Aug 5, 2014

Night Court

In West Hollywood, tv was suspect, heterosexist propaganda beamed in from outside.  We didn't watch much; in 1987-1988, maybe Married..with Children, Kate & Allie, Throb, and on Friday nights, if we didn't have plans, Night Court (1984-1992),  an ensemble workplace sitcom set in a Night Court (where minor criminal cases are tried immediately after arrest).

 It was the lowest of the low in the court system, staffed by people who were too weird or incompetent to get better assignments, which led to some strange-bedfellows type of buddy-bonding.

1. Young prankster judge, Harry Stone (former magician Harry Anderson).

2. Stick-in-the-mud prosecuting attorney Dan Fielding (John Larroquette), a sexist horndog who made innapropriate comments to every woman in the court.  He was also the villain, when one was needed.

3. Idealistic, naive defense attorney Christine Sullivan (Markie Post), who became Harry's love interest but eventually married undercover cop Tony (Ray Abruzzo).

4. Gender-atypical court reporter Mac Robinson (Charles Robinson, left), who was married to naive Vietnamese immigrant Quon Le (Denice Kumagai).

5. Head bailiff Bull Shannon (Richard Moll, top photo), a hulking man-child.

6. The no-nonsense second bailiff, played by Selma Diamond, Florence Halop, and Marsha Warfield.




Half the fun was the crazy line-up of defendants: rock stars, mental patients, prostitutes, defecting Soviets, a Polynesian princess, cartoon character Wile E. Coyote, and on one Halloween, the Spirit of Death.

There were many appearances by famous guest stars like Lou Ferrigno, John Astin (as Harry's crazy father), Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation), Russian-immigrant comedian Yakov Smirnoff, and crooner Mel Torme.


LGBT people appeared twice:  in a standard "my old buddy had a sex change" episode; and in a "gay panic" episode, with homophobic Dan traumatized by being trapped in an elevator with a gay man (Jack Riley), who thinks he's gay, too!

About what you'd expect in the 1980s.

See also: Head of the Class; Growing Pains.