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STUDIO: Lions Gate
RUNNING TIME: 774 Minutes
• Memories of Moonlighting
• 4 Episode Commentaries
Almost a year ago, I reviewed the Season 1 & 2 set of Moonlighting (here) and I made the claim that it was the best show of the ‘80s. Well now the Season 3 set is here and it’s the best season of the best show of the ‘80s. You want the crazy episodes, you got ‘em. You want Dave and Maddie getting horizontal, you got it. You want DiPesto and Viola on their own adventures, you got that too. Due to Cybill Shepherd’s pregnancy with twins and Bruce Willis’ broken collar bone via skiing accident, this season was criminally shortened to just 15 episodes, and the lack of new material became a running joke throughout the year. But they packed in everything that made the show great and added new elements. Season 3 was where things were kicked up a notch…make that a couple of notches between Dave and Maddie, not the least of which was (scorn, contempt, more scorn) Sam (Mark Harmon).
Maddie: “I’m not mad at you, I hate you. I despise you, I loathe the ground under which you burrow.”
"Hi, I’m Bruce Willis."
"And I’m Cybill Shepherd."
"We just wanted to take this time to thank you for buying this Season 3 set of Moonlighting, and also to apologize for the shortened season. I mean, honestly, it wasn’t Cybill’s fault that she got knocked up by her husband of five minutes, you know, what-was-his-name."
"Yeah…and of course it wasn’t Bruce’s fault that he pulled a Sonny Bono while skiing in, where was it? Idaho? Geez, I thought only creeps and losers lived there."
"Well, I’m sure you’d like it if you tore yourself away from your important projects like Texasville, Stormy Weathers or your latest Martha movie…"
"Well, Bruce, you know not everyone can be in great films like Hudson Hawk, Breakfast of Champions or Look Who’s Talking…"
"You screwed Elvis lately, Cybill?"
"How’s Ashton doing these days, Bruce?"
Dave and Maddie are still solving cases straight out of the Twilight Zone, including a man who hires them to find his wife who’s been calling him, despite the fact he killed and buried her (The Man Who Cried Wife). There’s also the case of Yours, Very Deadly, where Maddie and Dave are hired by a woman who’s had a torrid correspondence with a man to let him know that the relationship is over. And in All Creatures Great and…Not So Great, Dave and Maddie are hired by a priest who’s developed a crush on a woman from confession who has told him she’s going to commit suicide. But while the weird cases come and go, the really big to-do in Season 3 is that David finally realizes that he loves Maddie and when he goes to do something about it, he’s waylaid by the emergence of (more scorn, more contempt, even more scorn) Sam, an astronaut and old friend of Maddie’s who’s arrived in town and set up shop in her heart (Blonde on Blonde). Their love triangle plays out in a multi-episode arc and finally ends in “the moment” that fans of the show had been waiting 2 ½ years for (I am Curious…Maddie). Also big for Season 3 was the addition of Herbert Viola (Curtis Armstrong) to the cast and the emergence of Agnes DiPesto as an even more central character. Theirs is a love that would set the heavens on fire….
“I’ll tell you what I don’t believe in, I don’t believe in wasting any
more time, I’m sick of this! Two years. Two years of ‘is you is or is
you ain’t.’ Two years –“
Maddie: “Two years of bees bee-ing and ducks ducking and a man who thinks culture is dark beer…”
"I don’t know, Mr. Tamahori, your price seems a little high for a blowjob. Nice legs, though…"
This was definitely the season that changed everything for our heroes. All of the best of what made the first two seasons memorable are here, including the weird cases and special episodes. Notable among these are the trifecta of off-the-wall concept episodes of Atomic Shakespeare, It’s a Wonderful Job and The Straight Poop. Atomic Shakespeare is the genre-bending take on "Taming of the Shrew" thanks to a kid who wants to watch Moonlighting but has to read Shakespeare instead. Dave is a hip Petruchio to Maddie’s queen bitch of the universe, Kate. In It’s a Wonderful Job, Maddie is down in the dumps over Christmas when the office is mad at her for having to work over the holidays to finish a case and her aunt, whom she didn’t make the time to see, dies. So an angel named Albert gives her the Harry Bailey mind trip and shows her what things would be like if she had sold the agency. Basically Jonathan and Jennifer Hart (Hart to Hart) take over the agency, DiPesto is a cold-blooded corporate greeting card shark, and David is nailing Cheryl Tiegs. And in The Straight Poop, Rona Barrett shows up at the agency with a camera crew to get to the bottom of a feud between Dave and Maddie and find out what happened to David’s hair.
In the latter half of the season, fans (including me) were riveted by the Maddie-Dave-(fucker) Sam love triangle. I remember being still in my formative years and taking the same gut shot Dave took in Blonde on Blonde when he was standing in the rain at Maddie’s door to confess his love for her and found (die, burn in hell, scum) Sam, who obviously just came from her bed to answer the door (Donna Dixon makes a smokin’ cameo in this episode by the way). Things with Sam and Maddie progressed to the point of a marriage proposal from Sam and things looked bad for our wisecracking hero until Sam is out of the picture and Maddie slaps Dave…and then kisses him. Clothes are shed, furniture is tossed and uglies are finally bumped. At the time, this episode got around a 40 share, which is Super Bowl type numbers today.
to Maddie after returning from vacation in Mexico and wearing a poncho
and sombrero: “This is a stick up! Give me all your clothes. And por
favor, do it slowly.”
While this was the apex of the season, it was also, however, the very beginning of the end. The once playful relationship of innuendo and witty remarks slowly devolved into weird feelings, an unexpected pregnancy, a question of parentage, a spontaneous marriage (and not to David), madness and death (okay maybe not so much the last one). The point is that the (ass pirate) Sam storyline dominated the season. Add to that the fact that there were only 15 episodes in Season 3 and 14 in Season 4, with much of that season dragged down by the 500 lb. anvil of Maddie and Dave’s relationship until the end of the show – which went out with a whimper instead of a bang. But Season 3 was where the show was still hitting on all 8 cylinders…the only problem being that it hit on all 8 for 15 instead of 22. Still, it was the best.
10 out of 10
Unfortunately, David Dunn’s jealousy of Superman’s x-ray vision got a little out of hand…
The episodes have been restored as much as possible, but they definitely show their age as there’s noticeable grain in several episodes. It was also shot in TV standard, which sucks of course. Still, Cybill Shepherd was looking mighty fine and Bruce Willis still had mighty fine hair.
6.8 out of 10
Dave: “If you’ve got to ask I must not be doing it right.”
What was great about the show was the use of music, including the musical number of Good Lovin’ in Atomic Shakespeare, the Ronettes’ Be My Baby when Dave and Maddie do the deed, and Janet Jackson’s Nasty Boys and a cool soul riff by (I’m 99% sure) Al Jarreau in the end credits to set the proper mood in the pivotal episode Blonde on Blonde. They all sound fine in Dolby Digital. What’s especially nice on this show is that these were the actual songs by the actual singers and not soulless renditions by no name singers like they had on Knight Rider (or even scarier, Dancing with Celebrities today…not that I watch that drivel…). Anybody remember when Michael would be driving in KITT and listening to the Eagles or Juice Newton or whomever, only it wasn’t The Eagles or Juice Newton or whomever? That’s strictly Coach, baby. Moonlighting was definitely First Class when it came to the tunes. Don’t take my word for it? Watch the opening of the episode, Symphony in Knocked Flat and behold a quickie cameo by the Temptations. Psychedelic Shack, baby. The musical highlight of the entire season may have been when there was a big Broadway-style dance number in Big Man on Mulberry Street which features the titular song written by Billy Joel, supposedly just for Moonlighting.
8.4 out of 10
Dave: “From the same Bureau.”
Maddie: “With the same story.”
Dave: “Looking for the same thing. Either somebody’s lying or the writers just Xeroxed the other scene.”
"Alright look, either we get the pay raises we’re looking for or I start singing Return of Bruno right here, right now…"
The special features are also good, particularly the variety of commentaries available on four episodes. Producer Jay Daniel riffs on the episode Big Man on Mulberry Street; and in a way cool move, they bring in Mark Harmon, who’s currently Mr. CBS with NCIS, to comment on the episode, Sam and Dave with creator Glenn Gordon Caron. The Straight Poop features a different kind of commentary in that five women, who were fans of the show, have worked on Moonlighting websites and who have worked on the campaign to bring Moonlighting to DVD give their take on the Rona Barrett episode. And finally, in what is a sure sign that the end times are here, Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd reunited and gave commentary on the wackiest episode of the year, Atomic Shakespeare. They’re joined by joined Daniel and Caron. But the jewel of the special features is Memories of Moonlighting, where everyone involved in the show, including Caron, Willis and Shepherd – together in one place at one time mind you – riff on their adventures and why Season 3 was the most tumultuous season during the show’s four year run.
7.7 out of 10
Good artwork in a nice glossy package. It’s presented in a light, easy to open case that’s clear and best of all, doesn’t stack the discs so you have to lift one to get to the other. Definitely liked it better than the Seasons 1 & 2 set (actually, the discs I got for that set were in individual plain wrappers with no DVD case. So a paper bag for this set would have been better). For Season 4, I hope they go with the publicity shot of Dave jumping up in the air in a tux and Maddie giving her usual regal pose.
7.8 out of 10
Doorman: “Mole on his nose?”
Maddie: “A mole on his nose.”
Doorman: “What kind of clothes?”
Maddie “What kind of clothes?”
Dave: “What kind of clothes do you suppose?”
Doorman: “What kind of clothes do I suppose would be worn by a man with a mole on his nose? Who knows?”
“Did I happen to mention, did I bother to disclose, this man that we’re
seeking with a mole on his nose, I’m not sure of his clothes or
anything else, except that he’s Chinese, a big clue in itself.”
Maddie: “How do you do that?”
Dave: “Gotta read a lot of Dr. Seuss.”
“I’m sorry to say, I’m sad to report, that I haven’t seen anyone at all
of that sort. Not a man who’s Chinese, with a mole on his nose, with
some kind of clothes that you can’t suppose. So, get away from this
door, and get out of this place or I’ll have to hurt you, put my foot
in your face.
Maddie: “Time to go.”
Dave: “Time to go.”
"Bonfire of the Vanities…hmm, not a bad read…"