Trivia / Night Court

  • Actor Allusion:
    • One of the many, many people who have taken the court hostage over the years was a woman with a grenade who couldn't distinguish television shows from reality. She was played by Marion Ross, aka Mrs. Cunningham. She lists her many friends which were fictional TV characters and it included "The Fonz".
    • Another episode had Dan being held hostage by an insane woman who acts out scenes from horror movies. When the TV announces that The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) is about to begin, he says, "Seen that already." John Larroquette was the narrator for the original film, 2003 remake, and the ending of the prequel to the latter.
  • Actor Existence Failure: Selma Diamond after the second season, and Florence Halop after the third. Marsha Warfield was hired because she was much younger, so this could be prevented from happening a third time.
  • Actor-Shared Background: Harry Stone, the character, and Harry Anderson, the actor, are both magicians and devoted Mel Torme fans. Unusually, creator Reinhold Weege came up with the name and characterization before discovering an actor who exactly fit the bill by pure chance.
  • The Character Died with Him: When Selma Diamond and then Florence Halop died, their respective characters were written as having passed away too.
  • Colbert Bump: Mel Tormé's guest appearances introduced him to a whole new audience who otherwise would have never heard of him and he developed a following among Generation Xers.
  • The Danza:
    • Selma Hacker/Selma Diamond, and Florence Kleiner/Florence Halop.
    • Could also be invoked for Mac Robinson/Charles Robinson.
    • Averted with Harry Stone played by Harry Anderson, oddly enough. According to series creator and executive producer Reinhold Weege's DVD commentary, the character was called Harry and was a devoted Tormé fan and magician before magician turned actor Harry Anderson auditioned.
    • Yakov Smirnoff's occasional guest appearances as Yakov Korolenko.
    • William Utay as Will, the Evil Twin of homeless guy Phil.
  • Dawson Casting: Don Cheadle plays a robber in one episode. The character was supposed to be 16, Cheadle was 24 at the time.
  • Directed by Cast Member: Several.
    • John Larroquette directed 2 episodes.
    • Harry Anderson directed 2 episodes. He also wrote 5 of them. (One - "Caught Red Handed" from the fourth season - he both wrote and directed).
    • Charles Robinson directed 3 episodes.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Richard Moll shaved his head to play Bull, leading the actor to joke that he it was a relief to see that he could grow a full head of hair during hiatuses.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Warner began issuing DVDs of the show in 2005. It took eight years for them to release the entire series and even then most of the seasons are only available as no-frills, "manufactured-on-demand" releases available only online. Shameful considering Night Court was part of NBC's vaunted '80s Thursday Night Line-Up, along with The Cosby Show, A Different World, Family Ties, Cheers, Wings, Hill Street Blues, and L.A. Law.
  • Money, Dear Boy: The show was to end after Season 8 and the cast was ready to move on. When NBC surprisingly renewed the show for an additional season, the network convinced the entire cast to stay on by presenting them with, in Markie Post's words, "jumbo buckets full of money".
  • The Other Darrin: Phil Sanders was played by a different actor (Blackie Dammett, Anthony Kiedis' father) when he first appears and is more snarky than deferential towards Dan.
  • The Pete Best: Karen Austin and Paula Kelly who were only present during the first season before leaving, and their characters (Lana and Liz, respectively) quickly forgotten about. Karen Austin has stated that she was let go due to being diagnosed with Bell's Palsy, and producers thought this would be an issue for filming. It has never been disclosed why Paula Kelly left the show.
  • Reality Subtext: "Flo's Retirement" was a fitting sendoff for Florence Halop, who was dying of breast cancer. And she still managed to finish out the season.
  • Real-Life Relative: In Season 2, Dan's parents were played by real-life married couple John McIntire and Jeanette Nolan.
  • Recycled Script: The show often reused the plot of someone who claimed to be an alien/Death/a guy from the future et al. coming into the courtroom only for it to reveal they were a normal person who's mind had snapped due to some tragedy they suffered.
  • Referenced by...:
    • 30 Rock had the episode "The One with the Cast of Night Court", which featured Kenneth trying to get a proper finale for the show filmed.
    • In Homestuck, John is a big fan of Harry Anderson and the show, and he actually played the role of Judge Stone instead of Anderson in the alpha universe (as "Johnny Stone").
  • Screwed by the Network: The showrunners had plans to conclude Harry and Christine's romantic arc with a wedding in Season 8 as it was supposed to be the final season. A surprise renewal caused the writers to try and keep it going, and eventually losing momentum, in Season 9. NBC then told the writers to not write a series finale, leading them to believe that a tenth season was going to happen, but then, on the final day of shooting, gave everyone notes saying that the soundstage had to be completely cleared by the end of the day and brought in extra security to make sure that no one tried to linger once production wrapped.
    • Reinhold Weege, and most of the cast have stated that throughout the 9-year run, NBC execs were never really enthusiastic about the show. They never understood the show's humor, or why it was so popular. They only kept it on because for most of the run it got big ratings, and there was a fear that if it was canceled prematurely, someone would be fired.
    Markie Post: "Their attitude was always, 'Hey! The Cosby Show! Hey, Family Ties! Hey, Cheers! And... oh, yeah... Night Court..."
  • Technology Marches On: Averted, Dan makes use of a cell phone several times, Harry owns several laptop computers And Mac eventually trades in his beloved files for a computer as the series goes on.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The show is very much based on the pre-Giuliani NYC.
    • Markie Post's hair and the tailored suits worn by John Larroquette also date the show in the 80s.

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