YMMV / Night Court

  • Arc Fatigue: The Leon saga.
  • Broken Base: The infamous "Wile E. Coyote" cameo. Either it's a hilarious throwaway gag, or stupid, senseless joke that bared no logic.
  • Church of Happyology: Probably unintentional, since it was intended as a parody of pop psychology and not cults, but the support group Christine starts going to after her divorce has a lot of Happyology-esque traits.
  • Crazy Awesome: Harry.
    (Having trapped a rival prankster judge in a giant balloon) "Cleaver, you may be younger. You may be faster. You may even be smarter. But you will NEVER, EVER, be crazier... [pulls out a giant pin] than me."
  • Crowning Moment Of Awesome/Magnificent Bastard: Dan gets one in "Harry and Leon" (Season 3, Episode 14).
    • To explain, the episode starts as a sort of Big Lipped Alligator Moment with an employee from a "novelty entertainment" company named Paul Hodo (played by Lorry Goldman), who's the first case on the docket, being charged with "assault with a deadly weapon" (throwing a pie that was frozen in a man's face, causing facial injury and a pending divorce). After the case ends as usual (Harry: "$200 fine and time served"), then-bailiff Florence telling the man that his price of USD$100 for pieing somebody in the face is too steep. Dan then insults Flo, and Flo is suddenly OK with the price, asking if the man took Visa credit cards.
    • Near the end of the episode, after Harry's Crowning Moment Of Heartwarming with Leon the shoeshine boy (offering to be his foster father for the time being), a field representative from the novelty gag company pies Dan in the face (with a chocolate-flavored pie, Dan's favorite flavor that Flo asked about earlier). Flo confesses about paying a pie thrower from the same firm from earlier in the episode. Harry then tells Flo to stop covering for him; he's the one that paid the pie thrower. Christine Sullivan then confesses that she paid for the pie gag and so does Mac.
      • Dan then confirms that it was all four of them. How?
    Dan: (from serious to a tad maniacal) I made a deal with the guy out in the hall. I said if he took the money just for one hit and gave me the rest, I wouldn't sue him!
    • So, $100 per Pie in the Face request. Four (Flo, Harry, Mac, and Christine) paid, so that's $400. $100 going to Paul Hodo leaves $300 left for Dan, so Dan hustled some money out of people whom he knew hated his guts. Dan then said he was going to buy him a nice suede jacket from Brooks Brothers and would come back to court tomorrow to rub it in the others' faces. Before he announces his shopping trip, he says the following:
    Dan: You hate me. You all hate me. Everybody hates me! For the first time in my life, I'm taking advantage of being me.
  • Cute but Cacophonic: "High pitched squeal" was pretty much Lisette's default setting.
  • Ear Worm: That jazzy theme with its memorable hook (Da-daaa daaaa daaaa, *clink clink*)
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Dan Fielding. Even though he balanced between being a Jerk Ass and a Jerk with a Heart of Gold (and was downright loathed in universe by almost everyone), to date, whenever anyone mentions the show he (as well as actor John Larroquette) are usually the first people that come to mind. Larroquette's portrayal was so good, he won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy for four years straight, and probably only did not win a fifth time because the man was so classy, he removed himself from consideration to give someone else a chance to win.
  • Epileptic Trees: One popular theory among fans of Night Court and Cheers is that Harry Stone is an alias for con-man Harry The Hat and the reason for the latter character disappearing from Boston for the better part of a decade was that he was busy running a long-con playing judge in New York City. The Cheers writers actually alluded to this when the Harry the Hat character appeared on that show after Night Court began. Someone asked where he'd been, and he replied, "I got a night job.".
    • Of course there's also a theory running in the opposite direction that Harry the Hat is an alias for Judge Harry Stone who is attempting to pull the world's greatest prank by posing as a two-bit con man.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: One episode had an actor who played a Lone Ranger-esque character who was upset about a new, grittier movie that went completely against what his show/movies were about. He threatened to kill himself with a suspended air conditioner. In the end, it all worked out because the movie bombed with audiences, so the old guy wins a moral victory. In 2013, a Darker and Edgier film adaptation of The Lone Ranger was made by Disney, and was also poorly received. This would seem Hilarious in Hindsight except that Disney's Lone Ranger is on track to becoming one of the biggest Box Office Bombs of all time.
    • Actually, it was more a parody of what happened in 1980, when Lew Grade (the guy who brought us Thunderbirds and The Muppet Show) attempted a Darker and Edgier reboot called The Legend of the Lone Ranger, and lawyers forced the original Lone Ranger actor to stop touring with his costume; legal stuff ensued, the public got wind of this and supported the actor, resulting in the movie dying quickly at the box office. (This was pretty much the nail in the coffin for Grade's movie-making aspirations; his previous film, the notorious flop Raise the Titanic!, as well as the Village People movie Can't Stop The Music had killed the ITC/EMI joint venture AFD (Associated Film Distribution) and forced him to sell the remainder of the AFD films to Universal.)
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Really anytime Selma is shown smoking, given that Selma Diamond passed away from lung cancer, and was a chronic chain smoker in real life. Even worse, when Selma's smoking habit was the basis of a joke!
    "Why do you think I keep coming to work? For my health?" (lights up cigarette)
  • He Really Can Act: This is in the YMMV section for aesthetic reasons, but anyone who was a fan could tell you the show had an uncanny ability to provide equal parts humor and pathos almost constantly.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • At the end of "Hurricane" part 2, at one point Harry says "live long and prosper" and even gives the Vulcan hand symbol when he does. Brent Spiner happens to be guest-starring in the episode, a year before Star Trek: The Next Generation would premiere on television.
    • Mac creates a student film which quickly evolves into a bizarre and surreal movie that his friends hate and cannot sit through, however, it later becomes a cult phenomenon, with late night showings and fans dressed as the characters spouting catchphrases. Sound familiar?
    • It's quite fun to see Richard Moll playing a high-voiced simpleton at the start of his career, when he's now best known for deep and raspy-voiced cartoon villains.
  • Nightmare Fuel Vanity Plate: This played after the closing credits after the second season, and was only used for Night Court. This troper remembers this show more for the horrifying laughter in the closing logo than for the show itself.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Don Cheadle, Teri Hatcher, Dennis Haysbert, Brent Spiner, and Nana Visitor appeared on the show early in their careers.
    • Markie Post was originally a model on Card Sharks, and had played Terri on The Fall Guy.
    • James Burrows directed the pilot episode. Burrows is best known as co-creator and co-executive producer of Cheers.
    • Linwood Boomer wrote seven episodes. Boomer is best known as creator and executive producer of Malcolm in the Middle and for playing Adam Kendall on Little House on the Prairie.
    • Michael J. Fox played a teenage runaway in the second episode. Ironically, Michael Gross, whom played Fox's on-screen dad in Family Ties, made an appearance in season 4, playing a public defender who is sexually harassing Christine.
    • Officer Tackleberry was Mac's Vietnam war buddy.
    • Eldin was a pimp in the Season 5 episode "Let It Snow".
    • Ellen Foley, who played public defender Billie Young in season 2, sang back-up vocals for Meat Loaf. Her best known vocals are on "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" ("I wanna know right now / Will you love me forever?")
    • Bull is Two-Face.
    • Bull's foster son Andy aka Stella from the season 2 episode "Bull Gets a Kid" is played by a young Pamela Adlon (under her maiden name Pamela Segall) best known for voicing boys, like Milo Oblong, Otto Osworth, and, most famously, Bobby Hill.
    • Markie Post later voiced June Darby.
    • As noted on this page, horror fans will surely recognize John Larroquette's baritone.
    • Season 4's "Author, Author" features a rare on-camera appearance by voice actor Joe Alaskey playing a man who was arrested for accosting a woman who has split-personality disorder... and happens to be played by a surprisingly formal-looking Fran Drescher.
  • The Scrappy: Leon - the boy Harry tried to adopt - was not the most beloved character.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The show could be quite heavy-handed in its dealings with social issues, especially when it came to accepting what conservatives consider as "alternate lifestyles." Considering it was produced in a time when America was panicking over the loss of "traditional" values, the show was necessary in depicting that those who were "different" should be treated with compassion and that change could be dealt with humor and grace rather than anger and fear.
  • Squick: The episode with the cockroach infestation. At one point the characters discover they've wandered into a carpet of dead roaches.
    Christine: Oh, please God, let that be a pebble in my shoe.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The opening sounds like a softer, jazzier version of the Password Plus theme.
  • Tearjerker:
    • The first episode after Selma Diamond's death has an especially poignant one.
    • In another episode, Harry confronts another older judge on his erratic behavior, and learns that the man is on the verge of cracking after a career of seemingly-futile decisions. Judge Drayton finally breaks down after this speech:
      Judge Drayton: There was once this girl who came through my courtroom, carrying a baby. Beautiful girl, seventeen or eighteen. Long, dark hair, dark complexion... and a big black eye where her husband had hit her. She asked me to make him stop. I said, fine, I'll send him to jail. I gave him two years...then she changed her testimony, she said she was lying! She didn't want her husband to go to jail! He was a good provider, he brought home money so the family could eat! All she wanted, was for him to stop hitting her! And I couldn't make him stop, Harry! In twenty-five years, I couldn't make anybody stop!
    • In "The Former Harry Stone," word of Harry's criminal record gets out. With a sleazy reporter hounding him and questions spreading among the staff, Harry comes clean in court to help mediate the current case. His crime was stealing a car and crashing into a liquor store. He spent two nights in jail and a few weeks in a reformatory, but the incident deeply affected the rest of his life because of his "father's stare":
      "Believe me, in 20 minutes, I spent my time in Hell. It was a courtroom like this, and he sat right there. You would've thought he could've blinked or... something. He could've reached out and slapped me, or yelled at me, or beat me, but... dammit, he just sat there and looked at me. And then when it was all over, all he said was, 'You disappointed me, Harold.' When a boy loves his father, you would rather get knocked across the head with a two-by-four than hear that kind of stuff. Anyway, not too long after that, he just... sort of... died. It always kind of bugged me, y'know? That he never found out. That... (tugs on his robe) that I hadn't made a habit out of stealing cars."
    • Hell, Harry's entire life was almost unbearably hard, especially when he talks about growing up without his mother:
    Harry: I am capable of feeling loss. When Selma died, I felt loss. When Florence died, I felt loss. Because I cared very much for them and they cared for me. If I needed comfort and compassion they were there. If I just needed a friend to talk to, they were there. But when I needed a mother, no one was there.