If I See It As Experience, It Hasn’t Gone to Waste: Taxi – “One-Punch Banta”

Original airdate: September 19, 1978

A lot of ink — both real and digital — gets spilled talking about how virtually every sitcom, in one way or another, is about a family. Even shows that aren’t literally about families develop a group that acts as a surrogate for its cast.[1] Usually, this type of relationship and chemistry between the characters can take a long while to develop — compare the cast of Friends in its first season with the cast in its tenth, say — so it’s surprising to see Taxi use that template so quickly out of the gate. It’s even more surprising that it works. Continue reading

Every Dog Must Have His Every Day: Taxi — “Like Father, Like Daughter”

Written by James L. Brooks & Stan Daniels & David Davis and Ed. Weinberger
Directed by James Burrows
Original air date: September 12, 1978

Even though I’ve never cared for taxis, I can understand their appeal. Unlike with a bus or plane, there’s a forced intimacy in a cab produced by your proximity to the driver. For the few minutes you’re together, you and a stranger occupy the same world. In that space, connections you might never expect can form.

The first episode of Taxi is about connections like that. Through a couple of random accidents — a customer who doesn’t have the proper change to pay his fare, a broken payphone — one man will try (and fail) to reconnect with a lost love, one will leave a grateful message for his idol, and another will finally see the daughter he gave up fifteen years ago. It sounds like heavy stuff, but the deft script and performances keep everything right on the edge of sentimentality. Continue reading