Night Courtin’ – Episode 1
There’s a pretty common feeling I get whenever reading or hearing from TV on DVD addicts about the shows they watch. It’s often blah blah blah The Wire. Or Nip/Tuck this, Supernatural that. But I felt the need to go back a little. To remember that while we may be in a “golden age” of television, there was TV before 2003. So what show do I pick to represent this quest into slightly-older TV shows? Night Court of course!
Now I guess you’re feeling the need to know what has made me interested in Night Court in particular. “Why that show?” is what you ask. “Why not go back and watch…The Wonder Years or something? I feel that Night Court has made its legacy clear in a lot of modern shows I watch. I remember during the particular South Park episode “Roger Ebert Should Lay Off The Fatty Foods” that Cartman referenced Night Court in his Cheesy Poofs theme song. I believe the exact lyric was “I’m talking Night Court in its fifth season laaaaaaaaaaaaaame!!!!”. And the last season of 30 Rock featured an episode that was a Night Court reunion. Obviously there was the inherently funny gimmick of having a cast reunion of that show. The joke is in the complete randomness. But still, I assumed that Night Court had a major influence on 30 Rock. And to me that’s a pretty awesome thing. 30 Rock is one of the few shows that consistently makes me laugh out loud multiple times with every episode. And there is another reason, one that made me the most interested…
I have always been intrigued by this man since hearing his commanding, haunting and deep voice during the bookends of both versions of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Hearing this man’s voice was something I needed to do more of. And when I did some research, I saw that he won four consecutive Emmy awards for his role in Night Court. I simply needed to see this show.
So enough with the foreplay. On to actually what I think of the show. Well, having just watched the pilot episode, I…enjoyed it. Nothing mindblowing. On one-hand it feels rather typically sitcom-ish. I’ve been so spoiled by modern laugh-track free sitcoms such as the aforementioned 30 Rock that I was convinced almost before hand that it would be a comedy shot like a drama. No forced “hee-hee-ho-haw-he-ho-haw-he-he-ho-haw-he-ha”. But as the opening second played out before my eyes, I knew what I was in for. My heart sank a little. But I kept watching. And I liked it.
I mentioned that the show was a pretty typical sitcom. But that’s not quite giving it enough credit. The actual plot of the show is pretty interesting. Handling something so bizarre yet still often based in the dark areas of crime. The pilot episode deals with a woman shooting her husband after catching him with a prostitute. The way it’s handled is pretty silly. But I see potential. I really do.
Now I want to talk about the actors in the show. Well, really only two. I initially thought that Harry Anderson, the top-billed star of the show was actually Dana Carvey. But as the show went on I realized that he was actually a Dana Carvey/Ted Danson mutant formed in a lab somewhere. Mostly likely New Mexico. And Larroquette…awesome. He completely lived up to my expectations. The guy’s timing is awesome. And the way he completely tones down any potential buffoonery yet while still remaining hilarious helps the show’s somewhat realized attempt at being based in reality.
So I’m excited to check out the rest of the show. If you’re still reading, thank you. You’ve clearly put up with a lot of weirdness from me. When I posted on Twitter about this idea I never actually thought that I would do it. But here we are.
Oh this show was a favorite of mine through the 80’s. Not sure it is something that holds up terribly well today, but I look back on a few episodes and still laugh.
It was mindless comedy, sometimes at it’s finest, sometimes not so much.
Too often it tried to be a little something it wasn’t and like all sitcoms that try their hands at the “very special episodes” fell flat on its face.
Still, when they just hold a fun house mirror to society they never missed the mark.
(and Larroquette… the true star.)
I actually saw John Larroquette at the airport back in the 90’s. Does that make your head explode? No? Then how about this- I got bunched up on a bus ride to the plane with him and his family and, the weirdest thing of all, the in-flight movie was “Madhouse”, starring Kirstie Alley and John Larroquette!!!
-Barry “I Once Met John Larroquette” Wurst