Moonlighting: Season 1 & 2, Again For The First Time

I am a die-hard Moonlighting fan.  See, even my analogies are from the Bruce Willis vernacular.  I am in the process of watching the show again with my wife who has not seen the show since the 80's.  I have watched the show frontwards and backwards multiple times in my life.  I even wrote and produced 2 episodes in the 80's.  I am old enough that I actually watched every episode of the series when it originally aired except one (Big Man On Mulberry Street).  And it technically played on the television while me and my high school sweet heart...let's say studied.  So, Moonlighting has been part of my life from the beginning.   When you have seen a show before, it is a great experiment to re-watch it with someone who has never seen it.  There is a difference in experiencing the show and REMEMBERING the experience of the show.  When you have "studied" through an episode, you may be remembering that nostalgia and not the actual show.  Also, now that I do a weekly podcast, I have been watching it with a more critical eye.  So what is the verdict?  Do I hire Dave and Maddie to work the case again? I have to admit there are some slow scripts in the first 6 or so episodes.  And for the first time the style, editing, music and sets make the show seem old.  But Dave and Maddie still have it.  They have the chemistry you have read about from their FIRST SCENE.  That is crazy and I truly can not think of another moment of television that even compares to the fire these two set in their meeting.  We just watched one of the late Season 2 Episodes, In God We Trust.  This episode declared that Maddie was an atheist.  The episode wasn't even about religion.  It was just a side plot.  Can you imagine the executives of NBC if the writers of Friends said, "Hey, we thought we would make Jennifer Aniston an atheist for this season.  Joey can pray for her?"   Church groups would have boycotted Central Perk before you could say A Man With A Mole On His Nose.   In the next episode, Every Daughter's Father is a Virgin, Maddie's mom announced that her husband was having an affair but that she didn't care because men do those things.  This also wasn't the point of the show.  The point was Maddie should just lie to her mom about the truth.  Another story line we would never see in today's PC environment.  Hold on, I am mad I said PC because it isn't even controversial, it's just interesting.  Shows today just don't get interesting, they just recycle the same stories that every other show tells.  And you know what?  Once Maddie found out that her dad was cheating, she never told her mom.    She did let the lie go on.  That was brave writing.  Maddie was a true feminist and certainly a role model for women of the 80's and she didn't tell her mom because it was the human choice.  In a lot of ways Moonlighting, which is seen as a precursor for all the will-they-won't-they shows, is actually a precursor for The Sopranos.  Where right and wrong are blurred by being true to the characters.

I would say maybe 20% of the first 2 season's episodes weren't as good as I fantasized but that means 80% were.  I was shocked at how little Ms Dipesto is really in these early episodes.  It makes more sense now that everyone was horrified when her and Herbert started getting full story lines.  Which isn't shocking anymore, cause no show is based around only 2 people.  But there are so many classic things in this early set.  The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice is still an amazing hour.  The before the credits skits are so clever and creative.  My Fair David and Knowing Her are glimpses straight into how Bruce Willis became a star.  Witness for the Execution where they share their first kiss, is filled with such passion and darkness that I see why the Emmy's were sure how to reward the show properly.  In some parts it's comedy and the next scene they say the most hated things to each other.  I know that Season 3 holds all the drama and movement of their relationship and will bring out the full blown chase scenes but season 1/2 was truly like spending a lunch with that old high school girlfriend.  It may start out a little rocky but before you know it, you both are considering that hotel that is sitting across the street from the cafe both knowing that everything is just as you left it.

 

Read my First Moonlighting Blog about the So-Called Moonlighting Curse

Listen to our Podcast about Moonlighting here.

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