Cheers Chats #5: Fortune and Men’s Weights

Annddd we’re back.

Episode 2.17: Fortune and Men’s Weights

Originally aired: February 2nd, 1984

Netflix synopsis: Coach purchases an antique scale that also delivers fortunes, and the Cheers clan begins to attribute supernatural powers to the scale.

Previously, on Cheers

Sam and Diane are still together. That weird actor who maybe wanted to kill Diane was never seen again. Coach coaches, Carla brings her baby to work. Roughly eight episodes feature a “is Sam going to do it with someone who’s not Diane” plot (he doesn’t). Sam and Diane say I love you, finally.

One Hit Wonders

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

This scale. scale

So What Had Happened Was…

(Basic recap of the episode’s main plot)

Coach buys a scale from a weird man with an accent and it causes a ruckus in the bar. The scale, spits out a fortune on a piece of paper when you stand on it, is now a staple in the bar because they can’t return it to the janky salesman. Also the bill went to Sam and not Coach? Coach straight up buying luxuries without telling Sam. Rude.

“It’s gotta be some kind of mistake. Why would I buy a crate?” – Coach, when the scale he purchased came in a large wooden crate.

Everyone is really into the fortune telling scale, so now there’s a line at the scale of barflies because it’s apparently the Duck Hunt of Cheers. (Or the Naked Lady Find The Difference Game, but let’s go with Duck Hunt). Despite the scale giving out weird fortunes.

T: I finally figured Coach out and why I’m constantly annoyed with him – he is a walking “Who’s on third?” joke. Now that I have about a season and a half under my belt, I’ve gotten increasingly irritated with the corny “jokes” and how they dumb him down. It’s not my type of humor at all.

M: I agree and also think that’s why I skip a lot of older sitcoms – because some shows are Cheers, with Sam and Diane and our boo Carla to balance out Coach, but a lot of pre-2000s sitcoms are just… all Coaches. All Coach, no Carla – that’s my summary of bad 80s TV.

(I also stand by my theory that Coach is the one who is just there in case they need something serious to happen to someone, e.g. wife with cancer, house fire).

T: The B story involves Norm going on a blind date… and it turns out the blind date was Norm’s ex-wife (estranged?) Vera. And now they’re back together.

M: I have a feeling that Vera is Norm’s Tammy Two.

Carla’s My Boo

Carla’s convinced it’s telling the actual truth, so as a way to reverse the curse, if you will, Carla wards off the evil spirits by doing this:

Photo May 26, 1 56 59 AM

Carla also blames the curse on someone not praying before leaving the house. Love when they throw in these weird “Carla’s superstitious/ very Catholic” asides.

Shut Up, Diane

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

Diane gets a fortune and it says: “Deception in romance proves costly” she is hiding something.

And she has resorted to copying whatever Carla does. 

Little Ditty About Sam & Diane

Sam was all ready to buy Diane make-up flowers because he didn’t go to some art show she wanted him to go to, but she comes in and is all lovey-dovey? Something is afoot.

“I just missed ya so, ya big lug” Diane to Sam – why doesn’t anyone call people “lug” anymore?

Diane asks for a big “smooch-a-roo” which I think nobody called those in the first place.

DIANE TOOK ANOTHER MAN TO THE ART SHOW (performance?) SAM SKIPPED OUT ON! This explains why she she was acting shady after getting that fortune from the scale.

“The only battles I ever won in life, I won on my own.” Sam

“That was brilliantly put.” Diane

“You said that to me a few days ago.” Sam

“But you remembered it and used it in the proper context.” Diane

So basically Diane invited this classmate male friend to her apartment after the show and she feels guilty she was able to talk about all her interests with someone who gave a shit, and Sam’s reaction is – “I’m grateful. This makes sense. We should break up.” HEH???

And then Sam & Diane attempt to break up, and in pure Sam & Diane fashion… it’s ridiculous to say the least.

“We can’t break up because a pile of metal springs said we were going to.There’s too much at stake here.” Diane

“Forgive me.” Sam

“Tell me you didn’t break up with me.” Diane

“Of course I didn’t break up with you.” Sam

“Then I’m first. You are history!” Diane

Angry Sam kicks the scale and a fortune comes out – “Machine empty order more fortunes today” except they can’t because the company doesn’t exist.

The Luke Danes of 1980s Boston

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

Sam’s stance on this bar is fire:

Sam, who doesn’t give a shit about this fortune telling scale, taunts Carla with jazz hands after reading her (fake) fortune: “You will grow lips on your forehead”


(Literal Laugh Loud Loud moments from the episode)

Cliff explains to Norm where the fulcrum is on the large crate to open it and the wooden panel falls on his head. Honestly the physical comedy makes me laugh more than Coach’s jokes. He did have one quip that made me chortle in episode nine:

Sam: Coach, we don’t want to be bothered.

Coach: Who does?

Also, Coach’s description of the antique scale salesman (?) as a cross between Abraham Lincoln and Hitler was ALMOST funny.

“Then we split some clams casino and a little Chateaubriand, her favorite wine. Next thing, we went back to what used to be our place and we kind of made love.” Norm

“You can’t ‘kind of’ make love.” Sam

“You don’t know Vera.” Norm

Say It Again, Sam

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

“It’s a sad world we live in when Sam Malone becomes the voice of reason.” Sam speaking the truth about himself. Everyone is getting out of hand with this scale’s fortunes,

“She’s losing what’s left of her grey matter and I don’t mean her underwear.” Diane about Carla

“You’re crackers, you know that?” Sam to Diane. Crackers, y’all. (TBH, sounds like more of a Diane term. Her influence is showing.)

Cheers Queries

Cliff fell down the stairs and is now all unconscious and has no idea what is going on. In the last episode, Cliff comes face to face with a bully, and proves that he’s not a wuss by showing off his karate skills. He breaks a 4×4 and cement block. Only problem is that he doesn’t know karate and has to secretly ask Diane to take him to the hospital because he probably has a concussion. I’m starting to think this was some sort of continuity thing but maybe not? Does any of this even matter?

I guess I also have a general question about Sam and Diane’s relationship. I definitely ship Sam/Diane but I wish the tactic wasn’t always to up the conflict between them. Like introducing girls Sam’s going to be into (oh lord, I almost wrote Luke instead of Sam there), or having Diane’s “highbrow” interests get in the way. So my query is just… do we have to? I want a solid 5 episode streak where Sam and Diane are good and the conflict comes from Coach’s house burning down or Carla not knowing who her baby is or something.

Barfly Fashion

Sam’s green sweater is so fresh and so clean

For some reason, Norm’s blue cardi just screams 1984 to me. 

Also very 1984, Carla’s pink velour long sleeved shirt and complementing maroon velour pants. (I also feel like velour doesn’t breathe and she’s going to be trapped in a sweat-shell and that it’s going to absorb spilled beer from the counter like a bar mop.)

Sam’s velour pants. So hot. Diane’s blue peasant blouse + green velour skirt. Not as hot. Just classy af.

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 three, episode 14, The Heart is a Lonely Snipe Hunter.