We’re back! And with the last Cheers Chats of the year/series! We made it to the finale! Give us prizes for even making it this far!
Episode 11.26: One For The Road
Originally aired: May 20, 1993
Previously on Cheers
(Brief synopsis of what happened prior to this episode)
T: It’s been legit two episodes since November’s Cheers Chats went down, and not much has changed. Except continuity problems.
M: Two episodes, yet I struggled to catch up before this post as though we’d skipped two years. Remember how good the pilot was ? It has not been that good.
T: Woody is back as a bartender because the city council thing just never happened? And I guess his wife is still preggo? But also Rebecca continues to be an unapologetic gold digger, but after some convincing by Frasier, allows herself to go on a date with a plumber (Tom Berenger) and she thinks they’re going to get married now. But in the last episode, Sam admitted he had been thinking about settling down for real – again, these two continue to not be a romantic couple but act like it – and suggested Rebecca be his backup plan. She was insulted and shot back that he’s not the marrying kind and will always be seen as a playboy. This leads to Frasier suggesting he’s a sex addict and refers him to a “sexual compulsives” therapy group. Seriously. Frasier is putting out fires left and right. No wonder he got a spin-off.
M: The secondary characters (read: not “young” and “attractive” by Cheers standards) don’t have any development, which is a thing I didn’t realize I couldn’t stand about Cheers until I just wrote it down right now.
T: Carla is back to being a waitress because Woody is bartender again, Lillith and Frasier are together still, I guess, even though we haven’t seen her in a while, and Cliff and Norm continue to never change.
(Off-topic Cheers chatter.)
T: I must admit, even though I’ve had a tenuous relationship with this show over the past few seasons (aka few months), I’m looking forward to seeing how they wrap this whole thing up. I hope they circle back to season one writing and relationships instead of continuing down whatever hell path it was on the last 3 or 4 seasons. Also, Diane comes back, and I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I AM SO LOOKING FORWARD TO HER RETURN.
M: NO WAY, DIANE?! OK, I am back to wanting Sam and Diane to get together, if only because Sam was at his best when he was with her.
T: I just noticed Netflix wants to make sure we know that “This series won 28 Primetime Emmy Awards and was ranked by TV Guide as the 18th greatest series of all time”. Ok thanks, Netflix. Didn’t know how acclaimed Cheers was until now.
M: Which raises the question: why? and HOW? And was there other stuff on TV? I talk a lot of smack about the year 2016, but we truly live in a golden age of television. We both went into Cheers fully expecting to love it after the pilot, and got more and more disenchanted as the years went on. But you know what? It’s finally all over.
T: PS: The finale is a three-parter on Netflix. Like an hour and a half, which I’m assuming translated into a two-hour finale when it was broadcast back in ‘93??
M: Three. Freaking. Parts.
Pt. 1: Sam and Diane reconnect after years apart, and they each attempt to convince each other that their love lives have gone well after their breakup.
Pt. 2: Woody hires Nor for a city job. Cliff gets a promotion. Plumber Don (LOL) asks Rebecca to marry him. Sam and Diane announce big news at the bar.
Pt. 3: Sam and Diane contemplate their future together. Sam returns to the bar for one of the most famous closing scenes in television history. (it got meta at the end of that)
What Had Happened Was
(Basic recap of the episode’s main plot)
T: Ok, so Woody’s goodbye involves his last day at Cheers because they’re actually going through with his City Councilman plot.
M: Don proposes to Rebecca. How long has Don even been here? Anyway, Rebecca says no by accident.
T: As the Cheers gang is watching the Cable Ace Awards, it turns out Diane is not only nominated, but she wins for Best Writing of a Movie or Miniseries (LOL Diane WOULD win a Cable Ace Award) for something called The Heart Held Hostage. Frasier immediately noticed it’s THE Diane and Sam decides to get in contact with her to congratulate her. It turns into an invite for her to come back to Cheers so they can catch up.
T: Sam and Diane each pretend to be married with kids, but they’re both lying to each other. They end up back together again. Meanwhile, Woody’s getting ready to be City Councilman, Norm gets a job working for him, Cliff gets a promotion, and Carla blames herself for whatever Sam does with Diane.
The Luke Danes of the 1980s
Definition of Your Fave (Character and Show) Is Problematic:
Number of times Sam says “Sweetheart” to Rebecca: 5
Number of times Sam says “Honey” to Rebecca: 2
Number of times Sam says “Sweetheart” to Diane:
Number of times Sam says “Honey” to Diane: 1
Carla’s My Boo
T: Even though Rebecca is dating this plumber Don, Carla continues to hit on him, because he’s definitely her type and not Rebecca’s. She’s ruthless.
Rebecca: Come on, Carla, this happens to be my guy.
Carla: Yeah, well, I can fix that in ten minutes. Five- if I use jumper cables and a wet towel. (I honestly don’t even get this ‘joke’)
Carla: See, I was born with only one erogenous zone, and unfortunately, it covers my entire body.
M: I don’t remember Carla being the type to literally drape herself across a table from a man who is engagement-level involved with someone else, but that’s just how women are written on Cheers, I guess.
T: Carla notices Sam wasn’t at Woody’s swearing in, and realizes the last time she saw him, he was with “Miss Robin Deadbreast”. She then laments that she “let down my guard” and anything that happens between Sam and Diane is now her fault. I love you Carla, but give it a rest.
Carla: Lovely to see you.
Diane: Thank you.
Carla: When will you be leaving?
Shut Up, Diane
(RETURNING SEGMENT! We just have a feeling we’re going to be saying Shut Up, Diane at our screens KIND OF A LOT.)
Diane isn’t even physically in the bar for her return, only on TV, and she still manages to be annoying.
*While watching the Cable Ace Awards*
Frasier: Can it be? Is it really her?
Diane: Thank you all. And thank you, cable television, for allowing those of us who eschew the pap and pablum of commercial television to sing, to dance, to write and to listen to the whispers of our muses. Although sometimes the voices of Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymia, Terpsichore, Thalia and Urania are too soft to be heard. Forgive me, gals, if I forgot someone.
Fraiser: God, is it her.
Diane, continuing her acceptance speech: “Thanks to my parents for conceiving and bearing me… Thanks to the Amazon Rain Forest for providing me and you, ladies and gentlemen, with 40% of our oxygen. The devastation must end!… Thanks to you, Sylvia Plath.Let me say this; your tragic story will be my next project. It was Dr. Wendell Burgoyne who was my creative writing teacher (orchestra plays her off) My entire script was written on recycled paper! ::she literally gets pulled off stage as music plays::
T: I can’t express how perfect that speech was for Diane. And her first monologue since she left the show!
M: As she’s getting dragged off stage she says “you have to be taught to hate!” AHAHAHAHA. Shelley Long is so great, and Diane is at her most hilarious when she’s a proto – Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started A Conversation With At A Party; the writers just never hit their stride with her. It made me realize how much I’ve missed Diane. I also loved the delicious irony in the Cheers gang only seeing Diane win because they’re ogling Kim Alexis.
Diane: “I’ve been asked to speak at almost all my alma maters.”
(Pt. 3) Diane, with Sam as they take off in a plane together (more on this later): Isn’t this the perfect beginning for our lives together? Taking flight. Speeding down the runway side by side, until we lift from the ground, leaving far beneath us the tedium of ordinary life, to soar into the bright, unlimited future.
“When I went away to finish my novel, I promised to come back to you in six months. And I meant to. But well once the book was finished, the publishers didn’t want it. I never figured out why exactly. But then my agent suggested that I trim a couple of thousand pages and make it a screenplay.” Edit, Diane. Edit.
Woody the Simpleton
To reiterate, Woody was elected to City Council. That’s a thing that happened. So imagine Diane’s surprise when she found out her simpleton friend had been elected to public office.
Diane: Hello, Woody.
Woody: Well, hi, Miss Chambers.
Diane: What’s new in your life?
Woody: Oh, well, you know, I, uh, got married, and I’m gonna have a kid.
Woody: Yeah. Oh, also I just got elected to the Boston City Council.
Diane: How nice… And I’m next in line for the throne of England.
Honestly, that’s a fair response.
M: Between last Cheers Chats and this one I saw Edge of Seventeen, and now I’m a Woody Harrelson stan. Woody practices his speech: “I will make…. change.” Anyway he totally sounds like he can be an elected official in 2016, so I buy this plot device.
T: The good news is that Woody gets Norm a job at City Hall! And Woody is relishing in the fact that Norm is working for him now and it’s great.
Becky with the Good Hair
T: Apparently Rebecca is still dating plumber Don and she’s obsessed with him, but when he asks her, she says no, like it’s Tourette’s or something. To be fair they’ve been dating for approx 32 minutes in TV time.
M: “This is the dress I lost my guy in. If you hear screaming inside, just keep drinking” – Rebecca instantly turns into the Miss Havisham of Cheers.
T: Rebecca, in shambles and in lying mode for Sam, is killing me with her facts about their made up family. She’s a corporate lawyer for “Emerson, Lake and Palmer” (which is a rock band, you millennials) and she specializes in product liability cases. As for their kids, Sam has to give Rebecca hints, like holding up a fork to signify “Darby is four”, while Sam Jr. is 5, Newton is 3, and “ are “little two-year-old Chelsea, she’s one.” It’s the most poorly developed lie.
M: Don proposes while Rebecca is still being Sam’s fake wife. Diane is aghast. Rebecca: “oh, Sam, you don’t mind, do you?”
T: Rebecca and Plumber Don got married at City Hall. She immediately regrets “marrying a plumber”.
M: They run off to the justice of the peace “before we could change our minds,” uh oh.
“I shoot for Donald Trump and I end up with Ed Norton.” Rebecca on husband/plumber Don. We can’t fucking get away from this guy.
M: Fun fact: Cheers is so old that they’re referencing Ed Norton the Honeymooners character not Edward Norton the actor, which for some reason is the moment it hits home for me how long ago this was. Either Ed Norton would be preferable to DT, anyway.
Little Ditty About Sam & Diane
T: If Diane’s back, you know she’s gonna have some quality scenes with Sam. It all starts after Sam sees Diane win a Cable Ace Award, he says he wants to send her a telegram. A TELEGRAM. It is 1993, not 1960.
T: Sam is trying to save face when he talks to Diane (Give me a ring sometime, much?), and tells her he’s married (because she ‘didn’t expect him to wait around for her’) and has kids too. Then Diane says she’s married to “Reed” and got children too – 3. Sam has “four”. I hope this is going where I think it is.
M: “I wanted to bring the children, but they’re at school […] I wanted to meet your wife, is she about?” First of all, how long has Diane been gone?! Second, she talks like a prim elderly piano teachers till. Third, I guess I really, really missed Sam and Diane.
T: Oh dear God. Sam pretends to be married to Rebecca, who is in shambles because she said no to Plumber Don’s proposal.
M: “After losing the only man I ever loved, lunch should hit the spot” – why couldn’t Rebecca have been this funny the whole time?
T: Diane’s “husband”, Reed Manchester shows up and I’m still not completely convinced he’s real.
T: Sam’s look when Don proposes to Rebecca and she says yes while they’re still keeping up the marriage ruse during lunch with Diane and Reed.
T: OH MY GOD ANOTHER MAN COMES TO INTERRUPT THE LUNCH AND HE’S GOING FOR REED. I LEGIT SAY OUT LOUD ‘PLEASE BE GAY PLEASE BE GAY’
UPDATE: HE’S GAY. THANK GOD.
M: I KNEW HE WAS GAY.
T: Sam tells Diane they’re just a “mismatch” for each other, and I still don’t believe these idiots, who continue to lie to themselves. Also, it’s worth noting I truly have no idea if they end up together or not. I don’t even know a single thing that happens in this finale.
M: If Sam and Diane aren’t endgame I wasted a year watching this show – which granted, is better than watching 10 years if I watched it in real time.
T: Sam and Diane are back together again and they announce they’re getting married – much to the non-amusement of the Cheers gang. I get their doubts.
M: It’s just, why does everyone go from zero to marriage in this show?
T: Sam says he’s moving to California with Diane, who promised she’d help him get a job at the “juice bar in her health club.”
Frasier: Well, I had no idea you had such exciting prospects. By all means go for it, Sam! Here’s kiwi in your eye!
T: So Sam is really gung ho about leaving Boston to start a new life with Diane, but everyone else is against it. Frasier is lit’rally yelling at him, saying, “The two of you had a relationship whose best moments were full of anguish and self-loathing. After ten hours with this woman, you want to give up your life, your livelihood, and move with her to California?!”
M: I don’t think Sam needs to stay to babysit everyone, I just have a lot of logistical questions about this move, is all.
T: Sam defends himself by saying he’s always had everyone else’s back even when they made mistakes (even though he insists moving with Diane isn’t going to be a “mistake”) and shipping aside, I am on Sam’s side on this one. Norm asks, “What about us?” and lest we forget, after Sam and Diane broke up six years ago, he sold the bar and lived on his boat for months, which is how Rebecca took over. And everyone is still alive and at Cheers. They’ll survive.
T: I WISH THERE WAS A VIDEO OF THIS SCENE GETTING MAD AT THE GANG BC THEY’RE MAD HE’S JUST LEAVING EVERYTHING BEHIND FOR DIANE. HERE IS THE TRANSCRIPT. ALMOST AS GOOD.
CARLA: Sammy I can’t believe this is happening.
SAM: Yeah, I can’t either, Carla. Yeah, after all the cheer leading I’ve done for you guys, even when I knew you were making mistakes.
CARLA: Oh, so you want us to return the favor?
SAM: Yes, yes, I do And I’m not making a mistake.
NORM: Sammy what’s gonna happen to us?
SAM: Come on, you guys. I mean, all you fellas do is just sit there and watch the world go by. You don’t need me for that. I want to get off the bench, you know? I want to get in the game.
CARLA: So, you just gonna desert us? You gonna just walk out, like a traitor?
SAM: A traitor? I need more than this! You know, you should need more than this! I am not your mother! This is not your home! This is ridiculous. Come on, let’s just get out of here, you know? We got a plane to catch. Thank you very much for all your best wishes, fellas, and for making it clear that I’m doing the right thing.
T: Sam and Diane on a plane delay bc of the electrical system is v Friends phalange. Sam hallucinates the pilot is telling him to reconsider his choice of leaving with Diane, while Diane hallucinates the flight attendant makes her question the same thing.
The plane’s Captain, speaking directly to Diane’s current problem: I’m sorry folks, but I’m afraid we’re gonna be returning to the terminal. We’ll have you disembark and arrange for you to take an alternate flight. Maybe we’re being a little overcautious, but we don’t want to make a mistake about something this important. Sorry.
T: When Sam comes back to the bar, no one wants to hang out and smoke Cuban cigars with him, seemingly because of the harsh words he said before leaving with Diane. But they all come back and admit they were joking with him. Diane called the bar before he got there to tell them what happened, and they’re all there to support him and *cheer* him up. It is tender.
“Here you are a washed-up ballplayer, alcohol problem…. Sex problem… Lost your one true love… Twice…No apology necessary.”
The moments that made us literally laugh out loud
T: Carla hears Diane’s voice on the TV and immediately stops in her tracks. Instead of telling her that she really did hear Diane’s voice on the TV, the gang convinces Carla it’s a hallucination. Pt. 2 But when Diane shows up later, Carla let’s out a bloodcurdling scream *Sam stifles it then passes her off to Woody*
Diane: How did you find me?
Sam: Uh, Frasier, uh, you know, has a colleague who’s kind of a shrink to the stars in L.A.
Diane: Oh, well, I’d hardly call myself a star.
Sam: Well, I didn’t say you were.
UP TO THEIR OLD TRICKS
Norm: Sammy Why did you invite her here when you’re lying about being married?
Sam: You kidding me? She’ll never show up here. Besides, she’s the one who’s lying about being married.
Norm: How do you know?
Sam: Because I know the woman. I know she’s lying. Fortunately, I also know that she knows that I know she’s lying, which is why she’ll never dare show her face in Boston.
Norm: She’s coming.
This is the prequel to:
Frasier: Hello, Diane.
Diane: Hello, Frasier. You’re looking well.
Frasier: I’m feeling well. I’m happily married with a bright young son and a successful practice. But, you know, what’s most important and I just realized it this moment is I’m over you.
Diane: I’m glad.
Frasier: There’s absolutely nothing here anymore. I’m over you. You could be a total stranger for all I’m feeling. You could be ugly and gnarled and toothless without that shining hair, those dancing eyes, these graceful, supple limbs. Thank God I’m free.
Diane: Frasier, you’re hurting me.
Frasier: Well, you never hurt me, did you?! Anyway, good to see you.
*Stay pressed, Fras.*
M: For some reason the exchange below made me laugh out loud, at least in part for Diane’s wide-eyed, Dorothy Gale-style delivery:
Diane: Norman, Clifford. You’re exactly the way I remember you.
Cliff: Well, uh, looks can be deceiving there, Diane. I mean, our-our lives have changed in innumerable ways.
Diane: How so?
Cliff: Well, uh, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
T: I wouldn’t say it’s a true LLOL, but the classic sitcom trope of ridiculous things happening when someone leaves a room and things happen without them:
Barfly Paul notes he’s never around when the good stuff happens. He goes to the bathroom.
*Plumber Don carrying Rebecca down the stairs and proclaiming his love for her before they go make out on the swan boats in the Garden.
*Reed chases Kevin down the stairs and tries to convince him he’s not cheating on him with Rebecca (although it seems like Reed has had his own fair share of legit affairs)
Woody: Well, for one thing, none of you call me Huckleberry. I hate being called Huckleberry.
Norm: That’s your nickname, Wood?
Woody: No, Woody is.
Say It Again, Sam
(Memorable lines from the episode. Not exclusively from Sam Malone.)
T: Frasier on Woody starting his job as city councilman: Oh, yes, the beginning of your political career. It started out as a small joke and turned into an enormous one.
Sam: This week I’m not gonna think about sex at all or even hear about or talk about anything remotely sexual.
Rebecca: Sam, it’s about my love life.
Sam: Yeah, that should be safe.
Frasier: You know, no one wants to be the first to say it, but I’m not ashamed to admit what I think we’re all feeling. Time goes by so fast. People move in and out of your life. You must never miss an opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you. Well, I I I I
Norm:… I keep coming back to that shoe thing.
Norm: Sammy, I didn’t want to say this in front of the others, but you know what I think the most important thing in life is? It’s love. You want to know what I love?… I don’t think it matters what you love, Sammy. Could be a person, could be a thing. As long as you love it totally, completely, without judgment…. I knew you’d come back. You can never be unfaithful to your one true love. You always come back to her. Who is that? Think about it, Sam.
T: HONESTLY NORM has been the low key hero and wise sage of this entire show
#TheFutureIsFemale (Sexist examples)
(Frasier walks in to everyone watching the National Cable Ace Awards)
Frasier: Are you watching for any particular category?
Cliff: Yes, the most impressive display of female flesh in the, uh, tight-fitting dress.
Frasier: You’re watching for cleavage.
Norm: Living for cleavage.
Kim Alexis, the “female flesh” they’re waiting to see present on the Cable Ace Awards: “You know, I think it’s unfair. I think that they should do an (Sports Illustrated) issue featuring swimsuits for men.
Da Bears coach Mike Ditka: Great idea. The only thing is, the ladies have to model the suits.
:: Guys in Cheers hoot and holler ::
Kim Alexis: Coach, you’re incorrigible.
Mike Ditka: I don’t write it, I just say it.
:: Guys in Cheers continue to hoot and holler ::
ARE THE WRITERS TROLLING US OR WAS THIS ALSO AN ISSUE IN 1993???
Carla: Good night, ladies. Thanks again… Do you believe those three? In here every night trying to trap guys.
Cliff: Yeah, yeah yeah, you’d never see any wife of mine showing her face in some bar.
Carla: Yeah. She’d make more money in a sideshow.
Carla’s high heel (?) shirt and earrings
P sure I have a black and white version of Woody’s blouse
Everything is all very mint green and yes Sam is physically harming Carla
Frasier looks dapper in this suit
Kelly’s suit. But also, she’s supposed to be pregnant? Did I miss the part where she had her baby?
Rebecca’s “wedding suit” it’s a floor length skirt
Forget Carla’s shirt – she’s wearing human baby earrings? Is that a Kewpie doll? Either way, WTF?
Also, she’s wearing human baby earrings when talking about how great it is to have human babies.
T: Are the Cheers folks watching the Cable Ace Awards because of a special marketing tie-in or something? Also am I the only one who doesn’t know who supermodel Kim Alexis is?
M: Why does being on city council mean Woody can’t go to Cheers anymore??
T: Norm got laid off seasons ago, and has only picked up a few random jobs here and there. How is he paying for all this beer? Although I guess he attempts to freeload a lot.
T: Every time they give an extra some screen time, I can’t help but think it’s like a crew member like in wardrobe or casting, getting some face time as the show ends for good.
T: Pt. 2 ends with Sam and Diane walking into Cheers hand-in-hand announcing they’re back together and engaged. But I follow along with a script and there’s whole sections cut out from the Netflix episode!
Sam: Fellas, I just said we’re getting married. I think a little reaction’s in order, don’t you think?
Carla: I knew it. I knew it the minute- the second I laid eyes on her, all those years ago, that it was the worst moment of my life. I knew that she was gonna ruin everything someday! This is it.
Sam: Hey, Carla, don’t you think it’s time to give that up?
Diane: Carla I wasn’t going to tell you this, but maybe you should hear it. The screenplay for which I was so extravagantly honoured was based on your life. You were my inspiration.
Diane: Yes. It’s the story of a resilient, hard working mother, bucking all odds to raise her six children.
Carla: Six? I got eight.
Diane: Good God! You breed like a fly!
Carla: Well, uh, this movie- people liked it?
Diane: They loved it, Carla. People were inspired by the plight of my heroine.
Carla: Yeah? Well, what happens to me? I mean, you know, to her, in the end.
Diane: Well out of the despair and frustration of her unmanageable life, she goes berserk and takes out a few people with an Uzi. That cost me the Humanitas Award.
Carla: Diane you know, I’ve said a lot of horrible and hateful things to you over the years Well, if I said something nice now, would you get all yucky? You have my word I won’t. Well Diane, I Nah. Life’s too short.
After Sam tells the gang he’s moving to California:
Norm: Sammy California?! Riots, smog, earthquakes?
Sam: Don’t make me laugh, now. There’s no earthquakes in California.
M: I just have a whole lot of logistical questions about how Sam is up and going to California on zero notice. They act like he’s moving away forever but surely he has an apartment, and stuff, and bills due?
T: Sam fixes the Native American picture The final credits are in white and not yellow and it’s a piano version of the theme and I’m crying a little?
T: Do I regret watching Cheers from beginning to end? No. Did I enjoy every episode? No. Were there a lot of problematic issues that probably weren’t that big when the show aired? Yes. So I get it. I get why this is considered one of the best TV sitcoms ever made. But from a female perspective in 2016, I don’t care for it. The first few seasons were fine, but after that, no thank you.
M: Yeah. I could appreciate what was good about Cheers, and there are a lot of classic sitcoms and movies that I do enjoy, but I couldn’t get in the headspace to really LOVE it because you can’t go back in time. There were some great characters, the writing could be funny at times, and I understand how the concept made viewers in the 80s and 90s feel like they were regulars at the neighborhood bar along with all of these guys.