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This 1985-1989 series on Creator/{{ABC}} was arguably the coiner of the term {{Dramedy}}. It starred Cybill Shepherd as Maddie Hayes and a then-relatively unknown BruceWillis as the wisecracking David Addison.

The premise was simple. Model Madelyn Hayes found out that her accountant had embezzled her fortune and run off with it. Her only remaining assets were a series of losing businesses maintained as tax write-offs. The worst of the lot was the City Of Angels Detective Agency. Maddie, with no prospects and not the first idea of how to run a detective agency, decided to close it down to pay off quickly rising debts. Visiting the agency to deliver the pink slips introduced her to the quirky Agnes [=DiPesto=], who answered the phone in rhyme, and the zany, wisecracking David Addison, who wasn't ready to let the agency go without a fight, even renaming it the Blue Moon Detective Agency in order to connect it to the most prominent role of her modeling career - the "Blue Moon Shampoo Girl". Despite his oil-and-water chemistry with her, he was able to persuade Maddie to continue operating the agency, insisting that it could be profitable if it was permitted to be; however, Maddie insisted on working in the agency directly.

But what really made the show stand out was its penchant for BreakingTheFourthWall, where on occasion the characters would talk to the audience or otherwise show knowledge that they were characters in a television show ("Don't go much lower. They'll take us off the air."). This progressed in later seasons to become a pure NoFourthWall series.

It's perhaps best known for being the classic example of how a show can fall apart when UnresolvedSexualTension is resolved (in fact, outside of this wiki, ShippingBedDeath will occasionally be known as the "''Moonlighting'' Curse",) or how a hit show collapses due to a perfect storm of behind the scenes chaos. When the fifth season was shortened due to a {{TV Strike|s}}, ABC put the show down.

(Not to be confused with ''Series/{{Moonlight}}'', a 2007 VampireDetectiveSeries.)
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!!This series provides examples of:

* AlternateRealityEpisode / DeliberatelyMonochrome / RashomonStyle: "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice". Dave and Maddie hear of an old murder case (inspired by the notorious [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Snyder Ruth Snyder case]]) in which a wife and her lover kill the husband, and then blame each other after they're caught. The latter two-thirds of the episode, shot in black-and-white, consists of Dave and Maddie dreaming of the case from the perspective of (respectively) the man and woman involved. The episode featured a short introduction by OrsonWelles, in his very last job, as he died of a heart attack only a couple of days later.
* AmateurSleuth: Maddie. Dave actually is a licensed private investigator.
* AnimatedActors: Whenever they [[BreakingTheFourthWall break the fourth wall]], David and Maddie always refer to themselves as "David" and "Maddie," never Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd. At the end of one episode, they walk off the set and into the studio parking lot, but are still in character, meaning that they are fictional characters playing themselves in a show called ''Moonlighting''.
** EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: In the earliest example of the show doing this, the second season premiere "Brother, Can You Spare A Blonde", Shepherd and Willis introduce themselves as "Maddie Hayes and David Addison" - but the offscreen director refers to them as "Cybill" and "Bruce". Later episodes would go to great lengths to maintain the fiction that Hayes and Addison were somehow real people (playing themselves in a fictional series).
* AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther: Several instances between not only Dave and Maddie, but also Agnes and Herbert in later seasons.
* BeautyIsBad: In "The Bride Of Tupperman," a man looking for a bride asks David and Maddie for help; they each pick one (David's is ''much'' hotter than Maddie's) and he winds up picking both... only for one to die in an accident. [[spoiler: It's the hot one, and it turns out to be a BIG aversion, because the plain one is just as bad as... Tupperman himself.]]
* BelligerentSexualTension: Dave and Maddie took this UpToEleven.[[note]] In fact, it was more like "Belligerent Everything Tension".[[/note]]
* BetaCouple: Agnes and Herbert.
* ChivalrousPervert: David, especially towards Maddie.
* ChristmasEpisode: "Twas the Episode Before Christmas"
--> '''Dave''': [[NoFourthWall Do you think this is the Christmas episode?]]
* ClipShow: "The Straight Poop", a NoFourthWall episode (although David and Maddie never broke character) dealing with the production delays that were widely reported in the media at the time. In the end David and Maddie promised the viewers a new episode next week and {{blooper}}s kept interrupting the credits, implying that all available footage had been used for this episode.
* ConvenientMiscarriage: [[spoiler:The Dave-Maddie baby is lost through miscarriage.]]
* {{Costumer}}: The FilmNoir pastiche "The DreamSequence Always Rings Twice"; the send-up of Creator/WilliamShakespeare's ''Taming of the Shrew'': "Atomic Shakespeare"
* DestructoNookie: the last five minutes of the episode in which Dave and Maddie finally resolve their sexual tension.
* {{Dramedy}}
* DreamSequence
* EndOfSeriesAwareness: The last episode is interrupted by news that the series has been cancelled. Suddenly the characters have to deal with their reality falling apart, as sets are being dismantled all around them.
* {{Expy}}: Of ''Series/RemingtonSteele''[[note]]which ''Moonlighting'' creator Glenn Gordon Caron had been a writer for[[/note]], albeit a lot more edgy and willing to break status quo, which is why ironically PierceBrosnan liked it better than the show he was doing.
* {{Filler}}: In season four and five, with ABC demanding new episodes on schedule and Sheppard and Willis off-set due to pregnancy and injury/filming movies, the show's producers were forced to film filler episodes that focused solely on supporting cast members Allyce Beasley and Curtis Armstrong's characters Agnes and Herbert.
* FramingDevice / SeparateSceneStorytelling: "Atomic Shakespeare", an AffectionateParody of Theatre/TheTamingOfTheShrew.
* GaussianGirl:
** When they showed Maddie in a solo close-up it was often very fuzzy in a 40's movie style. It can be very jarring when they switch between close-ups of Maddie (fuzzy) and close-ups of David (clear).
** It should surprise no one to learn that the Director of Photography, Jerry Finnerman, also worked on ''[[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries Star Trek]]''.
** True to form, the show [[LampshadeHanging lampshades]] this in "The Straight Poop", when Maddie is ambushed in her office by an InUniverse camera crew - she vanishes momentarily only to return holding a sheet of gauze over her face.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: In "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice", David/Zach tells Maddie/Rita that they go together like "Astaire and Rogers, bagels and lox, hot dogs and donuts..."
** When Maddie starts insulting Dave's various body parts: "Don't go much lower. They'll take us off the air."
* GratuitousIambicPentameter: Dave would randomly launch into a sort of Dave-only jivetalk, but in one episode, he had an entire conversation with a maître d'hôtel in rhyme invoking Dr. Seuss.
* HotAndCold: Subverted with Maddie, who's just hot without the cold.
* LoveHurts: Dave, who admitted his feelings and denied them in turns (usually more than Maddie did; she could distract herself with her numerous suitors).
* LoveMakesYouCrazy: The entire Blue Moon crew at one point or another.
* LoveTriangle: Towards the end of the show's run, the writers decided to introduce a love triangle plotline to try and recapture the romantic tension between David and Maddie via having Maddie marry a stranger on a train.
* MysteryOfTheWeek
* NoFourthWall: All the time, usually from Dave. As [[http://www.salon.com/2013/03/09/rewind_celebrating_the_brilliance_of_moonlighting/ this article notes]], ''Moonlighting'' laughed at the fourth wall.
-->'''Guard:''' You can't burst in here like that!\\
'''Dave:''' Yeah? Tell it to the writers.
* NoirEpisode: "The Dream Sequence Always Rings Twice"
* NoOSHACompliance: In one episode Agnes ends up in an industrial laundry with large bags of laundry swinging around suspended from the ceiling. At some point she ends up inside on of the bags and is taken on a ConveyorBeltODoom ride where she gets lowered into first a tank of cold soapy water then almost lowered into a tank of boiling water when she is saved by her TemporaryLoveInterest who CutTheJuice after the villain throws the BigRedButton out of reach.
* NoodleIncident / RunningGag: The mysterious Anselmo case, often mentioned (many times by David as an excuse for not being where he was supposed to be), but never explained. The final episode ended with the following message: "Blue Moon Investigations ceased operations on May 14, 1989. The Anselmo Case was never solved… and remains a mystery to this day."
* PieInTheFace
* PrettyInMink: Maddie owned a handful of fur coats, like a lynx coat, a crystal fox coat, and a white fox coat.
* PreviouslyOn: Spoofed in season three, when (due to production delays) the third season suffered major gaps between new episodes, resulting in the show having to run a disclaimer at the start of one episode to remind viewers of what happened in previous episodes.
* RhymesOnADime: Agnes, if her answering machine messages are any implication. Dave has proven he can do this as well. When Maddie asked how he's able to do so, he replied, "Gotta read a lot of Creator/DrSeuss"
* SchoolPlay: "Atomic Shakespeare"
* SelfDeprecatingHumor: One opening scene took a jab at Bruce Willis's ill-fated singing career when Dave [[NoFourthWall attempts to sing the show's theme song.]] Maddie stops him abruptly claiming that [[HollywoodTonedeaf every dog in America was now howling.]]
* SiblingRivalry: While they aren't siblings, the same principle applies...
* SlapSlapKiss: It immediately follows the most intense of the Dave-Maddy snarkfest and precedes definitively answering yes to WillTheyOrWontThey.
* SoundtrackDissonance: An episode focused on an unborn child being prepared for birth by his guardian angel. When asked why he should ever leave the womb for [[PostHistoricalTrauma the big scary outside]], the angel shows him a completely straight "Wonderful World" montage of all the good things to expect in life.
* ThemeTune:
-->''Some walk by night''
-->''Some fly by day''
-->''Nothing can change them''
-->''Set and sure of the way...''
* TheyFightCrime: She's a model! He's a smart aleck! They fight crime![[note]]...and constantly argue every step of the way[[/note]]
%% Tsundere is on this page as HotAndCold %%
* {{UST}}: Dave and Maddie. For a while, anyway.
* WeHelpTheHelpless
* WillTheyOrWontThey: Dave and Maddie are possibly the TropeCodifier. Despite not waiting as many seasons as other couples that fall into this trope, they did this in droves, to the point where Willis and Shepherd appeared on the cover of the February 1987 issue of ''US'' Magazine, with the headline reading, ''"DO IT ALREADY!"''.
* WonderfulLife
* YeOldeButcheredeEnglishe: PlayedForLaughs in "Atomic Shakespeare"
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