I've been watching episodes on DVD recently. It still holds up well after all these years. And yeah, the show goes off the rails in the last two seasons, but there are still a few gems. Bruce and Cybill were just perfect together, and Allyce Beasley was great as the dizzy DiPesto.
I didn't know that the characters were originally modeled after Bill Murray and Jessica Lange. (Halfway through writing the actual pilot script did Glenn Caron realize Cybill was Maddie) Of course, neither Bill or Jessica would have considered a television series at that time. But you can't help imagining how a Moonlighting movie with them would have turned out.
[quote]Allyce Beasley was great as the dizzy DiPesto
Was Herbert Viola the Cousin Oliver of the show? I loved DiPesto's solo episode.
Bruce was smoking back then, then there's the lovely jazz theme song. I was obsessed with The Isley Brothers "This Ole Heart of Mine" cause of an episode that played it. God, I feel old now.
One of the most special shows in all of television. A real gem. One for the vaults.
Some favorite episodes:
- The Next Murder You Hear. One of the all-time best Dave and Maddie driving scenes. Great noir influence.
- The Murder's In The Mail: Great Dr. Seuss bit toward the end.
- The Lady In The Iron Mask: Great screwball chase at the end, better in the broadcast version. Unfortunately the music was replaced in the DVD and it's terrible.
- Money Talks, Maddie Walks: Great mythology episode. No mystery. Just builds character and relationships.
- The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice: One of the most famous episodes. Two black and white fantasies, shot on some of the last true black and white only cameras in Hollywood.
- Portrait of Maddie: Great mystery.
- Twas the Episode Before Christmas: The payoff is in the last scene. Very touching for lovers of television.
- The Bride of Tupperman: One of the best examples of Moonlighting functioning on all cylinders. Good mystery, good episode, fun chase to wrap it all up.
- Every Daughter's Father is a Virgin: CLASSIC EPISODE. No mystery. All personal stuff. A couple of HEARTBREAKING scenes. Watch this and respect Cybil Shepherd as an actress again. One of my favorites, even though it's slow slow slow.
- Sleep Talkin Guy: Very nice episode building the Maddie and David relationship.
- Camile: Whoppi Goldberg. A crazy fourth-wall-breaking romp.
- Symphony in Knocked Flat: A couple of great gags here. The final act is a bit off the rails but it's all fun.
- Yours, Very Deadly: Great all-around episode. Moonlighting on all cylinders.
- Big Man on Mulberry Street: This episode is famous for a dream ballet, but the best moment comes towards the end. Maybe the most touching Maddie / David scene of the series. A must for fans of the series.
- Atomic Shakespeare: A kid isn't allowed to stay up late to watch Moonlighting. He has to do his Shakespeare homework. So he goes upstairs and imagines Taming of the Shrew as an episode of Moonlighting. And that episode is performed in iambic pentameter. Maybe the most famous Moonlighting episode of all, and very touching for me, who watched the show as it aired as a child. A masterpiece of television, never to be duplicated.
- It's a Wonderful Job: Continuing a streak of classic, classic episodes. Maddie gets the Christmas Carol treatment. A real special episode for fans. Very touching, but also funny.
- The Straight Poop: A journalist goes behind the scenes at Blue Moon to find out what all the drama is. Mirroring the drama behind the scenes at the actual show. Classic.
The next run of episodes in the season are fine, they create a big love triangle that culminates in David and Maddie having sex. I am not a fan.
Nothing is worth watching after the season three finale. Glen Gordon Caron left Moonlighting very early into season four, and he was not proud of the episodes he did at the start of that season. They are messy, and the show was effectively over at that point.
I hope this helps some people discover the best of what this truly special show has to offer.
Another show Cybill Shepherd managed to crate with her ego.
Bill Murray was that much of an asshole?
Never has a celebrated show seemed to have gone off the rails so quickly. And Shepherd's maternity leave seemed like it was two years long.
I preferred the mysteries with the fun climaxes to the Dave and Maddy drama.
R2 I like your post, but I disagree that there's nothing worth watching after season three. Even though it had some incredibly inane moments and ridiculous scenarios, there were still some touching, well acted scenes in there.
I love this scene where they reunite after Maddie's been away for months.
It was a RIP-OFF of Remington Steele.
Glen Gordon Caron even worked at Remington Steele as a scriptwriter, before taking his concept to ABC
R7 Thanks. I'm a purist. Once Maddie started putting mouse in her hair, it's over.
R8 is right. It wasn't a rip off as much as ABC asked Glen to give them their Remington Steele. I think you'll agree that what resulted was far, far different.
The show was great the first season or two, but then got bogged down by the soap opera-ish elements of the Dave/Maddie relationship, Bruce and Cybill's real life conflict, Cybill's pregnancy, and of course endless, endless reruns. I remember the running joke back then that it was a special occasion when an episode was on that had only three previous airings.
Can't tell you how many times they broadcast the Lady in the Iron Mask episode.
"It was a RIP-OFF of Remington Steele."
Yeah, but it's SO MUCH BETTER.
R10 the pregnancy did not occur until Season 4, but you are right. Much more than the sex, it is what killed Moonlighting. She was unavailable for filming and they wound up shooting a ridiculous series of scenes at home in Chicago with her parents that they then had to write around and find a use for. A screwball comedy can survive when the will-they-or-won't-they is over. They can continue to clash as a couple. But it cannot survive several episodes in different cities.
[quote]Atomic Shakespeare: A kid isn't allowed to stay up late to watch Moonlighting. He has to do his Shakespeare homework. So he goes upstairs and imagines Taming of the Shrew as an episode of Moonlighting. And that episode is performed in iambic pentameter. Maybe the most famous Moonlighting episode of all, and very touching for me, who watched the show as it aired as a child. A masterpiece of television, never to be duplicated.
So glad to see other genuine fans here! Apologies for going all VOTN and posting every other post but this is my favorite piece of television of all time.
Once Mark Harmon showed up and Dave and Maddy had sex and then Maddy got married to that total stranger on the train, the show started circling the drain. In the space of a TV season, the show that people were all talking about in September was losing it's luster by May.
There was an unwatchable episode with just DiPesto and Bert Viola. Most of the episodes near the end were unwatchable.
The problem was again, Cybill. She couldn't have someone else get more laughs. She had to be the funny one.
Just like in the show "Cybill". She could not stand that Baranski was getting a lot of the laughs.
She never understood and embraced the talent she had. She thought she was Lucy when she was really Mary Richards.
And don't get me started on her "singing".
David: " I don't give a flying fig."
Maddie: "A flying fig?"
David: "A flying fig."
[quote]It still holds up well after all these years.
Are you joking? The show seems completely dated now and screams 80's.
Love the show.
Some other highlights
Dana Delany playing Addison's ex.
Their version of Taming of the Shrew
Great clip R7.
I am going to have to watch this show.
The humor and the style hold up week, dingbat R20.
That's WELL, not week. iPads have minds of their own when you type.
Thanks, I downloaded season 1 and 2 and am having fun. Cybill Shepherd was a knockout.
The show does indeed implode in season 4, thanks to the ham-handed efforts by the writers to work around Shepherd's pregnancy.
Maddie suddenly flips out and abandons her business just because of a month-long fling with David, whom she loves? Makes absolutely no sense, just like her impulsive marriage to a nerdy stranger she meets on a train. Shepherd said in her autobiography that she couldn't fathom why the ever-sensible Maddie Hayes would behave that way, which would be an incredibly cruel thing to do to poor David Addison.
As someone upthread mentioned, a show that has banter as its hallmark should never have separated the two leads for nearly a whole season, either. Re-watching that year, both David and Maddie are incredibly morose and sad - totally at odds with the fun, exhilarating show "Moonlighting" had been.
I think the last episode I ever watched was the season premiere of the final season when Bruce Willis played Maddie's baby in the womb- who was miscarried at the end of the episode.
Cybil was a knockout back then, R25. R26 is right about the show imploding in season 4.
When did Bruce and Cybil start hating each other? Was it during season 1 or did it grow over the years?
R30 - It started in season 1 and grew.
Cybill was a diva from the start. Bruce was grateful to have been discovered and well-liked by the cast, crew and producers. He eventually bought into his own PR and got a swelled head too but Shepherd bore the brunt of negative press and blame for the show's downfall. I have no doubt she's difficult to work with but in spite of his good guy image (at the time) I've always gotten an asshile vibe from Willis and he's acquired a Cybill-like diva reputation of his own over the years.
What diva like things did Cybill do?
It was known then that she would NEVER wear anything but nike sneakers on set. her feet are never seen because of it.
The "Gotta Dance" inspired sequence to "Big Man on Mulberry Street" with Sandahl Bergman was astonishing. Maddie's dream sequence about Dave's failed marriage and her own love for him. They kiss in the dream sequence and it made quite a splash. Bergman is great although she looks a little too much like Katey Sagal for my taste.
That's a great scene R35
I liked the Dana Delany episode more, though.
My favorite scene of the entire series was the Mark Harmon reveal just as David is about to tell Maddie that he loves her.
I remember my young gay self thinking "Oh noooo" and "Oh YEAH" at the same moment.
R56 He really was. He should have gotten a hair transplant when he started going bald.
R18 that wasn't her problem on Moonlighting. She gamely played the straight woman on Moonlighting. The problem with Cybill for that show was that she got pregnant. That fucked up all the storylines.
Anyone remember which episodes had the extended bloopers/end credits? There was a great one where Bruce and Cybill were trying on white jackets and were like "yeah, we're Don Johnson!.
Cybill is straight.
That show got tired VERY quickly. And indeed it is a dated relic of the eighties.
[quote]Are you joking? The show seems completely dated now and screams 80's.
I didn't like the show at the time--seemed forced. But now I really enjoy it for exactly the reason you mention. It takes me back.
In many ways the 1980s, though I considered them to be loathsome at the time, were years of incredible change. We went into the decade without widespread VCRs, music CDs, personal computers, cable television, and many other things people now take for granted. When I think about how different life was in the 1980s, it really does send a chill.
R61 there has to be a bigger difference between 1980 and 1989 than there was in any other decade. Except maybe 1960 -69.
[quote] that wasn't her problem on Moonlighting. She gamely played the straight woman on Moonlighting. The problem with Cybill for that show was that she got pregnant. That fucked up all the storylines.
It started before the pregnancy.
On the commentary to the "Big Man on Mulberry" episode, one of the writers or producers (I forget) noted that the last straw between Cybill and Glenn Gordon Caron was the last scene where she confronts the ex-wife who reveals to Maddie that she left David for...another woman. Cybill wanted the scene to end with Maddie's reaction shot to the news but Glenn disagreed. When Cybill insisted, Glenn finally told her that she didn't play it well - which sent Cybill into a rage. She then held up production of the subsequent episode by calling in sick.
That subsequent episode involved Dave & Maddie helping a priest who has fallen in love with a woman, and Cybill is noticeably subdued. Dave and Maddie have a huge argument about whether or not they should help the priest, and Bruce Willis does all of the arguing. This episode actually aired before the "Mulberry" episode, but I remember watching it at the time and thinking something was off with her.
Huge bitch but Glenn probably should have been smarter and filmed her reaction shot just to appease her, then left it on the cutting room floor.
Named my daughter after her character. Not really after her character, but I remember that's they first time I heard of Maddie for a nickname.
R62 very true, just look at music from the early 80s compared to the late 80s as well as fashion, the early 80s look was still 70s, then around 1983-84 everything changed and the hair got huge and everyone got glammed up
It's fun when you watch episodes of old TV shows that ran throughout the 80s like The Facts Of Life (79-88) very 70s feel it's first 4 years, then more of an 80s feel from 83-85
Then from 85-88 EXTREME 80s feel with mullets, big hair, shoulder pads and neon and pastel everywhere, even the way how the show was shot was different from the early 80s way
The 80s had big changes, though not quite as much as the 60s. Moonlighting started right in the middle of the decade.
R66, I would definitely give the edge to the 60s in terms of social change, but in terms of technological change, I think the 80s were definitely more dramatic--and it spilled over into our social lives as well, of course.
From a technological perspective, 1960 and 1978 weren't really all that different. Starting in the 80s things began to change so quickly and have not stopped since then. It's been a perpetual technological revolution.
R67 - "From a technological perspective, 1960 and 1978 weren't really all that different. "
Businesses generally did not have copier machines in 1960. A few years later, they did. Computers came to businesses soon after.
Fell in LOVE with Bruce then!
Best two eps were the "Taming of the Shrew" one and the one where they slapped each other until......"Be My Baby." Chills!
The theme song and opening is one of the best of the 80s TV shows, like Dynasty and The Golden Girls.
The theme song/opening for Seasons 1-3 was great. Hated when they did the super jazzy version in Season 4 which is the version they included on the soundtrack. But then everything about Season pretty much sucked.
I think the first two seasons were the best.
Moonlighting was one of those shows, like Miami Vice, had a tone so set by its music that you can't imagine the show without it. What would Moonlighting be without its theme song?
I think it would have been about the same without the theme song. Cybill and Bruce made and unmade the show.