After four years and one date, David and Maddie have finally acknowledged their romance, alleviating the audience’s proverbial blue balls. But there’s trouble in paradise, and Maddie jumps on a plane to Chicago to figure out her conflicted feelings. David can’t handle this, as he doesn’t understand why a relationship has to be difficult. They have a fight on the phone, which is nothing new, but the context is different now; the fight has a bitter sting, their barbs serrated, puncturing deeper. There are no jokes strewn about their fight. It’s just a couple’s fight, which is new territory for them both. She asks him not to call her until she returns to Los Angeles, which irks David. Toward the end of the episode, he has a dream (“You’d think I’d get used to these dream sequences by now,” he quips.) in which his phone becomes Maddie via the Claymation process of Oscar- and Emmy-winner Will Vinton. The sequence ends with Maddie subverting David’s control of his own fantasy by turning him into a frog, signifying his control issues and inability to let Maddie be her own person, a motif that stipples their relationship from the beginning.


“A Womb With A View” (season five, episode one)

The final season’s opener, in which Bruce Willis plays a baby who doesn’t want to be born, is the only episode of the season written by Caron. The plot about a baby so disturbed by his parents fighting and the evils of the world that he tries to make his mother miscarry him is one of the series’ darkest jokes. There’s a dream sequence that spills off the set and behind the camera as the players sing about needing to make 22 episodes before they all die. They predict the season will have 16 episodes; they overestimate by three.


“Lunar Eclipse” (season five, episode 13)

Moonlighting was always its own harshest critic. It slapped itself harder and dug into itself deeper than any writer or fan ever could. The series finale pulls no punches; it ends with the characters wondering why their show is being canceled, and a producer explaining to them that they’re no longer popular. It chastises the five-year tease that was David and Maddie’s relationship. As the set is torn down from around them, they lament the good ol’ days while wondering nervously about their future. What happens to the characters when the show goes off the air? Blue Moon receptionist Miss DiPesto (Allyce Beasley) leaves these existentialist parting words for herself and Curtis Armstrong’s junior detective, Herbert Viola: “If there’s a God in heaven, he’ll spin Herbert and me off in our own series.” To date, no such show exists.