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Cherry Pop

'Night Court: The Complete Third Season'
(Harry Anderson, Markie Post, John Larroquette, Charles Robinson, Richard Moll, et al / 3-Disc DVD / NR / 2010 / Warner Bros.)

Overview: This season, life in Judge Harry Stone's court starts with a tear (as the gang says farewell to Selma) and a horselaugh (as they welcome wiseacre Flo to the municipal menagerie). And it's all fun from there in 22 absurdly hilarious episodes as Harry and his staff (including another newcomer, Legal Aid attorney Christine Sullivan) contend with New York's zaniest nuts and dolts: the usual winos, weirdos, hookers and con artists, plus an orangutan, a rock star, a man from Saturn, and a gorgeous witch who has Harry under her spell.

DVD Verdict: Seasons one and two of 'Night Court' were good, but season three begins some of the best years of the show with Markie Post joining the cast as Christine, the public defender and Florence Halop replacing Selma Diamond as one of the two bailiffs - Selma died during the summer of 1985.

Christine filled what was really missing from the bill that former public defender Billy just never could deliver. Christine is who we always knew was Harry's soulmate, a fact the two of them dance around for the entire duration of the series. Beautiful, compassionate, and somewhat naive, she also makes the perfect target for Dan Fielding's leachery. Harry's soulmate was something Billy just never convinced me she could be, and she simply wasn't the type to attract Dan Fielding.

This season also marks a full turn away from the "Barney Miller" style of the first two seasons as the show turns into full scale mayhem with a courtroom as just an incidental backdrop for the parade of human oddities that come before Judge Harry Stone. This is also the first year John Astin begins to make regular appearances as someone who was married to Harry's mom after she deserted him as a child. It turns out the two met in a mental institution, but - as Astin never fails to mention - "He's feeling much better now". Astin's character at first provides a link to Harry's missing years with his mother, but in a later season he is revealed to be much more than that.

Another change that has taken place is that Dan Fielding is now portrayed as someone who has no money, when in the first season he was always going on about his substantial portfolio. Dan's desperation for both s ex and money turns him into the ultimate greed machine, yet he still retains a likability that is comparable only to the likes of Jack Carson and Daffy Duck. No wonder John Larroquette won four Emmys for his portrayal before finally retiring his name from consideration.

Quan Le returns periodically as Mac's wife. Mac is the likable and efficient clerk of the court, and Quan Le is the girl that has loved Mac since she was a girl in Vietnam and he was a soldier there. Unfortunately, she is always having troubles confusing advertising with laws - trouble that usually costs Mac money. For example she believes that "American Express - Don't Leave Home Without It" is some kind of statute.

Most humor and movies from the 80's just haven't aged very well, but this show is different. It's timeless in the way that The Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges are, and I highly recommend it. Incidently, this third season of 'Night Court' was nominated for a total of four Emmy Awards, with one win for John Larroquette. And features guest stars such as Estelle Harris, Robert Englund, Susan Ruttan, Brent Spiner, Yakov Smirnoff and Mel Torme. [CTR] This is a Full Screen presentation (1.33:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs

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