Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday Night Videos

Last week's video clip from Moonlighting got me thinking about another song from that show. No, not Al Jarreau's theme song (although Al's got some pretty impressive chops. I'm a particular fan of his duet of "On the Roof" with Sheena Easton) but rather Billy Joel's "Big Man on Mulberry Street." This particular song came from Joel's The Bridge album, and while it was never released as a single, the folks at Moonlighting took it and built an entire episode around it, structuring a Broadway-style dance narrative to the music that predated Twyla Tharp's collaboration with Joel by more than a decade. I warmed to Moonlighting late, always viewing it (and rightly so) as a Remington Steele knockoff. But where Moonlighting really shined was in its willingness to push the envelope and turn formula on its head, so much so that Pierce Brosnan and Stephanie Zimbalist both complained publicly they wanted the Remington Steele writing staff to be more creative, like that of Moonlighting, rather than being slaves to formula and writing to the lowest common denominator. Alas, that never happened, and both shows were cancelled in short order. But "Big Man on Mulberry Street" is a great example of the chances Moonlighting was willing to take, even if the sequence does foreshadow the whole Dancing with the Stars trope of the male celebrity essentially standing still as the professional female dancer does all the work.

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Bruce Willis.

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