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Rewind: Celebrating the brilliance of “Moonlighting”

“Moonlighting,”the wonderful romantic comedy co-starring Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd as bantering, codependent private detectives, aired on Tuesday nights on ABC from 1985 to 1989.  Unlike many of its contemporaries, “Moonlighting” remains a cultural touchstone — also airing on Tuesdays during those years, “The A-Team” and “Matlock”! — in large part because of the long shadow it has cast on TV romances: You know, the “Moonlighting” curse. But the focus on the curse has unfairly narrowed “Moonlighting’s” legacy. It means that when we talk about “Moonlighting,” we’re usually talking about what “Moonlighting” got wrong, and that, as David Addison might say, makes about as much sense as zebras speaking Martian. “Moonlighting” is and was stunningly modern, hilarious and energetic in a still breathtaking way, meta before meta was standard, a social media series before there was social media. (The first show to talk about the “Moonlighting” curse was basically “Moonlighting.”) So, forthwith, a consideration of “Moonlighting” that has nothing to do with romance at all.

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