Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Moonlighting Seasons One & Two: Classic Episodes, Part 4 of 5

Two more good ones from Moonlighting reviewed.

Season Two (continued):

• “The Bride of Tupperman” (airdate: 1/14/86) ***
Addison watches The Bride of Frankenstein in his office at the end of a lazy Friday, giving some audio commentary on the Monster’s woes. Maddie wants to take off early on this particular Friday, prompting David to wonder why: and leading them to discuss a date, but it doesn’t happen, as duty calls. The episode’s plot revolves around a 39-year-old man’s desire to hire Maddie and David to find a woman— only it’s a possibly non-existent one: he wants them to find him a dream mate, a la a dating service. A perfect Moonlighting premise: David brings in his version of the dream mate and Maddie hers— with the expected differences. Most fun is the approach the two take in finding the woman: both finding it impossible (at first). The episode does offer some real discussion of what men and women want (and the conundrum of what looks good on paper versus real world expectations and desires). Funny moment when David supposedly uses his investigative background to open a door with Maddie’s shoe. Quick Moonlightingesque wrap-up of the mystery (Maddie: “When did you find all this out?”/David: “During the commercial.”) features a wild, funny chase through a hospital.

• “In God We Strongly Suspect” (airdate: 2/11/86) *** 1/2
Maddie and David talk directly to the screen in the kill-time opener in which they discuss a failed 3-D episode (Moonlighting had actually planned to do this—series creator Glenn Gordon Caron later did do a Medium episode in 3-D as a make-up session). Another great Moonlighting opener follows in which a Harry Houdini-like accident during a magic show of the “Great Kandinisky” [also spelled Kandinski during the episode!] ends with a distinct punctuation of that wonderfully familiar “ding” of the elevator at the Blue Moon building. Maddie finds the office empty and then a rare moment occurs in TV— a Beatles song is actually used well (“Happy Birthday”). Continuing the breaking of the fourth wall, the episode features a classic pull-in (during Maddie’s flying fig speech) in which the two characters both address the audience. The Houdini reference continues: the plot of this episode is that Mrs. Kandinsky hires Maddie and David to watch her husband’s body, since, as a purveyor of the occult, he had threatened to kill her after he died. What follows, could qualify as a Moonlighting Halloween episode— even if it did originally aired in February. What follows is a fun, interesting mystery, with some funny lines throughout (Maddie: “And wipe that stupid grin off your face.” David: “This happens to be the smartest grin I own.”/”Ceased to be deceased”, etc.). Cute scene also when Maddie visits an old magician named Abby Cadabra: magic in itself. The meat of the episode comes out of left field but somehow fits: the God discussion— brilliantly done. This is absolutely why Moonlighting is one of the great series of all-time. When do TV shows get into discussions of theology amidst comic romps? The show ends up being mostly about Maddie’s doubts and David’s belief in God, than anything else. The topic ends on an interesting note, in terms of both character development and what thoughts the viewing audience might have.

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