Saturday, July 26, 2008

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

Two of the very best episodes of Moonlighting played at the end of season two, reviewed below.

Season Two (continued):

• “Every Daughter’s Father Is A Virgin (airdate: 2/18/86) ****
This episode opens with Maddie and David addressing the camera to read viewer mail, all about how they should kiss already— it ends up in the air again, of course, but it’s a cute “filler.” Funny Blue Moon office opening that only needs David to be disguised as a priest to keep the comedy ball rolling. We’re introduced to Maddie’s parents— in the form of Robert Webber and Eva Marie Saint— who are in L.A. for a wedding. Moonlighting throws its audience another curveball with a highly dramatic story in which Maddie's mother confides in her that she suspects infidelity and David agrees to follow Maddie's father to prove her “wrong.” Sequence in which David tails Mr. Hayes is well played, nicely scored to The Temptations’ “Papa was a Rolling Stone.” David has a lot of one-liners to balance out this episode (“I wasn’t even in town that month.”/ “Like I always say, if you can’t agree, disagree.”/ “Alright, then it’s Oedipie.”/ “Your wish is my demand.”) David’s treatise on justified dishonesty is hilarious (“the turkey tastes great Aunt Sophie… the factory just isn’t the same without you cousin Eddie.”) At the centerpiece of the episode are Cybil Shepard and Robert Webber’s scenes together which are heartbreaking. Eva Marie Saint has one nice, memorable speech (“It rains, and it stops, and the sun comes out again.”) There's even a funny reference to Maddie’s door slamming. Not a sour note throughout (except perhaps a weak tag), and if it’s not a “fun one” that you’d want to frequently return to, it’s a significant episode in the Moonlighting oeuvre.

• “Camille” (airdate: 5/13/86) ****
Title Card: "1. Here Comes the Bride" as the soundtrack blares: “Devil with the Blue Dress” and Whoopi Goldberg enters frame. It’s nonstop from there and is possibly my all-around favorite episode of Moonlighting (save for the offbeat "Atomic Shakespeare"). The plot surrounds Camille Brand (Goldberg), a small time hustler who accidentally thwarts the assassination of a senator and becomes an instant celebrity, prompting David to hire her for her publicity value to Blue Moon Investigations. David Paymer plays the usual lackey, Judd Nelson plays the dirty cop that wants to blackmail Camille for a piece of the money she’ll get due to her new found fame, and Edie McClurg has a cameo as a chatty woman getting her hair done (“I had this dream last night... about this man with the longest tongue you’ve seen and he could breathe through his ears.”) Goldberg, in an Emmy-nominated performance, offers both laughs and pathos as the shyster-with-a-heart-of-gold; Judd Nelson is great as the oily fortune hunter. Idea of David holding an ice cream as he gets off the elevator in one scene is a funny bit. Although Camille lectures Maddie and David: “Who I am and what I do is take people for a ride. And you two have been rode,” you know she doesn’t mean it. The best of the best crazy chases and finales— as only Moonlighting could get away with [then and now] (and one last brilliant cameo that I won’t reveal). A sexual-tension-filled last few minutes had legions of fans tuning in for season three.

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