Reinhold Weege died last week. The Los Angeles Times has reported that Weege died of natural causes on 1 December. He was only 62.
When I heard the news, I recognized the name. I am very much a geek about comedy writers and I pay close attention to the writing credits of any movie or TV show that I like. And Weege wrote a lot on one TV show I still really like, Barney Miller. He is known mostly for creating the show Night Court, for which he wrote a lot of the episodes.
Reinhold Weege co-wrote one of my favorite episodes of Barney Miller with Tony Sheehan, “Christmas Story.” The main story is about Nick Yemana and a date he sets up with a woman who, unbeknownst to him, is a prostitute. It is very sweet. Here are all of these scenes cut together (6:41):
Nick: Well, if you rather not, I understand too.
Dorothy: Look, I just thought that you’re a nice guy with a sense of humor. And kinda cute.
Nick: Well, I can’t add anything to that. I can’t stay out late—I’m tired.
Dorothy: Me too.
Nick: I gotta work tomorrow.
Dorothy: Me too.
Nick: As of now, I’m officially off duty.
Dorothy: As of now, me too.
Enjoy your rest, Reinhold Weege.
For the record, Nick Yemana is my favorite character on the show. There are two reasons. First, Jack Soo is a brilliant comedic actor. Second, the character is so compromised as a cop. He is something of a gambling addict and his being in a relationship with a prostitute is completely in keeping with his character. He died very young at 61. Interestingly, the actor playing Dorothy, Nobu McCarthy, also died young at 67. The “Christmas Story” curse? I leave that to you.