Moonlighting With
Moonlighting on the Webr
The home page graphic of Moonlighting Web Pioneers and the Aug/Sept 2002 Featured Fans of the Month, Brian Madsen & Diane DeMelo.
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Featured Fans

This month's selection is an homage of sorts, a chance to recognize the founders of the online Moonlighting Fan Community. These two individuals, Brian Madsen and Diane DeMelo, are who are largely responsible for setting up the original Moonlighting fan site: Moonlighting on the Web.

They are also who created & continue to maintain the Moonlighting Discussion List (MOONLIGHTING-L@LISTSERV.AOL.COM) where most of the daily community activity continues to take place. In honor of them and their pioneering efforts, they have been selected our Featured Fans for August/September 2002.

~~Cindy K.

Brian MadsenBrian Madsen
Bellevue, Washington

Occupation: Software Development Engineer

Q: How long have you been a "Moonlighting" Fan?

A: Since the original airing of the fourth season. Yes, it's true: I discovered it -- and fell in love with it -- *after* Maddie got pregnant. I know that that makes me an oddball, but it's the truth.

Q: Describe how, when and why you got involved in Moonlighting on the Web.

A: In about 1995, when Netscape and other web browsers made the World Wide Web a household term, I decided it was about time to start teaching myself HTML. And what better subject to build a set of web pages around than Moonlighting? I had been collecting data on the episodes and the music for a while, and felt that it made logical sense to use that as the basis for my new interest in web page design.

At about the same time, Diane was creating web pages of her own, and was including links from her pages to mine. I was honored. I contacted her and suggested that we work together, and the rest is history.

Q: What kind of reception and feedback have you gotten from the site and mail list?

A: Regarding the web pages: I get mail from people all the time. Most commonly, they want help acquiring copies of episodes, and by far the most common request is for Atomic Shakespeare. Second most commonly, I get suggestion for additional information to include on my pages, especially identifications of music or other references that I wasn't previously aware of. Third most commonly, I get email from countries where Moonlighting is being aired in non-English languages; people tell me that Moonlighting is airing there, what its name is in that language, and so forth. And finally, I get lots of people who just say, "Thanks for a great website." It's very gratifying to get that kind of a response from people. All of the email I've received has been very positive and encouraging and enjoyable, and I'm very glad to receive it.

Regarding the mailing list: Every day, I see lots and lots of really meaningful and insightful commentary on the show. The mailing list is not a lot of idle chatter. It is thoughtful in every sense of the word. Every day, I continue to be amazed both that there's this much insight to be shared about a show that's more than a decade old, and that the show has captured the imagination of so many insightful and intelligent fans, even after being off the air for so long. With rare exception, the fans of the show on the mailing list are bright, considerate, intelligent, thoughtful, and have good insights into what made the show great, and I am continually amazed at their wit and wisdom.

Oh, also regarding the mailing list: thanks to that list, I have had the rare privilege of exchanging emails with a number of people who were connected with the show, including Curtis Armstrong, Dan FitzPatrick, and Karen Hall.

Q: What is your favorite episode and why?

A: First favorites are a tie between Dream Sequence and Daughter's Father.

Second favorites are a tie between Big Man and Shakespeare.

Lots of third favorites; too many to mention.

Dream Sequence is a masterful work of art. This episode simply has everything -- great sexual tension, great interaction between David and Maddie, witty dialogue with insightful pop-culture references. This is everything that made Moonlighting great, wrapped up in one package.

Daughter's Father moves me to tears every time I watch it. It is the single most emotional episode of them all. When Moonlighting wants to tug at my emotions, it never manages it more completely than it does here.

The reason I can't pick just one of these two as a favorite is because one of them appeals to my intellect, and one appeals to my heart. I can't choose between those two. I really need to have two favorite episodes in order to capture what Moonlighting means to me.

Big Man is great in every way, and of course that great dance number is its central showpiece. That dance routine is a great way to tell a story in an original and unconventional way, and I admire it for what it achieves. This story is also full of emotion and pathos, and I adore it for the way it accomplishes that.

Atomic Shakespeare is of course the best-known episode of all of them, and for good reason. As you've noticed, I'm much more drawn to Moonlighting's dramatic episodes than its comedic ones, but the comedy here is just so perfect that it has to be included near the top of my list of favorites.

Q: If you could have had the final episode end any way you wanted, what would that have been?

A: Hate me for saying it if you must, but I *like* Annie. I know that that puts me in the minority too. (Maybe it has something to do with the fact that the actress shares my last name. <g>)

I really wish that we had had time to develop the Annie storyline into what it could have been. Clearly it was intended to be a mirror of the Sam storyline, and I wish that it had been allowed to become that, but we didn't have enough time to see that develop.

If we had, I'm sure that David and Maddie would have faced each other at the end of the Annie story arc, and pointed out to each other that they had each been through very similar experiences: in each case they had been presented with someone who ought to have been perfect for them, and who indeed ought to have been more ideal for them than David was for Maddie or Maddie was for David, but in each case they rejected that possibility against their own better judgment to be with each other. That realization would have led to more arguing and more self-evaluation (and bantering evaluation of each other) --- all of which would have been witty, insightful, trenchant, and well-written -- and would have finally led them to conclude -- and admit to themselves and to one another -- that they were more important to each other than anything else in the world, and so, despite the challenges and the frustrations, they would do whatever it took to build a relationship upon that realization.

Lunar Eclipse could then have kept its best features -- Bert's and Agnes's marriage, the episode-clip montage, and the dismantling-the-set scenes -- yet, this way, those would have been due to the fact that the series doesn't need to continue anymore. David and Maddie have found themselves in each other, and so ABC is dismantling the sets because the show isn't necessary anymore; it has served its purpose of bringing them to a wholeness and a centeredness that they couldn't have achieved without it. Heck, you could even keep the scene with "Walter Bishop as Cy", except that when he says, "You couldn't keep falling forever; you had to land someplace," it would mean something very different. This way, it would mean, "You had to land, and this is where you landed; isn't it wonderful?" It would have been a truly great series finale, instead of the funny-but-bittersweet ending that it was.

Q: Are you actively involved in many of the other online "Moonlighting" fan activities?

Yes to the mailing list, but to be honest, I only read about half of the posts.

No to the Reunion Campaign. As I've told you, I am just too skeptical to believe that it has a chance of success. I wish you the best of luck with it, but I just don't share that vision that you have.

I do not read or write fan fiction. I keep thinking I should check out the Virtual Seasons, because people keep raving about them. One day I will. But I haven't yet. I don't begin to pretend that I have what it takes to write a good fan fiction episode!!

No to other forums, clubs, or web sites. Every once in a while I check out what other web sites exist, and I try to link to them whenever it's appropriate to do so, but that's about it.

Q: Why is this show so special to you?

A: - The razor-sharp dialogue.

- David's great jokes. (Just today, I was at a water park with my kids. The ride we were on started up, and my son said, "We're moving." And I said, "Do we have to? All my friends go to this school!" He laughed. I didn't tell him where I stole that joke from. <g>)

- The brilliant way that David and Maddie represent two sides to difficult questions (e.g. euthanasia in Witness for the Execution, religious belief in In God We Strongly Suspect).

- The raw emotions -- happiness, sadness, and many more -- that David and Maddie evoke in me.

- The unconventional storytelling (e.g., David and Maddie talking to the camera, referring to themselves as television characters, using black and white film or dance or pop-culture references (e.g. The Honeymooners, etc.) to tell their stories).

- Brilliant episodes which, taken individually and by themselves, transcend what television usually offers -- I'm thinking especially of Dream Sequence, Big Man, Shakespeare, and Womb.

That's what occurs to me off the top of my head. I don't really know if that's a complete answer. Moonlighting is brilliant, and I adore it. I'm not sure I know exactly why. These answers get me started, but I don't think they are a complete answer.

   Diane DeMeloDiane DeMelo
Taunton, Massachusetts

Occupation: Instructional Technology Coordinator at Wheaton College, Norton, MA

Q: How long have you been a "Moonlighting" Fan?

A: I didn't discover Moonlighting until the middle of Season 2. I was 10 years old at the time and I thought it was just a great show--plus I instantly fell in love with David Addison (Bruce Willis).

Q: Describe how, when and why you got involved in Moonlighting on the Web.

A: My good friend, Larry Hardman, and I had worked collaboratively on another web site for USA Cable Network's, Silk Stalkings. Larry, who I met online via the Silk Stalkings mailing list in 1995/1996 shared an interest for another TV program, "Moonlighting". We had joked about creating a ML site...but we were both busy contributing to the Silk Stalkings website that I had created at the time. Then in 96/97, bit by bit, we created "Moonlighting, on the Web". I convinced a fellow Silk Stalkings fan to "convert" and sent her all the Moonlighting episodes. She had her own ML mini marathon and helped create 90% of the FAQ, so many thanks to Stacey Gombar. But it was Larry who convinced me to go about it...I was still developing my web skills at the time. We had decided to create a Moonlighting Mailing List with the help of AOL's "give back to the net" program at the time. Larry was my list co-owner and moderator because I was busy with finishing up one degree and beginning another. Larry passed away in 2000 from Cancer. I am ever grateful for him, his friendship, and his passion for helping me create Moonlighting, on the Web. (Larry was disabled with M.S. and therefore did not work).

What kind of reception and feedback have you gotten from the site and mail list?

Nothing but positive comments from fans all over the world!

Q: What is your favorite episode(s) and why?

A: "Brother, Can you Spare a Blonde" (the jealousy that David feels when his brother comes to towns and spends a lot of time with Maddie; it was just a clever and witty episode that exposes David's vulnerability and passion for Maddie) & "It's a Wonderful Job" (Maddie's had it with the agency and with life in general...just a well done episode that also exposes Maddie's vulnerable nature--and makes her appreciate what she has!)

Q: If you could have had the final episode end any way you wanted, what would that have been?

A: David and Maddie walk off hand in hand into the sunset. We won't really know what will happen but we can only imagine they'll always be together.

Q: Are you actively involved in many of the other online "Moonlighting" fan activities?

A: I'm afraid to say that my involvement is limited right now. I will surf the various ML websites and I'm very pleased at what other fans have been doing. It's great to see so many people passionate about a wonderful show. What I need to add to my site, at some point, is various Moonlighting related links to other fan sites.

Q: Why is this show so special to you?

A: It just is--the chemistry between the two stars is what really got me to watch. I mean, after all I was ten years old! My mother forbid me to watch the show because she thought it was adult-theme oriented. I snuck in a peek any chance I could. The banter, the lines, everything about the show was just right. It is witty, honest, hilarious and serious at times--it is all these elements that make it special to me.

In Memoriam
Larry Hardman, 1950-2000

Larry Hardman and his dog Chief, Moonlighting Web Pioneers
"Moonlighting" Web Pioneer, Larry Hardman of Clawson, Michigan, with his dog Chief

In the words of Diane DeMelo: "What can I say about Larry? He was a great man. He truly was. His death came as a complete shock to me. He never told me he was dying of Cancer. I learned from his sister, who emailed all his pen pals. I was heart broken. There were so many things I never got to say to Larry. He was a big "Moonlighting" fan. We shared the duties of the website at the time. Larry did more of the list management while I had limited time due to going to grad school. He did that without hesitation and he loved talking with the fans."



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