Moonlighting (TV series)

From Academic Kids

Template:Infobox television

Moonlighting is a television series that first aired on ABC in the United States from 1985 to 1989.

The series revolved around cases investigated by Blue Moon Investigations and its two partners, Madeline 'Maddie' Hayes (Cybill Shepherd) and David Addison (Bruce Willis). The show, with a mix of mystery, sharp dialogue and sexual tension between its two leads, introduced Bruce Willis to the world and brought Cybill Shepherd back into the spotlight after nearly a decade-long absence.

The show's storyline begins with the reversal of fortune of a former model, Hayes, who finds herself bankrupt after her accountant embezzles all of her liquid assets. She is left saddled with several failing businesses formerly maintained as tax write offs, one of which is a detective agency helmed by the devil-may-care Addison. In the pilot episode, he convinces Hayes to keep the business and run it in partnership with him.

The show also starred Allyce Beasley as Agnes DiPesto, the firm's quirky receptionist who regularly answered the phone in rhyming couplets. In later seasons, Curtis Armstrong joined the cast as Herbert Viola, an investigator and a love interest for Agnes.

It was one of the first successful examples of "dramedy". The show made use of fast-paced, overlapping dialogue between the two leads harkening back to classic screwball comedy films, such as those of director Howard Hawks, but which also led to chronic delays in writing production during the series' five-year, off and on run.

One of the innovations Moonlighting brought to television was a technique called breaking the fourth wall. Fourth wall refers to the conventions separating the contrivances of a television program and its real audience, usually meaning, at least within the confines of the show, the events and characters being presented are "real." Moonlighting broke with this convention, with many episodes including dialogue making direct references to the scriptwriters, the audience, the network, or the series itself.

Although a few TV series had broken the "fourth wall" before, usually by airing a short segment at the beginning or the end of an episode so the stars could wish the audience a Merry Christmas or announce a milestone episode, Moonlighting was the first television series to weave self-referential dialogue directly into the show itself.

The series also embraced fantasy, once featuring the cast performing a variation of Taming of the Shrew, complete with Shakespearean costumes. (The episode was wrapped by segments featuring a teenager imagining the episode's proceedings because his mother forced him to do his homework instead of watching Moonlighting.)

The series was plagued by production problems throughout its run, and became notorious for airing reruns when new episodes had not been completed in time for broadcast. After the 1987 episode in which Maddie and David consummated their romantic tension, the show's ratings began to decline. The show was also widely criticized for the following season's storyline, in which Maddie spent much of the season at her parents' home in Chicago (due, in fact, to Shepherd's real-life pregnancy), robbing the show of its creative spark since Maddie and David rarely interacted.

In the 1988-1989 TV season, the show's ratings declined precipitously. The series went on hiatus during the February sweeps, and returned on Sunday evenings in the spring of 1989. Seven more episodes aired before the series was cancelled in May of that year.

The show's theme song was performed by popular jazz singer Al Jarreau and became a minor hit.

External links

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