The Moonlighting Argument and why it is total crap!!
(In Defense of The Big Bang)

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury....for your consideration. Sex between Maddie and David DID NOT destroy Moonlighting. How many times have you heard or uttered yourself "they can't do that on such and such show--look what happened to Moonlighting?" And usually this statement is marched out concerning a TV couple with UST or great sexual chemistry approaching the realm of possibility of having sex. Want to enflame a true blue Moonlighting fan--use this in a discussion and watch the fur fly?! Here's why: to single out this one event as the root cause of the failure of the show in the fifth season and the explanation for its waning popularity is too simplistic and is a form of scapegoating. Blaming sex is sensational and an easy out. If you want a more realistic idea of the actual situations, try some of these on for size:

1. Following the spectacular third season, the fourth season was forced to take the storyline into a phase of separation of Maddie and David because of the inability to have the two leads (Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis) in the same place at same time to film a complete episode together. This was due in large part to:

  • Cybill Shepherd's difficult pregnancy with twins which forced her to not be available for shooting from July 1987 - January 1988.
  • Bruce Willis's film commitments which made it impossible for him to reschedule his time to fit Ms. Shepherd's work schedule during summer hiatus so no scenes she filmed in the early part of the summer could include him. And then when he returned in late summer to begin the fourth season shooting on schedule, she was physically unable to be on set. Then once she gave birth in early October 1987, she still was away from set, as her maternity leave lasted until mid January 1988.

2. The solution forced on the show because of Ms. Shepherd's pregnancy (and how to have episodes when half your team can not be present) caused several unpopular storylines to occur and alienated many of the long term fans. The fourth season caused fans to start grumbling about the direction of the show because of the forced separation of Maddie and David. Maddie Hayes left David Addison and Blue Moon Investigations and went home to her parents in Chicago for half the season. David Addison was left alone to handle the agency and his broken heart. Much of the fourth season was very dramatic and much darker and sadder than the previous three seasons, and this began a trend of alienating viewers who were used to the flirty, funny, outrageous antics of Maddie and David.

3. And then in mid January 1988 when finally Ms. Shepherd was back on set full time and Mr. Willis had completed filming Die Hard and was back onset too, the show was only able to get 3 episodes completed with Maddie and David before the writers' strike hit. The WGA strike of 1988 shut down all TV production for nearly half a year. This couldn't have happened at a worst time for Moonlighting as it had just gotten its team and momentum back only to have it come to a screeching halt again. Once ML was off the air from March 1988 until almost the end of the year due to the strike, it NEVER regained its audience. Too much time had passed. The fans were so frustrated already, that the strike was the final straw for most.

4. And to add even more separation, due to the success of the show, many of the writers, cast and crew became in big demand for other projects. Therefore, many of the creative minds were hired away or left for periods to do other projects. Besides Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd, this included creator and executive producer Glenn Caron, as well as many of the writers, producers, etc.

5. The show was very time demanding and stressful for the cast and crew. Most scripts came down late and nearly everything was last minute and done under pressure. The cast and crew worked ungodly long hours under constant deadline pressure. Is it any wonder that tension and turmoil were standard operating procedure for the show? After a period of time, all this stress caused major disturbances in the team that created ML; these disturbances compounded problems for the network. And problems for the network result in ultimatums and stringent decisions being forced on the persons responsible for the series. Due to all this turbulence and well-publicized difficulties, the creative VIP of the show, Glenn Caron, was forced out in the summer of 1988 right around the time the strike was over and right when all the tv shows were going back into production once again for the delayed fall season. When Caron departed, so did many of the original writers. The show never recovered from losing its creative center, and the fifth season was a shell of the show's former glory and the ratings showed it. The fifth season seemed to the fans to be centered around the alienation of Maddie and David from each other, and this just further disappointed fans, who lost interest.

Basically I believe that what happened was a re-focus of the show AWAY from the personal relationship between the two characters which alienated the core audience who watched for that aspect (what, do you seriously think we were watching for the mysteries and cases!!??) and that turn in the show was not caused by the fact that they had sex or continued to have a physical was because external forces caused the show to go in this direction and those forces were cast, crew and network driven. The timing of these fractioning elements just happened to occur a short time after Maddie and David had sex BUT WERE NOT CAUSED BY THAT....and hence merely by close proximity but not by logic, the act has erroneously gotten all the blame.