“Thy Boss’s Wife”
It’s very weird in to watch a sitcom episode about a wife cuckolding her husband in 2016. I don’t know how that kind of thing played in 1981, but in 2016, the whole concept is leaving a pretty bad taste in my mouth, to be honest.
To judge the episode on its merits, though, it still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I can’t help it when the whole conceit is about the owner of the taxi company’s wife using fooling around with Louie to make her husband mad. There’s nothing in there for me. The wife—who’s never given a name—is portrayed solely as a horny, bitter, evil woman who will sleep with a man she finds repulsive just to bother her husband. (One man who fell victim to her womanly wiles, a Curly Melnick, hangs over the episode and is mentioned so many times you’d be forgiven if you thought he was an actual person.) That’s not a character, that’s, uh, “locker room talk” clearly come up with by the white men who wrote the show.
I have nothing else to say about this episode.
“The Costume Party”
Not available for streaming on Hulu or CBS All Access; there are some pretty good deals on DVD copies of the third season on Amazon.
When a passenger leaves a briefcase in Bobby’s cab after being picked up near the Theatre district, the gang breaks it open in the hopes that someone famous will own it and owe Bobby a favor. It’s just a real estate agent, but he seems to know lots of famous people—Stephen Sondheim, Paul Newman—and has a note about “Woody’s costume party” in his schedule. Clearly, the gang needs to attend.
The gang, looking ridiculous in their costumes—Elaine as a bride, Jim wearing googly-eye glasses, Bobby as Cyrano de Bergerac, and Tony, Latka, and Alex as Army nurses—leave as soon as they realize that no one at the party is any more famous than they are, and that they clearly have the wrong Woody. (So no, Bobby didn’t throw up on a famous Broadway producer.) They retreat to the garage to sing what I can only assume are Army nurse-related songs (please, I can’t catch everything) and reminisce on what they learned: They only need each other.
It’s a treacly lesson to learn, especially for a sitcom, but I think what’s important to remember about Taxi is that these aren’t carefree, Friends-type friends living it up in the big city. They’re stuck in a dead-end job, not making very much money at all, dealing with an abusive boss. This was their chance to live it up in the big city and it wasn’t even what they expected. So it feels earned when the episode ends with the friends hanging out around the table at the garage, the environment they know best and feel comfortable in. And the Army nurse song is pretty fun.