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DVD Review: Taxi – The Final Season

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Taxi is a very funny situation comedy that tells the exploits of the employees of the Sunshine Cab Company. The main characters are cab drivers Alex Rieger (Judd Hirsch), Elaine Nardo (Marilu Henner), Tony Banta (Tony Danza), and Jim Ignatowski (Christopher Lloyd), mechanic Latka Gravas (Andy Kaufman) and his wife Simka (Carol Kane), and dispatcher Louie De Palma (Danny DeVito).

After ABC cancelled it, the series was picked up by NBC for what would be its fifth and final season, airing 22 new episodes and an hour-long retrospective, broken into two parts here, during the 1982/'83 television season. Comedy Series Emmys were awarded to Hirsh for Lead Actor and Lloyd and Kane for Supporting Actors, both of which won the previous year for the same roles.

The season opens with newlyweds Latka and Simka hosting a traditional Schloogel whereby they play matchmaker with friends, and this has implications that run through the season. Tony is set up with Vicki (Anne De Salvo), who returns pregnant in "Tony's Baby." Elaine is paired with Arnie (Wallace Shawn), who tries too hard when he "Meets Her Kids." Louie is set up with a blind woman named Judy (Murphy Cross), and later in "Louie and the Blind Girl," influenced by Charlie Chaplin's "City Lights," Louie fears Judy getting her sight back and seeing what he looks like.

Latka and Simka have their own relationship issues in the two-part "Scenskees From A Marriage" when Latka has sex with a cab driver to keep from freezing to death in a blizzard. Their minister suggests that to save their marriage, she must sleep with one of his co-workers. When unable to choose, they leave it up to fate by seeing who the last person is to appear when they say they are having a party.

The only other major change to a character is Jim becoming a millionaire after his father passes away. He buys Mario's, the bar he and his friends hang out at, and gives everyone $1,000 so they can give it to someone in need.

Many episodes feature people from the characters' past. Emily (Andrea Marcovicci), the woman who Louie threw away his relationship with Zena (Rhea Pearlman) for only to be dumped by her, comes back into his life. Zena also returns, but it's not to ask Louie back as he expects, but to announce her wedding. Alex's ex-wife (Louise Lasser) comes back into his life and so does his dog, Buddy. When Tony's Dad, Angie (Donnelly Rhodes), appears, he says he saw the guys six months previous, but it's his only time on the series according to IMDB. Alex is attracted to an old friend of Jim's and Elaine falls Zimka's cousin, a monk from Caspiar who is on a week-long break from his vows.

While the show is consistently laugh-out funny, as the studio audience frequently demonstrates, there are many touching moments as well. From Jim dealing with the loss of his father to Louie admitting to Zena she was the one who got away, the writers show they are also quite adept at drama.

Unfortunately, the series ended without any resolution to the characters' stories. Another disappointing aspect to this release is the liner notes claim of special features, but CBS/Paramount doesn’t understand episodic promos don't count.

Sitcoms lovers will "veddy much" want to add Taxi – The Final Season to their collection.

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About Gordon S. Miller

Gordon S. Miller is the artist formerly known as El Bicho, the nom de plume he used when he first began reviewing movies online for The Masked Movie Snobs in 2003. Before the year was out, he became that site's publisher. Over the years, he has also contributed to a number of other sites as a writer and editor, such as FilmRadar, Film School Rejects, High Def Digest, and Blogcritics. He is the Publisher of Cinema Sentries. Some of his random thoughts can be found at twitter.com/ElBicho_CS
  • Greg Barbrick

    Taxi was one of the best sit-coms ever, ahead of it’s time in many ways, I think.

    Greg