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Season Five: 1982-83

SEASON ONE: 1978-79
SEASON TWO: 1979-80
SEASON FOUR: 1981-82
SEASON FIVE: 1982-83


Year-End Rating: 13.2 (73rd place)

As the show moves to NBC for a fifth season, producers Ken Estin, Sam Simon, and Richard Sakai attempt to rejuvenate the series by introducing new romantic interests for Louie, Tony, and Elaine. But despite their efforts, the show is canceled at the close of the fifth year.

David Lloyd is executive script consultant in the final season, and Katharine Green serves as the season's executive story editor. Harvey Miller signs on as executive consultant, and James L. Brooks continues as executive creative consultant and executive producer, along with Stan Daniels and Ed. Weinberger.

91 The Shloogel Show    First Aired: September 30, 1982
Writers: Ken Estin, Sam Simon
Director: Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Marcia Wallace, Carlene Watkins, Wallace Shawn, Anne DeSalvo, Murphy Cross

Latka and Simka attempt to match each of the cabbies with their ideal partner when they stage a massive blind date at Mario's.

Jim finally meets Marcia Wallace--his TV idol since her days as a co-star of The Bob Newhart Show. The actress played herself in the producers' sly homage to that classic comedy.

Three of the cabbies' blind dates resurfaced in later episodes of the season. Anne DeSalvo would return as Tony's streetwise girlfriend, Vicki; Elaine later introduced bookish Arnie--played by Wallace Shawn--to the kids; and Murphy Cross played Louie's date, Judy, the irrepressible blind girl whose sight would be restored by the end of the season.

92 Jim's Inheritance    First Aired: October 7, 1982
Writer: Ken Estin
Director: Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Dick Sargent, F. William Parker

Jim stands to inherit millions from his father's estate, but only if he can legally prove his sanity.

93 Alex Goes off the Wagon    First Aired: October 14, 1982
Writer: Danny Kallis
Director: Noam Pitlik

Alex falls prey to his old gambling addiction after a lucky night in Atlantic City, and Jim is the only one who can help.

94 Scenskees From a Marriage (Part 1)    First Aired: October 21, 1982
Writers: Ian Praiser, Howard Gewirtz
Director: Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Allyce Beasley, Peter Elbing, Vincent Schiavelli

After spending the night snowbound with a woman cabbie, Latka lands in hot water when Simka discovers how the pair managed to stay warm.

95 Scenskees From a Marriage (Part 2)    First Aired: October 28, 1982
Writers: Ian Praiser, Howard Gewirtz
Director: Noam Pitlik

To even the score with her wayward husband, old-world tradition dictates that Simka must choose a lover from among Latka's workmates.

96 Crime and Punishment    First Aired: November 4, 1982
Writer: Katharine Green
Director: Stan Daniels
Guest Stars: J. Alan Thomas, Allen Goorwitz, Martin Garner

Louie persuades Jeff to cover for him after the boss discovers his petty thievery, a favor that costs the hapless junior dispatcher his job.

97 Alex the Gofer    First Aired: November 11, 1982
Writer: David Lloyd
Director: Michael Lessac
Guest Stars: Matthew Laurence, David Paymer, Caren Kaye

Alex is thrilled to land a job in show business, even though he winds up as no more than an errand boy for a pair of arrogant young producers.

98 Louie's Revenge    First Aired: November 18,1982
Writer: Sam Simon
Director: Stan Daniels
Guest Stars: Andrea Marcovicci, Charlie Stavola

Louie plans to extract revenge on Emily--the unbalanced woman who turned on him after their ill-fated fling--but ends up falling for her all over again.

99 Travels With My Dad    First Aired: November 25, 1982
Writer: Barton Dean
Director: Michael Zinberg
Guest Stars: Donnelly Rhodes, Dick Miller, Wendell Wright

Tony's seafaring father returns from his travels to offer his son a job on a Chinese freighter.

100 Elaine and the Monk    First Aired: December 2, 1982
Writer: David Lloyd
Director: Danny DeVito
Guest Star: Mark Blankfield

Elaine falls for a guy who's fun-loving, sensitive, and bright--and also due back at the monastery in exactly one week.

As he prepares to renew his vows of silence, Elaine and her beau share a last dance--choreographed by Debbie Allen, one of the stars of TV's Fame.

101 Zena's Honeymoon    First Aired: December 9, 1982
Writer: David Lloyd
Director: Richard Sakai
Guest Stars: Rhea Perlman, Peter Jurasik

Louie is broken-hearted to hear that Zena is getting married, especially since he always hoped she'd come crawling back to him.

Zena Sherman's exit from Taxi was inevitable after Rhea Perlman moved to a neighboring Paramount soundstage to begin her new life as irascible waitress Carla Tortelli on Cheers.

102 Get Me Through the Holidays    First Aired: December 16, 1982
Writers: Ken Estin, Sam Simon
Director: Michael Zinberg
Guest Star: Louise Lasser

Alex's ex-wife attempts a holiday reconciliation to dispel her Yuletide loneliness.

103 Louie Moves Uptown    First Aired: January 22, 1983
Writer: David Lloyd
Director: Michael Zinberg
Guest Stars: Gayle Hunicutt, Penny Marshall, Nelson Welch, Lois DeBanzie

Louie plans to move into an exclusive Manhattan co-op apartment, if he can win the approval of a panel of pompous tenants.

Laverne and Shirley star Penny Marshall plays herself in a delightful cameo where she tries to convince the co-op board that acting in a situation comedy is a legitimate profession.

104 Alex's Old Buddy    First Aired: January 29, 1983
Writers: Ken Estin, Sam Simon
Director: Richard Sakai
Guest Stars: Judith Marie Bergan, John Hancock

Alex comes to terms with the imminent death of his oldest friend--his aged family dog, Buddy.

105 Sugar Ray Nardo    First Aired: February 5, 1983
Writer: Katharine Green
Director: Danny DeVito
Guest Stars: David Mendenhall, Brad Kester, Michael Alldredge

Elaine is upset when her son abandons his oboe lessons to study boxing with Tony.

106 Celebration of Taxi (one hour)    First Aired: March 23, 1983
Writers: Various
Directors: Various

A retrospective of highlights from the first four seasons of Taxi.

107 Alex Gets Burned by an Old Flame    First Aired: March 30, 1983
Writer: Barton Dean
Director: Harvey Miller
Guest Star: Cathie Shiriff

Alex falls for a lady lawyer who still carries the torch for Jim.

108 Louie and the Blind Girl    First Aired: April 6, 1983
Writer: Larry Anderson
Director: Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Murphy Cross, David Young

Louie's blind girlfriend has her sight restored, but the dispatcher worries that she may have second thoughts about him once she sees what he looks like.

Over five seasons, it became necessary to soften Louie's rough edges from time to time. It's too horrible to imagine what might have happened if the leering, slobbering Louie from the show's first year had been left at the bedside of a blind girl! But even at his sweetest, Louie oozed a palpably disreputable charm--there was always that sly twinkle in Danny DeVito's eyes that warned you not to trust him.

109 Arnie Meets the Kids    First Aired: April 13, 1983
Writer: John Markus
Director: Richard Sakai
Guest Stars: Wallace Shawn, Melanie Gaffin, David Mendenhall, Wendy Jewell

Elaine's new beau tries to win her kids' affection by bribing them with cash and gifts.

110 Tony's Baby    First Aired: April 20, 1983
Writer: Dari Daniels
Director: Richard Sakai
Guest Stars: Anne De Salvo, Keenan Wynn

On the eve of a big match, Tony is shocked to learn that his girlfriend is expecting a baby.

111 Jim's Mario's    First Aired: May 18, 1983
Writers: Ken Estin, Sam Simon
Director: Danny DeVito
Guest Star: Walter Olkewicz

The cabbies pitch in to make a success of Mario's after Jim buys the restaurant against his family's better judgment.

112 A Grand Gesture    First Aired: May 25, 1983
Writers: Ken Estin, Sam Simon
Director: Noam Pitlik
Guest Stars: Jeff Thomas, Vincent Schiavelli, Scatman Crothers, Tom Villard, Tracey Walter, Melanie Gaffin

Jim concocts a novel plan to share the wealth when he offers each of the cabbies a thousand-dollar bill to be given away to whomever he or she sees fit.

113 Simka's Monthlies    First Aired: June 15, 1983
Writer: Holly Holmberg Brooks
Director: Harvey Miller

Latka worries when Simka's behavior suddenly grows erratic on the eve of her final meeting at the Bureau of Immigration.

This would be the last first-run episode of Taxi.

Despite the protests of Judd Hirsch and other cast members, the series quietly expired in the late spring of 1983--a tragic victim of audience indifference. "The show still had a lot of life in it," producer Ed. Weinberger maintains. "We probably could have gone another two years." Maybe so. But times were changing.

By the early 1980s, the progressive era that spawned Archie Bunker, Hawkeye, and Mary Richards had already faded from the public consciousness. Given the country's shifting tastes, perhaps it's best that Taxi ran out of gas when it did--before the free-spirited misfits of the Sunshine garage fell completely out of step with the times. At least this way, Jim Ignatowski would never have to face the indignity of mandatory drug-testing.

In any event, there was very little chance of another revival for a show that had already been canceled by two networks. In the end, diehard fans would find their only consolation in syndicated reruns--where, freed from the pressures of network ratings battles, the show would flourish. And now that everyone's stopped paying so much attention to the meter, Taxi might just run forever.


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