Cheers Chats #4: Homicidal Ham

Annddd we’re back. And in season two, no less! We’ve been going through some classic episodes of Cheers since the beginning of this year (you can find the rest here) and we’ve moved on to season two, in which Sam and Diane are finally together and the rest of the crew has to deal with it. This particular episode has a storyline that seemingly comes out of nowhere, but provides for quite an entertaining show. Here we go with Homicidal Ham!

Episode 2.04: Homicidal Ham

Originally aired: October 27, 1983

Netflix synopsis: Against Sam’s better judgement, Diane tries to help her former homicidal blind date, Andy, become an actor.

T: No matter how many times I read the episode title, I still picture a honeyglazed ham holding a knife. I’m sure this says something about my pscyhe.

M: I’ve been staring at the title in our post queue for weeks, and every single time I read Cheers Chats #4: Homicidal Ham as “Homicidal 4 Ham,” which I imagine would be a Hunger Games-y Hamilton lotto that a lot of people would be into.

Previously, on Cheers

(Brief synopsis of what happened prior to this episode)

T: Carla gave birth to her baby in the second episode, but instead of showing up as Carla, Rhea Perlman pulls a Tatiana Maslany and plays Carla’s sestra who seems like an uptight gal and totally opposite from her sibling. It was a fun ep. Also, Rhea Perlman was pregnant IRL in 1989, but I think by the time they shot season 2, she had her daughter already, so I think she’s wearing a fake belly for the first episode?

M: Also was the sister even the same one that Carla said “gets everything” because she was a cosmetologist and like 5’1?

One Hit Wonders

(Characters we don’t expect to be seeing again)

In full disclosure, this entire episode is based on a character I don’t think we’re ever going to see again. But who knows.

T: The ex-convict Sam paid to date Diane shows up at Cheers. He allegedly murdered a waitress? How is he an “ex-convict” if he murdered someone? Unless it’s just hearsay on the streets of Boston.

M: Wait, you’re right! If his conviction is on unsexy tax stuff or whatever, that doesn’t make him a waitress-murderer.

M: Maybe the world has changed a lot since the early 80s (OK, the world has changed a lot since 2 weeks ago and I need like 3 memes explained to me), but this plotline would maybe never fly now? Surely some sort of group would launch some kind of Twitter thing?

T: Yeah, this would definitely not go over well in 2016. Anti-gun groups, Pro-pig groups, Actors Equity Association…

So What Had Happened Was…

(Basic recap of the episode’s main plot)

T: Holy shit Andy is STILL crazy and pulls out a gun because he’s holding up this entire bar. This is v jarring to me, as I don’t expect a gun-wielding nutjob to be walking into America’s Favorite Bar™. Is this going to be an Orange is the New Black/Making a Murderer type of life lesson in this episode? This show keeps surprising me.

Photo Apr 16, 12 53 15 AM

M: Yeah, definitely wouldn’t happen now, unless it was a Very Special Gun Episode like that Family Matters one where everyone turned in their guns. I feel like in the 80s a rando pulling a gun in a bar was still sort of a wacky tv plot, and from the sunny shores of 2016 we’re nodding along like ‘yeah, that IS a thing that sometimes happens in our public spaces. As you were, Cheers.”

T: He def wants to get caught because he hates life in the real world and has no skills wants to go back to prison. His dream is to become an actor. In fact, he sounds like an actor, which makes sense because this show isn’t real and he’s legit an actor. Diane agrees to help him become an actor by running lines with him, and sets him up with a potential job by having him audition for Fake James Lipton.

“Prison is my home.” Andy, who I’ve deemed Crazy Andy.

M: Doesn’t Crazy Andy have a creepy face? He has beady Ted Cruz eyes and emotes like a community theater actor.

T: Diane is friends with “America’s foremost drama coach” because of course she is. This dude has “contacts with every theater on the Cape.” As someone who worked at a theater in Boston, I am offended she’s not looking for a job for Crazy Andy within Boston proper.

M: I think maybe she’s trying to get him into summer stock. Anyway, I’m going to be a lot of not fun for a moment, but I left my last fuck behind in around 2013 and I don’t have any left to give.

IT IS NOT DIANE’S JOB TO SAVE CRAZY ANDY AND IT IS NOT ANY OF THE DIANES JOBS TO SAVE ANY OF THE CRAZY ANDYS OF THE WORLD.

I’m’a send Diane a copy of The Gift Of Fear from the future, and the writers a manual on how to write believable female characters who would have made it to their 30s (?) without getting serial killed, also from the future.

Okay we can have fun now.

T: 

T: Diane’s mission to save Crazy Andy has turned into her being his acting sensei and she’s a) taking advantage of boyfriend Sam being her boss and just taking a break whenever and b) forgetting that 5 minutes ago she thought he was an insane killer and now she’s offering to go out alone with him to help him with scene work.

M: Diane = a less murderous Alison Hendrix, sometimes. Of course she loves amateur theatre.

T: Plot Twist – After spending time together running the Othello scene, Crazy Andy thinks Diane is into him romantically. He says I love you to her and she says it back, but clearly not in the same way he means it. Ruh roh.

M: Didn’t this happen in a Full House episode? Or some kind of 80s-90s family sitcom.

T: Or nearly all 80s-90s sitcoms.

T: So when Crazy Andy walks out in his Shakespearean garb and sees Diane kissing Sam, he has CRAZY EYES.

T: He’s using his anger towards Diane for the scene and surprise, surprise, his lines involve love, jealousy, and murder. I know it’s not going to happen but, sincerely concerned Crazy Andy is going to actually kill Diane during this scene and everyone’s going to think he’s just a really good actor. Spoiler alert: he doesn’t kill her.

Shut Up, Diane

(We just have a feeling we’re going to be saying Shut Up, Diane at our screens KIND OF A LOT.)

T: “He stands here as an embodiment of the failure of our penal system. This man doesn’t belong in prison. We, mostly I, can save this man’s life.” In regard to this quote, I actually don’t want Diane to shut up because she’s spitting the truth but stays humble at the same time. 

M: Okay. I actually really hated what they did with Diane this episode. Someone waving a gun around for attention – even unloaded – may not need prison, but they probably need more help than Diane DeWitt-Bukater. Sam called the police and then Diane had him call the police back and tell them not to come which a) isn’t a thing police do; and b) is probably preventing a sorely needed mental hygiene hold.

“One murder does not a murderer make.” Diane? Shut up.

Little Ditty About Sam & Diane

T: Diane secretly carved her and Sam’s initials into the actual bar wood, because apparently she’s a 13 year old girl who likes to deface property. (ugh I’m old)

“If you want romantic, we should have our buns tattooed.” Sam, who is a reasonable adult and is annoyed Diane carved into his bar.

M: Which also doesn’t even feel like a Diane thing? Diane would calligraphy their names with an 18th century replica quill on recycled parchment, if anything.

The Luke Danes of 1980s Boston

(In which we gush over dreamy yet often grumpy bartender Sam Malone)

T: CA assures Sam his murder was a “terrible moment of temporary insanity”, and that he doesn’t hear the voices in his head anymore. SAM MALONE. DO NOT LET YOUR WOMAN GO TO A SECOND LOCATION WITH THIS MAN.

M: Sam is surprisingly cavalier about this Crazy Andy’s waitress-killing predilections. But since he’s Sam Malone, Dream Man I’m just going to focus on how he lets Diane live her life (stupidly) the way she wants to (which is like an idiot).

T: Sam apologizes for thinking Crazy Andy was still crazy – which is a sure sign he’s still right about this in the sitcom world. (otp)

T: “Yeah, sure she’s just gagging, Coach” SAM. LISTEN TO COACH. YOU ARE WATCHING YOUR GIRLFRIEND GET STRANGLED BY A MURDERER DRESSED IN ELIZABETHAN CLOTHING IN YOUR BAR RN.

Carla’s My Boo

T: After Crazy Andy pulls out his gun, Carla makes a run for it and is a freaking bad ass by grabbing his arms, and Sam takes the gun away while Coach takes the money back Crazy Andy attempted to steal. Beavis and Butt-Head (Norm and Cliff) take action 5 seconds later. Diane is…. who cares.

M: Carla’s first suggestion was that Diane run around flapping her arms to draw his fire. I feel you, boo boo.

T: During Crazy Andy and Diane’s “audition” in the bar, Carla sits in the front row and asks, “What time’s the second show?” with sandwich in hand.

M: Diane’s background work in this scene was the very definition of ‘giving me life.’

LLOL

(Literal Laugh Loud Loud moments from the episode)

When CA holds up his gun, these fools are *whispering* and trying to come with a plan to take Crazy Andy over, but they’re speaking at full volume.

M: I mostly LLOLed here because it felt like this was neither the first or the last time Carla has had someone waving a gun around at her.

T: This is brilliant- the barflies are deeply engrossed in the boxing match on TV and when it goes to commercial, Sam has already set up a conveyor belt of sorts for full glasses of beer. This is NOT what the real Cheers does. Or any bar does, for that matter. Norm goes up like four times.


T: Diane realizes she actually might die in a sec and tries to put off the scene, and when Sam tries to calm her down, she yells, “DON’T TOUCH ME, I BARELY KNOW YOU” as to not anger Crazy Andy more and oh my GOD I just think Shelley Long’s delivery is so perfect I am laughing so hard and had to watch it multiple times.

M: I rewound it too! To be clear, I sometimes don’t like how Diane is written, but Shelley Long is one of the best things to happen to this show or any show. She was killing it like Crazy Andy this whole ep. Too soon?

T: Cliff and Norm holding down CA after he chokes Diane is solid gold.

Are you going to be OK? – Sam

I’m having a little trouble breathing. – Diane

No, I meant for tonight. – Sam

OH MY GOD I LEGIT LOLED hahahaha you crazy horny kids

Say It Again, Sam

(Memorable lines from the episode. Not exclusively from Sam Malone.)

T: Carla comes back from maternity leave in this episode, and she’s pretending to still be pregnant because she says she’ll get better tips this way.

Coach is not advocating this, and says to Sam, “Maybe you should tell her to get rid of it.” To which Sam replies, “I can’t coach, she’s Catholic.” Abortion jokes, what a riot!

M: When Crazy Andy is choking her, Diane says “help, he’s trying to kill me” which Coach calls “the only line of Shakespeare I’ve ever understood.”

T: Coach, still problematic, legit tells Crazy Andy to not call him by his real name Ernie and says, “Please, call me Coach”, as he takes the money out of the register. You are being held hostage have some emotion.

“You know what they say, “Use a gun, go to Cape Cod.’” – Sam, basically ripping off motivational signs you find at Michaels

Cheers Queries

T: Why are they doing CA’s acting audition in the bar??

M: And where did they got these medieval costumes? I could see Diane going to Ren Faires sometimes TBH.

T: Is this episode titled Homicidal “Ham” because Crazy Andy is a first-class over actor??

M: Crazy Andy seems relatively young, so exactly how long was he in prison for killing that waitress?

T: Does this episode remind anyone else of the Saved by the Bell ep where they do Snow White and the Seven Dorks, and Kelly and Slater essentially sabotage the show because they think Zack and Jessie have a thing for each other after catching them kissing (as practice for the show)?

M: The hip-hop musical has come so far.

Barfly Fashion

Diane’s outfit looks more modern than usual?

Her hair wings also seem to be going a different way than they used to.

Crazy Andy in a 12 year old hardy boy’s outfit

Everyone in this picture

  • Diane in her RenFaire dress
  • The acting coach and his cane
  • Crazy Andy’s little league uniform

Sam looks exceptionally tall in these pants.

When I first saw it I thought “Sam should wear more blue,” so there’s a note for wardrobe, I guess.

Next Up: We are basing our watch list off of AV Club’s 10 Episodes That Show How Cheers Stayed Great For 11 Seasons. We’re going chronologically, so stop by next month when we’ll discuss Season two, episode 17, Fortune and Men’s Weight.
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6 thoughts on “Cheers Chats #4: Homicidal Ham

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