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- Jumping the Shark: This was one of the earliest instances of writers getting the couple together, but having no idea how to write them as a couple and still keep their chemistry. The show foundered and tanked shortly thereafter. Also a contributing factor: various timing problems prevented Willis and Sheppard from being on set at the same time for a year.
- The ratings had been sliding long before Maddie and David had sex. It was more of an Author's Saving Throw that didn't pay off. Thanks to Moonlighting, though, the writers of every subsequent show have decided that they need to invent increasingly ridiculous obstacles to their leads getting together.
- Relationship Writing Fumble: What caused the show to jump the shark.
- Shipping Bed Death: Dave and Maddie are often considered the Trope Codifier with their hooking up at the end of the third season, to the point where this is sometimes called "Moonlighting Syndrome", with popular opinion being that people stopped watching after Dave and Maddie finally consummated, since their was no longer any reason for people to tune in to see if they would. However, the show didn't really suffer from the leads getting together, it suffered from the leads not being in the same room for about a year afterward. There was no point at which they were together as a couple at all. Willis was busy filming Die Hard, and Shepherd was pregnant, which affected their schedules with the series.
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