Season 3 of Moonlighting was first aired back in 1987.
*MOONLIGHTING AS WHAT?*
For those of you who have never heard of Moonlighting (and I suspect that be MANY of you), it was a show that aired for 5 seasons starting in 1985 starring Cybill Shepherd as Maddie Hayes and Bruce Willis as David Addison. Some of you might not have realised Bruce Willis probably got his break in acting with this show which was a mix of bittersweet romance, comedy and drama and ran for over 65 episodes.
*WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT THEN?*
Maddie Hayes is a former fashion model whose accountant basically embezzled all her earnings so she ends up with just a detective agency which had just been bought as a tax write-off. David Addison runs the detective agency and by the time Maddie comes on board the agency really hasn't been doing well. David persuades Maddie to let him become a partner and make the business a success together. Anges DiPesto is the rather eccentric receptionist who has an on/off relationship with Herbert Viola who joins the agency as a temp during this season. Maddie and David have some physical chemistry between them in the first two seasons but it's season 3 in which things start to hot up properly between the business partners.
The show's synopsis from the back of the DVD includes: "Every single day, the Blue Moon Detective Agency deals with suspicious acts, jealous lovers and devious plots - and that's just what happens at the office!"
*EPISODES AND ANALYSIS*
Season 3 contains 15 episodes which last just under 45 minutes each. Even though each episode generally has a story of its own often to do with a case or cases the Blue Moon Agency are working on, there's always the underlying back story of David and Maddie's feelings for each other which are not openly discussed but are obvious the their staff and to us the audience. David and Maddie often clash when it comes to dealing with the outcome of cases that they're working on with Maddie being quite set in her ways and David sometimes more easily able to see the big picture.
Shepherd's character Maddie comes across as rather prim and proper at times which is funny considering she was previously a successful fashion model. She has a love-hate relationship with her business partner David and is often seen trying to force her opinions on him resenting his laid back attitude to life and their business. There seems to be just that small bit of jealousy on her side that he's so confident and obviously well loved by the staff.
Willis' character is loveable in many ways but deliberately comes across as somewhat arrogant and rather too flippant about life. At the start of the season he returns from a holiday in Mexico and declares to the staff that he's back and that he's the man to whom Speedy Gonzalez once said: "Whoa, dude, slow down." It's amusing to watch the Die Hard action hero in this fun role - obviously he was considerably younger that we see him these days. His character is in his mid 30s, has a cheeky grin and twinkle in his eyes and seems to literally charm the pants off women. He explains the lack of furniture in his apartment to Maddie by telling her he does his entertaining in the bedroom. David's character like R&B music and is often singing tunes around the office looking rather handsome and clean shaven. For all his arrogance throughout the show we also see the character feeling and looking very vulnerable at times (credit due here to Willis' very credible acting) which makes the character of David so endearing even if we can also often relate to Maddie feeling very frustrated with his antics.
Agnes DiPesto (played fabulously by Allyce Beasley) is the rather strange looking and even more strangely behaving receptionist who is fiercely loyal to the company and her bosses. She has a tendency to answer the phone in rhyme and even the answer phone messages she leaves are in rhyme, such as:
"Have things gone awry? Is it solutions you seek?
We're eager to help, but we're closed a few weeks.
So if you're despondent and your life's out of whack...
...we hope you're still troubled when we all get back."
As well as Agnes' behaviour, the show had its other quirks which were fun to look out for. The staff would sometimes completely ignore Agnes as if she didn't exist when they entered the office. Often we'd see characters leaving the elevator and walking towards the office and the shot would be a below the knee shot as the character walks towards the office.
Moonlighting was a show which was rather unique in that the characters addressed the audience directly on occasion. In the first episode of season 3, Shepherd and Willis introduce themselves at the start of the episode talking directly to the camera. At the time the show had been nominated for 16 Emmy's but had just won 1 of those (for editing) so the opening scene was shot to acknowledge the win as it was edited to show this scene prior to the 1986 Emmys! The episode is dedicated to the memory of Irma Addison who is Willis' fictional mother on the show!
At the start of episode 3 David and Maddie are addressing the audience at the start of the episode saying that they hope we're enjoying the season so far and then David says he's going to make a "funk video", he clicks his fingers and The Temptations appear on screen, do a little song and dance routine, David clicks his fingers again and then encourages Maddie to do a little dance too, which she then does miming along to the song that had just been sung by The Temptations. This was a really fun start to the episode and went to show even more how different the show was to run of the mill dramas or comedies! In another episode Maddie falls into a mail trolley upside down with her stocking legs and feet up in the air, David pushes her along for a few seconds looking at her legs and says "Personally I'd to end the episode right here!" It was funny little asides like this that made this show so unique.
Herbert Viola (played by Curtis Armstrong) who joins the show in this season is initially chased by Miss DiPesto and when Maddie asks him if Agnes makes him feel so uncomfortable why he doesn't leave (imagine that conversation in this day and age and if it was a male chasing a female - it would be a sexual harassment case, no doubt). Viola says he likes working there, that he likes Maddie and David and the others and that it's like "special class in junior high school, you know. When every day's an assembly or field trip." When Maddie asks if he likes Miss DiPesto he says he figures she's got to be related to someone in the office which implies he's not too keen on her. When Agnes gets the message that Herbert is not interested in her, her sad little face is heart-breaking along with the background music which is a slow version of the theme tune and she walks around with a sad puppy dog face. There's a elevator scene when he's standing behind her with her back to him and she looks like she's about to burst into tears and he looks really guilty for making her feel so bad and you just know that his feelings are changing for her.To give you an idea of the sort of unusual cases The Blue Moon Detective Agency dealt with or storylines involving the leads in the show getting into hot water, I'll give a few examples:
* In The Man Who Cried Wife David and Maddie are tasked with finding a dead woman whose husband is claiming that he killed and buried her but she's making phone calls to him. How do they solve this, especially when they actually hear one of these phone calls?
* In Symphony In Knocked Flat, David persuades Maddie that he will take her out on a date that she'll enjoy and she has to take him out on a date that he'll enjoy. He takes her to the symphony but has to buy tickets from a tout. Unfortunately they're stolen tickets which makes get them involved with the FBI and people who are going to carry out an assassination. How can they get out of this situation?
Jazz singer Al Jarreau sang the theme song for the show and I remember feeling very excited every week when the theme song to Moonlighting came on TV when it was first aired back in the 80s. It was one of my favourite shows of that era and hearing the catchy theme tune meant I would be able to sit and watch an episode of a show which was never going to be boring!
Each episode has subtitles available in English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Portuguese, Norwegian and Swedish. When I watched with the English subtitles on, I found the subtitles to be very accurate and detailed such as footsteps approaching will be listed, phones ringing, etc.
The audio for this set is available in English, French, German and Spanish.
In this season 4 of the episodes have a full commentary including Atomic Shakespeare during which we hear from show creator and executive producer Caron that the inspiration for the whole show was The Taming of the Shrew. This episode has commentary from Shepherd and Willis too as well as from producer Jay Daniel. The opening sequence to this episode was quite amusing as it shows a TV playing the opening credits to Moonlighting and a young boy is arguing with his mother who turns off the TV describing the show, "They argue a lot, and all they wanna do is sleep together?" The boys confirms this and the mother responds "Sounds like trash to me." We don't see the mother or boy's faces and the boy then goes off to study for a Shakespeare the next day. Caron says he had just seen Taming of the Shrew with Raul Julia and Meryl Streep and Shepherd teases him saying "How many times do I have to hear that?" It really looks like the cast and crew had lots of fun filming this episode and this is confirmed with the audio commentary for this episode. Willis gets quite excited early on in the commentary when he recognises an extra from the episode, Frank Collison, who Willis later on went on to do 3 films with including The Whole Ten Yards!
The 15 episodes in this season are titled as follows:
* The Son Also Rises
* The Man Who Cried Wife
* Symphony In Knocked Flat
* Yours, Very Deadly
* All Creatures Great And... Not So Great
* Big Man On Mulberry Street
* Atomic Shakespeare
* It's A Wonderful Job
* The Straight Poop
* Poltergeist III - DiPesto Nothing
* Blonde On Blonde
* Sam And Dave
* Maddie's Turn To Cry
* I Am Curious... Maddie Aka The Bing Bang
* To Heiress Human
It seems someone had real fun creating the titles for the episodes!
Overall I'm happy to rate season 3 of Moonlighting with 4 out of 5 stars. This was probably one of the better seasons as I recall from memory than season 4 went somewhat downhill and I don't even remember if I watched season 5 with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd being absent from the much of last few seasons - with Willis having lots of film commitments! Willis won the Emmy for Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Other Emmy's won for this season were Outstanding Achievement In Hairstyling For A Series, Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series and Outstanding Costumes for a Series. Willis and Shepherd also won Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress in a TV series.
Producer: Jay Daniel
Director: Robert Butler
Writer: Glenn Gordon Caron
Starring: Cybill Shepherd, Bruce Willis, Allyce Beasley,
DVD release date: April 2009
Duration: 700 minutes
Number of discs in set: 4
Availability: Amazon, Play, etc.