Category Archives: 80s

Review: Night Court (2023) (Reboot)

Good ol’ Night Court.  I have to admit:  I’ve been a fan as long as I can remember.  Growing up in the ‘80s rocked and that included TV.  My favorites were The Cosby Show, The Wonder Years, Cheers, and of course, Night Court.  Something essentially slapstick quirky just resonated with kids.  I largely tuned in for all the zany characters and the craziness that befell the cast.  Keep in mind I was all of 11 when it went off the air.

My mom remembers that my favorite character was Dan, which rightfully left her a little concerned.  That is not how I remember it at all.  Yes, I loved to laugh when Dan quite rightfully got himself into trouble every episode, but my favorite characters were Christine and Harry.  Just like everyone else, I wanted them to end up together.  The bailiffs – and I mean all of them going back to Selma – were great too.  I suppose that is what bothers me most:  Night Court never seemed to get the proper sendoff or recognition it rightfully deserved.  What endears me most about Night Court is the fact that it never tried to be something it was not.  We just loved it for the campy, quirky, crazy show that it was.  Anything could, and often did, happen.

This is precisely what gives me hope for the reboot.  Going by what I saw in the first two episodes, Night Court isn’t trying too hard.  Is it perfect?  No.  I want to know what happened to Christine, Max, Roz, and Bull.  Christine especially deserves a mention considering the “ending” of the original series included both Harry and Dan professing their love for her.  While Harry decided to remain a judge and turndown several incredible job offers, he and Christine acknowledged their feelings for one another.  At the end of what should have been the last episode (altogether another story that only highlights issues with the ending), Dan decides to resign as assistant DA and follow Christine to Washington, DC.  Harry is told this, and immediately exclaims “My Christine!”

In the first episode of the reboot, Harry’s daughter Abby moves to New York to become the new night court judge, taking over a position her father held 30 years ago.  She is just as idealistic as her father.  She also happens to look as though she could be Harry and Christine’s daughter.  Almost immediately, the public defender in her court quits and she looks up Dan.  Given the “ending” to the original series, Dan most assuredly would have asked after her mother if indeed Christine was her mom.  We only know that Harry is her dad.  Sadly, much of the original cast has since passed on, including Harry Anderson (Harry Stone), Markie Post (Christine Sullivan), and Charles Robinson (Mac Robinson).  If I have one hope for the new reboot, it is that they find subtle ways to allude to the earlier show/cast.  They do a wonderful job of doing so in the case of Harry and Dan.  As of yet, no one else is mentioned.

I admit, I wavered as to whether or not I was even going to watch.  Then I learned that John Larroquette (Dan Fielding) was instrumental in getting it made, and the new cast consists of fans who grew up with the show much as I had.  The first two episodes are off to a solid start.  We will see if it will find its own niche.  I will say that the creators of the reboot did an incredible job of keeping the vibe of the old show (the dingy old courthouse in particular) while “updating” things a bit.  The new bailiff, Donna Gurgs, somehow channels both Roz and Bull at different times throughout the show.  There are tons of nods to the ‘80s in new show, my favorite being the mural of the Golden Girls – a stupid silly plot point that could only take place in Night Court.

I recently watched some of the earliest episodes of the original Night Court from season 1.  It is clear that it took a while for the show to hit its stride – a few years, in fact.  The reboot definitely has potential, and I am reassured that it is in the hands of fans of the original.  Do not be afraid to check it out.  It is currently streaming on Peacock

Michael Jackson – Thriller (1982)

Michael Jackson – Thriller (1982) (Official Video) (Lyrics)

(Written January 14, 2023)

The King of Pop.  It is difficult to explain to younger generations just how big Michael Jackson was in the early 1980s.  He was everywhere.  The Beatles, of course, were bigger in the 1960s, but I fail to think of anyone (or any band) bigger than Michael Jackson in the years since – with, of course, the exception of Madonna, who was just as big as the Queen of Pop during the same time period.

Similar to Madonna, Michael Jackson’s hits immediately take me back to my earliest childhood memories.  My love of MJ’s music, once again, has much to do with the influence of my older cousins.  I distinctly remember my mom giving my cousin Nicole a Michael Jackson doll for her birthday.  As a preschooler, I was envious!  There is even an adorable picture of Nicole and I sitting on Grandma’s lap, Nicole proudly hugging her new Thriller album.

Unlike the cloud that hangs over Madonna’s legacy, there is little question that Michael Jackson’s music holds up.  I noticed it the summer of 2009 right after his death.  All of a sudden it was cool to rediscover MJ’s hits, his questionable legacy suddenly forgotten.  I can’t help but wonder if the same will happen with Madonna upon her death.
Then there is Thriller itself.  The album, the song, and music video itself – in reality, almost a short film – are still fun to revisit.  As a child who loved the macabre and everything to do with Halloween, I adored the video.  Learning as an adult that VIncent Price lent his incredible voice to the video:  Priceless.  In my opinion, Thriller is one of the best music videos ever made.

Madonna – Material Girl (1984)

Madonna – Material Girl (1984) (Official Video) (Lyrics)

(Written January 12, 2023)

Almost any early Madonna song immediately takes me back to my early childhood, thanks to several older female cousins who adored her.  I fell in love right along with them and every other girl on the planet.  The Queen of Pop rightfully deserves several entries here, and it is only right that I start with Material Girl.

It is easy to dismiss Material Girl as an ode to greed, a quintessentially ‘80s throwaway pop song.  Personally, I think that is a bit harsh, and frankly unfair, even if I believe Madonna’s music hasn’t aged particularly well.  

Yet, I keep coming back to the video.  Yes, there are diamonds and countless references to Marilyn Monroe.  There is also something timeless that introduced an entire younger generation to the glamor of old school Hollywood.  In the music video, there are even sequences at the beginning and end of the song that make the video just a bit less outrageously materialistic.  As a young girl obsessed with Disney princesses and Barbie, Madonna seemed to have it all:  style, grace, and she could sing too.

As I grew older, remaining a Madonna fan became harder and harder to defend.  I distinctly remember being embarrassed for her when she was photographed everywhere in a cone bra and released the book Sex.  I was all of 11.

As Madonna appears to be struggling with aging gracefully (that is another topic entirely), I can only hope that we as a society don’t write off her music entirely as time goes on.  For me at least, her earliest work – what made her a star, the Queen of Pop – will always be a cherished part of my childhood.  Grab some popcorn and enjoy the video!