Night Court was an NBC comedy that ran from 1984 until 1992. It was part of what is arguably the greatest television lineup ever put together.
After a disastrous decade in the 70s, NBC came back with a vengeance in the 80s. Their Thursday night lineup consisted of: The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers, Night Court, and Hill Street Blues.
Night Court was the natural progression of comedy for the night. Cosby and Family Ties were wholsome family fare, Cheers was a little more adult and Night Court was high-concept brilliance.
Sadly, Harry Anderson who starred as Judge Harry Stone passed away yesterday. For years Anderson embodied the wacky, hilarious, and good-natured judge, which mirrored his own personality.
Today, in remembrance and reverence, we are going to look back at the top five episodes of Night Court.
NO. 5: HARRY ON TRIAL. SEASON 2 EPISODE 7
Judge Stone is called before a disciplinary board for his eccentric style and odd behavior.
This episode gives Anderson a chance to shine as he goes to great pains to explain his philosophy and style. A guest appearance by the wonderful Jason Bernard doesn’t hurt.
NO. 4: WHO WAS THAT MASHED MAN? SEASON 5 EPISODE 7
Dan Fielding must resist his boss’s niece (Teri Hatcher) who does not make it easy for him. Judge Stone tries to convince a television superhero not to kill himself.
This episode showcases the empathy and understanding that Judge Stone was known for, while giving Larroquette a chance to use his considerable comedic gifts.
Note: It is rumored that Teri Hatcher actually only wore a bra and panties under her trench coat when she flashed Larroquette as a prank. Ever the professional, Larroquette didn’t break character.
NO. 3: THE FORMER HARRY STONE. SEASON 1 EPISODE 3
There was a lot of turnover in the cast early on. Marsha Warfield, Markie Post, and Charles Robinson all joined later. But Harry Anderson was the glue that kept it all together in the inaugural season. This episode gives us a chance to find out a little more about his backstory and get to know his character.
NO. 2: A DAY IN THE LIFE. SEASON 4 EPISODE 15
Harry has to judge all his cases by midnight. It’s a simple idea, but it leads to one of the best episodes.
One of the charms of Night Court was the guest stars that would pop up. The show was a stepping stone for a lot of people who would make it big and this episode centers around the strange people that show up for their day in court.
NO. 1: HER HONOR (FOUR PARTER) SEASON 4 EPISODE 21 & 21 SEASON 5 EPISODE 1 & 2
Maybe this is cheating but I don’t care. This four-part story arc is everything that’s right with this show. Both Markie Post and John Larroquette get to shine in their storylines, and Harry Anderson is off on his own in all his mad-capped glory.
Judge Stone learns that he won’t be reappointed to his position and he goes off to pull off the biggest gag in history – hang-gliding from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Statue of Liberty. What he doesn’t realize is that Christine got his job back and Dan has to pretend to be Harry at the swearing in ceremony.
Harry doesn’t get to complete his stunt because he runs into a man who is trying to kill himself. Harry talks to him and convinces him to seek help instead.
It’s a tender moment in a zany show and it shows us who Judge Harry Stone really is: a man who cares about people.
Well there you have it, my picks for the best Night Court episodes. As always feel free to yell at me on twitter @moviesTvMusic