Judge Ryan Keefer believes that this show may be the only one that has a recorder as part of its theme song.
Our reviews of Taxi: The Complete First Season (published November 17th, 2004), Taxi: The Complete Second Season (published March 23rd, 2005), and Taxi: The Fourth Season (published October 14th, 2009) are also available.
"I wonder about things; like, if they call an orange an 'orange,' why don't they call an apple a 'red,' or a banana a 'yellow.' Now 'blueberries' I can understand, but somebody explain 'gooseberries' to me."
Arrested Development is an outstanding show, but it shares some similarities with Taxi. Both were critically appreciated, and both experienced problems holding an audience, as ABC cancelled Taxi after the fourth season of the show, before NBC picked it up. So was the third season the reason why ABC decided to push forward with their numbskull decision?
Facts of the Case
Reviewing some of the creative forces behind Taxi, they're a veritable who's-who of situation comedy. And even when some could consider Season Three to be an off-year, the show was still nominated for nine Emmy Awards, winning them for categories like Best Actor Judd Hirsch (Independence Day), Supporting Actor Danny DeVito (Batman Returns), Best Comedy Series, and separate awards in writing and directing.
Hirsch as moral center (and full-time cabbie) Alex Rieger is the rock of the show, and DeVito provides many of the laughs and a distasteful façade to outsiders as dispatcher Louie DePalma. As Elaine Nardo, Elaine Henner (Chasers) is the glamour of the show, while Bobby Wheeler (Jeff Conaway, Jawbreaker) is the beefcake. Tony Banta (Tony Danza, Angels in the Outfield) is the dimwitted semi-pro fighter, and Reverend Jim Ignatowski (Christopher Lloyd, Back to the Future) is the burnt-out, drugged up former hippie who lives a unique existence. These are the people who comprise Sunshine Cab Company in early '80s New York City, and I haven't even mentioned Latka Gravas, portrayed by the outstanding comic Andy Kaufman. Latka was the name of the "Foreign Man" character that Kaufman had been doing in clubs for years, before finally receiving a proper vehicle for his talents.
Season Three's 20-episode run is spread over four discs, with five episodes each. The third season is comprised of:
• "Louie's Rival"
• "Tony's Sister and Jim"
• "Fathers of the Bride"
• "Elaine's Strange Triangle"
• "Going Home"
• "The Ten-Percent Solution"
• "The Call of the Mild"
• "Latka's Cookies"
• "Thy Boss's Wife"
• "The Costume Party"
• "Elaine's Old Friend"
• "Out of Commission"
• "Zen and the Art of Cab Driving"
• "Louie's Mother"
• "Bobby's Roommate"
• "Louie Bumps Into an Old Lady"
• "Bobby and the Critic"
• "On the Job (1)"
• "On the Job (2)"
• "Latka the Playboy"
In reviewing the crew on the show, they comprise some of the more memorable names of situation comedy in the last quarter century. Among the familiar names are director James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment), who helped to kick off a little show called The Simpsons, with the help of Richard Sakai and Sam Simon. Writing brothers Glen and Les Charles helped create a show about a bar called Cheers. Director James Burrows has played a part in Friends and Will and Grace. Then-writer David Lloyd went on to produce Frasier. Fellow writer Barry Kemp helped create Newhart. And before the show, Stan Daniels was a writer on The Mary Tyler Moore Show along with Ed. Weinberger. When it comes to pedigree, few shows appear to match it. Even when it wasn't in peak form (as I believe Season Three is), its B game was superior to everyone else's A game. There are some moments of poignancy, others of sadness, and others of absolute hilarity. It's not the best season of the show, but it's still pretty close.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Three seasons, 12 or so discs of fun and goodness, and not one retrospective documentary? Conaway's adventures on his brief time in Celebrity Fit Club aside, getting all of the surviving cast aside for three to five minutes to answer questions on ANY of these seasons would be cool to see. I can stop Conaway from mowing my yard for a second to do it, so we've got him, somebody get the rest of the cast on the phone.
If you want to see how ensemble comedy was working when you were growing up and since WKRP in Cincinnati isn't coming to video anytime soon, this is the show to watch. You've got hilarity and emotion in a good mix by some of the best people that orchestrate it.
The show and its creators are found guilty for falling in a trap of being ahead of their time. ABC is found guilty for letting this show go in the first place for whatever reason in that era.
Give us your feedback!
What's "fair"? Whether positive or negative, our reviews should be unbiased, informative, and critique the material on its own merits.
Other Reviews You Might Enjoy
Scales of Justice
Review content copyright © 2006 Ryan Keefer; Site design and review layout copyright © 2014 Verdict Partners LLC. All rights reserved.