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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I dreamed of seeing this sitcom for years but it was not shown on
Danish TV until the mid-90's. Finally it came on one of the new local
channels and I must say that I was a little disappointed at first. Then
gradually it grew on me. I had heard a lot about Andy Kauffman before
but I had never actually seen him in anything. Now I understand why.
His character here was something never seen before and I think it has
rarely been seen since. Supposedly, Judd Hirsch was the star of the
show but when Latka appeared you totally forgot about Alex Rieger.
Still, I don't think he is such a funny character. His character
improved when they came up with his schizophrenia.
The most funny character was Danny DeVito's Louie. It takes a special kind of actor to portray a mean character and still make him sympathetic and I think that nobody but Danny DeVito does it better, especially considering his off-screen personality is the complete opposite. He was apparently the only one who didn't have sex with Marilu Henner of the male cast members.
It was also a coup for Taxi to get Christopher Lloyd as Jim, the perpetually delirious Reverend, who took one too many drug in the 60's. The chemistry between him and Danny DeVito is hilarious and maybe it's because they have acted together before in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest.
There were some dull spots also and those were mainly in the Alex Rieger scenes because they usually dealt with some kind of everyday problem that he had to solve. Nice people in a sitcom doesn't generate a lot of laughs, but to be fair, a sitcom doesn't have to be wall-to-wall laughs every minute. And to be a little more critical, the less said about Tony Danza and Jeff Conaway, the better.
One of the best Sitcoms that I've ever seen and remembered. Sported a talented cast and some brilliant humor along with some interesting guest stars. I used to watch this show as a kid and the one thing I remember is the performance of Andy Kaufman who always did something memorable. Taxi(1978) is one of the most influential Sitcoms as it would inspire many shows of Comedy in the 1980s to now. Christopher Lloyd's Ignatowski is the prototype for Kramer of Seinfeld. Its in this television program that Danny Devito devloped his now famous persona of the wisecracking guy.
While this had a good run, it should have been on the air longer. The cast played their parts great, and all of the episodes were well written. Latka is just plain hilarious. One great point is that it's humor wasn't stupid or unintelligent, it always had a real-life feel to it. If only more TV series' were like this.
"Taxi" surely is the best sitcom ever made. Danny DeVito and Christopher Lloyd are outstanding. Their performances are very funny. After the release of Jim Carrey's "Man on The Moon", many TV stations reprised "Taxi" as a tribute to Andy Kaufman. Well, don't miss it.
They don't make comedies like Taxi anymore. A couple of years ago, a local television station aired a two hours worth of shows like Taxi, Welcome Back Kotter, The Jeffersons, and the Odd Couple on Saturday nights. For those of us who didn't have plans, I stayed in to watch shows that I never got to watch like on prime time because I was too young. Anyway, it ended in less than a year after it started. Sadly, those four shows were superior to our contemporary sitcoms like Will and Grace and Friends. These shows were all set in New York City and they didn't have the attractive group that today's producers need to look at when you want an audience to laugh. Sorry folks at Friends and Will and Grace, the truth is that these four shows were multi-cultural thirty years before Friends and Will and Grace. No, they weren't always attractive to the audience but who casts somebody because of their looks. It's about talent and comic genius. Taxi had a great theme music which I'm listening to right now. It also had an excellent cast of characters played by great talents like Oscar nominee Judd Hirsch, Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner, Jeff Conway, Tony Danza, Andrew Kaufman (we miss you the most) and Christopher Lloyd. Rhea Perlman also appeared and so many wonderful others. What separates this show from today's ideals about live in New York City is the gritty and struggling of the characters trying to make ends meet. IT still goes on today in the New York City area. You know I find this show believable now more than I ever did.
Well,it means the following...
TAXI is irrefutably one of the most sophisticated and classy sitcoms in Televisions history. The characters were complex, real people, portraying the lives of NY City cab drivers with such believability, as they coped with everyday life.
Probably most importantly however, the show was downright funny. The writers did not rely on cheap sexual gags and one liners, and instead utilized mature situational humor, that was mostly derived from character development.
The writing was above board,(especially comparing it to today's sub-par sitcoms), and the show altogether was nothing short of a work of art in every aspect. The cast and crew showed respect for it's audience, and never stooped to the lowest common denominator, just to obtain a quick laugh.
One would hope that today's Television industry would learn from shows like Taxi, and use what they have learned in their work. However, I regret that today's industry has learned nothing, and continues to dismiss the intellect of it's audience. That is why the quality of the modern sitcom is so lacking, and why with very few exceptions are any worth remembering that have recently been produced.
Taxi was a classic from day one, and will always be a classic by any measure. The writing, directing, and of-course the cast, are a shining example of the modern sit-com at its best; and for that matter, Television at it's best!
Fans rejoice! DVDs of television shows are finally getting a major boost. It
seems like it took forever for classics such as Frasier, 3rd Rock from the
Sun (Region 2), SCTV, Cheers, etc., to be released on DVD. One I've been
waiting a long time for is undoubtedly TAXI. I grew up on this television
show, and recall Andy Kaufman as the unique Latka. If you've seen MAN ON THE
MOON, you'll know that Kaufman actually caused much trouble on the set of
the show with his usual wild antics. Rumor has it the cast members hated him
so much they didn't attend his funeral. Ironic, then, that Danny DeVito
starred in MAN ON THE MOON and Christopher Lloyd did a
The DVD will be released on October 12th, 2004, a day after my birthday. This one's on my wish list!
I also eagerly anticipate the release of Happy Days, SNL (in seasons - so far the only ones available are Best Of collections), and 3rd Rock from the Sun 1st Season.
Or why I never fell in love with "Taxi".
This TV show had a lot going for it, but never reached "greatness" in the sense of true monumental groundbreaking material. It had great chemistry among the talent involved, but the plays, though broken up into four acts for TV, read more like psychological comedies, dealing with a variety of urban social topics, and "solutions" thereof.
Whether it's Devito's short man's complex lording it over his employees and lechery towards Marilu Henner's character, or the young boxer and actor striving for the big time but having their hands tied by driving hacks. Each seeks to escape their doldrums, and come to discuss and experience their troubles in a group therapy garage that is a place of emotional healing and comedy.
What better medicine than laughter? Well, being a California kid who attended theatre I could appreciate the sketch and thesping, but the themes seemed crazy or obnoxiously eccentric and just plain out there and out of touch.
And why was that? Probably because a need was felt to create a socially forward thinking show to help people deal with really crazy and just plain silly inner city psychology. Hence the music, hence Hirsch's character feeling like a shrink, hence the eccentricities of the stories and characters. All presented as if we had just stepped out of Taxi to attend some theatre a block or two away from Radio City Music Hall (minus the Rockettes... you can't have everything).
Entertaining, fun and funny, and for me personally it was a time killer before the Dukes of Hazard came on. With a more mature mind I can see it for what it is, and, ironically enough, actually dislike it a bit more than I had previously, all the while still appreciating the theatrics.
Ergo, if you're a fan of this show, and want to own the series on DVD, then maybe you better check yourself into Bellevue New York.
One of my favorite television shows; revolves around the lives of a group of night shift taxi drivers (Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd, Andy Kaufman, et al) who have their personal trials and tribulations on the job. Very similar to "Cheers," which is interesting, since DeVito's wife--Rhea Perlman--was in "Cheers." Sort of dark and personal (like "Cheers") and arguably just as funny and likable. Earned Christopher Lloyd an Emmy for Best Actor and eventually landed him his iconic role of Dr. Emmett Brown in "Back to the Future" (1985). Simply stupendous television--Nick at Nite was made for this type of stuff.
This series to me is more of a drama than a comedy. The charters are
well developed. Without this series, no one would know who Judd Hirsch
(Alex Reiger) even is. But Alex is a straight man in this show who
everyone plays off. There are attempts at UN-intelligent humor on
occasion, but often the absurdity of the character is played up too
hard for quick laughs. This show made Tony Danza who I have never found
very appealing even when he did Who's The Boss?. Louie De Palma (Danny
Devito) is a funny talented guy who made a lot out of the run of this
show but at the same time, his comedy is often limited in this because
he always has to be the obnoxious & over-bearing boss, Louie. Andy
Kaufman (Ladka) is funny, but often in this is given UN-intelligent
The amazing thing is that every character except Alex is dis-functional in one way or another, yet Alex, the normal guy, is made out of such thin cardboard, that you often wonder what actually holds him together with all the loonies around him. Christopher Lloyd (Jim) was the most consistent of the loonies around Alex, but really hit his stride later in the Back To The Future Series. Even Elaine Nardo (the shows sex symbol) has her problems, although the most memorable quote from the series comes to me from her. I think it was Louie De Palma who was analyzing all the characters in one episode who quick analysis of Elaine in one sentence summed up her abilities on the show. "Nardo has knobs!" Overall, this is the WINGS of the 1980's. It was a steady show which has brief moments of genius but usually is more urbane than funny. Amazing how the urban characters in this show interact at lower levels than you'd expect.
There were some very funny episodes, ironically the funniest one is one which makes broad slap stick type fun of gay people. While not politically correct now, I would highly recommend that episode as Alex Reiger (Judd Hirsch) gets some major funny stuff in that episode.
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