mabfan (Michael A. Burstein) (mabfan) wrote,
mabfan (Michael A. Burstein)

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.
Tags: television

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