouver CHAN 8[16]
Yakima KAPP 35[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle F. (2007-10-17). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows, 1946-Present (9 ed.). Ballantine Books. pp. 1502–1503. ISBN 0-345-49773-2.
  2. ^ "Retro: Maine Sat, June 6, 1987". Radio Discussions. June 2, 2011.
  3. ^ "Chicago, Saturday 4th of July 1987". Radio Discussions. June 28, 2017.
  4. ^ "Retro:Cleveland-Akron, Wednesday, September 2, 1987-Independents". Radio Discussions. April 17, 2008.
  5. ^ "Retro: Denver/Casper/Cheyenne/Rapid City Sat, July 4, 1987". Radio Discussions. July 4, 2012.
  6. ^ "Retro: Maritimes Sat, July 25, 1987". Radio Discussions. April 26, 2010.
  7. ^ "Retro: Edmonton Mon, Aug 31, 1987". Radio Discussions. August 31, 2010.
  8. ^ 1986 What A Country! promo on YouTube
  9. ^ What a Country TV Show advert (1987) on YouTube
  10. ^ "Retro: Houston Saturday, February 28-Sunday, March 1, 1987". Radio Discussions. March 6, 2010.
  11. ^ "What a Country!" TV Spot from WPIX-11 on YouTube
  12. ^ "Retro: Reading/Philadelphia, Saturday, July 25, 1987". Radio Discussions. November 22, 2017.
  13. ^ "Retro: Oklahoma City - Week of April 5, 1987". Radio Discussions. January 12, 2019.
  14. ^ "Retro: Denver/Wyoming/Rapid City/Scottsbluff Wed, July 8, 1987". Radio Discussions. July 8, 2011.
  15. ^ "Retro: Sacramento/San Francisco/Fresno, Mon. Jun 6 1989 5am-8pm". Radio Discussions. May 30, 2011.
  16. ^ "Retro: Alberta Wed, Apr 22, 1987 (ch 7-56/Access Network)". Radio Discussions. February 21, 2006.
  17. ^ "Retro: Yakima, WA; Sat. July 15th, 1989". Radio Discussions. August 2, 2015.

External links[edit]