THE WEDDING

Every once in a while as episode of a sitcom will come along that signifies a real turning point in a series.  Wedding episodes are high on this list.  It was wonderful to see Cousin Larry and Now-Cousin Jennifer share their wedding vows at long last.  Even more special was getting to see it in person . . . to watch a tender moment such as this take place before your very eyes.

On a hot, muggy July 25th, 1991, an eager studio audience was shown to their seats at Columbia Studios in Culver City.  Little did many realize they were about to see a very special episode being filmed.  This was the second episode being filmed for the year (the first being Larry's bachelor party).

Robert Lee warmed up the audience as we waited for the curtain call.  Pretty soon the cast was introduced and the partitions were pulled away to reveal a car sitting on the third set in darkness.  A man with a branch practiced waving it in front of the lights to create the effect of trees going past.  Now semi-famous clapboard dude, Sean, slated the scene and the filming began.

The first scene was actually very short, lasting only until Larry yells at Balki to pull over.  Scene B began with the motorcycle cop approaching the car.  They filmed these scenes without any trouble, except when a light that was set up below the dashboard to shine on them accidentally got knocked from its place and they had to do it again.  The cameras reset after the motorcycle cop walked away and the audience cracked up when the cop picked up his bike's handlebars and carried them away, not realizing this was to set up the joke of running over the man's bike later on.

After the car scenes were filmed, the crew moved to the jailhouse set.  Mark and Bronson roughhoused with each other just a little bit while waiting for the crew to get ready.

The first scene in the jailhouse when Larry and Balki are talking on the phone started, and Mark began to deliver a line but got it wrong.  He stopped, saying "I'm sorry, wrong line . . . but it was close!"  The sound of Jennifer's voice screaming over the receiver was added later.  And one thing cut from the final episode was a segment where the cousins are talking about how doves were supposed to be released at the wedding but Balki sort of doubted they had lasted in the trunk of the car that long.

The line-up scene was filmed on a set that was actually constructed in front of the newspaper basement set!  It took one take and several pick-ups to get the scene finished but went off without a hitch for the most part.

Scene E began with Sean announcing "Euthanasia One" to mark the scene.  Bronson eyed him warily and asked "Is that a hint?"  They began filming, resetting after Mary Anne announces Jennifer was right behind her.  As they moved the camera, Mark continued to bob around, looking for Jennifer in an exaggerated manner which had the audience laughing.

The scene was filmed with the jail cell intact but then the bars of the cell facing the audience were taken away on wheels to film the scene again and get shots of the characters as if the camera were inside the cell (when you watch the episode again, try to notice the different shots "inside" and "outside" the cell.  It's fascinating to see how the editor can get the television audience involved with the characters by using the different shots).

When they began refilming it was really funny to see Balki and Mary Anne hugging through the bars when one side of the cell was completely open.  When Larry is groping for Jennifer, Bronson and Rebeca were standing in position where the wall used to be, hugging each other as if the bars were still there.  At one point the boom microphone's shadow was slightly in the scene but the problem was taken care of and the scene was finished.

While different shots were being set up, the characters of the detective and Mrs. Marshall taped their voice overs for the line-up scene.

A few more pick ups of previous scenes were taken, including background people's reactions to the action and closer shots of the guys in the line-up.

Finally, it was time!  Sean slated the scene "Hallucination One" and the wedding began.  The entire scene was filmed straight through the first time, which was nice for the audience to get into the mood of the story.  They did reshoot it afterward and there was a mix-up with the ring and bouquet Rebeca was carrying.  Apparently she didn't have them in the same position and noticed before the scene got too far along!

The scene at the end of the show when they run out of the jailhouse was not filmed in front of the audience or shown on the monitors.  It was a special surprise ending to a wonderful episode!

After the filming the audience was allowed to ask questions.  One person asked if Bronson or Mark had any movies coming up and so the guys talked about Blame It On the Bellboy and Noises Off.

Someone asked how long the cast would have been willing to starve before they made it to where they were.  Bronson answered by saying "Until I dropped dead."  Mark answered after that with "Until he dropped dead," indicating Bronson.  Melanie and Rebeca agreed they would have kept at it forever; that acting is just something they all had to pursue.

Thank goodness they had the perseverance to keep at it.  And thank goodness Larry had perseverance when it came to Jennifer, or this wonderful episode might never have happened.

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