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Smart People Talking About TV, Part 3
Gail Collins, Buffyologist Supreme
wayback machine

Formative TV Experience No. 12: Taxi Survival-Sex in a Snowstorm

  • 12/17/09 at 5:20 PM

Random, I know, but this week's "Baby" Scrubs (which featured the same mix of awesome and irritating as last week's episode) featured a scene in which a few characters get stuck in an elevator. It got me musing about that particular TV cliché, which almost every show parodies or does straight at some point.

So, I Googled away and found this hilarious page from listing tons of examples. (Some that brought back memories: Trapper in a hut with Margaret on M*A*S*H, Family Ties' Mallory and Skippy locked in a basement, Archie Bunker stuck in an elevator with a black businessman and a Puerto Rican woman in labor.) But I was still not satisfied!

Because my personal favorite was not on the list: an episode of Taxi in which the married Latka (the hairy and wonderful and late, lamented Andy Kaufman) is trapped in a taxi with Allyce Beasley, who insists that they must have sex ... or freeze to death. Granted, there's an erotic subtext to the whole "trapped in a box" plot anyway, but I remember this one as awfully shocking, particularly since I first saw it at 16. The outcome was even kinkier, since in the follow-up episode, Latka's wife, Simka (what ever happened to Carol Kane?), is required by the traditions of the old country to sleep with one of Latka's co-workers as revenge. Re-watching it made me remember how much I adored that show, however caught up I am in fetishizing the fabulous television of the aughts. I think I even bought a copy of the theme song, probably on some ancient wax scroll, since we're talking 1986.

Check out "Sceneskees from a Marriage, Part 1," which features a hairy eighties chest that gives Robin Williams a run for his money: