I really didn’t think Warner Brothers would ever get around to this, but they’ve finally — almost five years after the first season was released — announced a release date for season 3 of Night Court, the ’80s NBC comedy that was halfway between underrated classic and guilty pleasure. (It had enough respect in the industry and Emmy nominations/wins that it couldn’t quite be considered a guilty pleasure. But it was so uneven, and flamed out so badly at the end of its run, that I wouldn’t really try to argue for it as a classic, even though it had the most and biggest laughs of NBC’s Thursday night comedy lineup.) I wonder if the 30 Rock episode last year had anything to do with reviving interest in releasing “Warner Brothers’ intellectual property.” If so, thanks, Kenneth.
This was the best season of the show, even though it was the first season without Selma Diamond; died in the off-season and was replaced by Florence Halop, who also died after this season was over. It had the right balance between the Barney Miller style comedy that creator Reinhold Weege originally intended to create, and the surreal, cartoonish, Vaudeville comedy that Weege turned it into (over the objections of some of his staff writers). It has the best episode of the series, the two-part season finale “Hurricane,” which embodies all the best and worst qualities of this show. On the debit side, a hideously preachy final speech and an inflated sense of its own importance; Weege actually seemed to think that by introducing three couples from different strata of society, he was making some kind of commentary on American society. On the plus side, the jokes never stop coming, and most of them are excellent; it incorporates every possible kind of joke, from highbrow references to scatalogical jokes to slapstick to meta-humour (the West Virginia couple reveal that they’re not actually from there, a response to complaints from that state about the last episode they appeared in). You can certainly understand why that guy in the audience is letting out his trademark annoying chortle after every line. I