R.I.P. “Night Court” at 7AM on TV Land

Damn you, TV Land. Damn you to hell for moving Night Court from its 7AM slot to 8AM when I’m already on the bus and on my way into work. My mornings just won’t be the same anymore.

Watching Night Court at 7AM was to me what a second cup of coffee in the morning is to most people. It was the bright spot in my day that got me going. From 7 til 7:30, Night Court and I shared a lot of good times, breakfasts, and sessions of applying my makeup in between laughs.

No longer will I hear the regularly scheduled “Ooooh-kay” from dear, sweet Bull Shannon or see his interaction with caustic, yet caring bailiffs Selma, Flo, and Roz. There will be no more Big Mac attacks by my favorite court clerk on Mel Torme-loving Judge Stone. And I won’t be seeing Dan Fielding prosecute his way through the docket just to get in a good session of manwhoring in the time slot I had counted on as a regular part of my morning routine.

richard-moll-cropEven worse, Night Court‘s replacement on the 7AM time block is now inhabited by M.A.S.H. If there is one classic television show I hate with a passion (with the possible exception of Kate and Allie, which I’m not sure if anyone actually liked, either), it would be M.A.S.H. I just don’t get it. Sure, it ran for damn near forever, but so does a ’79 Delta 88 Oldsmobile. And when I think of things that are fun, neither one tops my list.

Not only does M.A.S.H. bore me to tears, it has cock-blocked my viewing habits since I was a child.During my elementary school years, I would come home, do my homework while Oprah was on and from 5PM until prime time viewing at 8PM, there would be a solid stretch of syndicated shows that I looked forward to watching. Although I didn’t love Lucy, I could tolerate her from 5PM until Dick Van Dyke and his pals Buddy and Sally came on at 5:30. At 6, I’d venture on over to Gilligan’s Island, a show I was unreasonably obsessed with from 3rd grade until 6th. (To give you an indication of this bizarre mania focused on the seven castaways, I actually made cut-out paper dolls of each of them and constructed my own Island Doll Hut out of a cardboard box with green construction paper cut into fringes for a “thatched” roof… Yeah, I didn’t get out much.) At 6:30, Hogan’s Heroes would be on and I’d hang with some zany P.O.W.s who obviously weren’t John McCain.

At 7:30, All in the Family would be on, yet another show that I got a big bang out of, particularly since I could imitate Edith Bunker’s voice perfectly. This, of course, was before my voice shifted from shrill prepubescence into a more mature basso like Edith’s cousin, (and my patron saint), Maude.

As for that crucial, 7PM slot where the television would be on during dinner… Eenie-meenie miney-moe, guess which television sitcom fucked with my viewing flow? That’s right. It was M.A.S.H.

Posing as “sophisticated humor,” M.A.S.H. was nowhere near as fun a war-flavored sitcom as Hogan’s Heroes. There was too much drama sandwiched in between Klinger occassionally parading around in a dress. Come to think of it, I don’t think anyone in my house really liked M.A.S.H.. They just left it on because nothing else was on. (Which makes me wonder if that’s how the show actually survived. Maybe there was nothing else to oppose it and it just skated on to become one of the longest running shows ever.) My parents were somewhat ambivalent to Hawkeye and the 4077, but my brother and I thought they flat-out sucked.

Fast forward to today. I never would have dreamed that M.A.S.H. would rear it’s humorless head again and disrupt my morning routine. Yet, there it was. And in an even crueler twist of fate, the 7AM time slot features the show running not one, but two back-to-back episodes, spilling over into the 7:30 bracket.

We are not pleased.

The only thing cushioning this devastating blow is that I have every season of Night Court bootlegged on DVD and I can watch them in chronological order any time I choose. Still, popping in a DVD isn’t quite the same as having a show already on tap and waiting for you in the morning. Particularly since TV Land airs it in glorious HD and I’ve morphed into something of a High-Def elitist. I suppose if I wanted to, I could DVR it and watch it in lieu of the Star Trek episodes I’ve already seen a gazillion times already at 6AM, but it’s still not the same.

As one of the shows I had watched with my father every Thursday night in the ’80s and early ’90s as a kid, Night Court holds a soft spot in my heart. This probably speaks volumes about my upbringing, having been a pre-teen raised on the lecherous antics of Dan Fielding and the full-blown duncery of bailiff Bull. As another television-related confession, (not nearly as disturbing as my Gilligan’s Island cardboard dreamhouse) growing up, my brother and I were enthralled with the hulking goofball of a bailiff and would frequently relate Bull Shannon-isms in attempts to crack each other up at inopportune times. This led to us almost getting tossed out of the dentist’s chair since the hygenist didn’t find the deadpan delivery of “H2O is water” to be nearly as hilarious as my brother and I did. No accounting for taste. Bitch was probably a M.A.S.H. fan anyway.)

I may not like it, but I will soldier on, armed with my bootlegged DVDs, DVR controller, and a fistfull of platitudes courtesey of the Honorable Judge Harold T. Stone.

R.I.P. Night Court at 7AM. You will be missed.

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