Act IV, Episode #86314: Maddie & David 'Do It'
It started with a battle....
but then turned into this.....
which ended up here.
Click here for cast & executive producer comments (both before and after) about Maddie and David "Doing It". Includes insights by:
Boy: "Hey, Mom, It's Moonlighting. You know that show about the two detectives, a man and a woman...."
His Mom: "...and they argue a lot but all they really want to do is sleep together."
His Mom: "Sounds like trash to me."
~~From episode #86307, "Atomic Shakespeare"
No couple on TV ever played the "will they/won't they" game better than Moonlighting's Maddie and David. And the television watching public bought into it in droves. Was it the entertainment potential of the much-heralded, red-hot sexual chemistry between the two actors/characters on the show? Perhaps the witty, volatile and very suggestive dialogue created by the show's writers? Or maybe just the vicarious needs of the public to have a front row seat for the highly-anticipated consummation? Whatever the reason, it seemed the number one topic of discussion concerning the show was, when in the world were these two going to "get it on"? How else can you explain US magazine of February 1987 picturing Maddie and David on the front cover, with the headline screaming, "Do it, Already!"? For two full years (from March 1985 - March 1987 or all the way to the end of the third season) the show used every trick in the book to extend and prolong the sexual tension (dream sequences, parody shows, elaborate dance sequences, Shakespearean retellings, a clip show, visitations by guardian angels, etc). These allowed the audience to see some of what they wanted (passionate kisses exchanged, lovemaking, marrying, honeymooning, etc.) but without giving up the really big payoff of actual sex between Maddie and David. And so Moonlighting flirted, tempted and sparked the viewers into a near frenzy of sexual anticipation. Then it happened. At the end of "I am Curious...Maddie", the episode that aired the night of March 31, 1987, at long last and after two years of serious tease, Maddie and David hit the sheets. Over 60 million viewers tuned in for the big event.
What we saw that night, in typical Moonlighting fashion, was wildly sexy, combustible, and as worthy of the show's cutting-edge reputation, it was of course controversial. The bedroom bliss erupted out of a messy, heated argument, probably the most vicious fight the couple had had to date. Many viewers were shocked by the passion, seeing it as anything but romantic. Was the scene too violent? Was it too mean-spirited to be loving? Were they each actually excited and sexually aroused by this violence towards the other? Was this scene too adult for prime time network TV at that time? Or was this inspired, sexy TV? These were the very questions kicked around by the critics and the viewers that spring of 1987. Many of us loved it and thought it was the perfect climax (ahem, excuse the word choice....) to this battle of the sexes relationship; others were a bit more squeamish about it. This section of the site looks into the facts, opinions, and discussions that occurred surrounding this momentous television event.
Text © 2003-2004, Cindy Klauss. All rights reserved.
The Controversies, Commentaries, and Continuing Legacy
The Title Controversy
Click to view script title
|Before the episode even aired there was the controversy at the network over the title of the episode. Caron and staff had named the episode "The Big Bang" but censors at the network just wouldn't allow that. Too naughty, too crudely sexual, they thought. The episode finally aired with the title "I am Curious...Maddie" as a sly reference to the controversial Swedish film, "I am Curious...Yellow". This film was banned in the US in the mid 1960's, due to sexual content and nudity. In a way, I think that title outright proclaims sex and nudity in an "in your face" sort of way. No doubt, Caron selected that as a slap at the network for banning his other title. The original title to me is slyer with its innuendo. Sure there is the slang reference to copulation, but there is also the possibility that it is referring to the well-known creation theory. There is no mistaking that "I am Curious...Maddie" refers to pornography and nudity....but "The Big Bang" has a secondary meaning from the scientific world that could refer to something else completely wholesome. I also like how that "creation theory" reference plays off the pregnancy possibility storyline being kicked around on the show at that time so as to coincide with the real-life pregnancy of Cybill Shepherd. Interestingly enough, once the story about the title change was revealed, the fans of the series began to endearingly refer to this episode and specifically this scene as "The Big Bang." Nowadays, most aren't even familiar with the Swedish film reference ultimately used for the revised title...but all sure comprehend the slang reference to having sex in the original title.|
|Another pre-airing controversy came from the TV Guide ad that the network ran. It promised the viewers what they were going to see if they tuned in that night. "No more between the lines," the ad copy read, "tonight's between the sheets." The story here is that ABC wanted a big, big lead in share for the premiere of their new sci-fi series Max Headroom that night. In fact, this episode of Moonlighting had actually been ready to air the week before. Ads ran claiming a new episode in the continuing story line, but without a declaration of the big event. But in spite of that, the network wanted to hold back the episode one more week to use it to lead into Max Headroom. This would guarantee the viewers that airing a rerun of Moonlighting could not. So in an effort to secure this viewership, the network publicly proclaimed the mating of Maddie and David, and in a way spoiled the surprise awaiting the viewer at the end of the episode. This aggravated Caron and others associated with the show, as evidenced by this interview done a short time thereafter. ABC in essence, used Maddie and David's lovemaking to lure viewers to Headroom. However, even though the motivation wasn't the purest, the strategy worked. The ads and annoucement garnered Moonlighting its highest rating ever and certainly provided a solid lead in to the network's quirky new series. An amusing anecdote comes out of all of this from the lead actress on Max Headroom, Amanda Pays. Right after her show's debut, Ms. Pays made an appearance on a late night talk show. There she related to the host, "I met Bruce Willis the other night," and with a giggle she added, "I said thanks for leading into our show with such a great climax." The line got a big laugh; clearly nearly everyone knew exactly what she was referring to.|
The scene makes an indelible impression on the viewer, whether you find it passionate or problematic. Not only did we hear the argument and the name-calling, but we also see anger-filled seemingly hateful behavior. They were both in each other's faces -- Maddie, so livid she actually slaps David twice and would have slapped him a third time if he didn't prevent it by grabbing her wrist. Then in the next moment, they erupt into passionate lovemaking--making out, taking each other to the floor, breaking things, upturning tables, rolling around wrapped in each other's arms. Fighting, slapping and profanity that leads into rough and tumble passion--is this hot and sexy or just plain disturbing? Yet the scene isn't all rough foreplay as it segues into a very tender vignette upstairs in Maddie's bed -- two eagerly consensual people about to have serious sex with each other for the first time.
And what about the song used? Why was it selected as the soundtrack to the lovemaking? The selection went to the Ronettes 1963 pop hit Be My Baby," written and produced by Phil Spector. This song is now fairly well-known from the wide-exposure it received by its use in the film "Dirty Dancing." However, "Dirty Dancing" opened in theaters on August 21, 1987, months after "I Am Curious...Maddie" aired. So, in essence, Moonlighting re-discovered "Be My Baby" first. I feel that the song's use in this very intimate moment between Maddie and David enhanced its popularity before "Dirty Dancing" rolled it out yet again. I have to admit on first viewing of the scene, I personally was surprised at the choice. It seemed too pop-oriented and just a bit too simplistic to me. But I was wrong. I just wasn't as familiar with the song as I might have been since I was far too young back in 1963 when it had been popular to pick up the song's sexual subtext. It took me a couple of rewinds and rewatches to warm up to the song and to realize its urgent sexuality. Upon doing research, I have discovered it was a brilliant choice: a song full of confidence but also vulnerability with lyrics that proclaim public exhibition yet private intimacy. I confess I owe some of that appreciation to Salon.com's fine, intelligent study of the song. It is an emotional song about the moment a couple gives in physically to each other, with one having been resistant all along while the other has been lying in wait. I think it fits the occasion perfectly. I have had numerous people tell me that they cannot listen to this song now without thinking about this scene in Moonlighting. Whether Phil Spector realized what would happen when he granted the rights to use the song in the series, it now carries the legacy of being the song that 60 million television viewers all associate with the first time Maddie and David made love.
The Press Reaction
"Moonlighting" was such a high profile show in the press back in 1986-1988, that every nuance, every situation, every everything got reported and reported and reported. In the Hollywood press, in the foreign press, in the tabloids, and on entertainment news segments, Moonlighting and its two stars were constantly front and center. Maddie and David were the hot couple of the year and the hot topic concerning them was all about S-E-X. Whether it was the smoldering SEXual chemistry of the two leads, the battle of the SEXes theme, or more to the point, "when are these two gonna give into their SEXual impulses and have SEX?, SEX was the big buzz word when it came to Moonlighting. And since sex sells, particularly in the entertainment business, the press focused on this couple in a big and almost obsessive way. They reported every detail to the eager public, and the two stars and the show lived under a microscope during this period. The public knew that Cybill Shepherd was pregnant with twins. They had read/heard about her morning sickness and discomfort and how it was affecting the production of the show. They also had read/heard about Bruce Willis' recent skiing accident in Idaho, that left him with a broken collarbone, and unable to work for a few days. Getting this episode made and on the air, ended up being far more difficult than anyone could have ever foreseen. This only added to the fans' anxiety and anticipation. The series was in the midst of a major continuing storyline at the time, and the importance of whether a new show would be airing became even more critical than in the past. Blonde on Blonde aired on February 3, 1987. I Am Curious...Maddie aired on March 31, 1987. Between the first episode of the continuing story line until Maddie and David finally ended up in bed together, even though only four episodes were involved, it took two full months for this to all play out. The morning after show, "To Heiress Human" then took another five weeks to air. Is there any wonder the fans were in a frenzy?
There is another frequently reported story that came out of this episode, relating to exactly how the bedroom scene was filmed. Various magazines and newspapers wrote that due to Mr. Willis' broken collarbone, and due to Ms. Shepherd's difficult pregnancy, the scene was actually filmed standing up, with the bed attached upright to the wall behind them. This story just never made a whole lot of sense to me, and I always wondered if it wasn't just an urban legend or if the scene actually did take place that way. Maybe the real reason for it was much less interesting, more practical than the sensational sounding press treatment. Just recently, in an interview with Caron, I asked him about this. He put to rest my curiosity and confirmed that the scene was filmed with the bed attached vertically to the wall with the actors standing and that by his recollection this was done mostly for aesthetic reasons.
Click on a name for their comments
Webmaster, Cindy K., FL
Site Co-Editor, Diane H., PA
Vicki B., CA
Brian M., CA
NEW! A Response to Brian
Ana, age 17, NJ
Jeanette R., NE
Steve G., MD
TV Guide Viewers Letters
LA Times Letters to the Editor
But there are viewers who questioned the nature of Maddie and David's lovemaking, claiming it seemed too rough and stark to be romantic or tender. They didn't feel there was any real love shown there, and they worried that the relationship was turning out to be more about fast down and dirty sex than about love, affection and commitment. One complaint voiced by several critics was that it sure didn't help that we did not hear either character ever say "I love you" to the other. That brought several complaints from persons who wrote in commentary in various publications. I have to admit personally that this originally was my one and only complaint about the scene. I was especially aggrevated when I learned years later that in an interview published in US magazine in late 1989, Bruce Willis confirmed that David Addison did indeed say "I love you" to Maddie, but the soundtrack blaring "Be My Baby" covered up his words, so none of us got to hear him say it. To this day, I wonder who made that decision. The agony ----to not allow us to hear him say what he had been trying to say for four full episodes. Then, when he finally finds the perfect moment to say it, right before they make love for the first time, we don't even know he has said it...talk about an aborted important character moment. I will admit, however, that we do find out he said this by dialogue in the following episode when Maddie says to David, "Do you remember what you said to me last night?" David replies with complete conviction "Yes, I remember what I said. I meant it."
My point is, that the night they made love, there was a huge viewership.....more than likely there were persons watching who had never seen the show before or didn't watch regularly. Those of us who watched the show on a regular basis knew he loved her---it was those first time or occasional viewers who really needed to hear this to understand why the scene was actually quite tender and loving and not just violent and intense. However, I can say that now more recently I have come to the conclusion that covering up his line was purposeful so as to forego the obvious and force us to think about what has happened and evaluate how Maddie and David really feel about each other. She has said out loud that she loves him in that long monologue she gave to who she believed was Sam...and David has heard it and so have we. This statement was necessary since neither he or we (and possibly even she) was sure about her feelings. But we know his feelings and have known them throughout the continuing storyline, and even back further than that. And here in this scene just as we don't see the actual act of them having sex, nor do we hear him say those magic words. Yet, both of these are a given. We don't have to see or hear to know what has transpired.
Click for EW Watercooler Moments
Click for the TV Guide comments
Click for more from TV Guide
Click to read JumptheShark.com
Click to read our JTS debate
Click to submit your own JTS
Click to read other fans on JTS
And finally there is the legacy of this event. There are many individuals who believe that having Maddie and David in bed was wrong, wrong, wrong! The overwhelming opinion given was because it relieved the sexual tension, spoiled the conflict and removed the one compelling reason to watch the show week after week. The misconception of this has continued for years as the moment defined by many as the "Jump the Shark" event for the show. (To understand what "Jump the Shark" is go here and read all the many "Jump the Shark" remarks about Moonlighting.)
Unfortunately, the moment that Maddie and David landed in bed has earned the reputation as the prime time example of why you should never resolve sexual tension between two hot sexually attracted lead characters, since it "ruins the show." We personally do not believe this to be the case at all with Maddie and David, and I have argued this point before on this site, most extensively here. But for some reason, whenever "will they or won't they" discussions come up about the female and male lead on a TV series, Maddie and David are always used as examples. Maybe that is because their lovemaking was so high profile, maybe because the show got mired down in all the production problems, maybe because the press melded behind-the-scenes difficulties with on-screen presentation to the point that confusion reigned. Perhaps it was inevitable that blame was placed on the one moment that stood out in everyone's mind. Nevertheless, this became the criterion used to judge future TV romances. We have heard this example used in the Mulder/Scully "shipper" debates and in the Buffy/Angel debates; and for sure concerning even Frasier's Niles & Daphne and Friends' Rachel & Ross; you name a hot TV couple of the season, and Moonlighting is mentioned in the "will they or won't they" debate.
There is another legacy, this one quite extraordinary, an honor awarded by TV Guide magazine and talked about in several TV compilation sources. The coupling of Maddie and David that night of March 31, 1987 was one of those special events of "don't miss TV". Recently Keith, an Irish fan, emailed me to let me know that on a recent TV broadcast, this scene in Moonlighting was selected even now as one of The 100 Greatest Sexiest Moments Ever from both film & TV. And in June 1996, TV Guide published an edition that contained a list of the 100 Most Memorable Moments in TV History...and Maddie and David making love was on the list. We are talking about major memorable TV events here. And this list was put together in 1996, nearly a decade after the scene had aired and years after the show had left the air. What does this tell you?? I rest my case.
This section of the site has taken several months to put together and I could have never compiled it all without the help of several very important people. First, my site co-editor Diane Hopkins who listened to me rant about organizing this thing til ad nauseum; she also tightly edited my rambling commentary and wrote two very perceptive and intelligent pieces of her own. Next, Hazel Hart contributed in amazing ways including locating many of the press pieces found here as well as grapple with the JTS question for me. She and Vicki Briasco started an email JTS disscusion with me that flowered into the JTS debate on this site. Also thank you to each and every person who contributed their memories and thoughts for this section. It was important to me that this not just be about my and Diane's experiences and opinions, but instead to show a much wider net. And last but not least, for the serendipitous find of several of the video snippets used here in the cast interviews and the promo ads, I need to acknowledge two persons I encountered over on eBay: Judy Zedak of Alsip, IL and Stacey McMichael of Louisville, KY. Who knows why we save the things we do on videotape, but I am certainly glad these ladies did!
Text © 2003-2004, Cindy Klauss. All rights reserved.
This is not meant to violate or infringe on any copyrights.
It is just a labor of love and is for entertainment purposes only.
© 2002-2007. All rights reserved. CYber SYtes, Inc.