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Taxi: Season 02 ()

Securely imbedded as the ninth most popular program on American television, Taxi inaugurated its second season on the same network (ABC), but in a new timeslot (Wednesday rather than Thursday). A few changes had been made in the cast as well. Randall Carver, who spent all of season one playing cabdriving college student/newlywed John Burns, was suddenly written out of the series with no explanation as to where his character had gone. Filling the breach was Christopher Lloyd, repeating the role of burned-out hippie minister Reverend Jim Ignatowski that he'd originated in the first-season episode "Paper Marriage." Yanked off the streets by the compassionate cabbies of the Sunshine Cab Company, Reverend Jim himself became a driver -- and a permanent cast member -- in the third episode of season two. This was also the season that introduced a handful of semi-regulars. Rhea Perlman, longtime significant other (and later wife) of Taxi co-star Danny DeVito, made a brace of appearances as Zena Sherman, the deceptively sweet-natured girlfriend of the cab company's terrible-tempered dispatcher Louie DePalma (DeVito, of course). Also, Carol Kane was seen for the first time as Simka Dahblitz, countrywoman and sweetheart of Sunshine Cab's foreign-born mechanic Latka Gravas (Andy Kaufman), a relationship that would culminate in marriage at the end of season three. In addition, Marc Anthony Danza, the son of Taxi regular Tony Danza, appeared twice as Brian Sims, a nine-year-old orphan who befriended kindhearted cabbie-cum-boxer Tony Banta (Danza). Basking in the success of the previous season's two-part episode "Memories of Cab 804," the producers of Taxi served up a couple of additional two-parters during the second season. The first, "Shut It Down," found the cabbies going on strike, a situation that could only be remedied if "shop steward" Elaine Nardo (Marilu Henner) made the supreme sacrifice and agree to date the despicable Louie (an earlier episode had intensified the relationship between Elaine and fellow cabbie Alex Rieger [Judd Hirsch], establishing a "will they or won't they?" situation that would permeate the remaining seasons). And in the season finale, "Fantasy Borough," the entire Taxi gang indulged in some elaborate wishful thinking prompted by a set of publicity photos left in one of the cabs by Fantasy Island star Herve Villechaize. Although Taxi would pick up two more Emmy Awards during the 1979-1980 season, the series' move to Wednesdays proved detrimental to the ratings -- which explains the shift to a new Thursday-night slot when the next season got under way. Rovi Hide synopsis

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