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RIP Reinhold Weege, 62, Creator of 'Night Court'

Nomi spotted an obituary in today's paper this morning for Reinhold Weege, the television writer and producer who created the TV show Night Court. The New York Times obituary is here.

I had no personal connection to Mr. Weege, but I loved the show when I was growing up. I thought it was wacky and quirky and wonderful. For those of you unfamiliar with the show, it was set in a night court in New York City, set up to get through minor cases and clear the daily backlog of the court system. Harry Anderson played Harry T. Stone, the judge who ran the court. Given the show's locale, and the fact that my mom was a lawyer and later a judge, I found the premise particularly appealing. I was delighted when Nomi and I discovered it was among the many shows we both had enjoyed before we knew each other.

I also remember when I first noticed the name of the show's creator. One episode focused on (among other things) the real first name of character Dan Fielding (the annoying DA played to a hilt by John Larroquette, who won four well-deserved Emmys for his role). At the end of the episode, we discover that Dan has hidden his first name from everyone because it's Reinhold, and everyone agrees that it's a ridiculous first name. And then the first end credit flashed on the screen, and it was the name Reinhold Weege. I appreciated the inside joke, and the fact that presumably Mr. Weege was sharing with his audience a little bit of what he had dealt with all his life with his first name.

Sadly, Night Court isn't all that available to watch today. There was a DVD release of the first season a few years ago, but it didn't sell too well, and as far as I know they never released any of the other seasons. If you're looking for a show that will make you laugh, but with plots that will also make you think, I highly recommend tracking it down. (ETA: Apparently I was in error. Seasons of the show are indeed available on DVD! Thanks to Tom Galloway for pointing that out.)

I'll end with something I recall from the start of the show. In the first episode, everyone in the court is wondering why Harry Stone got appointed, as he is rather unqualified. Stone tells the story: they went down the list, calling candidates, and he was the first one to show up.

There's a life lesson in that.

Rest in peace, Mr. Weege. Thanks for the laughs.

Comments

I loved Night Court! I have my DVR set to autorecord it in case it ever shows up on TV again, but it never does. I'd love to watch it again. It was one of my top favorite shows as a kid.

RIP, Mr. Weege.
seasons 1-7 are available on dvd from amazon
As noted already in my edit above. Thanks!
Clarification, season 1-3 were released on dvd just like any movie or tv show. Seasons 4-7 are available from amazon via "Manufacture on demand" (sounds like they burn a dvd when they get an order) Source: this section of the wikipedia article on Night Court
He also wrote for BARNEY MILLER, probably the truest cop show ever made - and it still holds up pretty well over 35 years later.
Ah! I enjoyed that show too, though I don't know that I ever saw the first season, except perhaps in reruns. By the time I was watching, Markie Post, who played public defender Christine Sullivan, was a cornerstone of the cast, the sensible and sharp-witted counterpoint to Dan Fielding.

Good times. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.
I loved Night Court. Very sad to hear this. And I remember the Reinhold episode! I even remember the last line: "Just thank your lucky stars I never told them about the accordian." I've always viewed the Reinhold episode as something of a precursor to the "Cosmo" episode in Seinfeld.
"I was at the bottom of the list; but I was *on* *the* *list*!"
Slight correction -- Since Harry was on the list, he was qualified, as he pointed out. But as I remember, he was a last-minute appointment by an outgoing mayor, it was a holiday weekend, and everyone else on the list was out of town for the holiday.
I loved that show. It frayed a bit in the last couple of seasons, but generally it was an excellent ensemble. The best times were when the characters went from personal caricatures to three-dimensional characters,

The times I've seen it in the past decade have not diminished my opinion of the show one whit.
I believe that was the first show in which I saw Brent Spiner.
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