Moonlighting was one of my favorite television shows when I was in junior high school. In fact, I loved it so much that I wanted to be a private investigator just like Maddie and David, and longed to work in a quirky environment like Blue Moon Investigations. The show itself, while a bit uneven at times, was one of the best on television in the mid-80s, and now I’m reliving some of the greatest moments via DVD. One of my favorite episodes of the entire series was number 3×08, called “It’s a Wonderful Job”. No surprise that the ep is from the third season, because in my opinion, that was hands down the best year for Moonlighting fans.
Plot summary (with possible spoilers): It’s Christmastime, but instead of getting into the spirit of the season, Maddie is her usual dour self. She’s making her staff work all week long to help one of their clients prepare for a court date, and of course that has the troops grumbling.
A short time after coming in to the office, Maddie receives a phone call notifying her that her aunt has died. This news is devastating to Maddie since she was supposed to visit her aunt in the hospital, but kept putting it off because she was too busy. Maddie gets up to leave for the hospital, and is confronted by MacGillicudy, who is miffed that Maddie is leaving early after ordering everyone else to work. This upsets Maddie even more, so she ends up going to a bar to drink.
While there, she meets a man who keeps pestering her, offering to buy her another drink or coffee. Maddie tries to get rid of the guy, but he won’t back down. Finally he tells Maddie that he’s a guardian angel and can grant her what she was wishing for down in the bar, namely, that she had closed down Blue Moon two and a half years ago instead of keeping the business going. He then shows Maddie how everyone’s lives — Miss DiPesto, Herbert, David, and her own — would have turned out if that had happened.
My Reaction: Ok, so the It’s a Wonderful Life ripoff is standard Christmas fare for a lot of television shows, but this particular episode was done very well. As much as I like the constant bickering and bantering between Maddie and David, it was refreshing to get a break from all that, and get a somewhat serious look at how grateful they should be to have each other.
I wish they would have spent a bit more time talking about how David was able to become a success and buy Maddie’s house from her (and marry Cheryl Tiegs). I don’t think that was revealed at all, was it? It was just said that he bought the house, not how. Anyway, that would have been interesting because I was siding with Maddie in thinking that he was likely to end up as a “derelict” somewhere.
I also would have liked to have known how and why Maddie ended up on the brink of suicide. I know that when she was deciding whether to keep or sell Blue Moon, her accountant had been embezzling money from her, so I suppose she ended up losing everything. But was that in itself all there was to her suicidal tendencies? A lot of people can pick themselves up from even major setbacks like that, so I wonder if there was more to it.
Despite these unanswered questions, “It’s a Wonderful Job” is one of my favorite Moonlighting episodes from the entire series. It’s a great one for sure, so check it out!