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Taxi was, during it's five-year run, the most funny, engaging,
memorable, and heartbreaking show on television. The show helped to
redefine situation comedies and created a handful of classic
The show revolves around the drivers at the Sunshine Cab company: Alex Rieger (Judd Hirsch) was the good-hearted mensch who finds himself solving everyone else's problems. Bobby Wheeler (Jeff Conaway) is an aspiring actor and ladies man. Tony Banta (Tony Danza) is a struggling boxer who can never seem to win a fight. Elaine Nardo (Marilu Henner) is a single mother of two with dreams of opening her own art gallery. Reverend Jim Ignatowski (Christopher Lloyd) is an absolute space cadet, and Louie DePalma (Danny DeVito) is surely the nastiest, angriest, most miserable boss in history. Thanks to DeVito's charm, he is still somehow lovable.
Besides the great acting in "Taxi," there was the writing- always funny and often bittersweet without ever being maudlin or melodramatic. There are episodes that can make you laugh so hard you cry, and vice versa. Thanks to the genius of director James Burrows Taxi stands as one of television's best shows. And who can forget the haunting theme by Bob James?
If you get a chance to see "Taxi," take it... here's hoping it gets a DVD release in the near future.
The first season of this classic sitcom started off on the ground
running as we're introduced to the down-trodden, brow-beaten denizen
taxi drivers of the Sunshine Cab Company, the advice giving Alex
Reirger (Judd Hirsh), failed boxer Tony Banta (Tony Danza, failed actor
Bobby Wheeler (Jeff Conaway), new immigrant, Latka (superbly played by
Andy Kaufman) as well as new cab drivers Elaine and John (Marilu Henner
and Randall Carver respectively), and cranky, hateful boss Louie De
Palma (Dsnny DeVito, in the role of his career). These people are life
losers, but the writing is such that they are NEVER treated as such.
All of the characters were highly relatable and one couldn't help but
feel empathetic to each of them. We're laughing with these guys, not at
them. And it's a very funny, poignant show. Guest stars this season
included Former Welterweight Champion of the World Carlos Palomino, Tom
Selleck, Jeffrey Tambor, Martin Mull, and Suzanne Kent in a very
memorable part as Alex's blind date, the overweight self-pitying Angela
who would return next season in a surprising way. The first Season of
Taxi was a few outstanding shows, a few funny ones, but not a clunker
in the bunch. And you have no choice but to love that theme song.
My Season 1 grade: A
Taxi was, and still is, the greatest sit-com I've ever seen. The Louie
DePalma, Iggy and Rieger characters were simply magnificent
I would laugh until I cried while watching this show. It's still funny
today in re-runs. Louie's "affair" with Emily (which was revived in a later
episode) is particularly hilarious. Iggy playing piano at a black-tie
gala (as Elaine's "date" for the evening) is both amusing and heart-warming. The scripts were excellent as they blended wry, sarcastic humor with some degree of pathos in each episode. This show succeeded at a time when there was no "political correctness" to erode its rough edges. It's very doubtful one of the three major networks would create and air a show like this in today's more conservative climate.
They were just finding their own in season 1. Season 2 was a riot, when they introduced Revrend Jim. Each show was a comedy classic. It had one of the funniest scenes of all time, when Jim was taking his driving test. Will we ever find out what a yellow light means? This show was a launching pad of comedy stardom. For Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, and Tony Danza. The first 3 seasons are on DVD, and they are worth buying. This show also introduced us to Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, and George Wendt who later went on to cheers fame. It was just a shame that it ended to soon. With the death of Andy Kaufman. The show was not going to go on anymore since the death of Andy. Everyone felt bad about the loss of Kaufman and the loss of one of the greatest shows ever. The show will always be remembered if you buy the DVDs and relive the sad, funny, and hilarious moments of Taxi.
Taxi was a creative show that will be remembered for years to come. Each episode featured huge laughs that make your sides hurt, due in no small part to Christopher Lloyd. My favorite episode is the one where Jim takes the test to be a driver. The cast had a unique chemistry that you don't see on shows these days. Taxi isn't television, it's TELEVISION.
It doesn't happen very often, but from time to time in history the
human race has managed to create something so supreme, so perfect and
so outstanding that not even does it become a wonder, but it also lifts
the entire creativity in man to a higher level and sets a new standard
according to what people are able to create and how they evolve. The
show Taxi is the result of one of those man made manifestations.
Its real, its genius and its surprising. Its the art of acting, humor and intelligence come together. It captures centuries of human knowledge and wisdom. So marvelous put together, that not only will it be the best creation of its time, but its also an ideal for all times.
Many shows since are a reflection of TAXI, with many ideas, taken more or less directly from the show, and have become famous on that base. But they will never ever reach the hight of the original: TAXI Which once and for all proofs what a unique and unbeatable masterpiece TAXI is. A true wonder. Now, then and forever.
Funny thing, I never watched 'Taxi' during its initial run during the late
1970s and early 1980s. Something about the title, I never got past that.
However, during its re-runs during the 1990s I became an enthusiastic fan. I
taped all the episodes so I could watch them at my convenience (I didn't
save them, so don't ask). It became like watching a 'family', much as did my
other favorite, 'Northern Exposure.' Both series had a common quality, set
in an unusual place, with quirky characters and meaningful stories, so that
during each episode you actually begin to care for each one. Who could ever
forget Alex Rieger, Louie De Palma, Elaine Nardo, Tony Banta, Latka Gravas,
Simka, and my all-time favorite character, Christopher Lloyd as Reverend Jim
Ignatowski. I like that he took the name 'Ignatokski' because it was
'flower child' spelled backwards! (If you don't get it, then you will never
A few of my favorite moments come to mind ...
Jim burns Louie's apartment. Jim discovers that "I must have had piano lessons..." Jim works all the overtime he can to buy ... a dozen TV sets, achieving his greatest goal in life. The moment in college, when Jim takes one bite of a brownie, and he becomes what we know as the kookie Ignatowski.
I'll think of many more after I post these comments!! A great TV series, maybe it will come out on DVD some day.
It's a close race but "Taxi" noses out "The Dick Van Dyke Show" as the all-time funniest sitcom in the history of broadcast television. Well written, great cast! I've always called Michael Richards' Kramer on "Seinfeld" the illegitimate son of Jim Ignatowski. It was some breeding ground; the former cast members are still around and still busy. Danny DeVito is a success as a director & featured actor. Marilu Henner is still working and still looks good. Judd Hirsh is on both the large & small screens. Tony Danza always plays guys named 'Tony' but there have been a lot of them! My favorite moments - Louie's revenge on hair stylist Ted Danson in 'The Unkindest Cut', Jim's written test for a taxi driver's license (What DOES a yellow light mean, anyway?), Louie coming over to Alex's ex-wife's (Louise Lasser) house for their 'date' and taking off his overcoat to reveal that he's wearing pajamas! The list goes on and on! Today's politically correct atmosphere means that the old episodes are getting harder to find on tv. It's a real shame and totally unwarranted. Do you know anyone who saw the coca-leaf cookie episode and decided to take drugs because of it? Didn't think so! Niether have I!!! If you haven't seen it, look for it. There nothing remotely as good on tv today!
My favorite episode was when Alex got his old dog, Buddy, back from the
farm where he had been staying for the past several years.
Before Alex went to pick him up, he told everyone at the shop what a great dog he was and all about his great "play dead" trick, where Alex does a Lone Ranger routine before pretending to shoot Buddy. When Alex gets Buddy back to his apartment, he tries over and over to get Buddy to perform the trick, but Buddy has apparently forgotten it. Buddy isn't well and Alex takes him to the vet. After the vet gives Alex the bad news that Buddy doesn't have much longer to live. Alex takes Buddy home and treats him like a king. He even sautes his dog food in a wine sauce. Alex's date one night thinks it is some of Alex's gourmet cooking and helps herself.
Then one day Alex brings Buddy into work with him. Everyone wants Alex to do the famous "play dead" trick but he begs off, knowing that Buddy has forgotten it. But finally, under great pressure, especially from Louie, Alex tries one more time. And, you got it, this time Buddy slumps over and collapses on the floor right on cue. But he doesn't get up and you know what happened. Tony is the only one not to figure it out and makes some inappropriate comment. But everyone else slowly circles around Alex and Buddy and tears are welling in everyone's eyes, including mine. Alex chokes when he tries to say something and Nardo tries to comfort him. The camera goes from face to face and then slowly pans down to Buddy, lying lifeless on the floor. But then, lo and behold, Buddy slowly turns his head to the side to look up at the stunned crew standing there shocked and crying.
Buddy had done the best "play dead" trick any dog had ever done! I literally jumped out of my chair and shouted something like "I do not believe it!" at the TV. The bastards totally punked me. They had me crying, for God's sake. Sadness turned to shock, to amazement, to anger, to laughter, and then finally to sadness again. Because, after the last break, Alex was sitting alone on the bench at work looking completely lost. He reached his hand into his pocket and pulled out Buddy's empty collar and broke down in tears. And so did I! And that was the end of the best Taxi episode, or any situation comedy episode I have ever seen or probably ever will see.
What more can you say about one of the classic situation comedies of all time. Just like many of the classics, this show was a great ensemble. Judd Hirsch may have been the star, but it was the interplay between the cast members that made this show what it was. Tony, Bobby, Elaine, Jim, Louie and, of course, Latka were all great characters and they helped make this show what it was. But, it not only was the characters. The writing made this one of the more intelligent comedies of its era and you could see a lot of what made "Cheers" great in this show. This show deserves a lot of the praise it has gotten over the years and its too bad that that more shows can't follow the example that "Taxi" showed.
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