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Pat Harrington Jr.
Judge Harold T. Stone presides over "Night Court", a court which deals with petty crimes which can be dealt with in a dime-a-dozen manner. Invariably, the cases appearing before the court are bizarre, but that's ok because Judge Stone is not your regular judge. He's assisted by a motley crew of clerks and District Attorneys who often create as much chaos as the criminals they bring in for trial. Written by
Murray Chapman <email@example.com>
This is one of the truly great sitcoms. The shows tend to run together but the scripts are watertight and the characters are some of the best created in the history of sitcoms. The show is highly underrated as it was hysterical but it is not given the credit due. In this show the judge of a Manhattan Court Judge Harry Stone presided over a court. The man was young, off the cuff and hardly the type to be the judge. In fact he used to be a magician.
There are a series of other crazy characters. Earlier there was Gayle Hunnicut, and then Paula Kelly and then Ellen Foley, and then they settled for Markie Post who played very nicely Christine Armstrong, the Defense attorney in this Night Court. The consistent choice for the Prosecuting was the excellent John Larroquette, as Dan Fielding, the womanizing ladies man who had an extremely unstable personal life.
The rest of the cast was excellent as well. The bailiffs at first were Selma Diamond and Richard Moll, playing the chain-smoking bailiff Selma and the towering bald Bull. Both of them were classic characters. Sadly Selma passed away and was replaces By Florence, another old woman who was a chain smoker and much smarter than Bull.
Then there was Roz, the last bailiff in the turnover. Roz was excellent in the role as this time she was smarter and a bit stronger than the dovish Bull. The other major character in the show was Mac Robinson, the clerk of court. He was funny but added little to the show. This show is extremely underrated. This is hysterical stuff, some of the best slapstick on TV.
The pace was rapid fire. This was just hysterical, a time to sit down for a half hour and laugh your ass off. The show did have some dramatic moments and it added to the show but overall it is funny. Harry Anderson was a good lead for the show, a good solid reliable presence to guide the silliness. My other two favorites were Bull Shannon and Dan Fielding. They were excellent characters and their parts were very well written.
One of the best elements of the show is how well the characters worked together. These characters melded so well. They complimented each other very well without stealing each other's scenes. I will admit there was not that one episode that stuck out but all of the shows were great, especially earlier on.
This show is very underrated. This is show is often forgotten by critics and fans and gives way to other of the Thursday night classics like Cheers and the Cosby Show. Compared to Cheers this show is so much funnier. The writing was better the characters were great and it was just much funnier. Cheers was a fair show but it was slow. The pace of this show was rapid fire.
It is sad that this show is not on TV as much as it used to be. This is funny. This is also much better NBC Thursday night stuff than any of the stuff they have on Thursdays now like Friends and the rest. NBC never did give this one a chance either. They constantly moved the show around, never gave it a permanent slot, and it went off the air with little fanfare in 1992. But I still remember it. I did not like it when I was a child and my dad loved it but I started loving it when I was a teenager.
I admit in the later years the writing got a little less sharp, but it was still a classy show to the end. In it's early days the sexual exploits of Dan Fielding and some other perverse jokes made the show a bit controversial. John Larroquette won four Emmy's for this part and for the 1988-89 season he declined to be nominated. Too bad he probably would have won.
Here's to Bull, Judge Stone, Roz, Dan, Christine, Selma, Florence and the rest of those small character parts like Art the Janitor, Quan Li, Mac's wife, Phil, Dan's lackey and the endless array of prostitutes, criminals and other low lives that went through the courthouse. All of you were funny then, you are funny in reruns now and you will be funny in reruns in the future. Here's to Night Court, who came seven episodes short of 200 shows.
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