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Trivia / Night Court

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  • 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.
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  • 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 timenote .
  • 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 Cast Showoff:
    • Anderson did numerous magic tricks during his time on the show, which, considering that he is a REAL amateur magician (and former conman) isn't that surprising.
    • Larroquette also showed off in three episodes. Once, his ability as a Motor Mouth of a description of the charges against a defendant in the episode "A Day In The Life", his skill as a pianist in the episode "Christine's Friend", and as an accordion player on Part 1 of the episode "A Guy Named Phantom", that was a homage to "The Phantom of the Opera".
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    • In "Not My Type", Christine attempts to entertain the crowd on her date with Art with a performance of Bach's Two-Part Invention No. 3 in A minor,note  and the angle of the shot reveals that Markie Post actually is playing the piano and not miming.
  • 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.
      • Selma Hacker was specifically created for Selma Diamond. Weege wanted to cast Diamond and created the character just for her.
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    • 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 (and devoted Tormé fan) Harry Anderson auditioned for the role.
      • Weege later said that he did base Harold Stone off of "Harry the Hat" having seen Anderson on Cheers and did specifically request him to audition for the role, but that the role wasn't created specifically for Anderson.
    • 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".
  • Name's the Same: Buddy Ryan, Harry's father shares his name with the late, legendary Chicago Bears defensive coordinator but is otherwise unrelated.
  • 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.
    • In addition to the above two, there was Gail Strickland (who played the public defender in the pilot before being replaced by Kelly) and Ellen Foley (who was only in Season 2 because the producers were waiting for Markie Post to become available).
  • Post-Script Season: Season 8 is over. Dan quits his job and loses the Phil Foundation fortune. More importantly, Harry and Christine have professed their love to one another. OK, that's the end. What's that? We've been renewed? Oh, crap! 30 Rock devoted an episode to the idea that several of the characters on that show were unhappy with the Season 9 ending to Night Court, so they staged a "fake" episode, reuniting several of the actual cast members (Harry Anderson, Markie Post, and Charles Robinson), and they had Harry and Christine get married.
  • 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. Amusingly, the two also appeared together in Psycho and The Fox and the Hound.
  • 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..."
      • Part of what allowed the show to survive was likely the fact that the Bottle Episode was the standard for most episodes, greatly reducing costs compared to other shows that were always sending their characters out into new environments.
  • 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.
  • The Wiki Rule: The Night Court Wiki.
  • You Look Familiar:
    • Cathy McAuley appeared in a Season 7 episode as a woman Dan attempted to pick up, before returning the next season as Wanda, Bull's girlfriend/wife.
    • Like Barney Miller before it, the show had a number of actors who appeared on the show (many of whom also appeared on BM, such as Stanley Brock, John Dullaghan, George Murdock, and Alex Hentlehoff) in different roles. See the main page for more details.
    • The king of this (on Night Court, at least) has to be actor Jack Riley, who played five roles over the course of the series, including a murderous clown, a gay dog breeder interested in Dan, and the doctor in charge of Dan's surgery.
    • Running a close second is Timothy Stack, who played three separate, prominent characters over the course of the series.
      • In "The Modest Proposal", he played Bill - Christine's humorless fiancee. He winds up dumping her at the altar as he suddenly "gets" every single punchline to every joke he was ever told.
      • In the two-parter "Snoop and Nuts", he plays Tim Bond - an incompetent federal agent working with Harry to bring down a crime boss.
      • In the two-parter "Wedding Bell Blues", he plays Mr. Marley - a pencil-pusher who takes over running maintenance for the court house after the staff go on strike.
    • Stuart Pankin has also played three separate characters in the series, including a podiatrist who has to deliver Mac and Quon Le's baby, and a rock star's greedy business manager. Amusingly, Florence Stanley, who also made appearances on the series as her My Two Dads role of Judge Margaret Wilbur, would later work together with Pankin on Dinosaurs.
    • Lana Clarkson, of Barbarian Queen fame, also played two roles on the show.
      • In "Hello, Goodbye", she played a bailiff trainee.
      • In "My Three Dads", she played Dan's stewardess date in a dream sequence.
    • Gregory Itzin (Charles Logan from 24) played a mobster's defense lawyer in one episode, and a mugger in another two-parter.
    • In a lesser example, before their recurring roles on the show as Phil and Buddy, Will Utay and John Astin each appeared as unrelated characters in season two episodes; Utay played a defendant who beat up a mime and stole his change "for kicks" in "Pick a Number" and Astin played a Cloud Cuckoolander hospital patient (albeit similar to his later role) named Kenny in "Inside Harry Stone".
    • The late Phil Leeds, an elderly actor known for his odd appearance, made several appearances on the show, including as a man who believed he was God and one of the aliens that meets with Bull in the Grand Finale.


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