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YMMV / Night Court

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  • Anvilicious: 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."
  • Award Snub:
    • While John Larroquette won four consecutive Emmy Awards and Harry Anderson was nominated for three, the rest of the long-running regulars were never nominated. This was discussed in the 30 Rock reunion episode, where Markie Post complains that Anderson and Larroquette considered themselves above their castmates because they were the only ones nominated for Emmys: "I would have been nominated for Emmys too, but I was too hot to be taken seriously!"
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    • This wound up being self inflicted on Larroquette when after his fourth win, he decided to take himself out of competition.
  • Broken Base: The infamous "Wile E. Coyote" cameo from the season 7 episode "Still Another Day in the Life". Either it's a hilarious throwaway gag that comes part and parcel with a zany show like this or a nonsensical non-joke that doesn't add anything to the episode.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
  • 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.
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  • Fanon Discontinuity: For most, the show stopped at season 8 since that pretty much wrapped up the series. 9 is just a curious afterthought (especially considering NBC didn't even want the show).
  • Fridge Logic: Dan once claimed to have the highest conviction rate and lowest rate of overturn on appeals of any prosecutor in NYC. This is likely true due to the docket he works, which sees a large number of defendants charged with minor crimes who plead out for fines and time served. He's not losing cases because relatively few are disputing the charges against them.
  • 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!
    Selma: Why do you think I keep coming to work? For my health? [lights up cigarette]
    • Bull's drunken rant while mourning for Selmanote  quickly became this when Florence Halop also died from lung cancer after the end of season 3.
    • In "Passion Plundered" (7.11) there is a subplot revolving around a guest star who is a lesbian. At one point she tells Christine that she is "...very open about being gay." In 2017, Marsha Warfield would come out publicly as a gay woman. Though she admitted that she was in a glass closet, and anyone who knew her for "five minutes" knew she was gay, she had avoided coming out publicly at the request of her mother. She would later write and speak extensively about the pain she felt in her mother asking her to deny her true self.
    • 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. While, as mentioned on the main page, this was based on something that actually happened in 1980, when the owner of The Lone Ranger copyright forced the original Lone Ranger actor from the TV series to stop touring with his costume because the owner wanted to do a Darker and Edgier film reboot, in 2013, another 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.
    • In the Season 8 episode "Death Takes a Halloween", Harry jails a defendant who claims to be the Angel of Death. As a result, no one is able to die. The episode has a scene where Harry, while speaking on the telephone, makes some offhand or throwaway joke about people jumping off the World Trade Center and miraculously surviving. Not as funny come September 11, 2001. After the planes hit the World Trade Center, some of the occupants tried to escape by jumping from some of the higher floors.
    • One season finale reveals that Dan is an army reservist. He starts to panic when he finds out his next assignment is to a war zone and the others try to calm him down. After Christine's attempt, he jokes that he'll go off to war and get killed, then Christine will find out she's carrying "little Dan". A few years alter, Christine starts dating Tony, a police detective. He later joins a task force that goes to South America to take down a notorious drug dealer. Just after he leaves, Christine discovers she's pregnant with his child. (Possibly lessened by Tony coming home unscathed.)
  • He Really Can Act: Harry Anderson was primarily known as a con-man, magician, and comedian before playing Harry Stone and showing that he could play for genuine pathos and move audiences, earning three Emmy Award nominations for his work.
  • 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.
    • In one episode, Harry takes to making major decisions via coin flip. Richard Moll would later take on the role of Two Face.
  • LGBT Fanbase: The show was quite progressive for its time in handling homosexual issues, never showing it as a negative and showcasing the cast being quite understanding about it. Heck, two of the most memorable episodes involved Dan (one where he gets trapped in an elevator with a gay man and another where he finds out his childhood best friend was a MTF trans), both episodes tackling the subject very tastefully while still keeping the humor present. As such the LGBT community has praised the show for their depictions.
  • Moment of Awesome: In "Harry and Leon" (Season 3, Episode 14).
    • 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 Heartwarming Moment 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.
  • Nightmare Fuel: This Vanity Plate played after the closing credits after the second season, and was only used for Night Court. Some people remember this show more for the horrifying laughter in the closing logo than for the show itself. Show writer Tom Reeder revealed in the comments on Ken Levine's blog post reporting Reinhold Weege's death that the laugh belonged to Weege's father, Chuck. note  He and his wife, Georgia, came to see every episode taped during Weege's tenure on the show, thus his laugh is also heard in the laugh track recorded for every episode until Weege left.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • The Scrappy: Leon - the boy Harry tried to adopt - was not the most beloved character.
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • Season 7 was the first season made with no input from series creator Reinhold Weege, and it went over the top with the surrealism (including the controversial Wile E. Coyote gag) as well as a not-very-well-received story arc where Christine gets married and pregnant.
    • Season 9 was an even bigger example than Season 7.
  • 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. It also sounds a little similar to the Barney Miller theme, not surprising because both themes were composed by Jack Elliott and both shows were comedies about the criminal justice system.
  • 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.
    • One Season 3 episode had a gag involving New Coke.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • Dan's lecherous behavior pushed the limits of acceptability even for the time - even allowing for the exaggerated nature of the show's universe. The only remotely saving grace is that Dan usually ended up punished, hurt, or humiliated for his actions. In modern times, Dan's libido might have been tolerated (though likely he would've been hit with multiple sexual harassment complaints, along with suspensions and mandatory counselling), but his habit of getting grabby would've gotten him fired with speed (if not arrested).
    • A season 4 episode had Dan saving Christine's life and, in return, demanding that Christine sleep with him. Even though Christine only pretended to accept because she knew Dan would never actually go through with it, no show after The '80s would have a man do that and still be considered just a Jerkass rather than a criminal.
    • Dan groped Christine and stole her underwear while she was choking. Even if he saved her life, he still committed sexual assault and would be considered a monster in any modern TV show.
      Christine: Dan! You saved my life!!
      Harry: (exasperated): Miss Sullivan, he felt you up!