LIST OF ESSENTIAL "MOONLIGHTING" EPISODES
Here is your guide to perhaps the best television series of our lives. Not yet available on Netflix streaming, but easy to buy on DVD or just stream on YouTube or elsewhere.
- •"Atomic Shakespeare" (S3, ep. 7)A kid isn't allowed to stay up and watch Moonlighting because he has to do his Shakespeare homework. So he imagines Taming of the Shrew as an episode of Moonlighting. And the *entire thing* is done in iambic pentameter. A lot of us writers were that kid, and got into tv out of hope of writing something, someday, half this good.
- •"Big Man On Mulberry Street" (S3, ep. 6)This is a weird episode, and in a lot of ways, not a great one. But it features an extended dream ballet directed by Stanley Donen, of Singin' In the Rain and Funny Face fame. Not too shabby for network tv. Further, it has one of the best monologues from Maddie where, bathed in shadows and moonlight, the mask slips and her feelings for David ever-so-subtly reveal themselves.
- •"It's a Wonderful Job" (S3, ep. 8)Moonlighting was certainly not the first, or last, show to do its take on A Christmas Carol. But its take is uniquely funny and emotional, and also, features Cheryl Tiegs.
- •"Camille" (S2, ep. 18)This season 2 finale is famous for Whoopi Goldberg's guest staring role, written at her request because she was a fan of the show. For a show that always ended with a crazy chase, this one takes the cake, with a fourth wall breaking ride on a golf cart through Fox's backlot. But stay for the tag in the parking lot. It's one of the best Dave & Maddie moments of the series.
- •"Every Daughter's Father Is A Virgin" (S2, ep. 14)An episode built around an inversion of a classic saying, with no case in sight, just a woman having a crisis when she sees her parents' marriage dissolving in front of her. Maddie's devastation and her eventual reconciliation with her father will make you respect the fuck out of Cybil Shepherd as an actress, if you didn't already.
- •"Money Talks, Maddie Walks" (S2, ep. 3)This is what X Files fans would call a Mythology Episode. Maddie, forced by an embezzler to go into business as a private detective, tracks her thieving accountant to Buenos Aires, where he has used her and other clients' money to open a casino. The money is on the table but the highest stakes, as always, are emotional. Plus Maddie's gown will remind you to LIVE.
- •"The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice" (S2, ep. 4)Honey -- they did an episode in black and white. And they shot it on the last black and white cameras left in Hollywood. On film. How many times can this show make history? Maddie and David hear a tale of murder in 1940s Hollywood and each imagine the tale from different points of view.
- •"The Next Murder You Hear" (S1, ep. 4)Moonlighting's most special episodes tend to be ones that threw out the formula; but others, like this one, are just great standalone episodes of television. The case sends Maddie on a truly moving journey of introspection into her loneliness, and flexes the show's film noir muscles that would soon become its signature. Plus, Maddie and David's argument over whether she is "repressed or obsessed" is a series highlight.
- •"The Straight Poop" (S3, ep. 9)Moonlighting was a mess behind the scenes, and everyone in America knew it. So they did a behind the scenes episode, staring the characters (not the actors) discussing the drama. They didn't just break the wall, they framed it and hanged it on itself. In 1987.
- •"'Twas the Episode Before Christmas" (S2, ep. 10)Moonlighting did Christmas right. But the best part comes at the end, when the entire cast and crew (and their families) fill the soundstage to sing Christmas carols under artificial snowfall.