Moonlighting With
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Comments about "The Big Bang"

No other show in the history of television has been as witty, funny, romantic, steamy, and well written as Moonlighting. Despite set backs such as the pregnancy of its star, Cybill Shepherd, to a writer's strike which prolonged repeats, to controversy based on the characters' "Big Bang" in season three, the show managed to rough through five seasons and successfully create a cult following. The fans who have carried over into the next century all wait in anticipation for Moonlighting to return in DVD format- unedited and looking just way we remember them.

As someone who watched the show as a young adult in the mid 1980s, I remember tuning out of the show once the leads had sex and began a relationship. I suppose as a 13 year old boy, I was in it for the wacky dialogue, camera asides, and hilarious chase scenes at the end of each episode. Since I was a pupil of the "David Addison School of Life", I was taking notes on developing my sense of humor and cavalier outlook on life so the changes in season four to a more serious and adult-like format on the show pushed me away. In retrospect, it pushed everyone I knew away. My mother, a true fan, who never missed it on Tuesday nights told me she didn't like Mark Harmon and she was disappointed after seeing him stick around for those four episodes. In school, the girls talked about Moonlighting each week, but when season four began even they had lost interest. Everyone complained about repeats as well. At that time, I can recall the reason everyone lost interest was the same as mine- they all preferred the sexual tension, the mouthy dialogue, the great cases, and the wonderful chase scenes. No one I knew personally thought them sleeping together was a good idea, yet I do know that a significant amount of the fans (known as shippers) did want to see it. It seems as season three came to a close, and Mark Harmon came into play, people were saying, "uh, oh, there's a new direction here and I don't like it. It's getting serious now and it shouldn't go that route".

So now it's 1999 and Bravo is airing Moonlighting again. I hadn't seen the show since early Season Four, but I did want to start taping them remembering how good they were- at least to that point. I bought myriad blank tapes and found they were doing a marathon one night in which I got a full tape filled with season one episodes. Finally, I had them all on a span of over 13 VHS tapes. Recently, I have had much time on my hands so I've watched them starting from the pilot, which I own on DVD, to the final episode, "Lunar Eclipse". Well, I guess as a person gets older they see things in a different way. Me being more than double the age that I first saw the show, I understood more of the adult themes and jokes as well as developed praise for the acting. Also, my views on the last two seasons have changed and I like them a lot because the drama involved with the romance has happened to me in a similar way so I could relate to David's anguish through most of the fourth year.


Ok, now we get to the fun stuff. First, as a man, I will voice my opinion of the BIG BANG episode. I like the whole Sam trilogy more now than I ever did. I think it was nicely written and the ending was what I would expect it to be. I liked the build up, the dialogue was exceptional- "I'm sick of this- four years of is you is or is you ain't!" That was classic. I found the scene being as passionate as it was to also be well acted. The Sam episodes were good, and I think the public was ready to see the two leads sleep together. The seriousness of David's jealousy over Sam's affections was touching and the fight in the garage was cleverly done. As a final note on "I Am Curious... Maddie", I think they did it the right way. I don't believe it to be overdone or hokey. In all, the BIG BANG scene and the episodes that led up to it were great.

Now, let's focus on the morning after ("To Heiress Human"). I cringe when I hear Maddie wake up and say "this was a mistake-it wasn't meant to be". That just kills the mood. David is convinced (as are the shippers in the audience) that what happened was just and that a relationship should be attempted. After all, what was all that back and forth lusting for to being with? I guess everyone was wondering why Maddie was all of a sudden distant and unsure. It does suit her character, though. The whole "pact" thing was bad writing in my opinion. It really ruined everything we had seen in the episode before causing turmoil and too much unneeded drama between Maddie and David. Everyone has to ask, "why is this getting complicated now? Maddie has serious issues."

As season four starts, the drama gets, well, more dramatic when Maddie up and leaves for Chicago because she's confused and has to get away. What happened to the Moonlighting everyone loved the first three years? As I said previously most of the people I knew, including myself, loved the show for it's humor, camera asides, chases, sexism, and weird cases. By this point, we are seeing less and less of each trait and more flat out soap opera. Granted, there is a population of shippers who probably hold season four as their favorite, but I don't or ever have known a shipper personally so to me I thought the show worked better with the traits that were so prominent in the first few seasons. Don't get me wrong, I understand there were complications with Cybill's pregnancy and other little set-backs so I can see why adjustments had to be made with the relationship, but I still think the show was taking a major turn for the worse at that point.

Now here is where I become a hypocrite. Based on all this negative palaver I just ran on about, I like the fourth season a lot. I can't quite explain why. I think it's because, granted, they were going to change the format some that they did it the right way. I always liked to see David's more serious side and it was "gelling" in this season. As an adult, I like the writing, the dialogue, and to top it all off Bruce's acting is top notch. His heartbroken David is lost, a little confused as to what he should do, and even letting things go to pot, but he still has the audiences sympathies. Although, I think this makes Maddie look like a real piece of dirt as a person, it was neat to see how cool and mature David played things on her return from Chicago.

~~Steve L. Greenfeld, Baltimore, MD

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