“New Girl” tests the “Moonlighting curse”
There’s a pretty solid consensus that the “Moonlighting curse” is bogus. The groundbreaking 1980’s Bruce Willis–Cybill Shepherd show didn’t tank because David and Maddie finally gave into their torrid chemistry. Instead, “Moonlighting” tanked itself: After the pair finally did the deed, the writing dropped off, the two were never allowed to be properly together, and there was an extra-long strike hiatus that hurt the ratings of later seasons. But like all curses and superstitions, whether or not it’s real hardly matters: People still go out of their way to avoid walking under ladders.
Since the advent of the “Moonlighting curse,” TV shows that get major characters together have developed the equivalent of knocking wood — the rituals one performs to circumvent a curse. Basically, they do the opposite of what “Moonlighting” did: The shows confront the sexual tension early and/or when they get a couple together, they really, irrevocably get them together. Either way, soon after the pairing, the show tries to get back to normal, to being the procedural or comedy it previously was.